Do We Want to Live Forever?

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Do We Want to Live Forever?

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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 Ecclesiastes 12:1Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw near, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them;
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). 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! ” (Psalms 90:14 Psalms 90:14O satisfy us early with your mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
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).

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 Genesis 6:5And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
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, 12). After the Flood, God mercifully but gradually shortened the human life span to the normal 70 or 80 years spoken of in Psalms 90:10 Psalms 90:10The days of our years are three score years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
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. 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 Philippians 3:20-21 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.
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; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
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). 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 Genesis 1:26-27 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
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; 1 John 3:1-2 1 John 3:1-2 1 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
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). 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 Psalms 119:172 Psalms 119:172My tongue shall speak of your word: for all your commandments are righteousness.
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) produces the opposite effect.

The apostle Paul summed up God's overall assessment of King David's life in Acts 13:22 Acts 13:22And when he had removed him, he raised up to them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.
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: “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” (Psalms 16:11 Psalms 16:11You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for ever more.
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).

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” (Psalms 17:15 Psalms 17:15As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness.
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). 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 Job 14:14If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
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). 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?

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