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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Maria   [1871–82]1

IHS | M.V.I.2


Not knowing whether you are a stranger to German language—pardon my English, but I am so impatient for your reply … Allow me a few questions.

I was told Mr Darwin prays much and loves God a religious man to a high degree! Is it possible? thought I, and how does he agree with what he believes and with what he does not believe? For instance, you believe in life after death?—I heard you do. Well, those heroes of virtue renouncing to themselves ⁠⟨⁠on⁠⟩⁠ earth for Love for Perfection, personally taken—for God—living after death, their soul only meanwhile, must be in a far higher position to that they occupied while living—let us say, they arrived at what they aimed to; so, this memory serves as a moral law, I mean their lives a modell for imitation,—that is how they act in a passive sense—and they pray to God for us—second service—to be understood in a certain passive sense, because by doing so, they don’t try to alter the Will of God, called Predestination!— They are middlers between God and mankind for both these reasons and we call to them for reasons resulting.—of our own heart—wishing—what it never understands   Beatitude!—Eternal Satisfaction—God!—

But, if there is no life after death—why should we pray? why adore a Being that made Himself so happy—as not to want any thing and nobody—and allows existence but does no farther meddle with it??

But I was told, you believe in Christ, the God-Man. (:It is a pity one cannot write at once what on a sudden rises in the mind, like a⁠⟨⁠n⁠⟩⁠ eye overlooking, an eye, this little thing, overlooking a good part of the world:)

First of all let us answer to all doubts in general, of a soul believing in God the Unity who never comunicated with mankind—but of justly called God, understood as a Potence, to which nothing is impossible, directed by a will whose radix is Love, produced by the highest perfection of Goodness. Such a God is able of what He never did,—also.

As Spirit He interfered and—for reasons not entering now closely our question—He interfered as God-Man.

—Development, if showing every kind in nature in a state of mixture and climbing to a higher degree, until now did not show a Second God-Man—nor even a man, participating in this life of his own better state after death—but if you believe in Christ’s biography, He must have been God.

As man He should be a liar—you know what He said of Himself, testifying to be God; how can we esteem Him a perfect man only, when He lies? But He not only said, what nobody said before and after Him—He acted like a God!

If God did not unite Himself to human nature by development—His race had nothing Godlike— —but necessary even was the Immaculated Conception because God could not be Son of a Man: but willing to interfere as Man … the most innocent Virgin was united to the Spirit = I say: if God did not develop Himself out of mankind … my soul has no origin in the rational part of the beast. My soul is a creation of God—to Him is directed the aim of my life, I feel to be in a certain connection with God. following this secret call, we are in Grace, Grace gives us a clearer idea of what we do not understand, we know that we must and cannot help believing. We believe and—we know! It is a knowledge given us, not acquired; therefore we call it Revelation,— Let us stop here, and begin at the beginning—you say there is no beginning, I say there is no end, and we are right both of us: time began in Eternity and ends in Eternity—Eternity never began and never ends, being before and after what had been created and did not exist, what must end when the new world begins in eternity. A world newly created—for we live after death, but don’t develop ourselves to the futur state—we reach the better state by destruction!

Let us begin by the beginning I said and meant: 3 can come from putting one to one three times, or from putting 2 to one, or from many other particles;—who can say it developed itself by one of these methods only? 3 can also just as well be called 1000, if the quality is the same and vice versa, you can call 1000=3

Why should I believe in the development of the world if it is not impossible to God to create a world? If He allows only and does not prevent my existence, what for my free will claiming justice? Beatitude I mean whenever I choose to be virtuous.

But God=Love in connection with mankind called Mercy cannot remain absolutely alone, allowing our existence, or we should never have recognised His existence.

So it must have been His Will—and if you say you never pretended the contrary I answer: Will and Action was contemporary in God: He began by willing and doing, what we don’t understand, leaving to our doubt and scrutinizing and meritorious believe many possibilities how and why He did so—but then—Revelation began,—when the first man was created by His will.

Eternity cannot be explained to temporary beings in any terms—it is not impossible to God to put a certain understanding of it in a highly graced soul—therefore we cannot say, where time lies in Eternity and why God did not choose to create earlier or later by His will—but it was done in its time being in the centre of Eternity.

Please to address: Maria

Haupt-Post restante



The author of the letter has not been identified. The letter is in a folder of ‘curious’ letters; the other letters date between 1871 and 1882.
IHS is the Christogram, the first three letters of Jesus in Greek. The second abbreviation has not been identified: it may stand for Maria virgo immaculata.


On the Christian God; questioning of CD’s religious beliefs.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 201: 24
Physical description
ALS 6pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12385,” accessed on 7 February 2023,