The Language of God: Francis Collins, Christian evolutionists new voice
FLOWER MOUND, TX: Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., physician-geneticist and the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Washington D.C., has become a Christian voice for a new generation of theistic evolutionists. In his book, The Language of God, Francis Collins attempts to harmonize Christianity with evolution.
While theistic evolution has been around for many years, recent scientific developments have given it a resurgence. Collins suggests the best term for his theistic evolutionary theory is BioLogos. He boldly proclaims,
“[It is] by far the most scientifically consistent and spiritually satisfying [view] of the alternatives in the science/religion debate.”2
Francis Collins on The Creator-God and miracles
In The Language of God, Collins’ view acknowledges the Creator-God as the One fashioning all things. However, in Collins view, He used the process of evolution to carry out His creative activity.
For Collins, miracles are a fact of life and must be considered in one’s worldview and evolution.
To counter the naturalist’s rejection of miracles, Collins’ attempts to discuss miracles is commendable, especially since Biblical miracles are part of his worldview.
While the naturalist rejects the possibility of miracles, Collins, with caution, acknowledges miracles–although he states they happen rarely and argues against modern faith healings and random answers to prayer.
Rightly, Collins warns:
“… it is crucial that a healthy skepticism be applied when interpreting potentially miraculous events, lest the integrity and rationality of the religious perspective be brought into question.”3
Francis Collins’ view requires a day-age view of creation in the creation account in the book of Genesis and a local flood rather than a worldwide deluge. Collins concludes Adam and Eve are only human representatives and not the first human beings created by God. The Theistic evolutionist must consider the interpretation of Genesis as an allegory or, at the least, a non-literal text.
Christians, who fear the view of the scientific community that embraces evolution as scientific fact, will find comfort in Francis Collins’ view in The Language of God because of his Christian testimony. He began his life’s journey as an atheist, but through a rational process became a committed Christian while remaining a loyal evolutionist.
Here, in his own words, is his voyage to faith:
“I had to admit that the science I loved so much was powerless to answer questions such as “What is the meaning of life?” “Why am I here?” “Why does mathematics work, anyway?” “If the universe had a beginning, who created it?” “Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms?” “Why do humans have a moral sense?” “What happens after we die?”
But reason alone cannot prove the existence of God. Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind. You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page. Ultimately, a leap of faith is required.
For me, that leap came in my 27th year, after a search to learn more about God’s character led me to the person of Jesus Christ. Here was a person with remarkably strong historical evidence of his life, who made astounding statements about loving your neighbor, and whose claims about being God’s son seemed to demand a decision about whether he was deluded or the real thing. After resisting for nearly two years, I found it impossible to go on living in such a state of uncertainty, and I became a follower of Jesus.[i]”
On the surface, Collins’ view seems quite reasonable to Christians who are searching for a harmony of Christianity and evolution. However, his view inevitability meets opposition from both camps. The biological atheist refuses to accept Collins view that the “moral law” demands a supernatural presence. Many biblical scholars challenge his understanding of the Bible.
The Language of God leaves room for Christian evolution
Nevertheless, there is room at the table for a Christian evolutionist like Collins. Christians will enjoy his company throughout eternity. The issue is not, “Are you a creationist or an evolutionist?” But what is your relationship with Christ the Lord? Faith in Him alone is the crux of the issue. He is the resurrected Christ who paid for sin and His grace extends salvation to all who accept him by faith—nothing more, nothing less. Faith-based Christians and Collins are in agreement.
Open minded seekers, however, are expected to search the Scriptures, study modern scientific scholarship, and seek the truth. Perhaps a closer look is needed. That’s next.