Correction on Charles Hodge

James Mahaffy (
Wed, 29 Jan 1997 18:34:34 -0600 (CST)


Usually it is dangerous to disagree with the articulate Terry Gray. But
as someone who comes out of the same Princeton roots as Terry, I don't
think we can make Charles Hodge accepting of evolution. I know he came
out with an early book strongly opposed to the theory. I don't think
the same thing can be said for AA Hodge. Ron Numbers deals with this
history quite well.

I know Terry didn't say Hodge liked evolution - but I don't think it
makes his views more accepting than they were.

> 1. Hodge objected to Darwinism because he defined Darwinism to be
> ateleological and thus dismissing design. However, Hodge did not object to
> evolution. He was much more tolerant of Asa Gray's views where the
> variation that natural selection worked on was God-directed, so that the
> process produced exactly what God wanted. While Hodge did not regard Gray
> as a Darwinist, Gray regarded himself as a Darwinist. Admittedly, Hodge
> was using Darwin's own understanding of God's involvement in the process,
> but here's where I depart with Hodge (and Johnson). Darwin is importing a
> particular theological perspective into his theory at this point. We must
> recognize that has happened and I would claim show that it is not a
> necessary importation, i.e. Asa Gray's theological views are just as
> compatible with Darwinism as a biological theory as are Darwin's own
> theological views. Don't let the namesake influence the debate here.


James F. Mahaffy                   e-mail:
Biology Department                 phone: 712 722-6279
Dordt College                      FAX 712 722-1198
Sioux Center, Iowa 51250