A talk given by the Rev. Rex Hunt on the 17th of September, 2017.
In 2005 when I was on a Study Tour in England I was fortunate enough to have a side-visit to ‘Down House’, the country home of naturalist Charles Darwin and his family. Few properties can claim to have been as central to the life and work of its owner as this house.
I remember very well standing in his old studyand being engulfed by its history and its significance. For it was in that house and in that room that Darwin wrote his most famous book, On the Origin of Species…, published in November 1859.A book which stands as a wellspring for what we now call ‘evolutionary biology’.
In the last paragraph of the book, Darwin wrote: “It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.” (Darwin 2008:362)
Interesting indeed… For the debate it ignited not only led to the denial of the creation stories of the western religious tradition, it gave us the beginnings of an immensely richer, longer, more complex ‘story’, rooted not in “the history of a single tribe or a particular people”, but one “rooted in the sum of our knowledge of the universe itself”.
A scientific ‘doctrine of incarnation’ as one person has described it, which suggests “that the universe itself is continually incarnating itself in microbes and maples, in humming birds and human beings, constantly inviting us to tease out the revelation contained in stars and atoms and every living thing.” (Bumbaugh 2003)
Yes, a ‘religious’ story… that invites us to awe and wonder; that demands a vocabulary of reverence.
The complete talk can be found here.