Alister McGrath gained first class honours in chemistry from Oxford University in June 1975, and continued his studies there in molecular biophysics, receiving in December 1977 an Oxford D.Phil. for his research in the natural sciences. In June 1978 he gained first class honours in Theology. The interaction of Christian theology and the natural sciences has subsequently been a major theme of his research and is best seen in the three volumes of his Scientific Theology (2001-3).
As a former atheist, McGrath is respectful yet critical of the movement. In recent years, he has been especially interested in the emergence of “scientific atheism”, and has researched the distinctive approach to atheist apologetics found in the writings of the Oxford zoologist and scientific populariser Richard Dawkins.
His main research interest at present is the area of thought traditionally known as “natural theology”, which is experiencing significant renewal and revitalization at the moment. He addressed this theme in detail in several recent lecture series and related books: The Open Secret: A New Vision for Natural Theology; A Fine Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology; and the provisional title Darwinism and the Divine: Evolutionary Thought and Natural Theology.