Paul and the Computer

Jerry C. Ray
Houston, Texas

For some reason the Modernist (who claims to believe Bible) feels compelled to degrade the Bible to the place of an ancient conservative Jewish newspaper, which though it is basically a good work of literature, is unreliable and colored by various prejudices. In their efforts to "enlighten" us and "educate" us out of our "superstitious" faith and regard for the Bible as the inspired word of God, they employ every possible means, feasible or not.

For example, a clergyman of the Church of Scotland, Mr. A. Q. Morton, wrote an article, "A Computer Challenges the Church" (London Observer, Nov. 3, 1963). With the aid of the computer, he "proved" that of the thirteen epistles ascribed to Paul only five (Galatians, Romans, First and Second Corinthians, Philemon) were really written by Paul.

Mr. Morton said' "Theologians all over the Christian world have now to face the implications of this discovery. They must change their view of the life of Paul, they must revise the history of the early Church and they must jettison doctrines that have now been shown to be without foundation."

I am sure there were some seriously disturbed by Morton's theory. But truth will out. And error will inevitably meet itself coming back.

There is an axiom that says, "What proves too much proves nothing." Someone took Morton's theory and applied it to Morton's own writings. Dr. John W. Ellison, Rector of the Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, Mass., told a Yale University conference on computers and humanities that he had subjected Morton's writings to a similar computer analysis and found that it indicated multiple authorships.

He further added that upon Morton's presupposition that the frequency with which a writer uses certain words indicates a key to his style one could prove that James Joyce's Ulysses was the work of five authors, and none of these wrote Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Concluded Dr. Sidney M. Lamb, associate professor of Linguistics at Yale, a computer is merely "an instruction-following machine" that does only what it is told, or programmed, to do.

But Mr. Morton is not through. He has since published a book entitled The Structure of Luke and Acts in which he contends that the structure and content of Luke and Acts were in part determined by the size of the papyrus rolls on which they were written. It is something to wonder about the size and content of our Bible if they had had the ability to produce rolls of wrapping paper such as we have today!

Learned men can certainly act foolishly when they set themselves against God.

December 1966