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Life Expectancy from a Christian Worldview

December 22, 2017

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued its report on the leading causes of death in America in 2016 and the new actuarial tables related to life expectancy for those born today.

From the story:

The life expectancy figure is based on the year of one’s birth, current death trends and other factors. For decades, it was on the upswing, rising a few months nearly every year. But last year marked the first time in more than half a century that U.S. life expectancy fell two consecutive years.

Why is life expectancy trending downward in the United States? The answer is drug overdose, largely related to the opioid epidemic. But there’s more here for Christians to till in the conversations of the day.

A baby born last year in the U.S. is expected to live about 78 years and 7 months, on average, the CDC said. An American born in 2015 was expected to live about month longer and one born in 2014 about two months longer than that.

Look again at the first three words of the sentence and then ask yourself, “How would this report from the CDC be different if we counted all Americans who died as a result of abortions?”  How would those 900,000-plus deaths affect both life expectancy and the “Leading cause of death” chart?

Abortion would again be the leading cause of death in America. And life expectancy would plummet.

Overall, there were more than 2.7 million U.S. deaths in 2016, or about 32,000 more than the previous year. It was the most deaths in a single year since the government has been counting.

Who and what the government counts matters. They don’t count Americans who die as a result of abortion because for the CDC, those people don’t count as people. While the CDC dishonestly “hides” these lives from life expectancy reporting, their unborn frames are in full view of the Creator (Psalm 139:15).

The “leading cause of death” and “life expectancy” conversations provide opportunity to consider deep questions about what it means to live, our expectations for life, how long we expect to live, and following from those – what do we expect to happen after we die?

I recently had an interesting conversation with two doctors in an exam room. They were running blood tests after finding nothing unusual in the results of an MRI. One doctor said, “By simple observation, you’re way too happy to be really sick.” To which I responded, “Well, we’re all dying. The question is whether or not we’re all actually living. I intend to fully live until I die.”  (No, they didn’t order a psych consult as some of you are now wondering.)

Life expectancy is about much more than numbers. For Christians, life expectancy is about how God expects us to live life to its fullness here and now in full anticipation and view of a life that extends forever.

I expect to live forever, as a redeemed child of the King, citizen heir of the Kingdom of Heaven. I expect to know God fully even as I am fully known. I expect my life here and now to be both a preparation personally and a demonstration to others of what it looks like to be in a living relationship with God. What do you expect in terms of life? What’s your life expectancy?

In the lead up to Christmas we stand with expectant Mary in whom is the Lord and giver of life. He said of Himself, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” Is that what you expect to receive from God this Christmas in the gift He’s sent?  

My prayer? Come, thou long expected Jesus; change the way we understand life and the expectations we have of it!

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