The closing sentences of "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin are beautiful.
It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.
Charles Darwin. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
I am particularly sympathetic to the sentence " whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."
Charles Darwin was concerned with the study of the various forms of life. And yet his sensitivities were open to the existence of the world "before" any life forms of significant complexity existed.
According to the currently held view, the universe was born with the "Big Bang" some 13.7 billions years ago. Even before any life forms evolved, the materials in the universe were moving around, bumping into each other, changing into various states while obeying the laws of nature, gravitation included.
The phrase "whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity" is a testimony, in my view, for Darwin's awareness of the vast extension of space and time to which biological forms are irrelevant. I admire Darwin for his ability to see thus far away. The origin of species and the origin of the universe are one and the same, continuous story.