“ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘ I do believe, help me with my unbelief.’ Mark 9:23 . The dad says this to Jesus, and then his son is healed.
In 1989, Frances Fukuyama wrote an essay called, The End of History . He was reflecting on the end of communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The book, Remains of the Day, written by Kazuo Ishiguro, is supposed to be the perfect novel. Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature a few weeks ago. I think we are always trying to predict the future, and know when the end of the story is going to happen. Biblical prophets were trying to see the future, through the lens of the lives they were living.
Yuval Noah Harari, a Jewish scholar living Jerusalem, has written the book, Homo Deus . As other authors and prophets, he sees the world coming to a new stage. For the most part, the world has ended famine, disease and wars. He documents that we grow enough food, although it is unevenly distributed. He states that we do not have epidemics of disease anymore. We have ended polio, smallpox, the Plague and other diseases like AIDS. And in relative terms, there are not as many wars happening either. In the space of 20 pages, he brings us to this place in history.
Then he says on page 21 that, “In the twenty first century humans are likely to make a serious bid for immortality”. And this is not about life after death, but it is life here on this earth. His title means that humans will become almost like God. The advances in science and health will allow us to live forever here on this earth. I am sure that there is other scientists or philosophers writing different ideas about the future. Our bodies will become part computer, part robot and part human and in the end part God. He goes through the science, and it is a compelling idea.
For those people who are Christian, they/we want to go to heaven, but not just now. We do not want to have any pain, or any illness, or anything go wrong with our lives. So, are Christians going to buy into this prolonging of life for forever, if it is available. What might it mean for me to live till 150 years? Maybe after 200 years, we can finally truly understand God. No more room for faith then.
This connects to all those questions around the end of life. How much treatment do I want? I want them, the health care staff, to restart my heart if I have a heart attack at 49, but do I want the same treatment when I am 80. But what if they can reverse aging on my body and my mind. What will it mean for me to retain my soul, if my body is made up of different moving parts?
If we think we can prolong life … forever, do we now become our own Gods? Since, I depend on the health care system to try to keep me healthy, am I already moving God out of my life. What does it mean for our faith, if more and more of the formerly unanswerable questions are being answered? What if we can live forever . Discuss.