Aubrey Lackington Moore (1848–1890) was one of the first Christian Darwinians. He has been described as "the clergyman who more than any other man was responsible for breaking down the antagonisms towards Evolution then widely felt in the English Church".
He was born in 1848, was second son of Daniel Moore, vicar of Holy Trinity, Paddington, and prebendary of St. Paul's.
He was educated at St. Paul's School from 1860 to 1867, which he left with an exhibition, matriculating as a commoner of Exeter College, Oxford, 1867, whence, after obtaining first class honours in classical moderations and literce humaniores, he graduated B.A. in 1871 (M.A. 1874).
He was fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, 1872-1876; became a lecturer and tutor (1874); was assistant tutor at Magdalen College (1875); and was rector of Frenchay, near Bristol, from 1876 to 1881, when he was appointed a tutor of Keble College.
He became examining chaplain to Bishops Mackarness and Stubbs of Oxford, select preacher at Oxford 1885-6, Whitehall preacher 1887-8, and hon. canon of Christ Church 1887. A few weeks before his death, he accepted an official fellowship as dean of divinity at Magdalen College, Oxford, and when nominated simultaneously to examine in the final honour schools of theology and literce humaniores, accepted the latter post.
At Oxford, Moore had a unique position as at once a theologian and a philosopher of recognised attainments in natural science, dealing fearlessly with the metaphysical and scientific questions affecting theology. He lectured mainly on philosophy and on the history of the Reformation. Though rendered constitutionally weak by physical deformity, he had great powers of endurance and hard work, was a brilliant talker and preacher, and distinguished as a botanist.
He married in 1876 Catharine, daughter of Frank Hurt, esq., by whom he left three daughters. A fund of nearly £1,000 was subscribed to his memory by friends, from which an 'Aubrey Moore ' studentship (for theological research), open to graduates of Oxford, was founded in 1890.
Moore argued that Darwinism was not in conflict with Christianity. He differed from other religious figures of the time by accepting the theory of natural selection, incorporating it into his Christian beliefs as merely the way God worked.
He wrote that Evolution "as a theory is infinitely more Christian than the theory of "Special Creation." For it implies the immanence of God in nature, and the omnipresence of his creative power. Those who opposed the doctrine of evolution in defence of "a continued intervention" of God seem to have failed to notice that a theory of occasional intervention implies as its correlative a theory of ordinary absence..."
H. O. Wakeman's History of the Church of England (1897) is dedicated to Moore.
- Essays Scientific and Philosophical (1890)
- Evolution and Christianity (1889)
- Lectures and Papers on the History of the Reformation in England and on the Continent (1890)
- Note on the Philosophy of Chuang Tzŭ
- Science and Faith (1893)
- Theology and Law (1884)
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Blakiston, Herbert Edward Douglas (1894). "Moore, Aubrey Lackington". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 38. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- England, Richard. "Natural Selection, Teleology, and the Logos", in Osiris, vol. 16 pp 270–287 (2001).