• The Language of God

  • A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
  • By: Francis S. Collins
  • Narrated by: Francis S. Collins
  • Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (1,857 ratings)

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The Language of God

By: Francis S. Collins
Narrated by: Francis S. Collins
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Publisher's Summary

Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, is one of the world's leading scientists, yet he is also a man of unshakable faith in God and scripture. Dr. Collins has resolved the dilemma that haunts everyone who believes in God and respects science. Faith in God and faith in science can be harmonious, not separately but together, combined into one worldview. For Collins, science does not conflict with the Bible, science enhances it.

The Language of God makes the case for God and for science. Dr. Collins considers and dismisses several positions along the spectrum from atheism to young-earth creationism, including agnosticism and Intelligent Design. Instead, he proposes a new synthesis, a new way to think about an active, caring God who created humankind through evolutionary processes.

He explains his own journey from atheism to faith, and then takes listeners on a stunning tour of modern science to show that physics, chemistry, and biology can all fit together with belief in God and the Bible. The Language of God is essential for anyone who wonders about the deepest questions of all: Why are we here? How did we get here? And what does life mean?

©2006 Francis S. Collins. All rights reserved. (P)2006 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Collins' credibility as a scientist and his sincerity as a believer make for an engaging combination, especially for those who, like him, resist being forced to choose between science and God." (Publishers Weekly)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

For those on the fence

This book's greatest attribute is that it provides the current nonbeliever with reasons to consider and ultimately acknowledge the existence of god Because of this, it is best read by non believers or at least those 'on the fence' re: belief in god. The negative reviews by others appear to be from people who believed in god prior to reading the book and were dissappointed that the author did not touch upon discussions that resonated with them. It is not clear why they take a negative view toward the approach of someone else who also has strong belief in god, but this is another matter. I take the target audience to be those like the author in his younger day...someone who does not believe in god because it 'cant' be proven' or have no opinion on god because it is a safe position to take. This book provides reasons why it is reasonable for 'even a scientist' to believe in god. As a scientist myself, I found his arguments to be very understandable and plausible and worthy of thought and consideration. I don't know what more could be said of a book on this topic. The author gives much credit to CS Lewis for guidance, however, I found this book much easier to read than Lewis' essays.

If you are someone who would like to have logical arguments and actual evidence of God, then you will find the book at least interesting and you might even find it convincing.

46 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Well written, well read.

I'm an agnostic who enjoys occasionally picking through other peoples' theories and writings about their beliefs. I found this book to be highly informational, although a very large chunk of this book *is* dedicated to evolution, which might be old hat to you if you remember your biology lessons from school. The background information on evolution was necessary, though, for those who aren't intimately familiar with the details, and also for a better understanding of the author's secure belief in the system, and how he can see through evolution and into where he perceives God's position in he grand scheme of things.

There are a couple of points that he touches on but doesn't go into any great detail about, such as his belief in miracles, or a brief mention of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and a short venture into quantum mechanics. Although I'd like to have seen more written about either subject I didn't find the text lacking because of it. Great read all-around, and a good look into a scientific mind, using numbers and scientific research to explain his views.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Skeptics can share this with believers

I'm not a traditional theist by any means, but this presentation by a Christian believer who is also a world-rank scientist (the author headed the public Human Genome Project) deserves reading/listening by anyone fustrated by the harmful "culture wars" put on by extremists of both sides.

Francis Collins presents his case for belief with an accessible presentation of how science is no threat to those willing to go beyond a literalist view of religion. As a Christian, he also does not go into a mere polemic for only Christianity, he is open to all forms of belief in God. For Collins, theism is a mature position to take, and that one can be of a scientific viewpoint and still respect religion.

For this Humanist, a good case for faith, and a good book to suggest to religious people who have a hard time with biological evolution and current scientific cosmology.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Interesting

This was a very intriguing book. I enjoyed hearing a perspective on God and Religion from a very intelligent, well informed scientist with excellent credientials and deep experience in science. This is a very balanced and intelligent view of modern religious thought through the eyes of a keen scientific mind. His personal struggle with the co-existance of God and Science is very interesting. This is a great listen for anyone who is interested in both science and religion.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Biologos!

This is actually a quite interesting book.
Mr. Collins shares his achievement and tells mesmerizing stories about the human genome, Darwin and the cosmos. As an expert in Biology, he cannot support intelligent design and debunks it with very good arguments. His expertise in Biology will pick your interest and you will probably learn a few things.
However, his knowledge in other fields seems very sketchy and using rather illogical explanations, he tries to reconcile his religious faith to his scientific knowledge. One of his arguments is: For every need, there is an answer, men need food, there is food around, they need sex, there are females; they need a God, therefore there must be one. He is saying intelligent design supporters are using God to fill the gaps of their ignorance and then shares his believe of the creation of the world and use God to explain every detail that are not explained by science yet like certain constants in Physics. He gives harsh criticisms to some atheists like Richard Dawkins but he is not able to articulate any reasons they could be wrong. It is quite sad to see such a brilliant biologist be such a poor thinker when talking about subjects he obviously does not know or understand like morality and psychology.
If anything, this book, will damage considerably your faith and the songs in the audio book won’t help!

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Printed format would be a better choice

As a believer and someone with a solid grounding in science this was something I highly anticipated.

This one is worth two listens for me. A lot of the subject matter needs more contemplation than the timing of an audio book allows. I would have preferred to have this book in print so that it would be easier to stop, re-read a area and think about it further.

