Perspectives

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Living hundreds of years works only where goodness flourishes

In recently published articles, “experts”, so to speak, claim that it will soon be possible for human beings to live up to 1,000 years. All we need to do is make some adjustments to our cells or DNA and we can live for hundreds of years. They are very confident that they are but a few years away from turning a 60-year-old body back into a 30-year-old body.

While the science behind this may be truly astounding, the wisdom associated with it seems, well, absent.

– If it costs me $ 400 to get an xray when I fall off a roof, what’s it going to cost me to have a DNA and cellular makeover so that I can live hundreds of years? Anyone think the impoverished from the streets of Calcutta will be ushered to the front of the line? Such biotechnology will be made available to the rich, especially celebrities who can give testimonials about the wonders of the procedure and share their plans for owning a palace on every continent 300 years from now. People are unfair. People are self-centered. People look to score points with the rich and famous. That’s human nature. This means that the rich and poor, and the famous and not-so-famous, will not be given equal opportunity to live such long lives. That makes this endeavor immoral.

– Human beings have biases. There are people we don’t like. Liberals may not like conservatives. Republicans may not like Democrats. Giants fans may not like Cowboys fans. Those who control access to such biotechnology will also have biases. Do you really think those biases won’t come into play when it’s time to get your “live-500-years” pill? People whose favorite color is green know that if they just keep the treatment from the people whose favorite color is blue that eventually the blue people will all die off. The world will only have people whose favorite color is green. The political agendas that will be immersed in the employment of this technology makes this endeavor immoral.

– On Monday, a man spends his life savings on the treatment to live another 300 years. On Tuesday, he is killed by a drunk driver. This technology makes sense only in a world where there are no highway accidents, drug pushers, serial murderers, industrial accidents, incidents of domestic violence, suicides, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, house fires, plane and train crashes, plagues, or diseases. People are still going to die at early ages, even if their DNA has been upgraded. Death does not come merely by aging! Absent of an effort to fix these causes of death, it makes this endeavor a bit foolish.

– Imagine if Hitler was able to live 1,000 years. What could he have done? In a mere 12 years in power, he was responsible for the deaths of over 10 million people. What could he have done if he had 500 years to work with? Giving long life to people whose hearts are dedicated to evil is a recipe created by a fool. True, none of us would walk up to Charles Manson and offer him a pill to help him live another 300 years. However, we might give the pill to Dennis, the cute little boy who lives next door. However, we have no idea that Dennis will one day go on a shooting rampage at his school. Since we have no way of knowing who will do good and who will do evil with their long life, it makes this endeavor a bit of insanity.

– The earth’s population is stabilized by a fact of life – as some people are born, others die. Imagine a world where the average person lives for centuries. Uh, think people – with such bodies, they will be able to parent hundreds if not thousands of children. Our planet will be quickly taxed to provide enough resources to feed and sustain the life of an exploding population. Does anyone else smell the word “genocide” associated with this biotechnology? Leaders of the world will be easily tempted to decide to cope with the overpopulation crisis by eliminating the “less than desirable”. That makes this endeavor immoral.

The aspirations of these scientists are a wonderful example of the difference between knowledge and wisdom. It is through knowledge that technologies are advanced. It is through wisdom that they are applied. Knowledge without wisdom is a path to chaos of unimaginable proportions. It seems our scientist friends fail to grasp the foolishness of their pursuit.

Perhaps more significantly, these scientists seem to believe this life is heaven-on-earth. What a wonderful place to live for centuries – with poverty, addiction, destruction, wickedness, evil, heartache, torture, crime, and disease! Scientists, enjoy living in this world for hundreds of years. I’d rather die in a few decades and then be in a place where goodness flourishes. Where there is no rich and poor. Where people don’t have biases. Where there is no evil. Where there is no death because God ended it. That’s the place to live for a 1,000 years!

In Genesis 6:3, God said that people will not live more than 120 years. Submitting this sentence for understatement of the year, maybe God is aware of all of these issues above and He is keeping our world from even more chaos by keeping our lives relatively short. Scientists, a loving God might really know what’s best for the human race. It’s called wisdom.


