In recent news, Facebook co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, and Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, made a joint announcement that they will be giving $33 million in awards to eleven scientists. Each $3 million award is to fund research that they hope will result in extending the human lifespan.
Already, the pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline has been experimenting with the red wine derivative resveratrol which, they say, may be able to help humans live to the age of 150.
Seemingly, living forever is something everybody wants. Well, maybe not in their present body or under their present circumstances, but in an enhanced body and under utopian circumstances the prospect sounds pretty sweet. So mankind has its intelligentsia, academia, and moneyed elite tackling both the problems of human decay and socio-economic injustice.
I shout a genuine hurrah to those in the field of medicine who work hard to help eliminate disease and alleviate human suffering at home and abroad. And I extend a hearty thank-you to philanthropists who fund clean drinking water where there is none, micro-loans for the poor in developing nations, and orphanages and clinics for the unfortunate. Certainly, there is always more that we all can do to ease people’s suffering and to improve their quality of life.
There is, sadly, a fly in the ointment, however. It’s like the proverbial Band-Aid on cancer. If we only treat the problem cosmetically or if we treat only the symptoms, but don’t treat the root cause of the problem, the disease will always be there to metastasize and strike us elsewhere.
We Can’t Solve What We Refuse to See
Modernism has not been totally swallowed up by post-modernism in Western culture. There still remains the modernist—almost religious—belief that science can eventually solve pretty much all of mankind’s problems.
Except by happy accident, what we cannot solve is a problem that we refuse to recognize. And most mainstream, Western science does not recognize the root problem that afflicts mankind, both physically and socio-economically. Mainstream, Western science is monistic. It accepts only the material as real, denying the supernatural or spiritual. Therein lies the problem.
The problems of pain, decay, aging, death, poverty, and despotism all have the same common root. And that root is spiritual in nature, not physical.
Created to Live
God created mankind in his own image. We were designed to live forever, and the first man and woman lived in a literal Garden of Eden—no pain, no aging, no poverty, no power struggles. There were almost no “Thou shalt not’s” in the Garden. Really, there was only one—“Thou shalt not eat of [the fruit of this one, single tree].” (Genesis 2:17) To do so would constitute unbelief in the character of our Maker.
God had clearly said, “In the very day when you eat from it, you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) God had inferred that if man ever rebelled against his Maker by misusing man’s free will (a part of man’s made-in-the-image-of-God essence), it would bring about a terrible rift in the natural order of Creation.
But man bought a lie. He decided that it would be better for him to be a god than to live as a being created by God in the image of God. From that moment, man began to age and to decay. Genesis Chapter 5 is a testimony to this. As old as people lived to be in those antediluvian times, every one of them died.
Sin—rebellion against our Creator—is the cause of death (Romans 3:23). Sin does not eradicate man’s ability to think, but it twists the way man thinks. (How did Adam and Eve think they could hide from God in Genesis 3:8?) It sometimes causes people to treat one another horribly.
Romans 5:12 says that sin entered the world through one man, and death entered the world through sin. Death spread to all people because all sinned.
Now mankind can continue to try to live forever on our own. We can try human cloning. We can couple that with nanotechnology and computer science to try to upload our memories and personalities from one body into another in an effort to achieve virtual immortality. We can try to force every citizen of earth to conform to a utopian behavioral ideal devised and enforced by a governing elite. Will science find Eden? No, because science will still not have dealt with the root problem—sin.
Problem Solved for All Who Want It
Here’s the good news, though. Romans 5:17 says, “For if, by the transgression of the one man, death reigned through the one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ!”
Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, solved the sin problem by taking your sin and mine on himself and dying in our place. (1 Peter 2:24) This same Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though he dies, and the one who believes in me and lives will never die.” (John 11:25)
As noble as the intentions of Zuckerberg and Brin may be, I’ll place my trust in Jesus Christ to find the answer to overcoming death.