Dr. Jim Denison, the founder of Denison Forum, recently shared about how his son's rare cancer led him to meet Dr. Francis Collins. Dr. Denison honored the geneticist in a recent article about the transformation of Dr. Collins atheism into faith and how it can co-exist with science.
Jim Denison and Jeff Byrd founded the Denison Forum in 2009 to 'encourage spiritual awakening while equipping believers to engage with' daily news and issues. With a biblical perspective, readers can read about current events and 'share the timeless truth of God's word with a changing culture.'
Dr. Denison wasn't always a man of faith. His father was an active man in church with the potential for vocational ministry until he enlisted for World War II. Trauma caused the soldier to never attend a church service again.
Although Dr. Denison's father was loving and supportive, the lack of a spiritual at home left the boy with all of his father's questions about faith. When he was in college, his father died of a heart attack related to the skin disease he contracted while on duty at war.
At fifteen years old, Denison first heard the gospel on his community's Baptist church bus. Although he didn't understand much of what was being shared, he saw that everyone had things he lacked - peace, joy, and a sense of purpose. He started attending Sunday school every weekend and was eventually led to know Christ by his Bible study teacher.
Denison's life was changed when a friend gave him a copy of C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, an Oxford graduate who explained his faith on an intellectual level. C.S. Lewis was an atheist turned believer and continues to bring many to Christ through his writings.
Dr. Collins encountered the same book while he 'was a committed atheist while a graduate student in quantum mechanics at Yale University.' Believing that everything in the universe can be described through an equation, he thought that if God did exist, He 'was probably somebody who was off somewhere else in the universe; certainly not a God that would care about me.'
After a personal crisis, he decided to go to medical school to try and explore the more human side of science which was biology. Collins began exploring faith questions after encountering several 'patients whose faith was deeply significant and empowering for them.' Witnessing all this 'was interesting and puzzling and unsettling,' said the doctor as he shared his testimony.
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'I had made a decision to reject any faith view of the world without ever really knowing what it was that I had rejected. And that worried me. As a scientist, you're not supposed to make decisions without the data.'
At 27 years old, Dr. Collins surrendered his life to God, and all of his scientific research as well. Collins led the Human Genome Project, sequencing three billion DNA letters. The research had been 'basis for genetic breakthroughs that are revolutionizing medicine,' winning Collins the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science.
'The Language of God,' is the bestselling book by Collins which describes his view of 'science and the natural world while embracing God and the supernatural.' The sequel, 'The Language of Life,' talks about the genetic revolution which is changing medicine on profound levels. Dr. Denison shares that Dr. Collin's 'story makes this fact clear: God calls us to love him "with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37).'
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