Charles Darwin was well aware of this fact. In one of his early notebooks he records the prophetic statement that his theory of evolution would affect the whole of metaphysics [the underlying principles of every field of study.]. About Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859) Josiah Royce commented: “With the one exception of Newton’s Principia, no single book of empirical science has ever been of more importance to philosophy than this work of Darwin.”
Darwin called men away from the common presupposition of a decreed, mature creation of all things by a personal God; by replacing this presupposition with that of evolution, Darwin altered the entire direction and thrust of the next century’s thinking.
Historian Will Durant observed about Darwin,
It may well be that for posterity his name will stand as a turning point in the intellectual development of our western civilization... If he was right, men will have to date from 1859 the beginning of modern thought.
Cornelius Van Til writes,
The Bible requires men to believe that God exists apart from and above the world and that he by his plan controls whatever takes place in the world. Everything in the created universe therefore displays the fact that it is controlled by God, that it is what it is by virtue of the place it occupies in the plan of God. The objective evidence for the existence of God and of the comprehensive governance of the world by God is therefore so plain that he who runs may read. Men cannot get away from this evidence. They see it round about them. They see it within them. Their own constitution so clearly evinces the facts of God’s creation of them and control over them that there is no man who can possibly escape observing it. If he is self-conscious at all he is also God-conscious. No matter how men may try they cannot hide from themselves the fact of their own createdness. Whether men engage in inductive study with respect to the facts of nature about them or engage in analysis of their own self-consciousness they are always face to face with God their maker.
It appears, then, that two religious positions stand over against each other: the religion of humanistic autonomy and the religion of biblical Christianity. Each accuses the other of idolatry. The Christian must see the situation clearly. The choice between evolution and creation is at base religious. Nothing less is at stake than the charge of worshipping the creature rather than the Creator. An answer to origins weighs idolatry in the balance. “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish... They are vanity, a work of delusion” (Jer. 10:11, 15).