Saturday, September 02, 2023

Digital Storage - will it survive?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

In a day when many people carry at least two cameras with them wherever they go in the form of a forward and a rearward facing camera on their smartphone, we might hardly know that first digital camera was only invented in 1975. The first camera phone went on sale as recently as the year 2000 but that was only capable of photographs with a resolution of just over a 10th of a megapixel. 

Some people have concerns that due to the pace of advancement in technology, information stored digitally could be lost altogether resulting in a digital black hole. Who knows where we might be in terms of data storage in just 100 years time. I’m about old enough to remember CD’s overtaking cassette tapes in the 90’s but I’m sure that some will be able to go further back than that.
For hundreds of years, British law has been written and stored on a special kind of paper called vellum which is made from calf or goat skin. The preparation of this parchment is a laborious task involving a number of steps. Carefully selected skins are first soaked in lime and then salted for storage purposes. This allows the hair to be removed before stretching the skin in a wooden frame to be scraped with knives that clean and smooth the surface. Finally the skin is dried before being cut out and ready to write on.

Although the finished parchment is more expensive than ordinary archive paper, one of the reasons that vellum is used is simply that it lasts for such a long time. Even if it were stored in an ordinary cupboard it still doesn’t deteriorate. A good example of this are the original copies of the Magna Carta, signed in 1215 and the even older Domesday book of 1086, which are still in existence. A big question remains as to whether digital storage will stand the same test of time despite digital archives now be considered more suitable and convenient for use,.

God’s law, the 10 commandments, were written originally on two tablets of stone. We might have thought that they would have kept well, but the first two tables lasted only a little longer than the keeping of the commandments which were written on them. Having heard the words of God that were written in a book, the people said that they would do all that the Lord had commanded them. Moses then went up Mount Sinai where God gave to him the two tables of stone but before Moses had even returned to the bottom of of the mountain, he could see that the people had already broken the law, Moses threw down the tables, breaking them into pieces at the foot of the mountain and two more had to be prepared.

God’s standards are perfect. The problem was that the people were not, and couldn’t reach the very high standard his law demanded, and neither can we. Thankfully, God always intended the old order of ceremony and ritual to be replaced. This was made possible by the Son of God who came into the world. The Lord Jesus is the only perfect man ever to have lived, and He came to pay the penalty of death that sin demanded so that we might be delivered from its consequences. Having done so, the old order was surpassed and a new way was made possible for people to please God.

People who recognise their own failure before God can be made anew and enjoy the benefits of the new way He’s made possible by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. To those ‘believers’, God’s law isn’t written with ink on vellum or paper, but it’s lived by the power of the Spirit of God living within us. It’s not a law written on tables of stone, but within the heart which has a true desire to be obedient to God.

As to the record of the names of those who have once trusted the Lord Jesus, the archives are kept eternally secure in the vaults of heaven where neither technological advancement can make it obsolete nor time can decay. Mine’s there, is yours?

Written by Tom Merriman for ‘Messages with Meaning’ and produced by Your542day

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