Did Darwin Renounce Evolution on His Deathbed? | The Institute for Creation Research

Did Darwin Renounce Evolution on His Deathbed?

The story has circulated for decades. Charles Darwin, after a career of promoting evolution and naturalism, returned to the Christianity of his youth, renouncing on his deathbed the theory of evolution. The story appears to have been authored by a "Lady Hope," and relates how she visited him near the end and received his testimony.

Evolutionists in general and his surviving family in particular have disputed the account. Those with him at the time insist there was no evident changing of mind. Indeed, in his autobiography written late in his life, Darwin fully supported evolution. He admitted the concept was distasteful to him and had brought him much dismay, but he still held it.

Lady Hope was real, the wife of Lord Hope. She was a fervent Christian and friend of Darwin's wife, also a strong Christian who prayed for and witnessed to him all their married life, to no avail according to him. Nevertheless, many have researched the story, and all have concluded it is probably an "urban myth."

In his later years Darwin did soften in his attitude toward Christianity. He even allowed a local church to hold their meetings on his property, and asked that his bedroom windows be opened so he could hear the hymns being sung. A Christian can only hope that the seeds planted earlier took root at the end, and that he did place his faith in Christ before he died.

A similar scenario took place more recently with the death of the great spokesman for evolution and atheism, Carl Sagan. He received strong witness of Christianity from many people; most notably ICR's physics chairman Dr. Larry Vardiman. They corresponded for years, during which God's plan of salvation and the evidence for creation were clearly discussed. Dr. Sagan fully understood the salvation message but specifically refused it. He said he wished he could believe, but was convinced evolution was true and there was no God. He contracted cancer and passed into eternity in 1996.

His wife, Ann Druyan, herself an avowed anti-Christian, takes a different tack, however. She takes great pains to insure that no one writes an "urban myth" about her husband. She reportedly organized a vigil at his bedside to make sure no Christian came near. No last-minute prayer, no final testimony was allowed.

Again, a Christian can only trust in the grace of our loving Lord and wonder if the seeds planted took root before it was too late. There is no joy for a Christian if anyone, even a lifelong opponent of the cross, slips into a Christless eternity.

* Dr. John D. Morris is the President of the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: John D. Morris, Ph.D. 2006. Did Darwin Renounce Evolution on His Deathbed?. Acts & Facts. 35 (8).

The Latest
NEWS
Fossil Chromatin Looks Young
What are the odds that a buried animal would still have intact DNA after 125 million years? Researchers publishing in the journal Communications Biology...

NEWS
Inside October 2021 Acts & Facts
How is the Lord’s handiwork on display at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park? Does the universe look old? What can we learn about science and...

NEWS
Two-Volume Series: Restoring the Truth about Origins
The subject of origins continues to attract interest from the public and the scientific establishment. Understanding our origins informs us of who we are...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Floods Form Fossils Fast
Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
A Battle for Hearts
Since the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History opened in fall of 2019, tens of thousands of people have walked through our doors. They...

APOLOGETICS
Eating Bugs Isn't Always So Simple
The Lord Jesus Christ deserves glory for why He made Earth’s diverse creatures, and He also deserves glory for the complicated details of how...

ACTS & FACTS
Does the Universe Look Old?
Since distant galaxies are billions of light-years away, some understandably assume that distant starlight must have taken billions of years to reach...

ACTS & FACTS
Hawaii Behind the Scenes
ICR Research Scientist Dr. Brian Thomas and ICR Video Producer Clint Loveness, with help from friends and family, recently shot footage in Maui, Hawaii,...

ACTS & FACTS
Mutation, Design, and Faith
Any alteration in a cell’s DNA sequence is a mutation. These changes can come from copying errors, exposure to chemicals or radiation, or from...

ACTS & FACTS
Another Function of 'Junk DNA' Discovered
For decades, evolutionists suggested that huge sections of our genome (about half) did not actively code for the production of proteins or polypeptides—and...