According to science, our universe is approximately billions of years old. And according to the Bible, time goes infinitely both to the past and future.
And nowadays, we only get to live 50 to 75 years. Or a little bit more for others.
Still, it kinda makes me feels puny.
How does even a 100 years compare to 1,000,000,000 — much less eternity?
Visiting funerals or hearing about someone die can bring us back to this reality. Just when we thought life seems so long, boring or dreary— this unwavering truth slaps us awake. It sucker-punches us from our personal concerns: the daily office or school rant on deadlines and disappointments, relationship problems and frustrations and celebrations, distant hurts and future dreams and vague hopes, concrete plans and wishful ideas. Everything suddenly becomes equally trivial and important. We suddenly catch a glimpse our lives in that eternity-encompassing microscope, and wonder how our own funeral would be like.
Worse, what would be out there once we’re gone from this world.
Then in a few weeks, we’re back to enjoying our old lives.
I’m not saying we forget. I’m not saying we lost concern. I’m not even saying we’ve overcome our fear of death.
I still haven’t forgotten Mama, who lived on to another world almost exactly a year ago. I still haven’t forgotten Elvie, our fellow church worker who struggled with cancer for years. I still haven’t forgotten Bro Carlo, a young adult I’ve met briefly during my youth but has made a big impact on my life. I still haven’t forgotten Manoy Carlo, my own cousin who was like a brother to me but died during our childhood due to a disease. Though I can no longer recall his name, I still remember the kind neighbor we had whom we didn’t know was murdered a few houses away while I was playing with fellow children on our street. And remembering all these people often triggers memories both joyful and sorrowful.
But we just… move on. Time goes on. Life goes on.
There is a certain allure to the notion of eternal life. A lot of folklore talk about quests for it. Some pop culture stories would present some perspectives on its downsides. And as for us, it’s a fanciful thought— there’s so much to enjoy in this world if we only had all the time! Imagining what life would be like in the next century or millennia seems both exciting and frightening. And deep inside, we realize that most, if not all, of us yearn for it. Desire for it.
It reminds me of this simple passage from Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV), “He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Enjoying the infinity of time and creation somewhat feels like part of our design. Our human curiosity is hardwired for it. I believe God intended for us to explore this entire universe He had amazingly created, if only there was no sin.
Just imagine: if Adam and Eve did not sin, and we could live eternally— human advancement and technology could still advance without harming the ecology. Should the earth be threatened by over-population, humankind would have more than enough time to study and discover scientific principles that will enable them to travel in space to find new habitats. And since death would not be a problem, who cares if the next hospitable planet will be light years away?
But with sin, man reaching space would only lead to destroying everything. As we have already depicted in novels and movies, we would only create more wars, corrupt more resources, destroy planets…
For now, we’re stuck with around 50 to 75 years. More for some, and less for some. It’s a bit depressing though— some die too soon from accidents, illnesses, or violence.
Why do people so soon?
When will it be my turn?
Thinking about it only makes me realize how much I am unprepared for it.
Or are we?
It seems easy now— making insurance plans in case of death, preparing inheritances and documents, and all those stuff. It’s a good system to prevent leaving behind a burden to the ones we love.
But how truly prepared are we to face the life beyond?
I’m too scared to imagine — just trying to grasp the idea of eternity has almost led me to insane sleepless nights several times. But what does comfort me is that whatever is out there, even if this limited mind cannot handle imagining it— I am sure that it will be worth living these brief 50-75 years of life here the right and wisest way: through Christ.