In this book, the scientist carefully avoids to comment on the application to man of the mechanism of natural selection. Theologians are not misled. Their reactions will be passionate.
Charles Kingsley is the first clergyman to openly support Darwin. He states four days before the publication of the book that the evolution of species is a dogma just as honorable as that of their simultaneous creation. Darwin waits until 1871 to publish a big scholarly book titled The Descent of Man, now displaying his arguments regarding the full application of his theory to the human species.
Darwin was evasive about his faith, not wanting to get involved into religious quarrels. He was certainly very solicited by believers of all kinds, but by his silence he was able to preserve his privacy.
In November 1880 he received a letter from an individual who asked him to take a position on the New Testament while considering that he will cheerfully welcome a similar opinion as Kingsley's. He promises to Darwin that his answer will not be published.
The scientist decides to reply, perhaps because he was annoyed by a political controversy running at that time concerning the ban on an atheist to sit in parliament. In a few words, his statement is crystal clear. He does not believe that the Bible is a divine revelation and therefore that Jesus Christ is the son of God.
The addressee fulfilled his promise and this letter unique in its kind remained secret for over a century. It is estimated $ 70K for sale by Bonhams in New York on September 21, lot 39.