Updated: Aug 11, 2020
Paul believes that his longevity is a punishment from God for executing Coffey, causing Paul to outlive his family and friends. How long is Paul going to live? From Scenescreen
We live in a culture that is obsessed with youth and long life. There is a lot of advice on how to delay aging and some people do live a relatively long life with little disease. Yet we all die.
Today on our culture life expectancy is between 70- 80 years old. It varies across the world and some people that live in hostile environments will die much younger.
The book of Genesis tells us that Methuselah lived to be 969, his grandson, Jared, was 962 when he died, and Noah's was 950 when he died.
There have been many theories for theses long lifespans. The Bible does not give us reasons for their long life.
Perhaps Adam and Eve were created to live forever and sinning ultimately diluted their immortality. Also, it has been speculated that disease and illness had not evolved to what we see now so people were healthier longer, much longer. Another theory that has been floated is that extended age was necessary to populate the earth. Maybe diet played a role.
The global flood seems to be a marker for many things changing including lifespans. Lifespans dropped dramatically and did so for a long time.
By the time of Moses (who lived 120 years), lifespans were much lower almost to where we are today. Moses declared, “The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).
“There are more centenarians living today than ever before. The U.N. estimated there were 343,000 centenarians worldwide in 2012, a figure projected to grow to 3.2 million by 2050. The United States has the most centenarians, with an estimated number of about 80,000. Japan follows, with an estimated 47,700, and is also home to the “official” oldest living person in the world, Yone Minigawa, age 114.” From www.asaging.org
So, living a long time in our current body is the goal of many but it is not a goal supported by Gods word.
Life is destructive. Our environment and our internal functions all wear and tear at our body over time.
And our personalities, long thought to be fixed by the time we reach our 30s new research suggests this is not the case. Our personality traits are ever shifting and changing so by the time we are in our 70s and 80s, we have undergone a significant transformation. The upside to these changes is we become more conscientious and agreeable, less neurotic.
Yet men/women still fantasize about the unrealistic possibility of an exceptionally long life as our bodies are now.
In the movie The Green Mile, (view clip above) adapted from a Stephen King movie one of the many meta-physical aspects of the story is the long life of Paul who is 108 at the time. But we see that there is a price for everything in this life. And longevity although certainly a gift is also tinged with a bittersweet longsuffering.
And so, the same theme is brilliantly handled in an X-Files episode from season 6 called Tithonius about a reporter named Alfred Felig.
Fellig gained immortality when death claimed another person, a nurse instead of him. “I don’t know her name,” he confesses. “I don’t think I ever knew it.” The nurse helped tend to him when he contracted yellow fever. “She did the best she could,” Fellig observes. “She sat with me, held my hand and I was on my deathbed and he came for me.” Her gesture of empathy for another human being, somehow allowed her to take the place of a total stranger in death’s embrace.
In the closing scene when he Fellig takes the bullet for Scully, he essentially “takes her place” in the same way that the nurse took his place originally.
Yet for you and me we are not called to worship at the idol of youth by getting cosmetic surgery and ingesting hormones and drugs to maintain youth. That is folly and only speaks to our selfish and vain sin nature. Everything fades.
We are called to grow old to the glory of God whether it be an age of 70 or 108. God’s punishment is not outliving everyone else. And although old age and disease may cause us such misery, we desire death, death is a doorway to that distant shore on which Christ awaits us.