WHO OF us does not want to enjoy a long and happy life? Just think how wonderful it would be if we could live forever in health and happiness! We could spend more time with loved ones, travel the world, develop new skills, grow in wisdom, and learn thoroughly about whatever interests us, to our heart’s content.
Is such a desire unnatural? Far from it! The Scriptures tell us that God has put that desire within us. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) They also say that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Does it make sense that a loving God would create in us a desire to live forever and then make that desire impossible to realize?
Clearly, death is no friend. In fact, the Bible describes it as an unwelcome “enemy.” (1 Corinthians 15:26) For some it comes early; for others it comes later. But it always comes. For many, thinking about it is uncomfortable, even frightening. Will this enemy ever be conquered? Is that really possible?
EVIDENCE FOR HOPE
Would it surprise you to know that it was never God’s purpose for humans to die? The Bible book of Genesis provides evidence that it was God’s purpose for humans to live forever on earth. Jehovah God took great care to prepare the earth for human habitation. Then he created the first man, Adam, and placed him in a paradise, a garden in Eden. After that, “God saw everything he had made, and look! it was very good.”—Genesis 1:26, 31.
Adam was created perfect, in God’s image. (Deuteronomy 32:4) Adam’s wife, Eve, too was without defect of any kind, perfect in mind and body. Jehovah said to them: “Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving on the earth.”—Genesis 1:28.
To fill the earth with their offspring would take time. Eve would have children, and those children would bear children until the earth became fully inhabited just as God intended. (Isaiah 45:18) Is it reasonable to think that Jehovah would offer Adam and Eve that prospect if they were meant to live only long enough to see their children and perhaps grandchildren, and never know the outcome?
Think, too, about the commission to have the animals in subjection. Adam was told to name the animals, and that would have taken time. (Genesis 2:19) But to have them in subjection would have meant that he would have had to learn about them and to understand how to care for them. That would have taken far more time.
So God’s instructions to fill the earth and to have animals in subjection indicate that the first human couple were designed to live for a long time. In fact, Adam did live for a very long time.
GOD’S PURPOSE IS FOR HUMANS TO LIVE FOREVER IN AN EARTHLY PARADISE
THEY LIVED VERY LONG LIVES
The Bible shows that humans once lived far longer than we do today. It says: “All the days of Adam’s life amounted to 930 years.” Then, it goes on to list six other men who lived for more than 900 years! They were Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Jared, Methuselah, and Noah. All of them lived before the Flood of Noah’s day—Noah having lived for 600 years before the Flood came. (Genesis 5:5-27; 7:6; 9:29) How was such a long life possible?
All those men lived close to the time when humans were perfect. Likely that was a major factor in their longevity. But how is perfection linked to living a long life? And how will death be conquered? To find the answers, we first need to understand why we grow old and die.