Curing the Problem of Aging

Found via Aubrey de Grey, a Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty geneti­cist, has said, “The first per­son to live to be 1,000 years old is cer­tain­ly alive today; indeed, he or she may be about to turn 60 … Whether they real­ize it or not, bar­ring acci­dents and sui­cide, most peo­ple now 40 years or younger can expect to live for centuries.”

And as is to be expect­ed, prob­a­bly a major­i­ty of sci­en­tists dis­miss de Grey’s claims, but there are oth­ers who sup­port his research, if not nec­es­sar­i­ly the extreme­ly opti­mistic claim of liv­ing a millennium.

Frankly, I have no idea if this is possible.

Bib­li­cal­ly, I can­not deny the humans have been liv­ing short­er lifes­pans, on aver­age. I per­son­al­ly doubt any of us will ever top Methuse­lah’s impres­sive 969 years. A great deal of peo­ple believe Gen­e­sis 6:3 lim­its mankind’s lifes­pan to 120 years, but I’m fair­ly cer­tain (and I feel it is more obvi­ous) that the Lord here speaks of mankind in gen­er­al and that the 120 years was the time peri­od between then and the Deluge.

Lat­er, we see in Psalm 90:10 an obser­va­tion about man’s lifes­pan being in the 70s to 80s range; how­ev­er, that does not seem to be a reg­u­la­tive statement.

Per­haps the most per­ti­nent verse is Hebrews 9:27, which tells us that it is appoint­ed unto man once to die. In oth­er words, death is not a nat­ur­al thing — it is an appoint­ed, cer­tain thing. “Death has your num­ber” indeed, but more like­ly it is the Lord, wait­ing for the pre­or­dained time to pull you from this earth into eternity.

I do not see longevi­ty research ever threat­en­ing our appoint­ments with death. There are far too many caus­es in this world for sci­ence to stop them all. Frankly, mankind is far too cre­ative when it comes to killing each oth­er — whether we Super­size our hearts into fail­ure or we atom­ize our ene­mies with big­ger, bad­der bombs.

What I did observe in the few com­ments on the Health­bolt post, how­ev­er, is that peo­ple seem to think that with that much time, they would get bored. If I may, let me make a few obser­va­tions about that:

  • If bore­dom is implic­it in hav­ing a longer life, then I claim that as sup­port for my belief that in sec­u­lar world­views, life is with­out pur­pose or val­ue.
  • If bore­dom is implic­it in hav­ing a longer life, then it seems an admis­sion that our enjoy­ment of oth­ers’ com­pa­ny — whether spouse, friend, or fam­i­ly — is based sole­ly on nov­el­ty rather than sin­cere & last­ing love.

I hope no Chris­t­ian would claim that. Indeed, to be giv­en 1,000 years of life here on earth would be a tremen­dous boon to our faith — imag­ine hav­ing 1,000 years to share the gospel with count­less mil­lions (if not bil­lions). Imag­ine the degree to which we’d come to under­stand the Scrip­tures if giv­en hun­dreds of years to study them.

And imag­ine the tremen­dous encour­age­ment it will be to your faith after hun­dreds of years of see­ing “sci­ence false­ly so called” fail repeat­ed­ly while the Scrip­tures and the Church still stand strong. We would tru­ly be able to wit­ness that it is the hand of God which builds the church, and not the fee­ble efforts of man.

Yet while all of that sounds so tremen­dous, I don’t expect that I’ll live to see even 100, regard­less of what de Grey and oth­ers’ research may show. As I said, there are many oth­er ways to die, and I expect mine will be health related.

I do find it quite iron­ic that the one cause of death so many seem to pre­fer (“I hope to go in my sleep — peace­ful­ly and with­out suf­fer­ing”) will be the one cause which is cured!

And as an aside, imag­ine how crazed name addicts will get when they’re able to con­tem­plate sib sets for fam­i­lies of 80+!

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Rick Beckman