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Language of God, The

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Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, is one of the world's leading scientists. He works at the cutting edge of the study of DNA, the code of life.

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Yet he is also a man of unshakable faith in God and scripture. He believes that God cares about us and can intervene in human affairs - on rare occasions, even miraculously. Collins has personally discovered some of the scientific evidence for the common descent of all living creatures, even though he repudiates the materialist, atheistic worldview argued by many prominent Darwinists.

In short, Dr. Collins provides a satisfying solution for the dilemma that haunts everyone who believes in God and respects science. Faith in God and faith in science can be harmonious - combined into one worldview. The God that he believes in is a God who can listen to prayers and cares about our souls. The biological science he has advanced is compatible with such a God. For Collins, science does not conflict with the Bible, science enhances it.

For many years Dr. Collins kept his views largely to himself, as he helped oversee the Human Genome Project's stunning sequencing of the code of life. Now, in what may be the most important melding of reason and revelation since C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity, Dr. Collins explains himself in detail. The Language of God makes the case for God and for science. Dr. Collins considers and rejects several positions along the spectrum from atheism to young-earth creationism - including agnosticism and Intelligent Design. Instead, he proposes a new synthesis, a new way to think about an active, caring God who created humankind through evolutionary processes. He has heard every argument against faith from scientists, and he can refute them. He has also heard the needless rejection of scientific truths by some people of faith, and he can counter that, too.

He explains his own journey from atheism to faith, and then takes readers on a stunning tour of modern science to show that physics, chemistry, and biology can all fit together with belief in God and the Bible.

"Collins writes just enough about his youth for us to learn that he was brought up in a household indifferent to religion; he became an agnostic in college and an atheist in graduate school, where he studied chemistry. Only in medical school did he reverse that trajectory, gradually accepting the existence of God and embracing evangelical Christianity - led to belief, like St. Augustine, less by longing than by reason. Reason persuaded him that the universe could not have created itself; that humans possess an intuitive sense of right and wrong, which he calls, following Immanuel Kant, 'the Moral Law'; and that humans likewise feel a 'longing for the sacred.'

The source of this longing, the Moral Law and the universe, he came to believe, was the God described in the Bible, a transcendent Creator, Companion, Judge and Redeemer. He found additional evidence of a Creator in the eerie ability of mathematics to map the universe and in the numerous material properties - from the slight imbalance between matter and anti-matter in the Big Bang to the binding energy within the atomic nucleus - that seem to have been exquisitely tuned to fashion a world that would give rise to complex forms of life.

The God in whom Collins believes is no aloof Prime Mover who set the show in motion and withdrew to watch. He's a deity who intervenes (albeit rarely) in the course of things. Why God permits the suffering of innocents is a puzzle Collins does not pretend to solve, although he speculates, following C.S. Lewis, that we may need to suffer in order to learn. The resurrection of Jesus is, for Collins, the key intervention by a God 'who takes personal interest in human beings.'

Late in the book, after a lucid account of genetic research and a spirited defense of evolutionary theory against proponents of creationism and 'intelligent design,' he reveals that on his path toward faith, Jesus was a crucial 'bridge between our sinful selves and a holy God.' One can respect his belief in the divinity of Jesus without agreeing that such a belief logically follows from his argument for the existence of God. Likewise, Collins goes beyond the evidence when he speculates that 'God's intention in creating the universe' may have been 'to lead to creatures with whom He might have fellowship, namely human beings.'

Many readers will doubt that all 10 or 15 billion years of cosmic history merely prepared the way for us, a pack of inquisitive primates pondering the starry expanses from our speck of planetary dust. Still, it's bracing to be reminded, in our disenchanted day, that an eminent scientist can read the genetic code as sacred speech."    ~The Washington Post


"Disillusioned by the stridency of both perspectives, many choose to reject both the trustworthiness of scientific conclusions and the value of organized religion, slipping instead into various forms of antiscientific thinking, shallow spirituality, or simple apathy. Others decide to accept the value of both science and spirit, but compartmentalize these parts of their spiritual and material existence to avoid any uneasiness about apparent conflicts. Along these lines, the late biologist Stephen Jay Gould advocated that science and faith should occupy separate, 'non-overlapping magisteria.' But this, too, is potentially unsatisfying. It inspires internal conflict, and deprives people of the chance to embrace either science or spirit in a fully realized way.

So here is the central question of this book: In this modern era of cosmology, evolution, and the human genome, is there still the possibility of a richly satisfying harmony between the scientific and spiritual worldviews? I answer with a resounding yes! In my view, there is no conflict in being a rigorous scientist and a person who believes in a God who takes a personal interest in each one of us. Science's domain is to explore nature. God's domain is in the spiritual world, a realm not possible to explore with the tools and language of science. It must be examined with the heart, the mind, and the soul - and the mind must find a way to embrace both realms."


Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes, and his visionary leadership of the Human Genome Project (HGP), is the former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Dr. Collins, served as NHGRI's director since April 1993. Beside leading the Human Genome Project to completion, he initiated a wide range of research projects that built upon the foundation laid by the sequencing of the human genetic blueprint.

Author Collins, Francis S.
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 305 pp.
Publisher Free Press 2007
Browse these categories as well: Science, Physics and the Unified Field, Ancient Mystic and Modern Scientific Parallelism, Mystic and Esoteric Christianity, Noteworthy Releases 2007

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