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Pastor's Column

This is Eternal Life?

Pastor’s Column

Easter Sunday 2023

Photo by George Becker on Pexels

“For as the Father has life in himself,

so he has given to the Son also that he might have life in himself.”

John 5:26

Science fiction has had a long fascination with the idea of being able to transfer one’s consciousness, or the essence of who we are, into some kind of machine or computer. For example, I remember an old Star Trek episode that explored this possibility and the inherent drawbacks in the plot line. So it was with more than a little fascination that I ran across an article in a recent science article that highlighted ongoing research with the goal of ultimately doing just this very thing…mapping the brain in such a way as to transfer its processes to a machine and thus live forever… but on earth. Would you be willing to try this when your body wears out? Does living forever in our current existence appeal to you? Really?

Of course, one is naturally skeptical that this kind of thing could ever actually capture the essence of our humanity, but for sake of argument, what kind of immorality would this bring, anyway? Is this the best we can hope to do as human beings? Such an existence, even if it were possible, ultimately sounds more like purgatory than paradise.

Christians have had another, more practical answer to the pressing issue of our mortality for almost 2000 years. Notice what Jesus says in John’s gospel: Jesus has life in himself. Our life is borrowed. Our lives are by their very nature finite and limited. We began our existence in a moment of time, our conception, our life borrowed from our parents. Our bodies, made of dust, must one day return to the earth.

We are in fact created beings; our existence comes from God. Our modern technology seeks to create and manipulate life, when in fact it cannot even sustain it. Our life is borrowed from God, whereas Jesus, as the Son of God, is life itself. He doesn’t borrow life from anyone: he is life.The Lord has existence within him and offers this eternal existence to us who believe in him. This is the very essence of our faith!

Even if it were possible to live forever on earth as some kind of android/computer consciousness, there would come a time, after eons of earthly existence, when we would have seen and done everything. What kind of world would this be if tyrants never died and the rich just kept getting richer and never had to pass it along? Nothing on earth satisfies us in the end because God put the essence of eternity in our hearts, whether we realize it or not. This is why we are driven to try to find life in other parts of the universe and to even try to build a machine that would theoretically enable us to live forever on earth. A life such as this, but without God, can never ultimately satisfy the human heart. Instead, we put our hope in Jesus Christ raised from the dead: Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, who you have sent.” (John 17:3)

Father Gary


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