How Francis Saw the Light

From his book, 'Divine Alignment', author SQuire Rushnell shares how a scientist opened his mind to the existence of God.

Divine Alignment: How Godwinks Moments Guide Your Journey by SQuire Rushnell. Excerpt courtesy of Howard Books, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Sometimes we have to open our minds to evaluate an idea that appears audacious, and completely contrary to things your friends are telling you, the way Francis Collins did.

Before I tell you the story, however, let me explain who Dr. Collins is today.

As of this writing, he is the sixteenth director of the National Institutes of Health. The first time I saw Dr. Collins on the news, he was standing between the president of the United States and the prime minister of England, being introduced at the White House as the leader of the Human Genome Project that was mapping the DNA of the human body. This code of human cells in the body was so extensive that if it were to be read out loud, at the rate of three letters per second, it would take thirty-one years to articulate. (Try saying “ABC” in one second; then imagine continuing it for three decades.)

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President Clinton told us that Dr. Francis Collins, a rigorously trained scientist, was leading the team “learning the language in which God created life.”

A scientist? Coexisting with God? I wondered.

Dr. Collins then spoke. “It is humbling to me,” he said, “and awe inspiring, to realize we have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, known previously only to God.”

My eyebrows lifted as I stared at the TV.

Dr. Francis Collins, most will agree, is a distinguished, intelligent man of science. Yet his beliefs that God and science are compatible are held by only about 40 percent of the scientific community, in his view.3 During an earlier period in his life, Collins’s beliefs about the origin of man were in lockstep with the other 60 percent of scientists: he was an atheist, unable to entertain the thought that human beings could benefit by speaking to an unseen God.

It all changed when a grandmother from North Carolina asked him, “What do you believe?”

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