Posted July 29, 2010
Futuristic thinking about possible medical advances brings an interesting dilemma: Is living longer really better?
This intriguing question was recently posed in a major American newsweekly. " If we could live forever, would we really want to? " (Jonathan Weiner, Newsweek , "The Trouble With Immortality," July 5, 2010, emphasis added throughout). Clearly some intellectuals feel that immortal life would eventually become boring. One late author observed: "After all, there is such a thing as life-saturation: the point when everything is pure effort and total repetition."
Solely from a human viewpoint, perhaps there is a grain of validity to this thinking. King Solomon wrote: "Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, 'I have no pleasure in them'" (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Septuagenarians and octogenarians may have to use their God-given imaginations to make human life perpetually interesting. The most important thing is a daily relationship with our Creator. Remember the prayer of Moses: "Satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days! " (Psalm 90:14).
Been there, done that
The Newsweek essay addresses the potential for an extra-long human lifespan: " Thousand-year lives would be the ultimate in conservation . We might even grow up faster as a species if we lived long enough to pay the price for our species's sins in our own skins." But the Bible tells us that this 1,000-year life span has already been tried. Men and women in the world before the Flood of Noah's time often lived for 900 years and more. See the genealogy in Genesis chapter 5.
The price for their many sins was duly paid with suffering and death. The ultimate result was that all but eight persons perished in a global flood. The extra years only hardened the old world's addiction to evil—becoming worse and worse as the decades rolled by (Genesis 6:5, 12). After the Flood, God mercifully but gradually shortened the human life span to the normal 70 or 80 years spoken of in Psalm 90:10. Only in very recent decades have more and more people begun to live to 100 years of age and more.
The Newsweek article expressed our longed-for wishes. "We want a good long life. We also want a good life." The Bible promises human beings an abundant, continually interesting life, but ultimately in a totally different dimension— not in the human flesh. God promises us a new spirit body (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54). His Word plainly tells us that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (verse 50).
Both men and women were created in God's image so we could enjoy everlasting life with Him in His divine family (Genesis 1:26-27; 1 John 3:1-2). But first we have to both learn and live by His spiritual values while in the human flesh.
Joy, not boredom
One thing is certain. God has never been bored! Disobedience to His law remains the unrealized source of human boredom. Keeping God's commandments (defined as righteousness, see Psalm 119:172) produces the opposite effect.
The apostle Paul summed up God's overall assessment of King David's life in Acts 13:22: "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will ." What is the ultimate result of this way of life? David looked forward to eternal fellowship with God. He wrote: "In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11).
The fulfillment of this passage will happen at the time of the resurrection. "As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness" (Psalm 17:15). Death is a sleep from which we awake when God resurrects us.
Some 3,000 years ago a Middle Eastern patriarch asked this fundamental question: "If a man dies, shall he live again?" (Job 14:14). Is immortality really possible for human beings? Is everlastingly abundant, perpetually interesting immortal life written into our destiny? God says it is! To more fully understand both how and why from the Bible, request in print or download our free booklets What Is Your Destiny? and What Happens After Death?