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Issue Features
Discovery Magazine 10/1/1999

Darwin, God, and Annie

Charles Darwin married a young woman by the name of Emma Wedgwood who was a very strong believer in both God and Christianity. However, something happened during their marriage that caused Charles to become angry with God and stop believing in Him.

The Darwins oldest daughter was a sweet little girl by the name of Annie, who was especially close to her father. In 1850, however, Annie became very sick. Doctors gave her all kinds of medicine, and members of her family looked after her on a daily basis. Friends helped, too. But on April 23, 1851, she died at the tender age of only ten years old. Of course, her mother and father were terribly sad. Because Emma was a devout believer in God and the Bible, she was able to cope with Annie’s death. She held onto the hope that one day she might be able to see Annie in heaven.

But Charles Darwin had been studying evolution for a long time and already was having serious doubts about God’s existence. When Annie died, her father became very angry. He blamed God for her sickness and death. And he made up his mind not to believe in God any more. One writer said that Annie’s death was "the end of the road" for Darwin’s hopes, and that after seeing Annie die, "He could not believe the way Emma believed—nor what she believed. Annie’s cruel death destroyed Charles’s belief in a moral, just universe and Christianity. Charles now took his stand as an unbeliever."

Eight years after Annie died, Charles Darwin authoredThe Origin of Species—a book that has caused millions of other people to abandon their belief in God as well. Isn’t this sad? Darwin blamed God for something that wasn’t even His fault. When he stopped believing in God, he lost all hope of ever getting to see Annie again in heaven. The Bible says that "without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).

When life doesn’t seem fair, or when bad things happen, we should remember Charles Darwin and how he gave up his faith in God. Then we should make up our minds not to be like him because we know that "all things work together for good to those who love God" (Romans 8:28). If we love and obey Him as Christians, one day we will be with Him in heaven (read Hebrews 11:13-16 and Revelation 2:10).



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