Is Eternal Life Possible?
Well known futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson believes that we ae very close to achieving the ability to live forever. He told The Sun in a recent interview that people under 40 living today are probably not going to die unless they have a deadly disease. He mentioned three methods that may make immortality possible: renewing of body parts, living in android bodies or living in a virtual world. He seems convinced that anyone born before 1970 will be able to attain immortality.
Humans have always toyed with the idea that living forever might someday become a reality. Stories like Tuck Everlasting and Aldous Huxley’s After Many a Summer Dies the Swan propose scenarios in which immortality might be achieved. There are many other such stories out there because eternal life seems to be everyone’s wildest dream. It’s as if somewhere hidden in the mysteries of our psyche lurks the notion that we were never meant to die.
That brings me to what’s on my heart to share with you. King Solomon wrote years ago that God “… has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Eccl. 3:11). In other words, there is an inner awareness in our soul that eternity is part of God’s design for the human race. We were made to live forever and our hearts are aware of that reality. But, king Solomon also tells us that God has not given us the ability to understand the immensity of eternity. We can know that it is true but cannot figure it all out. It’s as if God wanted us to always know that we would have to defer to Him on the subject of eternity. Perhaps we could call this faith.
Missionaries tell us that almost all cultures have the reality of eternity built into their traditions. The sense of eternity has somehow made its way into all the cultures of the world. Christian missionaries find that they can use that eternity tradition as a starting point in sharing the message of Jesus Christ.
So, is eternal life just a crazy dream of wild idealists or is there something to it? For the answer we must go to the founding document of the human race, the Bible. Jesus said in His last earthly intercession, “…you gave him authority over all flesh, so he will give eternal life to all whom you have given him. This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:2, 3). Jesus seems to be telling us that eternal life is not a scientific endeavor but the result of knowing the God of life Himself. He was also implying that eternal life was not merely a future hope but a kind of life we could possess even now.
So, life is not a biological phenomenon that developed through the evolutionary process but the gift of the living God to all who desire it. Jesus said to His disciples just before He was arrested leading to crucifixion, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6). The apostle John says of Jesus, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). We think of life as biological only but the real source of true life is the One who is Life itself and offers that life to all who desire to have it.
So, eternal life comes from knowing God and the Christ He sent to us. It is a quality of life not a quantity of years lived. People like Ian Pearson think that human beings are so capable that they will be able to solve the problem of death by using their creative abilities. Much like the architects of the Tower of Babel they aspire to reach to the heavens in the sense of doing what only God can do.
The whole issue of how life exists at all leads us to the question, “Does God exist?” No matter how much scientists dabble with the compounds made up of elements required by life and the amazing sequences bonding them together to form life’s building blocks, they always come to that dead end with the question, “How did the elements get here?” They always end up with the same question leading to God.
So King Solomon was a wise man when he said that we have a sense of eternity but not the ability to figure it out. That’s why Christians don’t come to that dead end. They know that life has always existed in God. In fact, they believe that God is life and the only way humans can have His life is to have Him.
This is the message we call the Gospel — that the unexplainable miracle called life is a person, not a thing and He makes Himself available to all who are willing to accept His gift of life. That, of course, takes it out of the hands of scientists who dabble in “things” and puts it in the hands of any person who truly seeks life. The eternal scientist Himself offers Himself free of charge to anyone willing to take the leap of faith.
Yes, eternal life is possible — in God.