Page 176. " The seizures did not upset her. She had read somewhere that they were considered holy in some cultures "
St. Paul's Conversion on the Road to Damascus, 1601
Public DomainSt. Paul's Conversion on the Road to Damascus, 1601 - Credit: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
In 400 BC, Hippocrates, considered by many to be the father of western medicine, wrote a treatise on epilepsy called, "On the Sacred Disease". In it, he challenged the commonly held believe that epilepsy was supernatural in nature: “Men regard its nature and cause as divine from ignorance and wonder… But this disease seems to me to be no more divine than others; but it has its nature such as other diseases have, and a cause whence it originates, and its nature and cause are divine only just as much as all others are, and it is curable no less than the others.”

Nevertheless, the auras associated with temporal-lobe seizures continue to have mystical virtue. The auras have been described as similar to satori – in the Zen Buddhist tradition, a flash of sudden enlightenment, the first step toward achieving nirvana. Mystics, monks, saints and artists have experienced seizure-like auras: St. Paul, on a journey to Damascus, converted to Christianity after seizure-like experience in which the Lord spoke to him in a blinding flash of light. Joan of Arc reported ecstatic moments when she saw visions of angels. During his seizures, Fyodor Dostoyevsky experienced a sense of ecstatic well-being and transcendent happiness; Alfred, Lord Tennyson had mystic visions.

Page 179. " For is it not true that our universe is a mechanism consisting of celestial gears, spinning ball bearings, solar furnaces, all cooperating to return man (and, indeed, what other unimagined neighbors of whom we are ignorant!) to the chosen hour we know of from the Bible as Before the Fall? "

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.

Page 180. " So that what seemed reposing body was simply the most likely image of the whatever named soul, freed of its salt like seawater evaporating in the sun, so that the actual body, resting in bed, sighing, mumbling, came to be more like a scurf, more like that saline column of myth "
Public Domain"Lot's Wife" Pillar at Mount Sodom, Israel - Credit: Mark A. Wilson
George’s spirit is freeing itself, leaving behind its worldly form. These two references to salt are from classical and biblical literature.

In Book VI of Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus and his men escape the destruction of his ship by Poseidon as they swim toward land “with a thick scurf of salt coated upon them” (23.231-240)

In Genesis 19:26: Yahweh reveals that he will destroy the wicked city of Sodom unless he finds ten righteous people living there. Having not found even this small number, angels lead Lot and his family out of Sodom to safety, but order them not to look back as they flee. But Lot’s wife turned to look back, and was transformed into a pillar of salt.