From That Original Breath

Today November 24, we mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's book On the Origin of Species.

The New Scientist website is sponsoring a contest in Darwin's honor, to take the last sentence from his book and turn it into a work of art. Here is that line:

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

Do I detect in the phrase "having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one," a nod to the Creator?

Breath is the motivating force that gets life going. It's a deeply ingrained metaphor that we take for granted in our everyday speech; for example:

~ "Major League Baseball needs Mark Cuban to breathe life into the game."

When we breathe life into something we bring it back, we resusitate it, we reanimate it.

Though Darwin became agnostic (Who knows?) later in life, he never lost his abiding belief in a creator that breathed out an original life-breath that started the whole process.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Nov 24, 2009


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