In The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, geneticist Francis Collins, who was head of the NIH Human Genome Project, shares his journey from Atheism to Christianity and the high value both science and faith have for him.
Some may pick up this book thinking that it is a Christian defense of one or both of the Creationist or Intelligent Design movements. Rather, it is a plea by a Christian biologist for understanding between the theological and scientific communities. To be sure, Collins is a believing Christian in the very traditional sense of the term, but he is equally a lover of science. He believes deeply in God as our Creator, but also subscribes unequivocally to Darwin's theory of evolution.
He devotes equal portions of the book to explaining the reasons he embraced Christianity and to the reasons he believes in evolution.
At the end, he writes to believers skeptical of science,
I hope you are reassured by the potential for harmony between faith and science...If God is the Creator of all the universe, if God had a specific plan for the arrival of humankind on the scene, and if He had a desire for personal fellowship with humans, into whom He had instilled the Moral Law as a signpost toward Himself, then He can hardly be threatened by the efforts of our puny minds to understand the grandeur of His creation.(1)A few lines down, he exhorts believers to consider the words of Copernicus, who said, "To know the mighty works of God; to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power; to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful working of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more grateful than knowledge."(2)
On the other hand, he writes to those "who trust the tools of science but remain skeptical about faith,"
Science alone is not enough to answer all the important questions... The meaning of human existence, the reality of God, the possibility of an afterlife, and many other spiritual questions lay outside of the reach of the scientific method. While an atheist may claim that those questions are therefore unanswerable and irrelevant, that does not resonate with most individual's human experience.(3)Later he says, "Science is not the only way of knowing. The spiritual worldview provides another way of finding truth."(4)
My only criticism of the book is the author's curt, albeit cordial, dismissal of the Intelligent Design ("ID") movement and the significant distinction ID scholars have made between microevolution (adaptation within species) and macroevolution (the transformation from one species to another).
Despite the heavy topics tackled by the book, it generally carries a personal and humble tone throughout. Dr. Collins account of his gradual journey from Agnosticism, to Atheism, to Theism, to Christianity is instructive and rings tremendously genuine.
The book is recommended to those generally interested in the Faith and Science dynamic.
(2)pp. 230, 231