I just read a book by the guy who directs the Human Genome Project. Francis Collins is a scientist of the highest order and he’s been working on one of the biggest and most important projects the world has seen in awhile. He has been a major player in mapping our DNA, which is encoded with somewhere around 3 billion bits of information. That’s amazing.
Collins is also a very dedicated and transparent Christian. He’s a biologist–and a Christian. For some people, these two terms in the same sentence mean conflict. It’s like pushing the positive (or negative) poles of a magnet together. It just won’t happen. Collins disagrees. His book, The Language of God tells the story of his own journey from atheism to Christianity. He also wants Christians to stop fighting non-Christians (or other Christians) over evolution. He argues that evolution is, so to speak, the language of God for creating life. More importantly, science and religion really are partners in the revelation of truth. As he puts it in the conclusion, “The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. He can be worshiped in the cathedral or in the laboratory. His creation is majestic.”
I know this kind of language is troubling to some people. Atheists probably don’t like it any better than Christians who are convinced that evolution is false – a lie from the Devil. Still, I recommend the book. Collins is a very clear writer. If you want a peek at the science of the genome project, he does a great job of describing it to people who, like myself, can only speak the ABC’s of science. He also shares his personal story without a lot of “drama.” It’s just real. And it’s compelling.
The book reminds me that Christians ought to take the lead in asking hard questions and facing them honestly, especially about science and religion. These two fields of knowledge are not mortal enemies. God is big–and powerful. He doesn’t really need me to protect his reputation from the relatively few people who are convinced that science disproves Christianity. But I certainly need God to guide me to truth. And I need people like Francis Collins–as God’s instrument– to show me the better way.