Monday, February 16, 2009

Jesus vs. Old Age.

Would there have come a point at which Jesus would have stopped aging? Would he have reached old age, period?

Assuming for the moment that the Garden of Eden scenario really happened, and Adam and Eve were real people, would they have produced the way humanity does today? The normal course that we see today is that people are born, live, and then die of old age. Yet in the Garden, there was no death. So no would in the Garden -- assuming Adam and Even had offspring -- would have died of old age. I'm just wondering what the cut-off point was in terms of aging. Where would the body have said, "Age this far, and no farther?"

There's the idea that Jesus was without sin. Yet at the same time, he was born into this world and growing up in the same manner that all other people do. For all outward appearances, he would've died of old age at some point in time, thus receiving that wage that sin pays.

(Come to think of it, I vaguely remember some series like Left Behind touching on this, in that all the people who were Raptured to Heaven were then in bodies that were at the age of 33, and would be that age for eternity. It was somehow connected to the age of Jesus when he started preaching or was crucified).

18 comments:

atimetorend said...

I think he would have kept on aging, but then reworking the epistles had he died of old age would have been difficult. The gospels may have been substantially the same (at least up to the point of the crucifixion), but where do you go with blood atonement? Would the wages of sin really have covered that? Paul's "second Adam" part may have still worked nicely though.

The iconography of the church would be interesting, with pictures of an old man Jesus to go along with the familiar baby Jesus and 30-something Jesus. I suppose his long, flowing hair would have turned white instead of falling out.

David Wilcox:
"Through the big boring middle
of His long book of life
after He passed thirty-two
If you don't die in glory
at the age of Christ
then your story is still coming true"

steve martin said...

Interesting question!

I don't know, or even think I could guess.

Well, ok...I'll guess. I think He would have continued to grow older because he was doing that anyway.

When we get up there, we can ask Him!

Tit for Tat said...

Funny, 2 days before your post, I was asking what Jesus was like as a Teen. I wonder if in old age he was pretty crusty that his dream didnt come true. ;)

OneSmallStep said...

Atimetorend,

If Jesus was sinless, though, could he have died of old age at all? Could he have even aged at all? A lot of the health problems we have are a result of aging, and our bodies no longer working as effectively. So I would assume the process of old age was introduced because of sin (based on conservative thinking). So would Jesus have ceased aging completely at a certain point?

atimetorend said...

So I would assume the process of old age was introduced because of sin (based on conservative thinking).

Right, I think I read that somewhere, maybe the answers in genesis web site...

So was Adam created at the perfect age (hmmm, say 33?)? And then Jesus would have aged right up to that age, and then stopped aging, because he hadn't sinned. So he could be alive today, except he wouldn't have physically aged at all. ;^)

Here's some more of the David Wilcox song:
Well, I'd be dead by thirty-three
That was my best guess
But hey, here I am this morning
singing happy birthday to me
as I clean up all this mess
because I'm still left alive
without warning
In the big boring middle
of my long book of life
after the twist has been told
If you don't die in glory
at the age of Christ
then your story is just getting old

Lorena said...

In Christendom, my dear, everything has an explanation, convoluted, complicated, obscure, and incredible. But there is an explanation.

Jesus, according to Paul, is the second Adam who came to undo Adam's sin. But, he had to die, to pay for sin. Once resurrected, then, he was immortal and everything.

The part that I don't buy is why he had to die, if god could just forgive? Or why did he put Adam & Eve is a most-likely-to-fail situation? Or, why is God making deals with the devil?

Pastor Bob said...

Interesting speculation. Of course one of the basics of interpreting the Bible is "if the text doesn't say we don't have anything to say." So in a sense the question is meaningless.

Besides it is a basic assumption of all four gospels that dying on the cross was Jesus' destiny

Bruce said...

Pastor Bob said "Of course one of the basics of interpreting the Bible is "if the text doesn't say we don't have anything to say."

Nice theory :)

The plethora of books and sermons, radio and TV broadcasts, tell me that this rule is not adhered to very well.

If preachers only preached what the Bible said sermons would indeed be short :)

Bruce

Pastor Bob said...

Bruce

If preachers only preached what the Bible said sermons would indeed be short :)

And wouldn't that be a blessing!

Pastor Bob

OneSmallStep said...

Atimetorend,

**o was Adam created at the perfect age (hmmm, say 33?)? And then Jesus would have aged right up to that age, and then stopped aging, because he hadn't sinned.**

Except given the life expectancy back then, wouldn't 33 in those times be closer to what 60 or 70 is today? The health conditions alone would make surviving as long as we do today very difficult.

