AUTOMATIC MACHINES AND MEN
One of the marvels of our modern technology is the automatic machine. Whether it is a simple dishwasher or clothes washer or
whether it is a gigantic automatic computer, the principles for its control are the same. In no case does the machine itself
have any “say” in what happens. Everything is determined in advance, either by the engineer who designed the machine or the
user who “presses the buttons” to bring about the desired action.
At Disney World in Florida are three ingenious exhibits of automatic machines which delight the eye and ear with their movement,
color and sound. One is a large room in which brightly colored mechanical birds sing and dance in a repertoire of delightful music,
accompanied by the bass singing of a group of totem-pole faces, whose grimaces are a thing to behold. The whole performance lasts
for 15-20 minutes and is then repeated for the next group of viewers. The second is a stage and theater, whose performers are
mechanical bears, who sing and dance. There are more than a dozen of them, and their performances are so much like people that
it is easy to close one’s eyes and believe they are real people. The third is a diorama peopled by miniature fairies, elves, and
people who all sing and dance to the same basic melody, while the viewers pass by in boats. In all three of these exhibits each
creature is a robot, and all motion and sound is controlled by a program inscribed on a magnetic tape. Take away the magnetic
tape and there is stillness and silence. But think of the confusion if the employees inadvertently mixed up the magnetic tapes!!
The motions and sounds would then be indescribably weird, perhaps horrible, and might lead to the destruction of the exhibits.
The most sophisticated automatic machine is the electronic computer. This machine can be programmed to execute almost every
function that the human mind executes. And in most of these functions, it is incredibly faster than the human mind in its
performance. But the electronic computer is just a mass of wires, transistors and other electronic parts which does nothing
until a suitable program is entered into its memory. In order that the computer might do a variety of tasks, a library of
programs is built up, each one designed for a specific task. Each such program has been tediously designed by a person (called
a programmer) who has had to analyze the task into unbelievably minute steps, which are the limited set of functions the computer
can perform. The program has to be very carefully tested in order to discover and correct every possible error that the programmer
may have made, because the computer cannot produce the desired output if there is even one single error in the program. Most
programs are used to process a set of data — accounts, records, numbers, and various other collections of numbers and words,
collectively called “data files”. These files cannot be used indiscriminately by any program, but only certain files can be used
with certain programs. The whole operation of the computation center and its ability to perform useful work depends on the
ability of the people in charge to use the proper programs with the appropriate data files. Every new situation requires the
programmer to design a new program or make a change in an old one, to handle the new situation. The computer is completely
unable to modify its programs to meet new, unforseen situations.
Although experiments have been conducted over many years in a effort to “teach” the computer to deal correctly with new and
unexpected situations, nothing practical has ever been accomplished. The computer which is made to modify its program in response
to unexpected situations soon deteriorates into a chaotic operation producing gibberish. No one has found a way to duplicate the
initiative and “know-how” of the human mind. Imagine now what would logically happen, if people were suddenly to disappear, and
computers tried to carry on by themselves, designing their own programs to meet each new situation. As long as conditions remained
exactly the same as they were when human control was removed. everything would be normal. But as soon as a situation arose that
had not been preprogrammed, the response of the computer would be unpredictable, as we say. Soon the whole operation would cease
to have any meaning whatsoever.
The Bible tells us that God created man and designed him to perform in a very definite way in the moral areas of life. Man is the
computer, and God is the designer and programmer. Of course man is a far more sophisticated computer, than any we can build today.
And because God did not want man to be a puppet but a real person, He gave man free will. He allowed man to choose what program
he would use to guide him in moral decisions. God wants man to love Him, and love cannot be forced. As man’s life became more
complex, God provided a library of such moral programs which we call the Bible. But man has chosen, since Adam, to write his own
moral programs, as represented by the thousands of religions, political ideologies, and “isms” that we see in the world today.
Many of these are libraries which purport to provide programs for all of life’s decisions. We select programs from whatever
library we choose. If we are strictly orthodox, we limit ourselves to just one library. But if we do not hold to any one
religion or “ism”, we pick and choose among them. But we must have programs to guide our computer as we make moral decisions
and judgements many times a day. Who programmed these libraries? For most of them, we can be quite sure that man programmed them.
For a few we might believe that God at least contributed to the library. But in only one, the Bible, can we say that God programmed
the entire library.
Although we humans have minds that are far more sophisticated computers than any electronic ones now extant, we still are limited
as is the electronic computer in not being able to predict the outcome of our programs. Only God knows the future. Only God knows
what will follow when we make a moral decision. God has programmed into His library, the Bible, a set of programs to meet all
moral situations, if only the human computer will select the the proper program to use for each situation. God is able and
willing to guide him in choosing the proper program and will even prepare a new program if there should be none in the library to
meet the present need.
The results of using moral libraries from human sources are seen all about us. The deterioration of our society in virtually
every aspect of its structure is all too apparent to the discerning person. The belief that there are no absolutes in morals
has led to “free” sex, wide spread use of drugs, greatly increased crime in every area, assassination of political leaders,
horrible maiming and killing of innocent persons by bombs thrown or placed by radicals of many political and religious persuasions,
and on and on. Other examples are labor leaders, who curry favor with their followers by demanding from employers more pay for
less work, and who support workers guilty of negligence or even sabotage, regardless of their guilt; totalitarian state leaders
who use murder, oppresion, imprisonment, confiscation and other means to force compliance of the masses to their way of thinking;
movie makers and book writers who use pornography solely to attract the “public” and thus reap large profits. The list is endless.
All of these people are using programs from man-made moral libraries. Human programmers produced these libraries for purposes of
their own, which were in opposition to God and contrary to His ways. But God is the designer of man. Only He knows what moral
programs man should have in order that man may fulfill his destiny — be the kind of creature God intended him to be, with all
its satisfaction, joy, love, harmony, peace and other desirable attributes. If man chooses instead to use the programs that have
been produced by himself, then he is dooming himself to certain destruction, but over a long period of time in which he will
suffer all kinds of terrible consequences, as above enumerated. The inevitable result of following wrong moral programs is
exactly the same as for the computer center which uses the wrong programs — disintegration and death.
But it need not be that way!! The computer center that has a competent staff of programmers and an adequate library of programs
and data files can cope with any task that is assigned to it. And the human computer and society who uses the only dependable
library of moral programs, the Bible, and the only competent moral “programmer”, the God who created us, can cope with any
problem or situation that life can and will bring. The only sensible viewpoint is this: Each one of us must allow the Supreme
Programmer to direct our lives, to guide us in all areas of life, and we must ever seek to obey Him, which is the only way we
can show our love to Him.