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Robin Collins

Distinguished Professor



717-796-1800, ext. 3100

Interest and areas of expertise
  • Templeton Foundation Grant to finish the Well-Tempered Universe: God, Fine-Tuning, and the Laws of Nature. ($91,000, reduces teaching load to half time over the period Spring 2008 through May, 2010.)
  • “Discoverability and Providence” grant from the Templeton Foundation. Two-year (2013 – 2015), $54,000 grant to work on the evidence that the universe is fine-tuned for discovery and its implications for the relationship between chance and providence.
  • “Neuroscience and The Soul” fellowship, Center for Christian Thought, Biola University, spring 2013. ($45,000 fellowship + expenses).

Professor Robin Collins, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy. He specializes in philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophical theology. He is well-versed in issues relating to science and religion, with graduate-level training in theoretical physics. He has written almost forty substantial articles and book chapters in these areas with some of the leading academic presses, such as Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Blackwell, and Routledge. He has also spoken on issues relating to God and the cosmos at many colleges and universities (including Oxford University, Cambridge University, Yale University, and Stanford University) and has appeared in the popular Christian and secular media – for example, in Christianity Today, Lee Strobel’s Case for the Creator, and Robert Kuhn’s PBS series Closer to the Truth. Professor Collins is widely regarded as the foremost expert on the fine-tuning argument, an argument for the existence of God based on the extraordinarily precise structure that the universe must have for life to exist. He is currently finishing two books on this topic: one that provides a detailed analysis of the evidence for fine-tuning and one that carefully makes the philosophical case from fine-tuning to divine creation. Besides his work on fine-tuning, he has written on the philosophy of quantum mechanics, the relation between the mind and the body, the nature of prayer, atonement, and a variety of other topics in philosophy of science and philosophy of religion.

  • Ph.D., Philosophy – University of Notre Dame, 1993
  • B.S. Physics, B.A. Mathematics, Washington State University, 1984
Classes I teach
  • Problems in Philosophy
  • Asian Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Issues in Science and Religion (Team taught with Professor Ted Davis and Associate Professor David Foster)
  • Christian Apologetics
  • Metaphysics
Articles, Book Chapters, Presentations and Interviews

Articles and Book Chapters


  • “Against the Epistemic Value of Prediction over Accommodation.” Noûs, Vol. 28, No. 2, June 1994, pp. 210–24.
  • “An Epistemological Critique of Bohmian Mechanics.” In Bohmian Mechanics and Quantum Theory: An Appraisal, James T. Cushing, Arthur Fine, and Sheldon Goldstein, eds., Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996, pp. 265–76.
  • “Evidence for Fine-Tuning.” In God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science, Neil A. Manson, ed., New York: Routledge, 2003, pp. 178–99. [This article has been translated into Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and Turkish.]
  • "Evolution and Original Sin.” In Perspectives on an Evolving Creation, Keith B. Miller, ed., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003, pp. 469–501.
  • “Contributions from the Philosophy of Science.” In The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science, Philip Clayton and Zachary Simpson, eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 328–44.
  • “The Multiverse Hypothesis: A Theistic Perspective.” In Universe or Multiverse?, Bernard Carr, ed., New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 459–80.
  • “The Case for Cosmic Design,” and “Clarifying the Case for Cosmic Design: A Response to Paul Draper,” in God or Blind Nature?: Philosophers Debate the Evidence, edited by Paul Draper,, 2008. (This is the first online book debating the merits of theism versus atheism).
  • “Modern Physics and the Energy-Conservation Objection to Mind-Body Dualism.” American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 1, January 2008, pp. 31–42.
  • “The Teleological Argument: An Exploration of the Fine-Tuning of the Universe.” In The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland, eds., Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, pp. 202–81.
  • “God and the Laws of Nature,” in Philo: A Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 12, No. 2, Fall–Winter 2009, pp. 142–171.
  • “Divine Action and Evolution.” In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology, Thomas P. Flint and Michael Rea, eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 241–61.
  • “A Scientific Case for the Soul.” In The Soul Hypothesis: Investigations into the Existence of the Soul, Mark C. Baker and Stewart Goetz, eds., New York: Continuum International, 2011, pp. 222–46. [Defends the existence of a soul distinct from the body.]
  • “Theism and Naturalism.” In The Routledge Companion to Theism, Charles Taliaferro, Victoria Harrison, and Stewart Goetz, eds., New York: Routledge, 2012.
  • “Non-Violent Atonement,” Brethren in Christ History and Life Journal, April 2012
  • “Modern Cosmology and Anthropic Fine-tuning: Three Approaches.” In Georges Lemaître: Life, Science and Legacy. (Astrophysics and Space Science Library.) Rodney Holder and Simon Mitton, eds., New York, New York, Springer, 2013.
  • “The Fine-Tuning Evidence is Convincing.” In Oxford Dialogues in Christian Theism, Chad Meister, J. P. Moreland, and Khaldoun Sweis, eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • “The Connection Building Theodicy.” In The Blackwell Companion to the Problem of Evil, Dan Howard-Snyder and Justin McBrayer, eds., Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming.



