Do You Want to Live Forever?
“I AM not afraid of dying,” said an elderly woman in Japan. “But it distresses me that I will have to part from these flowers.” A Christian minister visiting her home understood the remark, for the woman had a beautiful garden. Many who say that they have no fear of dying really appreciate the wonders of creation and may actually long to live forever.
Living forever? Many would brush aside such a thought. Some may even say that they have no interest in living forever. Why would anyone feel that way?
Some think that it would be boring to live forever. They may point out the monotonous life of many retired people who have little to do but sit and stare at the television screen. If that is how you feel, consider what astronomer Robert Jastrow said when asked if everlasting life would be a blessing or a curse. Jastrow replied: “It would be a blessing to those who have curious minds and an endless appetite for learning. The thought that they have forever to absorb knowledge would be very comforting for them. But for others who feel they have learned all there is to learn and whose minds are closed, it would be a dreadful curse. They’d have no way to fill their time.”
Whether you would find everlasting life boring or not depends much on your attitude. If you have ‘a curious mind and an endless appetite for learning,’ think of what you could accomplish in the fields of art, music, architecture, gardening, or whatever worthy pursuits interest you. Eternal life on earth would provide wonderful prospects for developing your potential in various fields of endeavor.
Being able to show and experience love forever would make eternal life satisfying indeed. We are created with the capacity for showing love, and we thrive when we feel loved. Sharing real love brings deep satisfaction that does not fade with the passing of time. Living forever would offer an endless opportunity to cultivate love not only for fellow humans but especially for God. “If anyone loves God,” said the apostle Paul, “this one is known by him.” (1 Corinthians 8:3) What a wonderful prospect—to know and to be known by the Sovereign of the universe! Furthermore, there is no end to learning about our loving Creator. How, then, could everlasting life be boring and unrewarding?
Life—Transient and Precious
Some feel that the shortness of life is what makes it so precious. They may compare life to gold, which exists only in limited amounts. If gold could be found everywhere, they point out, its value would be diminished. Nevertheless, gold would still be beautiful. Surely the same is true of life.
We might compare enjoying eternal life to having an abundance of air. Sailors in a malfunctioning submarine would consider air to be especially valuable. After they were rescued, do you think they would unappreciatively complain about again enjoying air in abundance? Surely not!
Like such sailors, we can be rescued but with the even greater prospect of everlasting life. “The wages sin pays is death,” wrote the apostle Paul, “but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Through Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, God will remove human imperfection and death and will bestow upon obedient mankind the gift of everlasting life. How grateful we should be for such a loving arrangement!
What About Your Loved Ones?
Some individuals may think: ‘What about my loved ones? Life eternal on earth would not mean much to me if they were not with me.’ Perhaps you have taken in knowledge of the Bible and have learned about the possibility of enjoying everlasting life in an earthly paradise. (Luke 23:43; John 3:16; 17:3) Naturally, you want members of your immediate family, other loved ones, and cherished friends to be there, experiencing the same joys that you hope to experience in God’s promised new world of righteousness.—2 Peter 3:13.
But what if your friends and loved ones are showing no interest in living forever on a paradise earth? Do not let that discourage you. Continue to take in accurate Scriptural knowledge, and act in harmony with it. The apostle Paul wrote: “How can you be sure, Christian wife, that you will not save your husband? Or how can you be sure, Christian husband, that you will not save your wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:16, Today’s English Version) People can change. For example, one man who once opposed Christianity changed and later became an elder in the Christian congregation. He says: “I am so grateful that my little family loyally stood by their Bible principles through all my opposition.”
God is very concerned about your life and the lives of your loved ones. Indeed, “Jehovah . . . does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Jehovah God wants you and your loved ones to live forever. His love is greater than that of imperfect humans. (Isaiah 49:15) So why not cultivate a good relationship with God? Then you may be able to help your loved ones to do the same. Even if they do not now have the hope of living forever, their attitude may change when they see you act in harmony with accurate knowledge of the Bible.
What about the dear ones you may have lost in death? For millions who have died, the Bible holds out the wonderful hope of a resurrection—of awakening from death and living in Paradise on earth. Jesus Christ promised: “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will . . . come out.” (John 5:28, 29) Even those who have died without knowing God will be brought back to life, for the Bible states: “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) What a delight it will be to welcome such ones back to life!
Eternal Life—A Joyful Prospect
If you can find happiness and contentment now despite all the troubles in this world, you will surely be able to enjoy eternal life on a paradise earth. When one of Jehovah’s Witnesses pointed out the blessings that everlasting life would bring, however, one woman said: “I don’t want to live forever. This life of 70 or 80 years is enough for me.” A Christian elder who happened to be present asked her: “Have you ever thought about how your children would feel if you died?” Tears ran down her cheeks when she thought about the grief they would experience at the loss of their mother. “For the first time, I realized how selfish I had been,” she admits, “and I could see that everlasting life is not a selfish hope but that it involves living for others.”
Some may feel that it does not matter to anyone whether they live or they die. Yet, it does matter to our Life-Giver, who says: “As I am alive, . . . I take delight, not in the death of the wicked one, but in that someone wicked turns back from his way and actually keeps living.” (Ezekiel 33:11) Since God is that concerned about the life of even the wicked, surely he cares deeply for those who love him.
King David of ancient Israel had confidence in Jehovah’s loving care. David once said: “In case my own father and my own mother did leave me, even Jehovah himself would take me up.” (Psalm 27:10) David was likely sure of his parents’ love for him. But even if his parents—his closest human contacts—were to leave him, he knew that God would not desert him. Out of love and concern, Jehovah offers us everlasting life and unending friendship with him. (James 2:23) Should we not gratefully accept these wonderful gifts?
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Love for God and neighbor will make living forever worthwhile