An alert reader sent me a very short YouTube video of Francis Collins, NIH director, explaining the coexistence of science and evangelical Christianity. YouTube has blocked embedding of the video, presumably because it came from ABC News, but you can see it here.
Collins gives the money quote when the interviewer presses him on how he sees Biblical accounts of creation:
Interviewer: Genesis would lead us to believe that the earth is six thousand years old. And it would lead us to believe that God created two human beings—one out of the rib of the other. It’s pretty explicit stuff.
Collins: We interpret it as explicit these days. It is not a textbook of science! It would not have suited God’s purposes to lecture to his chosen people about radioactive decay, and such things as DNA. What God was trying to teach us through those words is the nature of God and the nature of humans—and that comes through loud and clear.
A bit later, Collins asserts:
. . . once you’ve accepted the idea of a God who is the creator of all the laws of nature, the idea that God might at unique moments of history might decide to invade the natural world, and suspend those laws, doesn’t become, really, a logical problem. And certainly the Resurrection is the most dramatic example of that: where God became man, walked on this earth, was crucified, and then, after death, was resurrected—that, for me, is the cornerstone of my faith. And it doesn’t present a real problem, as a believer, as long as I’ve already acknowledged that God is God.
This is embarrassing stuff, even more so coming from America’s most prominent scientist. Quick thoughts:
- The correct translation of the frequent claim that “The Bible is not a textbook of science” is this: “The Bible is not literally true, except for those places where I say it’s literally true.”
- Why is Collins so sure that he knows what God intended when “writing” the Bible, especially since other Christian sects disagree?
- How does Collins know exactly which parts of the Bible are “not science” (i.e., fiction) and which parts are? If Genesis and Adam and Eve are “not science”, why is the Resurrection “science”? There’s precisely the same amount of empirical evidence—i.e., zero—for each of these stories.
I’d be delighted to get good answers to the last two questions. Perhaps someone who agrees with Collins, like Uncle Karl Giberson, could weigh in here and explain.