This evening I watched the film Creation: How Darwin Saw the World and Changed It Forever starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly. The storyline focuses on Charles Darwin’s internal battle to avoid killing God while remaining true to his scientific findings. Darwin comes across as a tortured man who does all he can to avoid the inevitable destiny set before him which includes the writing of The Origen of Species. In the end he rises above the onslaught of opposition coming from everyone from his wife to the local parish priest in order to do what he thinks he must do.

While watching this film there is the interesting historiographical decision to emphasize Darwin’s resistance to his own slow crawl away from faith. Eventually it seems Darwin goes from fearing what may happen to the world around him if God is discarded to angrily fighting against the resistance to his theories that he knew he would face. Whatever one may think of Darwin in this film it is sure that the viewer won’t come away seeing him as someone who sought to create a scientific theory that would find no need for God. In other words, Darwin was resistant, not malicious.

Another point that intrigued me was how Darwin feared the death of God would lead to the loss of values like love, loyalty, and faith yet he maintained absolute fidelity to his conviction that one must pursue the truth. The paradox here is that while Darwin watches the death of these virtues he clings to one virtue–that of truthfulness. While he comes to the conclusion that our existence is not about a God with plans but rather the survival of the fittest he still cares that his children and others have the right to pursue where the facts lead. One wonders what motivation Darwin finds for caring about anything at all as he wrestles with the impending nihilism that seems to be the result of his findings.

While one shouldn’t expect anything exceptionally novel from the film (and this may be a good thing) it is still worth watching. Paul Bettany does a fine job playing Darwin. The story flows well and it maintained my interest. I’d recommend it if you have considered watching.