They say that the only certainties in life are death and taxes.
A good accountant can help get rid of the taxes.
Now there are people who believe that medical science is on the verge of solving the problem of death.
Of course medical science has grown in its ability to prolong life.
Since 1960 the average life expectancy in Australia has grown from roughly 71 years to almost 83 years.
Many diseases which were a death sentence for earlier generations are now easily treatable, if not eradicated.
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Recently I listened to a discussion event called "Immortality in Adelaide."
One panelist, Michael Fisher, claimed that it was a matter of when, not if, medical science progressed to the point when not only will all disease be easily treatable or eliminated, but when even the wear and tear that we call ageing will be cured.
Even though I wish that decay and death could be entirely removed from our world, I don't believe what Fisher describes is possible.
Yet even if this dream could be made a reality tomorrow, would we would really want the kind of life we have in this world to go on forever?
There are certain things which would not be solved simply by stopping the ageing process.
For instance, human evil would still be a problem.
The most conservative estimates I can find suggest that at least 108 million people were killed in wars during the 20th century.
What might that number look like if we added in despotic governments killing their own people to maintain power?
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Or individual murders?
Nor would stopping bodies from ageing make them less fragile or susceptible to harm. After all, countless people die from such tragedies as traffic accidents, drug overdoses and natural disasters.
None of these are the result of ageing.
I would love to turn the body clock back and feel as great as I did at 21. However simply curing disease and ageing will not leave me truly immortal.
What it would do is leave me to endure all that is hard in life indefinitely.
I would love to turn the body clock back and feel as great as I did at 21.
Just imagine that you are 1000 years old and still a mere babe compared to the promise of living forever. How much pain and hardship and grief would you be carrying by then?
Relationships will still break down, life will still be filled with setbacks, loved ones who you do lose will almost exclusively die in the most tragic of circumstances.
Our world would still be the harsh, unjust place it is now. We'd simply have to go on enduring it indefinitely.
What we need is more than the ability to not die. We need what the Christian gospel speaks of as resurrection.
The Bible speaks of our world, and humanity, as being bound to the ravages of sin. As the creation of an immortal God we were made to live and enjoy God for all time.
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Yet humanity has rebelled against the God who made us. At odds with the giver and sustainer of life, we experience a world of pain and suffering and injustice and disease and decay and death.
Yet the hope of the gospel is that Jesus brings the promise of a new and better life. By dying and rising again Jesus breaks the power which sin and death have over those who would come to him.
In following Jesus is the promise of a new life which is not only infinitely longer than our lives in this world, but infinitely better. A life in which peace and justice reign. In which wars have ceased. In which there is no more death or morning or crying or pain.
Each of us is created with a desire to live forever. The gospel hope is of a resurrected life in a resurrected world in which our eternal longings are met with joy rather than frustration.
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