How long can a man live? The oldest man claimed to be alive today is a 111 year-old Japanese. On 19th August, Sakari Momoi received a certificate from Guinness World Records for being the oldest man alive today. Based on biblical records, the early patriarchs lived almost a thousand years. Longevity declined gradually to today’s lifespan of less than 100 years. This concurs closely with biblical pronunciation that man shall live “threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years” (Psalms 90:10).
Man cannot choose how long he wants to live. Every man’s lifespan is dictated by Heavenly decree, totally beyond a person’s control. Tech giant just joined the fray to find ways to cheat death through its venture company Calico (Time). When man reaches his pinnacle of power, there’s nothing more challenging than to cheat death. But beyond the quest of trying to live longer, the underlying fact is not longevity per se, but what living is all about. Some see life as being full of excitement and challenges and live to the fullest. To others, life is such a pain that is not worth living at all. But there must be a more profound reason for death, and what really is life? There may be an answer, but not all will accept and agree. The quest to find the meaning of life has to be left to the individual.
Jacky Chan is a celebrated martial arts exponent and actor. He has almost anything money can buy. But he lamented he has not enough time on earth (Straits Times, 19th August 2014). In a more tragic account of a man’s life being terminated by a bunch of barbaric men, James Foley ended his earthly journey with these words : “I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope of freedom and seeing my family once again but that ship has sailed. I guess, all in all, I wish I wasn’t American” (Sydney Morning Herald, 21st august 2014). For James, time stopped ticking.
In the 2011 sci-fi thriller “In Time“, people were born with a genetic time-out self-destruct clock. In the movie, the expiration date of life can be bought and sold. That expiry date took away the mystery of life. Though fiction, the movie exposes how life would be like if man has control over death. Knowing when to die may only add to misery and some form of urgency to prolong life. But that does not make living a better experience. It has a reverse effect on living. Time is precious. Time is priceless. Treasure time with family and true friends – those know how to live and love.
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.