X-Message-Number: 4417
Date: 19 May 95 00:14:54 EDT
From: Jim Davidson <>
Subject: Re: Christian cryonicists

Following up on my last post, I have, at Keith Lynch's encouragement, done some
more research on the subject of human longevity in the Bible.

>From Psalms 90:9-10
"We spend our years as a tale that is told.
"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of

strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it
is soon cut off; and we fly away."

>From the context, this Psalm is not a description of God's will, but a

characterization of what the average person was expecting.  It clearly expresses
that one need not die at 70, but that the hardy may live until 80.  There is no
explanation of the longevity of Methuselah and others in Genesis, nor of the
declining ages which end with Joseph dying at 110 at the end of the Book of

Other interesting stuff: From "The Wisdom of Solomon" we have the quote:
	For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his
own eternity.
			-- 2:23

And from Genesis 5:27 "And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty
and nine years."

Curiously, the most significant reference in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations to
threescore is from the 19th Century.  Alfred E. Housman writes:

"Now of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more."
	-- A Shropshire Lad

Perhaps from the popularity of Housman's work, especially this particular poem,

the concept that 70 years was a fixed limit gained popularity.  Housman makes it
seem from his math as if the threescore years and ten were a fixed upper limit,
a "given."  A classic example of the "one wrong idea."

Learned something in my search:  threescore is one word.  I had it as two.

So, perhaps we can help Christian cryonicists argue effectively that the idea of
the number in Psalms 90 being an upper limit is a modern misinterpretation.
Certainly Psalms gives the impression that it is just one possible age for the
end of life, not the only one.  Again, it is notable for what is not said:  It
doesn't say that God wills an end to life at that age.


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