A gracEmail subscriber asks: “Can someone who believes in God and accepts the Bible as his word also believe in evolution as the process by which God brought into being the diversity of animal life on earth, including human beings?”
The absence of inflammatory rhetoric and emotional manipulation accounts in part for the strong impression Dr. Francis S. Collins made on me in his book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press, 2006). Unlike some advocates I have read, both for and against evolution, Dr. Collins impressed me as a man who genuinely loves his fellow-believers as well as his profession as a scientist. A former atheist who now openly identifies himself as an evangelical Christian, Collins served as head of the Human Genome Project (HGP), a 13-year undertaking coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. In that capacity he led the way in identifying and mapping the three billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA — the very building blocks of life.
Because of his intensive experience in the field of genetics, perhaps even more than his Yale Ph.D. in physical chemistry and his M.D. degree, Collins speaks to me with scientific authority, yet also with gentleness and apparently-genuine concern. I am also impressed that while some 60% of practicing American scientists do not profess belief in God, Collins ignores political pressure and kindly and unashamedly urges the evidence (includiing, in his mind, theistic evolution) which he believes leads to that conclusion.
As stated in the previous gracEmail, I am not persuaded that evolutionary theory is correct and I have no personal desire to convince anyone else that it is so. As a non-scientist myself, I am entirely dependent on experts for data regarding science and its findings. I confess that I find it significant that competent scientists, seemingly comparable to each other in education, intelligence and piety, may be found advocating the alternatives popularly known as Creationism, Intelligent Design and Theistic Evolution. This fact alone causes me to conclude that, at the very least, I cannot be dogmatic in my own scientific ignorance. It also makes me distrustful of anyone whose pronouncements concerning the “how” and “when” of origins suggest that every educated, intelligent and pious person must surely share his or her same opinions.