Which then raises another interesting question ... did Jesus ever get sick? Suffer from the common cold?

OneSmallStep said...

Lorena,

That explanation ties more closely into the Protestant view of the Bible. The idea that Jesus had to die to take the punishment and satisfy God's wrath. I think Eastern Orthodox Churches tie the death of Jesus into the defeat of death/sin, and don't really go into the areas of punishment.

OneSmallStep said...

Pastor Bob,

I've got to go with Bruce on this one, and agree that if Christianity as a whole followed the idea of we have nothing to say if not stated in the text, then a lot of sermons would be much shorter. :) Or non-existent at this time, as there'd be only so much one could say.

But aside from that, I also don't think we can say the question is meaningless. The aging process is tied to death. Every day that one grows older is another day closer to death. The aging process also contributes to death in a way, because the body starts wearing down, having more strain put on it, and so forth. If the body breaking down is tied to sin, and Jesus is sinless, how does one mesh the idea that Jesus was growing older with the fact that Jesus was also sinless? He would have had no sin that would've caused him to die, and yet he also was involved in the aging process.

atimetorend said...

**o was Adam created at the perfect age (hmmm, say 33?)? And then Jesus would have aged right up to that age, and then stopped aging, because he hadn't sinned.**

Except given the life expectancy back then, wouldn't 33 in those times be closer to what 60 or 70 is today? The health conditions alone would make surviving as long as we do today very difficult.


Yeah, true, 33 would have been considered pretty old back then compared to now. But still, maybe it is the perfect age. I liked being in my young 30's pretty well, so it seems believable to me.

I think 'answers in genesis' would say Jesus never got a cold, because colds are the result of the fall. Or would it be that sin hadn't been banished yet at the cross, so Jesus would have colds from time to time? I think it gets pretty muddled...

OneSmallStep said...

Atimetorend,

If Jesus never got a cold, or any other ailments common to humanity, then that would raise another question: how could Jesus truly understand what it was like to be human?

societyvs said...

"If Jesus never got a cold, or any other ailments common to humanity, then that would raise another question: how could Jesus truly understand what it was like to be human?" (OSS)

That's really the key part here - how human was this person then?

For me, Jesus was 100% human and that is that. He likely caught sickenesses - he obviously was aging - etc.

Why is this a problem for Christinaity? God forbid they might have it wrong for many centuries and have to re-think this all again...way toooo much work and toooo many people along the way to work against and over-write.

The guy was a human being - I am not sure why this is so problematic. Had he lived - he would of did what we all do - aged and died. However, this was not the plan for his life - and we have to accept that. But to think he would not of aged is crazy thinking.

He must of got sick also - or else could he identify fully with us? He likely was flirted with and flirted back? He was a human being - and being sinless is not about some condition he was born with - but about his actions towards people and God (relational not something he can be born with - all based on his decisions in present moments of his life).

OneSmallStep said...

Society,

**Why is this a problem for Christinaity? God forbid they might have it wrong for many centuries and have to re-think this all again**

Probably because then it would mean that for the past 2,000 years, Christians have been worshiping a man -- they have been worshiping something created, rather than the Creator Himself. It goes directly against the very first commandment, and so forth It's not a matter of it being too much work, it's a matter of what that type of change would do to the religion itself.

**He must of got sick also - or else could he identify fully with us?**
That is always my biggest complication -- if Jesus was sinless, then I don't see how he could've fully identified with us. He wouldn't know what it's like to want to steal, to want to cheat, to lie, to just be cruel to someone because you've had a really bad day.

Jennifer said...

**That is always my biggest complication -- if Jesus was sinless, then I don't see how he could've fully identified with us. He wouldn't know what it's like to want to steal, to want to cheat, to lie, to just be cruel to someone because you've had a really bad day.**

The bible says he never sinned. It doesn't say he was never tempted to sin. We all have temptations. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." If Jesus was fully man, then it goes without saying that he experienced the same temptations that were common to man. Stealing was listed in the 10 commandments. Therefore, I think it must have been pretty common.

OneSmallStep said...

Jennifer,

The problem is that many Christian circles identify wanting to sin as the same as sinning itself -- such as the Sermon on the Mount, with Jesus saying if you so much as look as woman with lust, it's the same as committing adultery. The "temptation" of wanting that woman is the same as actually having her. And thus, wanting to sin is the same as actually sinning.

Did Jesus know what it's like to want to unlawfully murder? Steal? Be cruel to another person? I don't see how he could, and still retain the label of perfect.