New methods of purportedly preserving life, or resuscitating it after you’re dead, are now being marketed by the immortality movement. Want to sign on?
Cryonics puts your remains in deep freeze, hoping one day technology will catch up with our desire to live forever. Ted Williams is frozen somewhere in Arizona, maybe upside down and apparently sans head, awaiting his return to the ball diamond. In order to create a sense of permanence and political legitimacy, Bolshevik supporters of Vladimir Lenin, who died in 1924, embalmed his body, a la the ancient Egyptians, in the now infamous mausoleum on Moscow’s Red Square.
Techno-utopians, as they’re sometimes called, hunger for a time when humankind can outthink God and remake itself in its own image. Robots, androids, $6 million men, bionic women, the Borg, and the latest promises to upload our minds to computer chips, fantasy culture aspires to prolong life indefinitely. It’s an idea as old as the Garden of Eden, Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth, and Frankenstein.
But the Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, KJV). No one lives forever.
While it is true death originated in the Fall and the Curse, the reality of death is not a uniformly bad thing for the advance of civilization. Yes, we eventually lost Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, but who misses Nero, Ghengis Khan, Adolph Hitler, or Pol Pot? Death sometimes is described in Scripture as the “last enemy,” but at times it’s a blessing from a Sovereign God who limits the extent and impact of evil in the world.
Western culture seems taken by the idea life must be extended at all costs, and we’ve built a health and medical life support system to make it happen. While this may not seem unwise, much of the impetus behind this movement is based upon a faulty worldview that believes life is all there is. Who wouldn’t want to extend life if you genuinely believed there’s no life in the after-life?
Saying this doesn’t mean I support euthanasia. I’m just pointing out that we’re mad for life because we aren’t as connected personally or culturally as we once were to the Giver of Life.
For the record, I believe science will continue to discover ways to preserve body parts and re-use them in other needy bodies. I’m in favor of this as long as the removed body parts are taken from the dead not the yet living. I also believe science will continue to identify or develop ways to fabricate body parts for replacing ones we’ve worn out or injured beyond repair. A lot of people are ambulatory today because doctors have developed knees, hips, and other amazing replacement parts.
On the other hand, I don’t believe science will ever develop a means for postponing death indefinitely. I don’t believe we’ll ever terminate death because death is part of living in a sin-cursed world. It is God’s accountability, the great leveler. And death comes to us all great and small.
For believers, if we know we’re “absent from the body, to be present with the Lord,” (2 Corinthians 5:8. KJV) nanoseconds after death, why worry?
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011