The Revd Dr Rodney Holder was Course Director of the Faraday Institute from its inception in January 2006 until 31st January 2013, and remains a Bye Fellow of St Edmund's College and a Faraday Associate. Dr Holder read mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge, and researched for a D.Phil. in astrophysics at Christ Church, Oxford. He remained at Oxford for a further two years as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Astrophysics researching accretion of intergalactic gas by the galaxy. After 14 years working for UK Ministry of Defence clients as an operational research consultant with EDS (formerly Scicon), he returned to Oxford, and took a first class degree in theology in 1996. Completing his ministerial training the following year, Dr. Holder then worked for four years as a curate in South Warwickshire, spent a seven month sabbatical period as chaplain of the English Church in Heidelberg, and was then Priest in Charge of the Parish of the Claydons, Diocese of Oxford, from October 2002 to December 2005.
Dr Holder explored ways in which science and faith may complement each other in Nothing But Atoms and Molecules? (1993, reprinted 2008). In his second book, God, the Multiverse, and Everything, Dr Holder examined the fine-tunings of natural law that were necessary for life to evolve in our universe and used Bayes' theorem, a classic tool for determining probability, to assess their metaphysical significance. His 1998 paper on miracles won a Templeton Foundation Prize as an exemplary paper in humility theology. His book, The Heavens Declare, seeks to reinstate the enterprise of natural theology in dialogue with its severest opponent, Karl Barth, and a group of significant theologians who have reacted to Barth’s critique in various ways. More recently Dr Holder has edited, with Dr Simon Mitton, Georges Lemaître: Life, Science and Legacy, a book which arose out of a conference on Lemaître, the Father of the Big Bang theory, which Dr Holder organized in 2011. Dr Holder's most recent book on cosmology and theology is Big Bang, Big God: A Universe Designed for Life? (2013) in which he argues that the existence of the universe and the fine-tuned character of its physical laws are best explained by a divine mind behind it. Dr Holder is Reviews Editor of Science and Christian Belief and is on the national committee of Christians in Science. He is a member of the International Society for Science and Religion, the Society of Ordained Scientists, and the Science and Religion Forum.
Recent selected publications in science and religion
- Holder, R. D. (2016), 'Explaining and Explaining Away in Cosmology and Theology', Theology and Science 14(3), 234-255, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14746700.2016.1191876 .
- Holder, R. (2014), Longing, Waiting, Believing: Reflections for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany (Abingdon: The Bible Reading Fellowship).
- Holder, R. (2014), 'Can a Multiverse Provide the Ultimate Explanation?', Faith and Thought 56, 4-18.
- Holder, R. (2013), ‘Why We Need Ramified Natural Theology’, Philosophia Christi, 15 (2), 271-282.
- Holder, R. (2013), Big Bang, Big God: A Universe Designed for Life? (Oxford: Lion Hudson).
- Holder, R. and Mitton, S. (eds.) (2013), Georges Lemaître: Life, Science and Legacy. Royal Astronomical Society-Springer.
- Holder, R. and Mitton, S. (2013), ‘Georges Lemaître: A Brief Introduction to His Science, His Theology, and His Impact’, in Rodney Holder and Simon Mitton (eds.) (2013), Georges Lemaître: Life, Science and Legacy, 1-7.
- Holder, R. (2013), ‘Georges Lemaître and Fred Hoyle: Contrasting Characters in Science and Religion’, in Rodney Holder and Simon Mitton (eds), Georges Lemaître: Life, Science and Legacy, 39-53.
- Holder, R. (2013), ‘Natural Theology in the Twentieth Century’, in Russell Re Manning (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Holder, R. (2012), ‘An Augustinian Perspective on Creation and Evolution’, in John Doody, Adam Goldstein and Kim Paffenroth (eds.) (2012), Augustine and Science, Series Augustine in Conversation: Tradition and Innovation, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
- Holder, R. (2012), ‘Lemaître and Hoyle: Contrasting Characters in Science and Religion’, Science and Christian Belief 24 (2), 111-127.
- Holder, R. D. (2012), 'Quantum Theory and Cosmology', in J. B. Stump and Alan G. Padgett, The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell), 220-230.
- Holder, R. D. (2012), The Heavens Declare: Natural Theology and the Legacy of Karl Barth (West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Press).
- Holder, R. D. (2011), 'God and the Multiverse: A Response to Stephen Hawking', Faith and Thought 51, 3-17.
- Holder, R. D. (2009), 'Beyond Science: Answering the Boundary Questions', in A. M. Herzberg (ed.), Statistics, Science and Public Policy XIII: Responsibility, Prosperity and Culture. Proceedings of the Conference on Statistics, Science and Public Policy held at Herstmonceux Castle, Hailsham, UK, April 16-19, 2008, 79-84.
- Holder, R. D. (2009), 'Thomas Torrance: 'Retreat to Commitment' or a New Place for Natural Theology?', Theology and Science 7(3), 275-296, www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a912448732
- Holder, R. D. (2009), 'Science and Religion in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer', Zygon 44(1), 115-132.
- Holder, R. D. (2008), Nothing But Atoms and Molecules? Probing the limits of science, Third Edition (Cambridge: The Faraday Institute) (First Edition, Crowborough: Monarch Publications, 1993).
- Holder, R. D. (2008), 'Modern Science and the Interpretation of Genesis: Can We Learn from Dietrich Bonhoeffer?', Theology and Science 6(2), 213-231, www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1474-6700&volume=6&issue=2&spage=213
- Holder, R. D. (2007), 'Creation and the Sciences in the Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg', Communio Viatorum XLIX, 210-253.
- Holder, R. D. (2006), 'Fine-tuning and the Multiverse', Think 12, 49-60.
- Holder, R. D. (2005), 'God and Differing Interpretations of Quantum Theory-Response to Paul', Science and Christian Belief 17(2), 177-185.
- Holder, R. D. (2004), God, the Multiverse, and Everything: Modern Cosmology and the Argument from Design (Aldershot, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate).
- Holder, R. D. (2002), 'Fine-tuning, Multiple Universes and Theism', Noûs 36, 295-312.
- Holder, R. D. (2001), 'The realization of infinitely many universes in cosmology', Religious Studies 37, 343-350.
- Holder, R. D. (2001), 'Karl Barth and the Legitimacy of Natural Theology', Themelios 26, 22-37.
- Holder, R. D. (2001), 'Fine-Tuning, Many Universes and Design', Science and Christian Belief 13, 5-24.
- Holder, R. D. (1999), 'Multiple Universes as an Explanation for Fine-Tuning', Science and Christian Belief 11, 65-66.
- Holder, R. D. (1998), 'Hume on Miracles: Bayesian Interpretation, Multiple Testimony, and the Existence of God', Brit. J. Phil. Sci. 49, 49-65.
Photo: Nigel Bovey/The War Cry