The eminent geneticist Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who directed the Human Genome Project, also wrote a foreword to Karl W. Giberson, Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution (New York: HarperOne, 2008). Here are some passages from it:
Darwin’s theory of evolution has been overwhelmingly supported by evidence from a wide variety of sources. Those include the increasingly detailed fossil record, but even more compelling evidence now comes from the study of genomes from many organisms, providing much more proof of common descent (including Homo sapiens) than Darwin could have dreamed of. Given such oddities in our own DNA record as pseudogenes and ancestral chromosome fusions, special creation of humans simply cannot be embraced by those familiar with the data, unless they wish to postulate a God who intentionally places misleading clues in our own DNA to test our faith. (vi-vii)
The good news is that there is a harmonious solution at hand. Many working scientists, including [Karl] Giberson and myself, find no conflict in both embracing the conclusion that evolution is true and seeing this as the means by which God implemented his majestic creation. In that synthesis of the natural and spiritual perspectives we have found much joy and peace, where our increasingly detailed understanding of the molecules of life only adds to our awe of the Creator. Put in that framework, DNA is essentially the language God used to speak us and all other living things into being. (vii)
Collins cites some late-nineteenth-century words of the famous Princeton theologian Benjamin Warfield (1851-1921), who is still widely read among evangelical Protestants today for, among other things, his vigorous defense of the authority and even the inerrancy of the Bible:
We must not, . . . as Christians, assume an attitude of antagonism toward the truths of reason, or the truths of philosophy, or the truths of science, or the truths of history, or the truths of criticism. As children of the light, we must be careful to keep ourselves open to every ray of light. Let us, then, cultivate an attitude of courage as over against the investigations of the day. None should be more zealous in them than we. None should be more quick to discern truth in every field, more hospitable to receive it, more loyal to follow it, whithersoever it leads. (vii-viii)
In reading the passage just above, I found myself thinking of Brigham Young:
Be willing to receive the truth, let it come from whom it may; no difference, not a particle. Just as soon receive the Gospel from Joseph Smith as from Peter, who lived in the days of Jesus. Receive it from one man as soon as another. If God has called an individual and sent him to preach the Gospel that is enough for me to know; it is no matter who it is, all I want is to know the truth (DBY,11).
“Mormonism,” so-called, embraces every principle pertaining to life and salvation, for time and eternity. No matter who has it. If the infidel has got truth it belongs to “Mormonism.” The truth and sound doctrine possessed by the sectarian world, and they have a great deal, all belong to this Church. As for their morality, many of them are, morally, just as good as we are. All that is good, lovely, and praiseworthy belongs to this Church and Kingdom. “Mormonism” includes all truth. There is no truth but what belongs to the Gospel. It is life, eternal life; it is bliss; it is the fulness of all things in the gods and in the eternities of the gods (DBY, 3).
In a word, if “Mormonism” is not my life, I do not know that I have any. I do not understand anything else, for it embraces everything that comes within the range of the understanding of man. If it does not circumscribe every thing that is in heaven and on earth, it is not what it purports to be (DBY, 2).
I want to say to my friends that we believe in all good. If you can find a truth in heaven, earth or hell, it belongs to our doctrine. We believe it; it is ours; we claim it (DBY,2).
It is our duty and calling, as ministers of the same salvation and Gospel, to gather every item of truth and reject every error. Whether a truth be found with professed infidels, or with the Universalists, or the Church of Rome, or the Methodists, the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Quakers, the Shakers, or any other of the various and numerous different sects and parties, all of whom have more or less truth, it is the business of the Elders of this Church (Jesus, their Elder Brother, being at their head) to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation, to the Gospel we preach, … to the sciences, and to philosophy, wherever it may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and bring it to Zion (DBY, 248).
It embraces every fact there is in the heavens and in the heaven of heavens—every fact there is upon the surface of the earth, in the bowels of the earth, and in the starry heavens; in fine, it embraces all truth there is in all the eternities of the Gods (DBY, 448).
Our religion measures, weighs, and circumscribes all the wisdom in the world—all that God has ever revealed to man. God has revealed all the truth that is now in the possession of the world, whether it be scientific or religious. The whole world are under obligation to him for what they know and enjoy; they are indebted to him for it all, and I acknowledge him in all things (DBY, 2).
It comprehends all true science known by man, angels, and the gods. There is one true system and science of life; all else tends to death. That system emanates from the Fountain of life (DBY, 2).
Posted from Oceanside, California