An Evolutionary Hymn

Recently I came across this wonderfully satirical poem, written in a letter from C.S. Lewis to Dorothy Sayers in 1954:

AN EVOLUTIONARY HYMN
By Clive Staples Lewis

Lead us, Evolution, lead us
Up the future’s endless stair;
Chop us, change us, prod us, weed us.
For stagnation is despair:
Groping, guessing, yet progressing,
Lead us nobody knows where.

Wrong or justice, joy or sorrow,
In the present what are they
while there’s always jam-tomorrow,
While we tread the onward way?
Never knowing where we’re going,
We can never go astray.

To whatever variation
Our posterity may turn
Hairy, squashy, or crustacean,
Bulbous-eyed or square of stern,
Tusked or toothless, mild or ruthless,
Towards that unknown god we yearn.

Ask not if it’s god or devil,
Brethren, lest your words imply
Static norms of good and evil
(As in Plato) throned on high;
Such scholastic, inelastic,
Abstract yardsticks we deny.

Far too long have sages vainly
Glossed great Nature’s simple text;
He who runs can read it plainly,
‘Goodness = what comes next.’
By evolving, Life is solving
All the questions we perplexed.

Oh then! Value means survival-
Value. If our progeny
Spreads and spawns and licks each rival,
That will prove its deity
(Far from pleasant, by our present,
Standards, though it may well be).

3 comments on “An Evolutionary Hymn

  1. David says:

    I never knew he wrote this poem! It’s brilliant, and I must share it.

      • David says:

        It is! I posted it on Facebook, then a friend reposted it from my post, and that ignited a huge debate about theistic evolution vs. 6-day creation involving some old high school classmates and an old high school theology teacher of mine. My opinion is that FB debates never solve anything or convince anyone to change their point of view—Internet debates rarely, if ever, do–but at least it gives me a chance to lay out my very rational reasons for believing that God means exactly what He says! ‘-)

        I also gratefully acknowledge the important ministry of the Institute for Creation Research, the most credible and godly of the creation think tanks that I am familiar with (I add that caveat because I am not so familiar with some of the other groups that often get more attention in the media. But the folks at ICR are legit scientists who are 100% Christ-focused).

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