Francis S. Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, reconciles his Christian faith with scientific theory, including evolution, in The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press, 2006). Stan Guthrie, CT's senior associate editor, interviewed Collins.
How does evolution fit with your Christian faith?
[Evolution] may seem to us like a slow, inefficient, and even random process, but to Godwho's not limited by space or timeit all came together in the blink of an eye. And for us who have been given the gift of intelligence and the ability to appreciate the wonders of the natural world that he created, to have now learned about this evolutionary creative process is a source of awe and wonder. I find these discoveries are completely compatible with everything I know about God through the Scriptures.
If evolution is true, don't atheists have a point?
No. To simply rule out of order any questions that go beyond the natural world is a circular argument. This leaves out profoundly important spiritual questions, such as why we are here, if there is a God, and what happens after we die. Those are questions that science is not really designed to answer. You have to look in another place, using another kind of approach. And for me that's faith.
Why did you write this book?
I encounter many young people who have been raised in homes where faith was practiced and who have encountered the evidence from science about the age of the earth and about evolution and who are in crisis. They are led to believe by what they are hearing from atheistic scientists on the one hand and fundamentalist believers on the other that they have to make a choice. This is a terrible thing to ask of a young person.
Some of ...