This is the final excerpt from The Reasonable Horologist.
Scientists and philosophers have struggled for millennia to explain the workings of our universe. “The earliest beginnings of science was to note that there exist patterns of cause and effect that are manifestations of the Universe's rational order …” – Astronomy 123: "Galaxies and the Expanding Universe", an online course taught by James Schombert, Professor of Physics at University of Oregon.
In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy – three laws of motion that helped explain the behavior of the solar system. According to Schombert, “Newtonian physics was used to support the deistic view that God had created the world as a perfect machine that then required no further interference from Him.” Clockwork models of the solar system were built to study the relative movements of the planets around the sun - they were called orreries (a contemporary orrery was built by the Long Now Foundation in 2005).
This new science prompted great debate about the role of God in a Newtonian universe. Was He a master builder who stood aside from his creation and let the laws of science determine man’s fate (a philosophy called Deism, and also called the Clockwork Universe Theory)? Or was man capable of free will and reliant on God’s continuing grace? George and Howard struggled as well, with the questions of God and their place in His universe.