Man is mortal. One day we will die. Some say it is natural, it comes to us all.
Yet something in us rebels against the fact; something buried deep senses that we were not made to die. Just because something normally happens doesn’t mean it is natural.
A life cut short by illness or accident; a life ruined by the perverse and wicked actions of another; a life gone before it even had a chance to begin—something in us cries out at the unfairness of it all. Is this really what life is about?
The Bible teaches that death is an enemy, an intruder in God’s world. It also teaches that God has set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We are wired to know that there is more than this, and that life is meant to be better than this.
And so mankind tries to find ways to achieve immortality. Some who have finances cryogenically preserve themselves in the hope that in the future cures for their diseases will be found. But even if it were to work, who would want to live forever in a world that is so marred and ruined?
Others seek immortality in terms of achievement, leaving a legacy—yet, as many who have achieved greatness have found, this does not satisfy. And what purpose is there in suffering now to leave a legacy which will bring you personally no joy (and will one day be surpassed). I saw a clip recently of former rugby great, Jonny Wilkson, saying just this in a brutally honest interview.
I was reading a novel over the summer, called ‘The Hangman’s Daughter’ by Oliver Pötzsch. Although the novel is fictional, the central character is someone from his own family tree, something that led him to investigate his genealogy. In a note at teh end of the book, after describing this search, he comments:
“In the past few years, genealogical research has become increasingly popular. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that we are trying, in a world of increasing complexity, to create a simpler and more understandable place for ourselves. No longer do we grow up in large families. We feel increasingly estranged, replaceable and ephemeral. Genealogy gives us a feeling of immortality. The individual dies; the family lives on.”
“Genealogy gives us a feeling of immortality.” If we can’t live forever, we can connect in to something that seems to go on forever.
Again the search for immortality. But yet it’s not really it, is it? Like the cryogenic solution and the legacy solution, the genealogy solution doesn’t actually provide the result we want. It’s a ‘making-do’ solution—making do with the closest approximation. But it isn’t really what we want.
Deep down we know immortality is possible. But we end up looking for it down so many blind alleys, and are running out of time. What if it was hiding in plain sight?
Jesus said “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25)
“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Your deep longing is right—so don’t miss the answer.