If Darwin Prayed by Bruce Sanguin
I wonder, if Mr. Darwin had imagined a God bigger
than the theist’s puppeteer— and less aloof
from nature’s ways—
how he might have prayed.
if he had viewed the great march of time with a mystic’s eye—
as Spirit’s unhurried play with form and function, not creation leaving God in the dust
and pulling itself up by its own bootstraps— if his heart might not have burned with faith.
when the push of Eros
and the pull of the possible
caused him to close the City of God
and leave the dreary seminary
to set sail on board his Beagle destiny, if he ever imagined that he embodied Spirit’s irrepressible urge to evolve.
when he reflected on the mystery of a finch’s beak and the glories of the Galapagos,
if Mr. Darwin considered his own adaptive brilliance that brought forth The Origin of Species
(his great gift to theology)
an occasion of an even deeper Mystery—
evolution awakening in him.
if, hunched long years
over beetles and mollusks,
he ever considered
St. Paul’s self-emptying God,
touching all with a rising,
and then going on ahead of us—
as did the Galilean—
calling from an undissected future,
beckoning this sighing creation
toward freedom and fullness of being.
I wonder, Mr. Darwin,
if your beloved Emma might have worried less over your apostasy
if you could have played the prophet
and announced, with the Baptist,
that evolution was filling every valley
and making low the mountains,
preparing a highway through Descartes’ desert,
for the advent,
and not the end,
(If I were God,
I too would keep my presence hidden,
an allurement of love that predestines no fixed future, conferring maximum dignity upon life,
as together all that is
joins in the great procession
of the formless, assuming forms most glorious, crowning the human ones
with a distinctive diadem—
the capacity to select our own future,
if Darwin prayed.
If Darwin Prayed: Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics by Bruce Sanguin