Charles Spurgeon was 25 years old when Charles Darwin published his famous work Origin of Species. Even while the New Park Street pulpit heralded the Gospel, the words of Darwin contended for the hearts and minds of God’s image bearers. Where did Spurgeon stand on this influential issue? Did he directly confront it?
He Called it What it Was
“If God’s word be true, evolution is a lie.”
The thought of marrying full Darwinian intellectualism with the authoritative Scriptures was preposterous to Spurgeon. For Spurgeon, there was no option but to expose the darkness for what he believed it was, in order that the light of the truth of Jesus might be exalted.
“The age is getting worse and worse, and man, by a process of evolution, is evolving a devil.”
He Saw Danger Beyond His Generation
“Within fifty years children in the school will read of extraordinary popular delusions, and this will be mentioned as one of the most absurd of them.”
He was right! 130 years later, Darwinian evolution is among the most widely accepted curriculums for schools. Children are often taught that they have no Maker and creation boils down to chance. Spurgeon called this a “popular delusion”; the whole world holding tightly to an idea that is not true. The damage has been devastating. Yound men and women are hungry for purpose while a God-denying evolutionary theory tells them there is none.
The Right Identity
Spurgeon saw Darwinian evolution as a destructive distraction to the Christian doctrine of God’s hand in creation, drawing men away from fullness in God the creator by Christ. But Christ is the reason we live in the fullness of right identity and purpose with our Maker. Spurgeon preached this in his day because it was the real need of the hour, and it is still the real need of the hour for our day.
“And so, within the simple Gospel, how much lies concentrated? Look at it! Within that truth lie regeneration, repentance, faith, holiness, zeal, consecration, perfection. Heaven hides itself away within the Gospel.”
How beautiful and simple. The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that sinful man, though empty because of sin, does not have to fill that emptiness by himsef—Christ is our fullness of purpose, and the showcase of Triune glory the purpose for which God created the world. No other theory can staisfy our hungry souls.
“Seek not happiness first; seek Christ first, and happiness shall come after. Nothing beneath the skies, and nothing above the skies, can make any man happy apart from God, search as you will.”
Joel Littlefield is an author, blogger, church planter and the lead pastor of New City Church in Bath, Maine. He and his wife, Callie, have four children.