Psalm 8:3: (ESV).
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Francis S. Collins is a scientist. Trained in chemistry as well as medicine, he was the head of the Human Genome Project, a milestone in research in genetics. He is also the author of The Language of God, a book which attempts to reconcile science and religious belief. Some might ask "why bother?" and suggest that these two areas of human endeavor always have been and always will be separate and apart.
The times we live in, however, seem to demand a defense of the very idea of religious faith. Undercut by apathy and made unpopular by extremism, faith in God is a baffling and bewildering puzzle to many. We might be obsessed with technology and adept at its use, but we might also be less thoughtful, less literate, and less creative in matters pertaining to human wisdom. With no biblical perspective, we have lost contact with the foundations of our civilization. We have lost our moorings. We are blind to our history.
This description would not apply to Francis Collins who is as comfortable discussing theological concepts as he is at discussing advanced research into genetics or the latest theories in cosmology. Regarding the "Big Bang" theory of the birth of the universe, Collins states:
The Big Bang cries out for a divine explanation. It forces the conclusion that nature had a defined beginning. I cannot see how nature could have created itself. Only a supernatural force that is outside of space and time could have done that."
Collins also discusses the Anthropic Principle, or the idea that the universe is uniquely tuned to give rise to humans. Gravity, the speed of light, nuclear forces: all these combine to create a universe that enables human life. "In sum, our universe is wildly improbable" says Collins. Contemplation of the grandeur of the universe has the potential to motivate and support our faith.
Not everyone, of course, is comfortable with science. Christians have too often felt belittled or persecuted by those who insist they are guided by the hard, certain principles of science rather than the uncertain mysteries of faith. The best scientists, however, are quite willing to admit that there are plenty of uncertainties inherent in scientific investigation. Major new discoveries, moreover, often make uncertain what was thought previously to be certain. Perhaps it takes a brilliant, outstanding scientist like Collins to outline the parameters of science and faith. Collins states:
A believer need not fear that this investigation will dethrone the divine; if God is truly almighty He will hardly be threatened by our puny efforts to understand the workings of his natural world.
Our scientific friends should feel free to develop and investigate all the theories they want and Christians of a scientific aptitude should feel free to join them. A scientific "discovery" is just that-something found; something discovered that was already there. Who put it there? Almighty God.
Collins discusses his own field of genetics, at great length, and does not hesitate to use and discuss evolutionary theory in his research. He also says:
If humans evolved strictly by mutation and natural selection, who needs God to explain us? To this, I reply: I do. ... In my view, DNA sequence alone, even if accompanied by a vast trove of data on biological function, will never explain certain special human attributes, such as the knowledge of the Moral Law and the universal search for God.
Science and faith should therefore never be in conflict. It remains for every individual to conduct his own personal search for spiritual truth.
Collins describes his own search for relationship with God in frank terms. This brilliant scientist, with degrees and awards and international prestige, underwent the same kind of soul-searching many Christians will find familiar:
I began to be increasingly aware of my own inability to do the right thing, even for a day. I could generate lots of excuses, but when I was really honest with myself, pride, apathy and anger were regularly winning my internal battles. I had never really thought of applying the word "sinner" to myself before, but now it was painfully obvious that this old-fashioned word, one from which I had previously recoiled because it seemed coarse and judgmental, fit quite accurately. ... Into this deepening gloom came the person of Jesus Christ.
Collins goes on to discuss his understanding of Christian faith, quoting C.S. Lewis at great length and affirming the historical authenticity of the life of Jesus. Funny how a supposed "leap of faith" actually brings one into a whole new world of rational thought!
God is very large; we are very small. Yet our love matters to God:
And he said to him: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind. (Matthew 22:37)
Let us be guided by the Holy Spirit to do exactly that.
In faith and fellowship,
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 Francis S. Collins, The Language of God (New York: Free Press, 2006), p.67.
 p. 74.
 p. 88.
 p. 140.
 p. 220.
 pp. 222-225