How Long Can You Live?
MOST of us will readily admit that there are problems along life’s pathway. Yet, we are happy to be alive. We are not satisfied with just our childhood or a short life span; we would like to live for many years. Nevertheless, death seems inevitable. Is it?
Is it possible to delay death? Can our life span be extended?
Extended Life Span?
In 1990 a news report heralded the possibility of extending the human life span to “five score years and ten.” No doubt this was a veiled reference to these words of the Bible psalmist Moses: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10, King James Version) So the Bible gives 70 or 80 years as the average human life span. But what is the probable number of years a person can expect to live today?
A report published by WHO (World Health Organization) in 1992 placed the average life expectancy worldwide at 65 years. According to WHO, this was “expected to grow by about four months per year for the next five years, mainly because of reducing infant mortality.” Even if a medical miracle prevented the death of anyone before the age of 50, however, Time magazine says that in the United States, “the increase in average life expectancy would be only 3 1/2 years.”
Why Is Life So Short?
Dr. Jan Vijg of the Netherlands’ Institute of Experimental Gerontology argues that just as certain diseases are linked to defects in the structure of human body cells, so the process of aging appears to be influenced by genetic factors. Some researchers believe that we could live longer if a “handful of master genes” could be replaced as we grow older. Others label such a proposal “simplistic.”
In any case, scientists admit that “there seems to be a kind of built-in biological limit programmed into the cells of the human body,” reports Time magazine. Even those who contend that we are “programmed to stay alive” concede that “something goes wrong.” Indeed, at 65, 70, or 80 or a few more years, our life is “soon cut off” in death, as the Bible says.
Yet, the Christian apostle Paul of the first century C.E. confidently predicted: “As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing.” (1 Corinthians 15:26) How can death be brought to an end? Even if it is, how can you cope with the death of loved ones today?