The Search for Immortality Hasn’t Always Been Pretty
The attempt to cheat death and achieve eternal life on earth has had a long history, and such a goal appears to be getting new attention in today’s world of science. In 2013 Google began a biotech firm whose objective is to “solve death.” And Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos has invested in a company that plans to “rejuvenate” cells in an attempt to “reverse disease.” The anti-aging industry could be worth $610 billion by 2025.
This campaign to achieve immortality began long ago. What many regard as the oldest book ever written, The Epic of Gilgamesh, is all about such an endeavor. The story revolves around King Gilgamesh losing his best friend in death before setting out on a mission to overcome death for himself. Of course, he failed.
Then there was Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China back in the 3rdcentury B.C. who was terrified by the prospect of dying. So, he outlawed any talk of death, and anyone who broke the rule was subject to a penalty of — death! When he learned someone had prophesied his death but couldn’t find the suspect, he ordered everyone in the area to be killed.
Later Qin was taken in by a con artist who promised him immortality if the emperor would finance an expedition to a certain island that supposedly had a special beverage that could grant him eternal life. But there was no such island. Some time afterward he tried to achieve the goal himself by drinking a strange substance. He died at age 49 of mercury poisoning.
Diane de Poiters was a beautiful 16th century French woman who tried to preserve her good looks by drinking gold. It was believed at the time that a stone called the Philosophers’ Stone was able to turn basic metals into eternal life-bestowing gold. Legend has it that a 14th-century Parisian alchemist named Nicolas Flamel actually had discovered such a stone, and he is still alive today!
In the past blood has often been seen as an anti-aging remedy. In 1492 Pope Innocent VII was injected with blood of children, and that practice was followed up by a recommendation that the elderly suck up the blood of children in order to turn back the hands of their biological clocks. Of course, Innocent died along with the unfortunate young blood donors. If drinking blood doesn’t help achieve immortality, how about bathing in the blood of virgins, which is what 17thcentury Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory regularly practiced?
Other attempts to gain eternal life have involved making medicines from the reproductive organs of animals and trying to find a Holy Grail which would grant immortality when a person drank from it. Failures all.
Today scientists seeking eternity are involved in cell programming which hopefully could one day achieve that goal. But, strangely, some evolutionists are now saying that death is a good thing favored by natural selection, anidea that goes against traditional Darwinism.
In any event, there is still a long way to go to achieve a life (on Earth) that never ends.
Comments: So much work to achieve eternal life when it can be obtained easily and without a penny of cost for us humans! But to achieve that goal, one must resist the temptations of the world but notresist the attempt of the Holy Spirit to enter our hearts. “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit! You are doing just what your fathers did” (Acts 7:51).
It is interesting that blood has played a major part in the history of the search for immortality. But just as Jesus turned a repugnant symbol of death, the cross, into a beautiful thing for believers, he has made blood the foundation of Christian belief and expectations of eternal life, as long as we are talking about His blood.
His blood is directly available to us in the sacrament of Holy Communion. May we regularly partake of this sacrament for the health of our souls.
“But if we walk in the light, just as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
By Warren Krug
Reference: Theo Zenou. “The long and gruesome history of people trying to live forever,” The Washington Post [May 1, 2022].
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QUESTION OF THE DAY
Why aren’t day and night exactly equal in length on the spring equinox?
Daylight officially begins when the first bit of sun peaks over the horizon and ends when the last bit disappears. If the sun were a point of light like a star and not an oval in the sky, day and night would be exactly equal.
Source: The Old Farmer’s 2022 Almanac, Robert B. Thomas, page 6.
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