Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León was noted for his trip to present-day Florida in 1513 to search for the Fountain of Youth, a legendary spring that supposedly restored the youth of anyone who drank of its waters. Today some scientists are suggesting that aging can be postponed or perhaps even eliminated by scientific means, especially since the advent of genome research, which involves decoding and creating a blueprint of the very hereditary makeup of human beings.
Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey is one of many scientists making such promises. In 2005 the prestigious MIT Technology Review offered $20,000 to anyone who could disprove de Grey’s claims for treating and curing aging. Apparently no one was up to the challenge. Now available is de Grey’s much-anticipated book, Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime.
The mere possibility of a scientific breakthrough of such magnitude is already raising questions and creating a stir of interest and controversy. One newspaper article on the subject posed the question, “Will we need religion any more?”
Interesting question! Not because it is a valid point but because of what it illustrates about human nature. Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
American King James Version×defines human nature as contrary to God and His laws. So what most people don’t realize is that the innate desire to seek independence from God underlies much of mankind’s scientific endeavors, including promises of health and extended life.
Man’s errant quest for eternal life long predates Ponce de León. The Bible tells us that Satan convinced Adam and Eve that they could be like God and live forever by partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, contrary to God’s command (Genesis 2:15-16 Genesis 2:15-16 15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:
American King James Version×; 3:1-5). Their choice to follow Satan cut them off from God, the only true source of eternal life. Many have tried to seek alternative routes to life and unfailing health ever since, oblivious to the fact that all other means are destined to fail.
Is there a Fountain of Youth? Yes, there is. It has been available to mankind for thousands of years. But sadly all who have sought it have looked in all the wrong places. Long ago God lamented, “For my people have done two evil things: They have forsaken me, the Fountain of Life-giving Water; and they have built for themselves broken cisterns that can’t hold water!” (Jeremiah 2:13 Jeremiah 2:13For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
American King James Version×, The Living Bible).
Even if science could delay or temporarily reverse aging, war and crime and other sources of death would still remain, since human nature is at the root of war and crime (James 4:1-4 James 4:1-4 1 From where come wars and fights among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not.
3 You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it on your lusts.
4 You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
American King James Version×). To put it another way, science may be able to increase quantity of life but not quality of life. So how many people would want to live for a thousand years or more with a severely degraded quality of life?
A few years ago I wrote a longer article on this subject that appeared in The Good News magazine (July/August 2000 ). While researching for the article I went to a used book store to find a book on the subject. When I told the young lady who waited on me about the article I was writing, she promptly replied, “Why would anyone want to live forever? I certainly wouldn’t.”
Her words make an excellent point! What good is life without a vibrant purpose for living? Even for God’s people, a greatly prolonged physical existence in this world is just not the life to pursue as their primary goal. The apostle Paul wrote, “… if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world” (1 Corinthians 15:19 1 Corinthians 15:19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
American King James Version×, New Living Translation).
The Bible presents eternal life as more than a chronological event. Jesus describes eternal life in terms of a relationship with Him and God the Father (John 17:3 John 17:3And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
American King James Version×). “It is not just unending life in the sense of prolonged duration. Rather it is a quality of life, with its quality derived from a relationship with God” (New English Translation notes on John 17:3 John 17:3And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
American King James Version×). God’s offer of eternal life—immortality—is far more exciting than anything that science can offer.
What’s in your future? Let me suggest that you take the time to thoroughly comprehend God’s purpose for your life, for what lies beyond this temporary physical existence. Simply download or request our free and enlightening publications: What is Your Destiny? and The Road to Eternal Life .