(First Published on 4/2/07)
I don't remember what I ate last Friday evening, but I did finish "The Language of God." I didn't have any music that fitted the subject; this made me realize I don't have Gustav Holst's "The Planets" on CD or tape.
Francis Collins is no athiest. His story of how he turned from athiest to a believer in God makes compelling reading. It is also worth noting that he takes some athiests, such as Richard Dawkins, to task for their public statements not only denying the existence of God but expressing a desire to drive all religious influence out of all spheres of life. In my first post, I said I did not have enough information on Collins as to whether he professed to believe in Jesus. Towards the end of his book, Collins provides an answer. He states emphatically that he has placed his faith and trust in Jesus. He gives readers an account of his search for the truth once he abandoned his athieism. It makes good reading, as does the description of his growing awareness of his own sin within him. However, Collins stops short of claiming that Jesus is the only way to the Father. He is not willing to claim the exclusivity of truth contained in the Christian Bible. He just says that he is satisfied with following Jesus. If one chooses a different path to God, that is fine with him.
In determining whether the Genesis account of creation is true, or whether we are the product of evolution, Collins always claims that science is the final arbiter of truth. All our beliefs about how the earth and man came into being must conform to the findings of Darwinian evolution. To believe in the Genesis account is to reject all the findings of science. Why, if Biblical creation is true (according to Collins), then the scientific fields of physics, chemistry, cosmology, geology,and biology would suffer "a complete and irreversible collapse..." Not only that, but the teaching of Creationism by the Church could cause young Christians to desert the faith when confronted with "the facts of evolution." Collins states that this should be the Church's greatest fear. However, if the Church took his advice, young people would leave in droves because they will not place their faith in a God that cannot create a universe without corrective mechanisms to make up for "voids" in His physical laws. (See Part II which discusses this issue) Collins asserts that death is the price we pay for evolution. Why trust in a God like that? Collins wants us to believe in God, yet I can worship and trust the God whose perfect creation was marred by sin (which brought death and all its agonies into the world) rather than a diety who created evolution and all the harm done through "the survival of the fittest." It is interesting to note that while Collins maintains that God is the Creator of the Universe, he states that the physical world cannot tell us anything about God's character. Has not Collins read Romans 1 where Paul teaches that the natural world not only declares that there is a God, but that it also teaches us about God's attributes? How many people have observed the workings of nature and in doing so, have discerned a loving God as responsible? How does Collins account for the introduction of sin? He quotes C. S. Lewis (Not my favorite Christian writer nor even on my list of favorites. Does this shock you?) who himself seemed to allow for evolution within his belief system. Collin's quote of Lewis is extremely vauge about when sin was introduced or how. I myself have a hard time believing that "the survival of the fittest" preceded the introduction of sin.
While Collins appears sincere in his efforts to get atheists to believe in God, he also appears to be unaware of the incompatibility of evolution with the loving nature of our Creator. His view of Scripture seems to be based on the opinions of others (Augustine, Lewis) . He is right that one should not fear to study the natural world because one may lose their belief in God. Yet in the study of the world God created, we do need to take care who and what guides us. Collins's guides appear to be Darwin, "The Origin of Species", and evolutionary scientists. Another group that can serve as a guide is composed of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), His Word, and the Church. I prefer to follow the later group. So should you.