The Rise of Modern Religious Ideas

By Arthur Cushman McGiffert | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
EVOLUTION

EVOLUTIONARY ideas were common among the Greeks, but in the Middle Ages they were almost wholly wanting. The account of the creation of the world in the early chapters of Genesis and of the preservation of animal life in the story of the flood controlled thought upon the subject, and it was taken for granted that the various existing forms of life had come directly from the hand of God. But it was inevitable, when the theological age of science had passed and men began to seek a natural explanation of the phenomena of nature, that the question of the origin of these multitudinous forms of life should again thrust itself upon the attention of thinking men. Descartes gave a wholly mechanical account of the world of nature, and even suggested the possibility of the production of the higher forms of life from the lower by a process of mechanical evolution. He was careful, however, to add that this was not his own opinion, but was put forth only as one among many conceivable hypotheses, thus protecting himself against the wrath of the ecclesiastical authorities.

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The Rise of Modern Religious Ideas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Editorial Note vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Book I - Disintegration 1
  • Chapter II - The Enlightenment 11
  • Chapter III - Natural Science 24
  • Chapter IV - The Critical Philosophy 45
  • Book II - Reconstruction 61
  • Chapter VI - The Rebirth of Speculation 81
  • Chapter VII - The Rehabilitation of Faith 104
  • Chapter VIII - Agnosticism 144
  • Chapter IX - Evolution 166
  • Chapter X - Divine Immanence 187
  • Chapter XI - Ethical Theism 222
  • Chapter XII - The Character of God. 240
  • Chapter XIII The Social Emphasis 254
  • Chapter XIV - Religious Authority 279
  • Index 311
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