  • “Universe or Multiverse? A Theistic Perspective.” Invited Plenary Speaker, Symposium on the Multi-Universe Hypothesis, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, March 27–30, 2003. Sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation.
  • “The Case for Theism.” (A debate with philosopher Doug Jesseph (University of Florida), sponsored by the Philosophy Club at Florida Gulf Coast University at Fort Meyers, FL, March 25, 2009.)
  • “The Fine-Tuning Argument for Theism,” Invited talk for the Second Annual Distinguished Lecture in Philosophy and the Christian Faith, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, April 6, 2010.
  • “The Atonement: A New and Orthodox Theory,” Invited talk for the Second Annual Distinguished Lecture in Philosophy and the Christian Faith, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, April 7, 2010.
  • “Cosmic Fine-Tuning: Three Approaches and Their Implications.” Invited Plenary Speaker (all expenses paid plus honorarium), Georges Lemaître Anniversary Conference, Faraday Institute, Cambridge University, April 7–10, 2011.
  • Invited Workshop Leader for “The Fine-Tuning Argument: A Series of Three All Day Workshops.” June 15–18, 2011, St. Thomas Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology, University of Saint Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota, Michael Rota and Dean Zimmerman, seminar directors.
  • Seminar Co-leader. “Science and Religion Pedagogy.” June 27, 2011 – July 27, 2011. Calvin College Summer Seminar for Chinese Professors, co-taught with Professor Ted Davis.
  • “Non-violent Atonement,” invited speaker, Brethren in Christ Study Conference, Grantham, PA, November 12, 2011.
  • “Saving Our Souls from Materialism,” invited speaker, Church of the Servant, Grand Rapids, MI, March 3rd, 2013. (Point/counterpoint in which I defended belief in an immaterial soul for and another speaker defended Christian materialism.).


Secular Media


  • Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, January 11, 2004. “The Deity and the Data: How Science Is Putting God under Its Lens” by William Hageman, January 11, 2004.
  • PBS Series: Closer to Truth: Science, Meaning and the Future, September 22, 2006. This program “brings together leading scientists, scholars and thinkers to explore fundamental issues of life, sentience, and universe.” (About 45 minutes of the interview were broadcast on selected PBS stations throughout the US; the interview is now on the web at
  • Stanford University’s Philosophy Talk Radio, March 17th, 2013. Hour-long live interview on the fine-tuning design argument for. (This was played on selected NPR stations throughout the US).

Christian Media

  • Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards, The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery, (Independent Film), Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing Inc., 2004. On-screen interview in documentary film.
  • Interviews on September 15–16, 2010 with an editor from Christianity Today for an article on Stephen Hawking’s new book, The Grand Design.