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God’s sovereignty and our freedom of choice

There are many things that confuse the heck out of me.  Many of them wear a skirt.  🙂  To be fair to the fairer sex, I listen to my own counsel 24 hours a day and that can make anyone bewildered.

However, on the issue of God’s sovereignty and our freedom of choice, I find nothing to be confused about.  The alleged confusion arises when we believe God has given people the freedom to do as they please while at the same time God manipulates people to His pleasure like pawns on a chess board.  Which is it?  Either the pawns move space to space on their own or they stand still, waiting for God to make His play in the game.  You can’t have both be true.  That makes no sense!

Actually, it does make sense.

The key to understanding this is to grasp the breadth of God’s knowledge. He knows every action we have ever taken.  He knows every thought we have ever had.  He knows every preference and value that we have.  He knows every emotion we have ever felt.  He knows every relationship we have ever had.  He knows every conversation we have ever been involved in.  He watched and took notes of how we responded to other people’s words and behaviors.  He has observed how we have responded to situations and circumstances in our lives. He not only has this knowledge but He also knows how to perfectly sort and categorize all these facts about ourselves.  He knows our patterns, tendencies, and inclinations.

In other words, to God, we are extremely predictable.  He simply can predict our next move with 1000% accuracy.

However, God has even more knowledge.  His understanding is far more complex.  I’ve never been on a safari with a lion charging at me from the left and a rhinoceros charging me from my right.  However, God is capable of placing me in that predicament in His mind and He would know exactly how I would respond.  In other words, God doesn’t need to actually put us in a situation to know exactly how we will respond in it.  He can figure that out with precision in the imagination of His awesome mind.

God not only has this amazing knowledge of us but He has the same knowledge of every other human being.  Every human being is as predictable to Him as my Shitzu’s response is to me when she hears the treat drawer open.  Throw into the mix that God knows everything that is going on in the natural world, such as every cell that grows or dies or every grain of sand that is blown in the wind and what effects will come from these things, you can quickly conclude that everything is perfectly predictable to God.

God knows what every human being will choose in any circumstance they are in.  Each and every choice in our free will was known by God at the creation of the world.  He then simply makes His plans accordingly.

Let me illustrate.  Nicole is the mother of 5-year-old Jeffrey.  Nicole knows that when Jeffrey arrives at the amusement park, he is going to make a beeline for the Ferris wheel.  Sure enough, when Jeffrey gets out of the car he practically drags his mother to the amusement ride, eager to climb on board and go up into the sky and touch the clouds.  When they arrive at the Ferris wheel, Nicole’s best friend Susan is there with her children Emily and Trevor.  Nicole made plans with Susan based upon her instinctive knowledge of Jeffrey’s free will to choose to run to the Ferris wheel.

God is no different with us.  He knows what we will choose and He makes plans accordingly.  Perhaps you really did have the choice to choose one college over another.  However, God knew in advance you would make that choice and He was preparing for your arrival on campus while you were still pulling the little girl’s hair in front of you at the 2nd grade music recital.  Preparing?  God already knew what students, professors, and administrators would also choose to be on campus when you are an 18-year-old freshmen.  He was orchestrating “chance” meetings that would occur when a snow storm shuts down campus.  You see, God knows in advance that you will choose to like that cute co-ed and He knows she will choose to be attracted to your smile.  It was not “chance” that you ended up seated next to each other on the first day of Biology 101.  God knew that she will change you in ways He wants you to be changed and the same is true for her.

It’s all part of His master plan to achieve His desired “checkmate” as the pieces of the chess board choose to move on their own..


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Who invented compassion?

Photo Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auschwitz_concentration_camp#mediaviewer/File:Birkenau_gate.JPG

It is January 1944.  You are able to walk invisibly around Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp, in Poland.  You are witness to unspeakable evil, crimes that defy description.  You see suffering beyond comprehension.

You enter the SS guard barracks and witness something entirely different.  They are laughing, enjoying a feast of delicious food and alcohol.  They are in great physical shape.  They talk about the ladies in their life and their plans for after the war.  They speak of the money they are going to make and the wonderful travels and experiences they will have.  One of the guards uses obscenity to describe a Jewish woman who fought going into the gas chamber earlier in the day.  How dare she defy him?  Who did she think she was?  Hah, she’s now ashes in the wind, the $%&^#!

