How Francis Collins and BioLogos Changed My Life
BioLogos transformed my understanding of science and God. I have since learned to appreciate both science and theology for the knowledge they offer.
As a young boy in Sunday school, I was taught the story of Genesis—I learned God had created all that exists in seven days. I also learned all of humanity had descended from two people, Adam and Eve.
As the years passed and I started taking science classes, I learned of another account of creation that seemed very different from this one. I learned that the universe had been created billions of years ago in a big bang and that humanity had descended from primates through the process of evolution.
The Biblical and scientific accounts of creation seemed like polar opposites to me, and I was not sure how to reconcile them. If the scientific account of creation is true, then does that mean God is false? There’s a preponderance of scientific evidence demonstrating the evolutionary account of our origins to be true; yet, the Genesis account came from the Bible and the Bible is the Word of God, so how could it be wrong? Genesis is one of the foundational texts of the Bible. If it is wrong about something so foundational, then everything else I learned in Church could be wrong, or worse, a lie. Or so it seemed at the time.
For many years, this conflict over creation frightened me. In search of some clarity, I decided to ask my pastor about this tension. At the time, I wondered if the Genesis account was simply misunderstood and if evolution was actually compatible with a literal reading of Genesis. So one day, while in Sunday school, I asked him whether or not Adam and Eve had been monkeys. My classmates grew silent and my pastor responded quickly, almost in a disapproving manner, “No, Adam and Eve were not monkeys.” After getting this response, I did not bother asking him or anyone else at church any more questions about science and religion. By the time high school started, the sense of conflict I felt between faith and science was great. When the Bible was brought up in school, both the students and some of the faculty would often mock it, primarily for its creation narrative. At one point in science class, the teacher had all of her students read an article on the Galileo affair. The article claimed that it took until the 1990’s before the Catholic Church admitted that Galileo had been correct about the earth revolving around the sun. This prompted my teacher and classmates to attack the Catholic Church, calling it dogmatic and out of touch with the world. Occasions like this were a large source of anxiety. This environment really tried my faith and made me question over and over again the existence of God and his proclaimed work in his Word.
Feeling like I couldn’t talk to anyone I knew about this, I turned to the internet with the hope of finding an answer. My faith was on the line and this was a struggle that had been culminating for years. After searching on the web for some time, I found a person who had some arguments for the reconciliation of faith and science. That person was Francis Collins.
After watching Dr. Collins in several interviews online, I found his arguments for a more allegorical interpretation of Genesis to be compelling. I was amazed that someone so successful in biology, especially someone who was once an atheist, is now an outspoken believer. After reading his book The Language of God, I began to view science and faith in a far less confrontational way. I later learned that Collins had started BioLogos in order to heal the divide between science and religion in the Christian world.
Collin’s organization is designed to help people with struggles just like mine! I am delighted to know that BioLogos is supported by people from so many different academic fields and walks of life, all advocating for the evolutionary creationist account of creation and for a greater harmony between Christianity and science. The blog posts by various historians, scientists, and theologians among many others have aided me in my understanding of history, evolution, and God.
In particular, I have found Dennis Venema’s posts on the basics of evolution to be highly informative and very engaging. Stephen Snobelen’s posts have also brought, I believe, a greatly needed response to many of Christianity’s critics and their arguments. His responses to the “conflict thesis” and the “medieval gap” show that the history of Christianity and science is not nearly as adversarial as most believe. I have also enjoyed the video interviews with theologian N.T. Wright.
BioLogos transformed my understanding of science and God. It made a big difference in my life, as I have learned to appreciate both science and theology for the knowledge they offer. This was really formative for me vocationally as well, as it has inspired me to study theology. I believe that both science and religion would be better off without further wars and antagonism. I hope that more people of faith, as well as the faithless—especially young people—will find BioLogos and learn of the harmonious perspective it has to share.
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Charles Foster | Inhabit the World