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updated 5:22 AM CEST, Jun 10, 2021

Francis Collins

Francis Collins National Institutes of Health

Once leader of the Human Genome Project, a ground-breaking international research programme about mapping all human genes and founder and president of the BioLogos Foundation, one of my favourite Christian advocacy groups, Francis Collins is currently director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a primary health research center of the United States government.

Mr. Collins, just like BioLogos in general, thinks that science and biblical faith can live in harmony and believes in theistic evolution (against creationism, against intelligent design and against non-theistic evolution) and therefore got and gets constant attacks from many areas. Sam Harris, one of the “four horsemen of atheism” wrote a lengthy entry on him and his beliefs on his webpage’s blog section, raising concerns on his appointment to the NIH.

While I certainly disagree with some points in Collins’ books, I generally agree with his accounts about the compatibility of science and faith. In  a 2015 interview with National Geographic, he stated that:

 “I find it oddly anachronistic that in today’s culture there seems to be a widespread presumption that scientific and spiritual views are incompatible. […] Science and faith can actually be mutually enriching and complementary […]. Extreme cartoons representing antagonistic perspectives on either end of the spectrum are often the ones that get attention, but most people live somewhere in the middle.”

In his article Evolution and the Imago Dei, he summarized some of his views:

Suppose God chose to use the mechanism of evolution to create animals like us, […] with the capacity to think, ask questions about our own origins, discover the truth about the universe and discover pointers toward the One who provides meaning to life. Who are we to say that's not how we would have done it?

If you believe that God is the creator, how could the truths about nature we discover through science be a threat to God?

[…] I urge us all to step back from the conflict and look soberly at the truth of both of God's books: the book of God's words and the book of God's works. […] let us resolve to move beyond a theology of defensiveness to a theology that celebrates God's goodness and creative power.”

His conversion (from his book The Language of God):

“A full year had passed since I decided to believe in some sort of God, and now I was being called to account. On a beautiful fall day, as I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains during my first trip west of the Mississippi, the majesty and beauty of God’s creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I rounded a corner and saw a beautiful and unexpected frozen waterfall, hundreds of feet high, I knew the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ. I do not mean by telling this story to evangelize or proselytize. Each person must carry out his or her own search for spiritual truth. If God is real, He will assist. […] I find it deeply disturbing when believers in one faith tradition dismiss the spiritual experiences of others. […] Personally, […] I have found the special revelation of God's nature in Jesus Christ to be an essential component of my own faith.”

More in this category: Testimony of Billy Graham »

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