The scientist who led the team that cracked the human genome, one of the most extraordinary scientific achievements of our time, is about to publish a book positing that such discoveries bring man “closer to God.”
Francis Collins, director of the U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute, says that unraveling the human genome gave him a first-hand view of the handiwork of the Almighty.
In his forthcoming book, “The Language of God,” he explores one of the most amazing discoveries of the modern era – that life is actually encoded with a mind-boggling amount of information written out in a clearly understandable language. Needless to say, information and language are not the byproducts of random chemical reactions or other godless evolutionary mechanisms.
He explains: “When you have for the first time in front of you this 3.1 billion-letter instruction book that conveys all kinds of information and all kinds of mystery about humankind, you can’t survey that going through page after page without a sense of awe. I can’t help but look at those pages and have a vague sense that this is giving me a glimpse of God’s mind.”
Like the renowned former atheist Antony Flew – who announced last year that recent scientific discoveries had convinced him of the existence of a creator-god – Collins grew up believing in evolution and had no interest whatsoever in the “God” question. He states: “I was very happy with the idea that God didn’t exist and had no interest in me.”
He began rethinking that position when, as a young doctor, he saw the strength that faith gave to some of his most critical patients.
“They had terrible diseases from which they were probably not going to escape,” he recounts, “and yet instead of railing at God they seemed to lean on their faith as a source of great comfort and reassurance. That was interesting, puzzling and unsettling.”
This kind of faith is only possible when someone has a biblical worldview – an understanding that none of the evil and suffering in this world is God’s doing but is due entirely to sin (our own sins or the sins of others) along with the knowledge that God will eradicate sin forevermore at some point in the future, at which time He will restore this world to its original state of perfection.
When a minister gave Collins a copy of the C.S. Lewis classic “Mere Christianity,” the book changed his life. He says: “It was an argument I was not prepared to hear … yet at the same time, I could not turn away.”
Some time after that, he was hiking through the Cascade Mountains in Washington state when he was overwhelmed by the majesty of God’s creation.
He said to himself, “I cannot resist this another moment,” and so he didn’t.
But by surrendering to God, was he abandoning science? Not at all, as even an article about him in the Sunday Times in Britain acknowledged. The Times pointed out: “Collins joins a line of scientists whose research deepened their belief in God. Isaac Newton, whose discovery of the laws of gravity reshaped our understanding of the universe, said: ‘This most beautiful system could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.’ Although Einstein revolutionized our thinking about time, gravity and the conversion of matter to energy, he believed the universe had a creator.”
We must remember, after all, that the scientific method itself was developed in a distinctly Christian culture (Europe at the end of the Middle Ages) and was advanced for two primary Christian purposes – for the glory of God and the benefit of mankind. These early scientists believed that because God was rational and orderly, and a Lawgiver to boot, the universe had to be rationally arranged in an orderly manner with fixed laws, which in turn meant it could be both studied and understood by His created beings. And that’s precisely what they found – rather than the chaotic world that would exist if evolution were true.
Furthermore, many of the greatest pioneers of science – including the founders of whole branches of science (Newton, Pascal, Boyle, Faraday, Pasteur, etc.) – were Bible-believing Christians. Newton wrote far more on theology than he ever did on science, and observed that the sun was at the proper distance from Earth to give us the right amounts of heat and light.
“This did not happen by chance,” he declared.
Scientists have since discovered dozens of such equations throughout the universe that, if any one of them were off by the smallest of fractions, life on our planet would be unsustainable. So it turns out the heavens really do declare the glory of God, as the Bible said all along. It’s no wonder Kepler defined science as “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”
In the case of Collins, though, he has not relinquished his belief in evolution. Instead, he has embraced theistic evolution, the theory that God used evolutionary processes to create mankind.
He speculates: “If God chose to create human beings in His image and decided the mechanism of evolution was an elegant way to accomplish that goal, who are we to say that is not the way?”
Actually, God said it wasn’t the way in His Word, not us.
Romans 1:23, which sounds as if it is written specifically about evolutionists, declares: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
Still, even for those of us who hold to the Genesis account of creation, Collins has done a great service with “The Language of God.” The importance of this book, above all else, is that it once again demonstrates the absurdity of the position held by the vast majority of evolutionists – that random, unguided, godless evolution is the only viable explanation for the existence of life and therefore the only theory that should be taught in schools.
As devout naturalists, they are certainly entitled to reject God in their own lives and personal belief systems (and evolution is a belief system), but we’re coming ever closer to the day when they will no longer be able to pass those views off as some sort of absolute scientific standard, as they’ve succeeded in doing for decades now. The increasing number of scientists turning to faith-based, intelligent-design theories predicated upon the observed data will ensure that.
Collins’ book brings us another big step closer to that day.
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Tom Flannery writes a weekly political column called “The Good Fight” and a continuing religious column called “Why Believe the Bible?” for a hometown newspaper in Pennsylvania. His opinion pieces have appeared in publications such as Newsday, the Los Angeles Times, and Christian Networks Journal. He is a past recipient of the Eric Breindel Award for Outstanding Opinion Journalism from News Corp/The New York Post, in addition to winning six Amy Awards from the Amy Foundation.