This be it?
*** g95 10/22 pp. 8-9 Why Do We Grow Old and Die? ***
Why Do We Grow Old and Die?
“WITH the exception of the discovery that age changes occur within individual cells,” Dr. Leonard Hayflick admits, “we do not know much more today about the fundamental cause of aging than we did a century ago.” In fact, he says: “We know of no good reason why aging should happen.”
Laboratory experiments conducted about 30 years ago revealed that when normal human cells taken from a fetus were cultured under the best of conditions, death followed after some 50 doublings. On the other hand, cells taken from a very old person divided only between two and ten times before they died. Thus, the National Geographic Society book The Incredible Machine observed: “Experimental evidence supports the idea that death is programmed in each of us at birth.”
However, is the cessation of cell division inevitable? No, it is not. “Indeed,” opined two experts on aging, Professors Robert M. Sapolsky and Caleb E. Finch, “it appears that nonsenescence [not aging] was the original state of living things on earth.” Ironically, even some abnormal human cells today do not age.
The book The Body Machine, edited by Dr. Christiaan Barnard, who performed the first human-to-human heart transplant, explained: “The discovery of ‘immortal cells’ presented a major headache to biologists interested in senescence, until it became clear that such cells were abnormal.” Yes, some lines of cancer cells can be sustained in continuous culture through seemingly endless doublings! The World Book Encyclopedia noted: “If scientists can determine how such abnormal cells survive, they may gain an insight into the process of cell aging.” Thus, today some cancer cells can apparently proliferate indefinitely in the laboratory, but normal cell cultures grow old and die.
A Defective Mechanism
Are human aging and death the result of, as The Body Machine puts it, “the loss of proliferation capacity in [normal] cell population”? If so, the book said, “it is important to locate and understand the mechanism that controls this finite repetitive capacity in order to manipulate it in an attempt to increase the human lifespan.”
As you may recall from the previous article, Dr. Hayflick spoke of “the miracles that take us from conception to birth and then to sexual maturation and adulthood.” He then referred to “a more elementary mechanism to simply maintain those miracles forever.”
Despite years of concerted efforts, scientists have failed to discover a mechanism that would maintain life forever. “The causes of aging remain a mystery,” admits the book The Incredible Machine.
However, the cause of aging and death is actually no secret. The answer is available.
What Is the Answer?
The one who has the answer is the one responsible for “the miracles that take us from conception to birth,” our all-wise Creator, Jehovah God. “With you is the source of life,” the Bible says of him. “Know that Jehovah is God. It is he that has made us, and not we ourselves.”—Psalm 36:9; 100:3.
Think of how wonderfully Jehovah God programmed your development in the womb, writing, as it were, a book of instructions for making you a unique individual! “You yourself produced my kidneys; you kept me screened off in the belly of my mother,” wrote a Bible psalmist. “My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret . . . Your eyes saw even the embryo of me, and in your book all its parts were down in writing.” (Psalm 139:13, 15, 16) Obviously, our marvelously designed human organism is not the product of mere chance!
Yet, if Jehovah God created us perfect so that we could live forever, why do we grow old and die? The answer is found in a prohibition placed upon the first man, Adam, whom God put in a beautiful home on earth. God commanded him: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.”—Genesis 2:16, 17.
What happened? Instead of obeying his heavenly Father, Adam disobeyed, joining his wife, Eve, in eating of the tree. They selfishly grasped at a false promise of an angelic rebel. (Genesis 3:1-6; Revelation 12:9) So, as God had warned, they died. Although Adam and Eve were designed with the potential to live forever, this was contingent upon obedience to God. By being disobedient, they sinned. Then, as sinners, they passed on to all their offspring the death-dealing defect in their bodies. “Thus death spread to all men.”—Romans 5:12; Job 14:4.
This, however, does not mean that there is no hope for conquering aging and death. It should not be hard to believe that our all-wise Creator can heal any genetic irregularities and supply energy for the continuation of our lives forever. But how will he do this? And what must we do to enjoy his promises of everlasting life?