The John Templeton Foundation awards an annual prize to a living individual chosen by a panel of judges. The honor goes to a person who makes a great contribution to the human condition in ways that intersect faith and science. The foundation is “philanthropic.” That means it seeks the good of people. And while it is motivated by human spirituality, it is not specifically Christian. The foundation selects individuals from various religious backgrounds for its honor. Most recently, though, the Templeton Prize is recognizing a Christian in healthcare. The foundation named Francis Collins for the 2020 award.
Collins is a physician and geneticist. He is also a professing Christian. Dr. Collins has served as the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2009. The John Templeton Foundation says it selected Collins for demonstrating how religious faith motivates scientific research. He will receive a cash prize worth a little over $1.3 million. The group made its choice late last year but delayed the announcement due to the coronavirus pandemic. Collins will formally receive the prize in a virtual ceremony later this year.
Does science contradict the Bible? Christians say no. Christians believe that true science only reveals more and more about our Creator and the creation, which was wonderfully made but now groans under the effects of sin. Illness is one of the most obvious conditions that humans suffer under due to the Fall.
Addressing suffering from diseases is an act of mercy that God allows doctors and scientists to pursue. In recent months, Collins and his NIH colleagues have shifted major parts of their work to combatting the virus. Collins said in a statement, “Almost my every waking moment is consumed by the effort to find treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19.”
He also said that while the complexity of human biology leaves him awestruck, he grieves “at the suffering and death I see all around. . . . But then I remember that the God who hung on the cross is intimately familiar with suffering.”
From 1993 to 2008, Collins worked with the Human Genome Project. That project mapped and sequenced the three billion DNA letters that make up the human genetic “instruction book.” It helped to give much greater understanding to how God made the human body.
Collins is also a book author. In 2006, he published The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. It tells how he came to faith in Christ and also explains why he believes science does not conflict with the Bible.
(2020’s Templeton Prize winner, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, attends a Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on new coronavirus tests in Washington, D.C., on May 7, 2020. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)