10/28/2020 09:07

Threescore and ten

"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." Psalm 90:10 KJV.

It has become customary to read that famous verse to mean that a human lifespan runs 70 years and then we die. Maybe 80 if you are healthy.

But that's nonsense. In the Biblical context lifespans of 120 years or 11 are well enough attested. In my family, 6 to 93. Why would I interpret a verse outside of its own context and mine as well? If the verse is not connected to actual reality it could denote anything and would mean nothing.

Let's not presume logical inconsistency. The words say we fly away, we are gone, we disappear. How do we vanish when labor and troubles end? Here's what I think: You live your life for 70 years, or maybe you stretch the time out a little longer, and after that you are living in somebody else's life. You work and you labor, you gain and you lose, you try your best to pass something worthwhile to the next generation and then it is their life and you are just living in it.

"We can expect seventy years, or maybe eighty, if we are healthy, but even our best years bring trouble and sorrow. Suddenly our time is up, and we disappear." Psalm 90:10 CEV.

We disappear. Not all at once. Our bodies may keep running down for decades more and I'm hoping that my enjoyment of the actual reality game runs on for quite some time. But after threescore years and ten I am not playing the game for myself any more. My own future flies away and disappears. Someone else lives.