We know that Patrick Matthew, the (1831) originator of the theory of macroevolution by natural selection (see Sutton 2017), truly believed in later life that a supernatural deity set nature up to evolve from original designed creations. But Matthew never included that notion in his 1831 book, 'On Naval Timber and Arboriculture', which contains the orignal complete theory of evolution by natural selection. Whether he believed such a thing in 1831 is far from knowable on the basis of currently known evidence. Scholars may debate forever about what he meant by the word "Providence" in that book - whether it be Scottish prudence, or a religious notion - we simply do not know.
What we do know is that in his 1831 book Matthew mocked superstitious priests:
Moreover, in the same (1831) book, (NTA) he clearly mocked the notion of a supernatural deity miraculously creating evolved new species.
Robert Chamber's, who cited Matthew's (1831) book 'On Naval Timber and Arboriculture' in 1832, and then cited Matthew's (1839) book 'Emigration Fields' before going on to write his own guide on arboriculture (1842), followed by his own hugely influential book on evolution 'The Vestiges' (1844), always kept the notion of a supernatural "Creator" in The 'Vestiges'. He went on from there, in his book review of Darwin's (1859) 'Origin of Species' to be apparently first to be second, (in 1859) with Matthew's (1831) original four word term for his discovery: the 'natural process of selection' - the same four words were originally shuffled by Darwin the Replicator (1859) into their only possible other grammatically correct equivalent: the 'process of natural selection'.
For his part in replicating Matthew's orignal ideas and then calling them "my theory", Darwin played hokey-cokey with the notion of a "Creator" in various editions of the Origin of Species. For example, in the first edition (1859) he makes no mention of the idea, but he wrote that the "Creator" set nature up to evolve in various subsequent editions from the third edition (1860) onward: see here .
Matthew's correspondence published in a German book - Hallier, E. (1866) Die sogenannte Darwin'sche Lehre und die Botanik Botanische Zeitung 24: 381-383 (Here), - which reveals why we know he did believe in later life that a 'creator' set things up to evolve: because he wrote that "creation must preclude selection" Although in 1871 there is a letter in the Darwin archive proving Matthew wrote to Darwin that: 'That there is a principle of beneficence operating here the dual parentage and family affection pervading all the higher animal kingdom affords proof. A sentiment of beauty pervading Nature, with only some few exceptions affords evidence of intellect & benevolence in the scheme of Nature. This principle of beauty is clearly from design & cannot be accounted for by natural selection.'
Earlier, in 1866, we see in his Botanische Zeitung communication that he writes that he has had prior correspondence to that with Darwin about what Matthew deems to be the limitations of selective power: