Death is a fearsome enemy. We fight it with all our might. We may try to deny it when it strikes someone dear to us. Or, in the exuberance of youth, we may imagine that the enemy will never come to claim us—a delusion we cling to as long as we can.
Few thought more about immortality than the ancient Pharaohs. They spent much of their own lives—as well as the lives of thousands of workers—in an attempt to conquer death. The pyramids they built testify to their quest—and to their failure.
Chinese emperors followed a similar dream of immortality, albeit through a different route—that of the mythical elixir of life. Emperor Qin Shi Huang demanded that his alchemists find a magic potion that could keep death at bay. But many of their concoctions contained toxic mercury, and one of their mixtures likely killed him.
In the 16th century C.E., the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León sailed the Caribbean reportedly in search of a fountain of youth. He discovered Florida, U.S.A., in the process but died a few years later after a skirmish with Native Americans. And no fountain of youth has ever been found.
The Pharaohs, emperors, and explorers all sought to conquer death. And who of us would have belittled their goal, even if we disliked their methods? Deep down, practically all of us want to keep living.
CAN DEATH BE CONQUERED?
Why do we rebel against death? The Bible explains the reason. Regarding our Creator, Jehovah God,* it says: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has even put eternity in their [mankind’s] heart.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) We would like to enjoy earth’s beauty forever, not for a mere 80 years or so. (Psalm 90:10) That is our heart’s desire.
Why did God put “eternity” in our hearts? Merely to frustrate us? That is unthinkable. On the contrary, God promises us that there will come a victory over death. The Bible repeatedly speaks about the elimination of death and God’s promise of everlasting life.—See the accompanying box, “Victory Over Death.”
Jesus Christ himself clearly stated: “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) So the battle against death is not a hopeless one. Jesus confirms, however, that only God can win that battle for us.
Jehovah is the name of God as revealed in the Bible.