TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
What’s going to kill me? What can I do to avoid the death prescribed by my genes? How soon can I get a mapping of my genetics (by an analysis of a drop of my blood, urine or salvia)? How long can I beat off the angel of death? Is it possible to be another Methuselah?
The marvels of health research astounds all of us; particularly us seniors who have witnessed the many years of this phenomenal progress. Yet, this progress of health care is dwarfed by what is coming. A hit-miss, stab-in-the-dark procedure is still quite prevalent. The inability to put a finger exactly on a physical malady is still pervasive and plagues health professionals. This is so well seen in the treatment of cancer where $70 billion annually is spent in the U.S. on cancer prescribed drugs, with $28 billion wasted - patients misdiagnosed and given the wrong drugs. It is not only a lose of money but of life.
The breakthrough for a clearer diagnosis is happening. With today’s computers the complexity of identifying each of our genes (we all have 19,599 of them) is possible, offering a DNA map. The proper and accurate drug to correct a specific bodily malfunction can be prescribed and therein that disease can be conquered. The study of an individual’s genome identifies weaknesses and strengths spotlighting certain diseases that likely could cause death.
Reading about such health care projections for our future, I find myself groping for Webster’s definition for a plethora of terms: Genome, biomarker, gene molecule, chromosomes, potemics, MRI, and pronota, to name a few.
Never before have we humans had available such information and insights for our future. Never before have we had such extensive ability to manage and direct our physical life.
Is it not much the same about our spiritual life? Does not God’s revelation, most especially through his Son, Jesus Christ, give a clear picture of who we are and what our future is; as well as how to avoid death and find everlasting life and happiness - the quest of all of us.
I had a dear friend who has been dead now for nearly 50 years. He chose to ignore clear directions for life and avoiding death. For a while he chose to follow those directions – exercise and no smoking – yet eventually he chose to give up. He chose death.
We all want life and happiness. How is it that we are found to choose destruction and death for body and even soul? It is all a matter of our choosing. Our life is for our living or killing.
“I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life…loving the Lord your God and obeying him” [Deut 30:19,20].
The Rev. John Burkhart Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology
firstname.lastname@example.org blog at inspirationsandideas