Monday, October 31, 2011

Gosub Genesis

In some versions of the BASIC programming language (especially those that support line numbers), there are a pair of commands named GOSUB and RETURN. GOSUB means to branch to a particular subroutine and at the end of that subroutine there should be a corresponding RETURN keyword. In code it looks something like this:

10 REM *** My program ***
20 PRINT "Hello there ";
30 GOSUB 100
40 END

100 REM *** Print a name ***
110 PRINT "Dear Reader"


Hello there Dear Reader

...where the initial code jumps to the subroutine at line 100 and when that is finished, it sends control back to the command that follows the GOSUB call (in this case, line 40). The basic purpose of subroutines is to put pieces of repeatabl/reusable code in one central location so that they can be used later on by many different parts of the program.

Along these lines, a thought occured to me: is the Bible like a giant set of programming instructions complete with subroutines, loops, and variables? When you look at the Bible as a whole, there are thousands of places where the book as a whole refers back to itself, either in the form of a historical event, or by quoting statements God made in previous verses.

For an example of what I mean, let's take the Book of Genesis. Several books of the New Testament refer back to portions of Genesis:

Matthew 22:31-33 (NKJV):
"But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching."
Luke 3:8 (NKJV):
"Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones."
Hebrews 11:17-19 (NKJV):
"By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense."
Other examples can be found in John 8:33, Romans 11:1, Galatians 3:8, Acts 7:2-26, and countless others.

I can't think of any other book in existence that refers back on itself so often. Although dictionaries are self-referencing, too, people don't usually attempt to read them straight through. With the Bible, this self-referencing takes place going forwards (prophecy) and backwards. Yet this does not take place within a self-contained takes place throughout the history of the world.

Is it then possible that the Bible is not only a love story and a explanation of salvation, but also an incredibly complicated piece of source code? I mentioned before in an earlier post how some have compared DNA to computer code. So then is it also possible God was in the business of programming thousands of years before the first transistor was even developed?

1 comment:

  1. neat concept Michael !! the "basic language" that I learned so long ago is very much like our beautifully written Bible, this thought will stick with me (like GOSUB... I remember it now :) )