Meet the man who thinks he can live forever

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Meet the man who thinks he can live forever

September 21, 2023 -

STOCK PHOTO: A man stands in front of an infrared light system similar to what Bryan Johnson uses as part of his "Blueprint" system to attempt to live forever. By Shawn M. Pridgen/stock.adobe.com.

STOCK PHOTO: A man stands in front of an infrared light system similar to what Bryan Johnson uses as part of his "Blueprint" system to attempt to live forever. By Shawn M. Pridgen/stock.adobe.com.

STOCK PHOTO: A man stands in front of an infrared light system similar to what Bryan Johnson uses as part of his "Blueprint" system to attempt to live forever. By Shawn M. Pridgen/stock.adobe.com.

Bryan Johnson swallows 111 pills a day, wears a baseball cap that shoots red light into his scalp, and sleeps in a laser face-shield for collagen growth and wrinkle reduction. The multimillionaire tech entrepreneur has spent more than $4 million developing a life-extension system he calls Blueprint. It outsources every decision involving his body to a team of doctors, who then use this data to develop a strict health regimen to reduce what Johnson calls his “biological age.” His goal is to never die.

But what if he has an accident, like the British tourist who plummeted three hundred feet to his death in Austria while climbing an aerial ladder made popular by Instagram photos? Or he is struck by the asteroid Bennu, which NASA scientists predict could strike Earth in the future? Or another virus outbreak starts another pandemic? Or another natural disaster finds him?

Experts asked about Johnson’s quest to live forever were skeptical in the extreme. “There’s absolutely no evidence that it’s possible,” said one, “and there’s absolutely no technology right now that even suggests that we’re heading that way.”

Another added: “If you want immortality, you should go to a church.”

Which is precisely my point today.

“Your soul takes the color of your thoughts”

Marcus Aurelius observed: “The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes the color of your thoughts.” He also said, “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

Bryan Johnson is passionately pursuing an idea at the cost of other priorities and values. Vladimir Putin is pursuing a fictitious narrative of Russian imperial greatness contrived primarily by his ghostwriter and chief propagandist, Vladimir Medinsky. The recent devastation in Libya was caused not just by flooding but by a breakdown of the civil order there, leading to dam and infrastructure failures that greatly exacerbated the tragedy.

I recorded a podcast yesterday with a Cuban pastor who is one of my dearest friends. He has lived his entire life in the shadow of ideas first propagated by a then-obscure economics philosopher named Karl Marx. Das Kapital and the worldview it espoused have enslaved billions of people to Communist ideology.

In his thoughtful meditation on Psalm 23 titled Life Without Lack, philosopher Dallas Willard noted: “Our ideas form the belief system upon which we base our actions and decisions, and these in turn determine the trajectory of our lives. Living a life without lack involves recognizing the idea systems that govern the present age and its respective cultures—as well as those that constitute life away from God—and replacing them with the idea system that was embodied and taught by Jesus Christ” (my emphases)

How do we do both?

One: View secularism as spiritual warfare.

By multiple measures, American society is less religious and less biblical than ever before in our lifetime. In such a culture, we must expect to face false ideologies and immoral value systems because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

In this spiritual battle, we need the “belt of truth” and the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:14, 17). We need to see unbiblical truth claims as attacks by Satan on the minds and eternal souls of everyone we know, including our children and grandchildren. I often quote my friend John Stonestreet in this regard: “Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims.”

Two: Think biblically to act redemptively.

I told my seminary students that the only word God is obligated to bless is his word. I know this because he said of biblical truth, “It shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

Thus, in every conflict of ideas, turn first to Scripture. Ask what God says on the subject, then act redemptively to bring his word to life.

Three: Know Christ and make him known with excellence.

The wisest man who ever lived (apart from Christ) noted, “The fear of the Lᴏʀᴅ is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). The greatest theologian in history added that in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

The omniscient Lord of the universe exhorts us: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lᴏʀᴅ who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth” (Jeremiah 9:23–24).

God wants us to “understand” him intellectually and then to “know” him intimately. One of my mentors noted, “The Holy Spirit has a strange affinity for the trained mind.” C. S. Lewis likewise asserted that God “wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim.”

When we have a passion to know Christ and make him known to our fallen culture, we can say with the prophet of old: “As the Lᴏʀᴅ lives, what the Lᴏʀᴅ says to me, that I will speak” (1 Kings 22:14).

And our world can never be the same.

NOTE: Today’s Daily Article expresses my calling to equip Christians to change the culture by speaking biblical truth to the issues of our day. If you share my desire to see our broken society transformed by biblical truth and morality, I hope you’ll partner with our ministry so we can give biblical content to more people than ever before.

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