Charles Lyell – The Evolution of Evolution | David Rives

Charles Lyell was a British lawyer and geologist who lived during the nineteenth century. He published a three-volume work called Principles of Geology, which promoted his ideas of an old earth, geologic ages, and uniformitarianism. This is the belief that the present is the key to the past. He believed that the slow and gradual processes we see today are the same processes that shaped our planet’s geology over millions of years.

Lyell outright rejected the Bible as God’s Word and rejected it as an accurate account of earth’s history. He actually wrote that he wanted to “free the science of geology from Moses.” Lyell was probably best described as a deist. He believed in a distant God who did not intervene in the Universe. Without a God, everything had to be explained naturally, and uniformitarianism gave Lyell a way to explain what we see in the world without appealing to God or His revelation to us in the Bible.

Lyell soon gained a young admirer—the naturalist Charles Darwin. While on board the Beagle, the ship that took him around the world, Darwin had copies of Lyell’s books and he says he “studied [them] attentively” and that they were “of the highest service to [him] in many ways.”

Darwin didn’t invent his evolutionary ideas as he unbiasedly pursued the truth. He had become convinced of the same philosophical beliefs as Lyell. He believed in deism and uniformitarianism so evolutionary ideas about life were a natural progression of his philosophy. It wasn’t his observations of the natural world that convinced him evolutionary ideas had to be the true history of life. It was his rejection of God and His Word, and his acceptance of uniformitarianism, that led to his evolutionary ideas.

More and more geologists are realizing that the present is not the key to the past. The evidence doesn’t support the idea that slow and gradual processes are responsible for what we see in the rocks. Charles Lyell was wrong!

This was simply one more chapter in the history of evolution’s rise to popularity. I call it: “The Evolution of Evolution.” These archaic philosophies have seen far too many pseudoscientific complications added – in an effort to salvage the theory. It’s about time for a fresh approach.

I’m David Rives. Truly…the heavens declare the glory of God.