Life in so many ways is marked by progress in this field or that. These days, progress in ecologically advantageous matters are all the vogue. However, the might of science has been hard at work for generations to increase life expectancy. This has been achieved by the eradication of many diseases or by the discovery of their requisite cures.
Now I should say that I would not deny any single human being the medicines that they need. I would do anything to alleviate suffering and pain, and as a parent myself hope and pray that when or if my children ever need the fruits of scientific breakthrough, they will be available.
I read an article somewhere a week or so ago about a discovery about the polluting nature of home-based domestic fires in third-world countries. Evidence, apparently, suggested that they belched out more toxic gases than all of global industry put together. Answer, ovens for homes; solution, several million more people living longer.
Simple mathematics leads me to a concern. If we will all begin to live into our hundreds, and in circumstances when millions more will live longer because of cleaner air, in an age when people have more children - where will we all live and what will we all eat? How will we keep warm, how will be dispose of our waste, and where will our hard fought eco-battles get us when all the green spaces and the fauna and flora are squeezed into extinction?
I wonder if there will be a moment of either critical mass or a tipping point at which point human lives will be too long in relation to the number of people alive on this rock? Will there be a time when suddenly there just is far too little of what we need to survive available to us (accepting of course that most of a continent already knows something of this way of life already).
In short, we can't all live forever. I am not sure that is what we are called to do either. I am not suggesting that the Lord would have us die of some vile pestilence, but what if we started living to 150, 200, more? I see the lives of some people in their 80s 'buried' out of harm's way in care homes and wonder if the progress for eternity is worth it. One thing that utterly and momentarily grieved me on the day the twins were born was that, in normal circumstances, I wouldn't be there for them when they too were old and needed help. Old-age is a gift and a privilege of course, but I can't help thinking that we could end up with too much of a good thing.