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The tension between evolution and religion, which continues to wreck lives and homes today, played out in Charles Darwin’s own household. His family story has been dramatized in a new film provocatively titled Creation (originally Origin).
The movie shows how the death of Annie, Darwin’s 10-year-old daughter, deeply affected his family and his own beliefs. Having a religious wife (a Unitarian) further complicated Darwin’s personal struggles over the question of suffering and death in this world.
Annie’s death in 1851 became the gloomy backdrop to the writing of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859). In the end, Darwin wove death into the fabric of his evolutionary story. He depicted death as an integral part of life, completely contrary to the Bible’s teaching that death is an enemy that invaded creation as a result of Adam’s rebellion (1 Corinthians 15:26).
Starring Paul Bettany and his Oscar-winning wife Jennifer Connelly, Creation portrays Darwin in a highly sympathetic light. Bettany (who, incidentally, visited the Creation Museum this past June) is an atheist who calls Darwin “a hero of mine and I think in the absence of Jesus, he’s a really useful hero to have.”*
*“Playing Darwin with Creation,” Guardian Unlimited, February 12, 2009.