The debate over whether or not a god or gods were involved in the creation of the earth is not a debate that began with Darwin. In Cicero’s On the Gods, I. 53 (trans. P.G. Walsh, p. 21), Gaius Velleius is quoted as defending the Epicurean understanding of deity over against the Stoic god who is “plagued with hard work” (I. 52). He says of the “wholly inactive” (I.51) Epicurean deity the following:

“But we Epicureans define the life of blessedness as residing in the possession of untroubled mind and relaxation from all duties. Our mentor who has schooled us in all else has also taught us that the world was created naturally, without the need for a craftsman’s role, and the process which in your view cannot be put in train without the skillful touches of a god is so straightforward that nature has created, is now creating, and will continue to create innumerable worlds.”

Unlike most naturalist today, Gaius Velleius affirms a deity. He sees this deity maybe as a source of the world around us, but no active creator. This is somewhat like theistic evolutionism as explained by some.

So we see that debate over whether or not there is a form of naturalism where a personified nature evolves itself or whether as Stoic and today’s Intelligent Design adherents argue there is a deity at work is not recent or now. It goes back to even before the time of Cicero.