The content was wonderful - I just don't think it was a good fit for the audio book format.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Pleasant but Shallow

As a Christian and a long time observer of Science I found this book disappointing. The author glossed over many of the difficult problems with evolutionary theory as it exists today; he cites the Urey Miller experiment as a credible attempt to explore the origins of life when it is now known that, that experiment was flawed postulating a Hydrogen Ammonia based atmosphere when it is now known the atmosphere was a N2 CO2 atmnosphere. Other discussions of Evolution indicate that his knowledge of the subject is out of date and rather simplistic. He states that 'No Biological Scientist Today doubts the truth of the Theory of Evolution' when in fact there are many Scientists who if not doubters are at the very least extremely agnostic aboiut evolution as any search of the Internet would show.

His Christian Apologetics are for the most part a rehash of C. S. Lewis and the discerning reader would be better served by reading the two volumes of Christian Apologetics by Lewis; 'Mere Christianity' and 'Miracles'. The authors review of the theory of Intelligent Design stops at Mr Paley in the mid 1800's and ignores significant work in this field over the last 30 years. His theology also is weak and his knowledge of the Islam, Hindu, and Buddhist religions shows it is doubtful if he has even read the Koran or the Bhagavad Gita. All in all while the author is no doubt a strong Christian and is extremely knowledgeable about his chosen field he seems woefully out of his depth as soon as he leaves his specialized field of knowledge. In my opinion the author has wasted an incredible opportunity to dig into the true issues that exist between Science and Religion today. I believe Science and Religion are compatible and any perceived difficulty between the two is a failure of interpretation on either the side of the Religionists or the Scientists. This book does little new to bridge that gap. I give him a 'C' for effort.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Drink the evolution kool-aide

I have no doubt that the author is both sincere in his beliefs and very likable but this is a likable christians sales pitch for evolution. He dismisses "perceived gaps" in the fossel record with no elaboration. Says that the most complex biological structures can be explained through Darwinian evolution and dismesses parts of the bible that undermine his beliefs as alagory. He is surely an expert on the humnan Gnome and a scientist but as for those things spirtial he seems to be gasping for things that will combine his two competing ideaologies.
The authors explaination of God creating a world and leting random mutations and evolution create the outcome seems to me to be a build it and forget it kit for God.
The first 1/2 discussion of the human Gnome was interesting but the evolution rehash left me flat.
Not a bad listen but not what I had hoped for.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Finally - Rational instead of Judgemental

This book dives into some pretty touchy subjects and some extremely technical and scientific theories - but the author managed to break most of it down into digestable chunks. My grasp of Gnomes and the Big Bang has improved considerably.

But the real beauty of this book is that it's not about judging anyone. The author respectfully points out the strengths and weaknesses of both extreme Atheist and Fundamentalist arguments, and moves past them into the amazing things that science is discovering. The author does devote an entire chapter on his personal journey from atheism to believing in the existance of God, but he also forewarns you and tells you which chapter to pick up on if you want to skip that section. It's simply so refreshing to get such an informative viewpoint without the politics - I'll be buying this book for many people for Christmas this year...

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Puts your DNA into context

"The Language of God" is thought provoking. The author shares some stunning insights into the DNA research he has led in the Human Genome Project. He links these biological insights to the "bigger picture": religion, evolution and metaphysics.

The parts of the book that I really enjoyed were the insights on DNA, the theistic evolution paradigm, and the excellent section on ethics (which strangely enough is a mere appendix in the book). What disappointed me is that the author has a hard time to get started, which might put readers/listeners off. He quotes excessively from C.S. Lewis, whereas he would have done much better by sharing more key insights from the great "traditional" philosophers. Also, the part on "I found Jesus and it changed my life" was a bit too much for me, and it clouded the excellent thinking that is behind most of the book.

All in all, very worthwhile, a 4 out of 5 for me. Looking forward to have this author publish another book on those parts he truly excels in: biology and ethics.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Shaheer
  • 11-26-15

Language of God a unique perspective

One of the best books I've read if not the best of all that tackles so many debatable subjects in such a wide and balanced view, the writer is such a great knowledgable yet spiritual balanced person. It's simply a GREAT book and a reference to so many theories about the subject.
Thank you for such a great book.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-13-21

Limited relevant content

Author spent too much time debating with traditional religious beliefs / scriptures which most people with common sense disregard today. The parts dissecting Dawkins findings and where there might still be inconsistencies were much more interesting but sadly 70% of the book was wasted debating with foolish religions and religious beliefs which obviously no longer carry much relevance to most modern intellectual people

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gian-Angelo
  • 12-08-20

Thought provoking!

Thought provoking, mentally stimulating and easy to follow! I definitely would recommend listening to this book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • TheUnseendimension
  • 09-01-19

interesting perspectives

I was not sure what to expect with this book but it challenged a lot of my thinking as I never really game much thought to whether I was a creationist or ID'st etc. This book to an extent forces you to have a view or pick some sort of side which can be a good or bad thing.

There are obviously lots of areas Collins does not address that make up the core of what for example, creationist stand on when they read Genesis literally which I thought he might touch on. The bottom line is that true objectivity is nigh impossible as we all have some sort of buyest deep down and Collins is no different. The great thing about the argument of what he calls Bio Logos vs say ID or Creationism is that on the surface none of them disagree on the Jesus story as He still remains the saviour and central in their varied interpretations of how the natural world was put together.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew McGuire
  • 01-07-18

Fascinating point of view

Challenges the binary Science versus God position and reopens intelligent engagement of these topics. A reasonable and rational person can follow both with out contradiction.

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  • Scott Stevens
  • 03-03-22

great

great book, read by the author.

great discussion of the Harmony between science and faith

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Heinrich Ferreira
  • 02-09-15

Very good. I can highly recommend this to anyone

To anyone who is struggling to reconcile his Christian belief with his faith in science