It’s at this moment you long for total destruction…of the guard barracks.  You imagine the most horrific death you can think of for each of these guards!  You want them to suffer unimaginable pain!  How could they be so heartless?  How could they lack so much compassion?  How could there be no mercy in their hearts?

Everyone in the camp, including inmates and guards on duty, are startled by the explosion.  The SS guard barracks has just been destroyed in a massive fireball.  All of the guards inside must be dead.

You walk through the camp with a peace in your heart and a smile on your face.  Justice has been served.

I am quite certain that there is something in your heart that applauds such justice.  You have an instinct – evil needs to be punished and to be punished harshly!

I have had conversations with people from time to time who say they cannot understand how the God of the Old Testament could destroy entire nations like He did.  Where was His compassion?  Where was His mercy?  He seems like a God that loves violence and suffering, the kind of God who would create a death camp in Germany.  “I’ll have nothing to do with such a nasty God!”

However, maybe you have missed the point entirely.  Maybe what God did destroying nations in the OT was akin to blowing up the Nazi SS guard barracks.  From what I understand, the nations that inhabited the Middle East prior to the coming of the Israelites were unimaginably evil.  We are horrified with reports that terrorists are slaughtering children in 2015.  However, sacrificing your child to your god was apparently quite common place in the region back in ancient times.  Parents took their children to be slaughtered to satisfy the harsh requirements of the god’s they worshipped.

That is injustice!  That’s the kind of thing that God sees and says “I can’t tolerate that!”  Instead of setting off a bomb in the barracks, He brings in the mighty army of the Israelites who put an end to such horrors.  That Israeli army has been taught, in the Ten Commandments, that the killing of innocent life is wrong.

It is not God who does evil in this world.  It is God who liberates the innocent from evil and often at the cost of the lives of the perpetrators.  We were not there in the Middle East in ancient times.  We didn’t see all the evil that God did, who actually did walk invisibly through the camps, beholding unimaginable suffering.  It is so easy for us to picture the inhabitants of that region back then to be nice folks who work hard, plant gardens, and sing songs of love around the campfire.

I believe God’s alleged “violence” in the Old Testament is God’s response to those who commit evil against innocent people.  His “violence” even took the form of the Allied armies in WWII who put an end to both Nazi Germany and the suffering in extermination camps.

Who invented love, kindness, compassion, mercy, and generosity?  Where did these traits in the human race come from?  A group of Nazi SS guards didn’t stop a poker game to say, with sincerity, “let’s try being kind to everyone now.”  These qualities were given to mankind who was designed to express the character of God.  That’s who He is!

I truly believe the story of God’s dealing with the Israelites throughout the Old Testament goes something like this – “Would you stop disobeying me so I don’t have to punish you!!!  Please!!!  I don’t want to punish you!!!  Stop already!!!”  But, they didn’t stop disobeying and neither do you or I.

Imagine I bring to you a cold glass of water on a hot summer day.  “This is wonderful!” you say out loud.  However, before I hand you the glass I put a drop of poison into the glass.  Just a small tiny-wheeney drop.  Would you drink the water?

No?

Ah, come on!  It’s just a drop!  You can overlook that drop of poison.  Just pretend it isn’t there.  Drink up!  Enjoy!

You wouldn’t drink it.  Even a drop of poison would be bad for you.

Well, even the smallest act of disobedience by us is like drop of poison in God’s glass of water.  His holiness and perfect glory cannot tolerate even the most microscopic act of rebellion.  It would be a stain on Him.  Such an attempt to poison God with our disobedience is as horrific to Him as what you saw walking invisibly around Auschwitz.  The only reason God doesn’t blow up your “guard barracks” is because Christ got “blown up” on your behalf.  He took the punishment you deserved.  Now, God will drink your gift in full and welcome you to be with Him because the poison is gone from it.  What He and Christ did in order to accept your water is amazingly loving, generous, compassionate, merciful, and kind, the traits God invented.


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