“How long do I have left, Doctor?”
That’s the question my friend posed to his oncologist recently, shortly after receiving a difficult diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer. John is 83. He’s never smoked, nor regularly been around smokers.
“How much longer do you want to live?” replied the doctor.
John then proceeded to quote the industrialist and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, who was once asked how much more money a man as rich as he really needed:
“Just a little bit more.”
In the end, John’s doctor told him, statistically speaking, he has as much time left with the cancer diagnosis as without it. That’s because my friend has already lived beyond his life expectancy.
John is a Christian and a man at peace. In fact, he’s looking with great expectation and enthusiasm to Heaven. But not everyone knows with confidence where they’re going, or how to get there. As a result, there’s long been a quest to extend life on earth for as long as possible, and ideally, forever. This pursuit manifests in products, diets and even curious and controversial procedures.
Sunday’s Washington Post featured a lengthy story highlighting the emerging and exploding anti-aging industry, which is expected to generate upwards of $600 billion by 2025. The author catalogued thousands of years of recorded efforts to either lengthen or preserve life.
Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, greatly feared death. He spared no expense in search of the fountain of youth. He was known to drink dangerous concoctions that promised life eternal. He died at age 49 of mercury poisoning.
Others have literally drunk liquified gold and endured injections from pigs’ and dogs’ nether regions – all to reverse the inevitable march of “Father Time.”
The legendary baseball player and Red Sox icon Ted Williams died back on July 5, 2002. But twenty years later, his body is being preserved at a lab in Scottsdale, Ariz. The “Splendid Splinter” was a fan of “Cryonics” – a low-temperature freezing and storage process. It reportedly cost upwards of $250,000.
Williams’ head was severed from his body and is now stored in a steel can filled with liquid nitrogen. The rest of his body is preserved in the same substance in a 9-foot-tall steel cylinder. It’s all based on the hope cures will eventually come and the body will be resurrected.
Calico Life Sciences is a Google-owned company launched eight years ago with the goal of “solving” death. The Post article also noted their owner – Amazon magnate Jeff Bezos – recently poured a portion of his fortune into a company called Altos Labs. The Silicon Valley start-up is pursuing “biological reprogramming” – technology that promises to reverse aging and maybe even help people live forever.
It’s not going to happen.
The quest for eternal life on earth is a fool’s errand.
“No one can live forever; all will die,” we read in the Psalms. “No one can escape the power of the grave” (89:48).
The only way to “solve” death is to turn your life over to Jesus Christ. That’s when the fun really begins and where you can be assured of finding everlasting life.
Photo from Shutterstock.