People Were Made to Live!
KING XERXES was reviewing his troops prior to the great sea battle of Salamis in the year 480 before the Common Era. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, this Persian monarch shed tears as he viewed his men. Why? “I was thinking,” said the king, “and it came into my mind how pitifully short human life is—for of all these thousands of men not one will be alive in a hundred years’ time.”
Doubtless that proved true, for man’s life-span is relatively short. Concerning it, the inspired psalmist declared: “In themselves the days of our years are seventy years; and if because of special mightiness they are eighty years, yet their insistence is on trouble and hurtful things; for it must quickly pass by, and away we fly.”—Ps. 90:10.
No wonder many feel that life is too short. American author Mary Roberts Rinehart put matters this way: “A little work, a little sleep, a little love and it is all over.”
Though a person’s years of life seem so limited and “their insistence is on trouble and hurtful things,” man clings to life. In fact, for ages men have sought long life, even eternal life.
To illustrate: Indians told the Spanish explorer Ponce de León that on an island by the name of Bimini there existed a fountain capable of restoring youth to the elderly. “The Indians were actually repeating a European legend that they had heard from the white man,” says The World Book Encyclopedia.
Ponce de León went in search of Bimini, but landed on the North American mainland in the spring of 1513 C.E. Though he explored much of the coast of the present state of Florida, he, of course, never found and sipped any waters from the legendary Fountain of Youth.
Yet, why should man even dare to think of a fountain of youth? In view of the stark reality of human death, how can people conceive of everlasting life?
The reason is that people were made to live. Under, divine inspiration, wise King Solomon declared: “I have seen the occupation that God has given to the sons of mankind in which to be occupied. Everything he has made pretty in its time. Even time indefinite he has put in their heart, that mankind may never find out the work that the true God has made from the start to the finish.”—Eccl. 3:10, 11.
Almighty God, the Creator, enabled man to conceive of past and future time indefinite, or eternity. The lower animals have no such concept. Something implanted in the human mind by Jehovah God gives man the concept of limitless existence. Humans can conceive of living forever.
Perhaps, though, you feel that as far as humans are concerned everlasting life is a biological impossibility. However, Walter Sullivan stated: “The cells of our bodies (with a few exceptions, such as brain cells) are constantly replenishing themselves. It would seem that, barring accident or disease, this should continue indefinitely, but because of some subtle influence the replacement process is imperfect.”—We Are Not Alone, 1964, p. 282.
Dr. George R. Clements once stated: “If there is any one point on which leading scientists agree, it is that they can find no physiological reason in the body why man should not live forever.” And biologist William Beck commented: “I can see no reason why death, in the nature of things, need be inevitable.”
Of course, it is one thing to talk about a biological possibility and quite another to have an assurance that everlasting human life is more than a mere dream. But do you think that the Creator gave man the concept of unlimited existence for no purpose? Surely, Jehovah, “a lover of righteousness and justice,” would not unjustly give man this concept if there existed no possibility that humans could live forever.—Ps. 33:5.
The Son of God, Jesus Christ, said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Being “loyal, guileless, undefiled, separated from the sinners,” Jesus could be trusted to tell the truth. (Heb. 7:26) He would not hypocritically hold out a false hope.
If you were to read the first five chapters of the Bible book of Genesis, you would find that the original human pair were not given a limited life-span. Set before them was the prospect of eternal life. Yes, people were made to live! But man disobeyed God and thus was sentenced to death as a sinner.
So, why do people grow old and die? Because, as the apostle Paul said: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin.” Yet, Paul also stated: “The gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 5:12; 6:23) As a sinner, the perfect first man Adam forfeited life for his posterity, but the death of the perfect man Jesus in faithfulness to God provided the needed ransom price that obtained humanity’s release from bondage to sin and death.—1 Pet. 1:18, 19; 1 John 2:2.
Jesus himself put matters very well, in saying: “God loved the world [of mankind] so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) For many, that “everlasting life” will be enjoyed right here on this earth.
Interestingly, the Detroit Free Press stated: “A Baltimore doctor says that someday human life may be extended indefinitely. Does the prospect of living forever appeal to you?” In reporting on answers to that question, the newspaper indicated that 32.6 percent said Yes. From the 67.4 percent saying No, came remarks like these: “I don’t relish the thought of looking 200 years old.” “After supporting three kids and a wife for 30 years they’d have to offer me Utopia.”
Well, to the vast majority of those gaining God’s approval, the “offer” is everlasting life in human perfection in an earthly paradise. (Luke 23:43) Not only will old age be replaced by youthful vigor, but God will be with humankind. “He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.”—Rev. 21:3, 4.
Just think of the efforts that men of the past made to locate the fabled Fountain of Youth, only to be sorely disappointed. Then ask yourself: Is it not worth time and effort to gain knowledge of God’s purpose for earth and man? Indeed it is. People were made to live, and you can be among those who will enjoy life eternal.