Can We Live Forever Without God?

By Mark A. Kellner

As the daily rundown of obituary notices in the morning paper or online will tell you, death is the “end point” of every human life on the planet.

Psalm 90:10 makes it rather clear: “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”

But is that really the case?

A growing number of people, including some Christian clergy and believers, are looking to technological advances in order to achieve “eternal” life—or something quite close: a 500-year lifespan.

The movement is called “transhumanism,” or “Human+,” and, according to advocate Mark O’Connell, quoted in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, “It is their belief that we can and should eradicate aging as a cause of death; that we can and should use technology to augment our bodies and our minds; that we can and should merge with machines, remaking ourselves, finally, in the image of our own higher ideals.”

According to The Guardian, the movement promises “no death and an enhanced life.” Joi Ito, a scholar who directs the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, wrote a Wired magazine essay on “The Responsibility of Immortality,” describing the history and growth of the transhumanism movement. According to Ito, transhumanists see no real difference between taking “baby” aspirin to avoid heart trouble and seeking to prolong life via technology. Trans-human advocates “contend that there is no categorical difference between many modern medical procedures and the quest to beat death; it’s just a matter of degree.”

Micah Redding, director of the Christian Transhumanist Association, told Religion News Service (RNS) that discussing how science and technology can extend life and consciousness is “a conversation that calls us, that challenges us to develop a deeper theology of technology. That then allows us to enter into these conversations about where technology is going, what it means to advocate for positive, relational values for our human future.”

Not everyone in the transhumanist community welcomes the participation of self-identified Christians in the process. Many transhumanists are secular and are suspicious of those who voice faith in Christ but also want to participate in the “Human+” conversation, Redding said. He’s also heard from Christians who believe transhumanism is a way of “ushering in the Antichrist.”

Though not going quite as far as invoking the antichrist designation, Russell Moore, who leads the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told RNS that a “Christian transhumanist” made about as much sense as a “carnivorous vegan”—the words contradict each other.

“Scripture tells us how to transcend death, and it’s not through our own technological prowess,” Moore said.

In chapter 11 of John’s Gospel, Jesus offers this assurance to Martha, whose brother Lazarus has died—and whom Jesus will soon raise from the dead: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (verse 25).

There was no need to “download” the contents of Lazarus’ brain to a computer—something transhumanists contemplate as part of their life-extending future. No space-age technology is required to fulfill Jesus’ statement. What we must do, however, is believe.

Yet the doubters persist: Something else must happen for us to live eternally, whether it’s technology or our own merits. Or, maybe, this whole “death” thing is just a pause button on the “livestream” of existence, that after physical death one’s “soul” lives on forever, perhaps returning as a butterfly or a mongoose.

The Bible offers clear, unambiguous information that answers the big questions of life, death, and the afterlife. You can learn more by checking out Amazing Facts’ free Study Guide “Are The Dead Really Dead?” Click here to get started. And while the lesson itself can be viewed from your web browser, there’s no extra technology required to find real answers!

Comments

NOTE: If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.


Back To Top