Professional History
  • August, 2012 – present: Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Messiah College
  • 2005 – 2011: Professor of Philosophy, Messiah College
  • 1999 – 2004: Associate Professor of Philosophy, Messiah College
  • 1994 – 1999: Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Messiah College

Statement of Faith

Academic Faith/Learning Testimony

I became a Christian shortly before going to college at Washington State University. Partly because I was not raised in a Christian home, I had many intellectual questions about the Christian faith. These were partly stirred by my best friend from high school attempting to dissuade me from any faith. In college, I majored in mathematics and physics (completing two degrees in this subject), eventually picking up a third major in philosophy – which I completed on a scholarship in my fifth year. I went into philosophy because I thought it would give me the tools to help sort through my faith, which it did.

Before pursuing a doctorate in philosophy, I went to graduate school in theoretical physics for two years at the University of Texas at Austin (1984-1986). During that time, I felt a strong and persistent sense of calling to do philosophy as a vocation, something that has stayed with me over the years. Because of this, I wrote the newly formed Society of Christian Philosophers concerning whether there were any Christian philosophers at universities on the West Coast. When I eventually received a reply, it was on a letterhead with the imprint “Alvin Plantinga, President, Society of Christian Philosophers, University of Notre Dame.” After a little research, I knew that I wanted to study under Plantinga, who was not only a devout Christian but one of the leading philosophers in the world. I thus went from there to the University of Notre Dame, which was (and still is) both a leading graduate school in philosophy and one that has many Christians on its faculty. The training in philosophy I received at that time further strengthened my faith. I also learned that there was a revival of Christian thought taking place in philosophy departments throughout the country, something that has continued since I graduated. As a leading atheist philosopher, Quentin Smith, has noted, “God is not ‘dead’ in academia; he returned to life in the 1960’s and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments.”(Quentin Smith, “The Metaphysics of Naturalism,” Philo, Vo. 4, N. 2, 2001, pp. 196-97)

Since being here at Messiah College, I have particularly pursued questions on the intersection of science and religion, receiving three major external grants for work in the area. The area that I have become most well-known for is the argument for divine creation from the so-called fine-tuning of the universe – that is, the fact that the basic structure of the universe is set just right for life. I am now completing the first of a three volume set of books on the subject, with the first volume concentrating on the physical and cosmological evidence for fine-tuning, the second volume concentrating on the multiverse explanation (which is the leading non-theistic explanation), and the third concentrating on the philosophical and theological issues involved. In the future, I hope to publish a popular book on the subject.

This work has greatly strengthened my faith, especially since the spring of 2010. I not only discovered many cases of how the universe is fine-tuned for life, but also that it is fine-tuned so that we could have technology and can do science. Concerning the latter, if certain aspects of the fundamental physical structure of the universe were slightly different, humans could have existed, but they would have had no means of developing scientific technology; they would have been forever stuck in the Stone Age. For me, this provides compelling evidence for divine providence in the basic structure of the world for both our existence and our science and technology; this means at the most basic level, our science and technology points to the providence of God. My research in this area has also given me a strong sense of how miraculous the structure of the universe and the world around us really is; everyday truly does seem like a miracle to me.

Finally, over the years I have also come to appreciate how God works in circuitous ways. As one example, when I first started studying philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, I had wondered why I spent so many years studying physics and working in physics labs. Since that time, however, my background in physics has become my greatest asset. Because God often works in this way, the providence of God in our lives will not always be obvious, but often can only be seen in hindsight. For students, this implies that unless one feels a specific calling to pursue a certain career, one should use college to develop one’s gifts to the fullest, while being open to how exactly God might use those gifts in the future. As the book of James tells us, do not say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town, stay there a year, conduct business, and make money” since “you do not know what tomorrow will bring” (4:13-14). Rather, say “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that” (4:15). I thus encourage my students to be like the faithful servant in the Parable of the Talents and to invest in the development to their reasoning capacities through their study of philosophy or whatever other subject they are pursuing, but at the same time to recognize their need for God’s guidance and providence.