MA07 32-41 Collins R1forPDF.qxd 8/24/07 1:59 PM Page 39
A higher intelligence
Collins’ philosophical grappling produced a rather startling conclusion: Belief
in God is entirely rational.
He bases that on several observations:
■ First, the universe had a beginning,
and something must have caused it to
spring into being. Cosmologists agree that
physics cannot explain the first fraction of a
second after the Big Bang. That is, physics
and all the laws of nature literally burst
forth from nothingness in an instant some
14 billion years ago. Collins notes that a
God who exists outside of human time
could have set off the explosion, creating
nature and time itself in one stroke. Such a
God also could know that the system, once
set in motion, would produce a planet on
which evolution would lead to humans,
without the need for any further supernatural intervention.
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■ Physicists know the universe has the
precise properties needed for the formation
of stars, galaxies, planets, complex chemical
elements and ultimately people. If the gravitational constant were off by a tiny
amount, the universe would collapse on
itself or expand too rapidly for planets to
form, for instance. Collins finds such a
Goldilocks universe improbable without a
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■ Collins feels within himself and
observes broadly within diverse people an
innate moral sense and a calling toward
selflessness. That runs counter to the selfish
evolutionary imperative. Unlike other animals, humans have a spiritual nature, and
Collins says evolution offers no satisfying
explanation. Collins sees this Moral Law as
a signpost to a God who transcends nature,
the God that cultures throughout world
history have sought to understand.
Collins asserts that these premises are
compatible with all the major monotheistic
religions as well as with his conviction that
evolution was the “elegant mechanism” of
creation. (He does not discount the possibility of miracles, but he believes they’re
rare and purposeful, such as the resurrection of Jesus Christ.)
Collins offers all these arguments in a
grandfatherly way to the spiritually conflicted readers of his book.
He aims them at atheists and fundamentalist Christians who would have science
and faith remain mutually exclusive.
Separate sections of the book rebut the
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