From our Moderator    A computer and the cross

 

I am writing this, not on paper but a computer screen. It is amazing to realise just how far the computer has been developed. My service notes in church are on a tablet computer, I can talk to you and see you at the same time on a computer screen. I can send you an instant message by email or one of the many other computer applications.

 

Computers not only can beat the world champions at “Chess” and “Go”, they can diagnose illnesses, they can enable communication across the globe, they can answer the telephone, they control our bank accounts, a large proportion of the jobs we do are there because of the computer, and soon they might even be driving our cars on the motorways, as well as building them in the factories. In fact, try as we might, it’s almost impossible in our modern world to avoid the impact and effect of the computer.

 

The very first computer was designed by engineer and mathematician Charles Babbage assisted by a brilliant young woman Ada Lovelace the daughter of Lord Byron. Charles Babbage designed the machine which he called a “Difference engine” and Ada Lovelace was the first computer programmer, realising something of the potential of the machine.

 

Amazingly that first computer owed its existence to a development in the cloth industry.

In 1804 A French weaver by the name of Joseph Jacquard had built a weaving machine that could create complicated patterns in cloth using cards punched with holes. Charles Babbage with a leap of insight realised that if you can tell a machine how to order stitches, you can tell it how to order numbers. He made the connection between the abstract world of mathematics, and the very down to earth world of cloth manufacture.

 

It takes creative brilliance and a certain faith to make the connection between those two completely different world of weaving and mathematics.

 

The apostle Paul also in a leap of brilliance and faith realised that in the cross of Jesus a connection had been made between heaven and earth, between God and humanity.  A connection with tremendous implications for the world of men and women.

 

He writes to his friends at Colossae (Colossians 1.19 - 20):

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

 

It is astonishing to realise that Charles Babbage’s clanking difference engine would open the door for the modern computer that affects all our lives in one way of the other.

 

And it is even more astonishing to realise that the death of one innocent Jewish man on a simple wooden cross almost 2000 years ago would change every generation since, and completely alter the course of the world.

 

I fact, try as we might it’s almost impossible in our modern world to avoid the impact and effect of what God has done through that simple cross.

 

Every Blessing

David