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                   Saturday, June 28, 2014 8:04PM CST

Will human immortality eliminate the need to consider God?

By DAN ROBINSON
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I heard an argument earlier this year that since advances in science will likely allow humans to achieve immortality someday, that the need to consider accountability to a God after death would be rendered obsolete. It's likely true (providing humanity survives in a stable state indefinitely) that we will achieve sufficient advances in medicine to all but eradicate biological threats to human life (disease, genetic defects and aging). Pain and suffering brought on by such threats would also likely be eliminated as well, allowing humanity to attain a state of "heaven" that we "create for ourselves" as I've heard it put. The assertion, therefore, is that we will no longer need to look to a God to provide hope for a heaven after death.

There are several major problems with the idea that human "immortality" will render death, and thereafter facing God, an outdated and unnecessary consideration. Even if conscious humans achieve biological (or even digital) immortality, such "immortality" is illusory, as death is still a certainty that awaits every single living thing in the universe:

  1. Heat death of the universe: We know through science that the universe will likely not be eternal in the future, at least not in the current life-permitting state it is in. If you're not familiar with this idea, read up on the concept of maximum entropy (also known as the "heat death" of the universe) for one such inevitable threat to all life. Other cosmological models such as infinite repeating expansions/contractions (repeating big bangs) do not allow for true eternal life.
     
  2. Physical threats: Achieving biological (or digital) immortality does not eliminate the threat from physical forces of the universe, such as temperature extremes, radiation and cosmic impacts. For example, we know that the earth will someday not be habitable to life due to the natural progression/death of the sun. Even if humans are successful in migrating to other parts of the galaxy, there will be the ever-present threat from all manner of cosmic perils. No amount of technology will protect you from the extreme heat of a nearby supernova or the explosive force of an asteroid impact at 30,000 mph. And what if your source of heat fails? Will your body (or CPU/memory, if your consciousness has been ported into digital form) survive dropping to extreme cold temperatures in the farthest reaches of the galaxy/universe? The chances of some physical cosmic threat killing an 'immortal' conscious human in 100 million years or even a thousand years seems quite high to me, if not certain.
     
  3. Human immortality will not happen in our lifetimes. Even if humanity achieves some form of biological/digital "immortality" in the distant future, you and I will not benefit from it. Our individual deaths are still a more imminent certainty.
As you can see, any state of "heaven" that science will achieve for future human societies will nonetheless not be truly eternal. Disease-free and aging-free life forms will not avoid death, they will simply at best postpone it. From an eternal frame of reference (as with God), a 100-million-year long life is no more remarkable than a 100 year one. Therefore the need to consider death, and what happens afterward, is not eliminated.

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The following comments were posted before this site switched to a new comment system on August 27, 2016:

No matter how many people try to play God, they'll never achieve earthly immorality. That'll only happen after death and resurrection.
- Posted by Tim

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