Make the Golden Years Fruitful

Make the Golden Years Fruitful

How we deal with old age is one of the things that distinguishes Christians from those who reject the Bible as their guide for life. Coming from a family of atheists, I have witnessed how they dealt with aging. I have watched my atheist friends use cosmetic devices and surgery to avoid the consequences of age. Of course, no cosmetic treatment or surgical procedure can remove the aches and pains that time brings, but following Christ can make the golden years fruitful.

For Christians, getting older is a time of growth in understanding and wisdom. In Philippians 3:7-12, Paul talks about looking back on things that he thought were important and considering them “rubbish” and that he “counts all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” We can make the golden years fruitful by following the positive teachings of Christ.

We read in Acts 17:19 about Paul bringing his message to the Areopagus, where older Greeks learned new things. Today our Areopagus is the web where we can share information and ideas. This ministry reaches people of all ages with the message that science and faith are symbiotic. Our websites contain a wealth of new understandings. In addition to this site, please check out and Maturity allows us to challenge our old misunderstandings and learn new things. Biblical examples include Apollos in Acts 18:24-28 and Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:2-9.

We can make the golden years fruitful by repairing broken relationships. The Bible contains examples such as Jacob and Esau in Genesis 32-33, Joseph and his brothers in Genesis 45:4-5, and Jesus and Peter in John 21:7-17. Maturity is a time to overcome stubbornness and forgive. Jesus called His followers to forgive, but non-believers sometimes carry grudges to their graves. I have seen this happen in my family and friends who didn’t have a Christian basis for forgiveness.

The most significant benefit of being an older Christian is having a purpose in life. I have watched family members who retired from their secular employment or lost a spouse and had no life purpose as they died mentally, leading to physical death. Enjoying grandchildren, recreation, or hobbies lasts only so long. Having a purpose in life lasts right up to the end. Being a Christian in retirement allows me to devote much of my time and energy to the ministry that God has given me.

Matthew 25:31-46 lists things seniors can uniquely do to make the golden years fruitful. You can’t retire from God. Doing His will brings blessings beyond what the secular world can comprehend. Paul expresses this beautifully in 2 Timothy 4:6-22 as he looks back at his life, realizing it is about to end: “I am already being poured out on the altar, the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course….” Don’t let age rob you of the blessing of purpose and usefulness.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Seniors Using Alcohol – Health Effects

Seniors Using Alcohol

We tend to think that drinking and the effects of alcohol are a problem for young people and middle-aged adults. There is no question that alcohol is the most destructive drug in today’s world. However, the view that young people need to avoid distilled alcoholic drinks but it is okay for seniors is dead wrong. We see much pain and suffering in our world today from different sources, but there is no reason for seniors using alcohol and adding to the problems that come with age.

Starting at about age 50, the average adult loses muscle, gains fat, and carries less water in the bloodstream. That means that seniors using alcohol may be more affected because it is less diluted than in younger people. In addition, the stomach and liver don’t produce as much of the enzyme called ADH, which processes alcohol. As a result, a person may not be aware that the alcohol content in their body is higher than in the past, and they may not realize the damaging effects. Our ability to perceive the effects of alcohol also diminishes after age 50, so we may ignore changes in vision, balance, and hearing caused by alcohol.

For seniors using alcohol, the aging process can be accelerated because it pulls water from your body. It also causes the shrinking of the brain, especially the cortex, which controls our executive function. In addition, Dr. George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, says that over 200 medical conditions are made worse by the consumption of alcohol. These include but are not limited to cancer, immune system disorders, liver problems, stroke, and diabetes.

There is a lot of literature blaming God for the age-related disabilities inflicting our world. While not drinking at all doesn’t guarantee a person won’t have health issues, a very high percentage of age-related diseases are impacted by the abuse we tend to heap on our bodies. That abuse includes not only alcohol but recreational drugs and nicotine. For Christians, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16), and we need to take care of that temple. Learning how to do that is vital for all of us.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: AARP Bulletin for March 2022, pages 18-19.

The Aging of Churches

The Aging of Churches - Generation Gap

A child is born every eight seconds, and someone dies every 11 seconds in the United States. The average age of all people in this country is 38, but no mainline denomination has an average age that low. So we are concerned about the aging of churches. The average age of Muslims in the U.S. is 32, and the average age of “nothing in particular” is 43.

Data on major religious groups shows that those with an emphasis on the biblical concept of the family have a lower age than denominations that do not. For example, the United Methodist Church has an average age of 58, the Episcopal Church average is 57, Lutheran Church is 56, and the Presbyterian Church is 55. In contrast, Pentecostal Church members have an average age of 47, and Churches of Christ average 48.

Examining statistics about the aging of churches and projecting those numbers into the future, what do we see? Obviously, churches that fail to adhere to the nuclear family concept of the Bible will eventually age out. We already see many congregations where the leadership is made up entirely of people over 65. The kinds of issues that concern people over 65 are radically different from those of people around the U.S. average age of 38.

We don’t ask the age of people who use our websites, take our apologetic courses, or send us emails. However, it is evident from the questions we receive that most of them come from younger people looking for answers concerning science and faith. We do know that the age group with the largest share of likes on our Facebook page is 18-24. The second largest is 25-34. Together, those two groups make up almost half of the followers on our Facebook page ( On the other hand, most of our negative emails come from older people who don’t feel there is a need for what our ministry is doing.

First Peter 3:15 encourages believers to “Be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you of the hope that is within you.” Younger people need to see evidence to lead them to a dynamic and functional faith. Their parents may have faith, but tradition is a poor apologetic.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

References: Christianity Today November 2021, page 20, and The Search for November 2021, page 1.

The Age of Methuselah in the Bible

What Was the Age of Methuselah?

A frequent challenge from atheists concerns the lifespan of early Bible characters. Genesis 5 contains the “generations of Adam” up to the time of Noah. It lists Methuselah as having lived 969 years. This chapter raises many questions, and atheists have ridiculed the idea that people ever lived that long. Anthropologists have methods for determining how old a person was when they died, and no data shows people ever living hundreds of years as we measure years today. Then what was the age of Methuselah?

It is essential to understand that this is not just a biblical peculiarity. Other ancient cultures have records of people living a very long time. The ancient Sumerian King List said that King Alulim ruled for 28,800 years, and others longer than that! However, the all-time longevity champ is a spiritual teacher in Jainism named Shreyansanatha, who was recorded to have lived 8,400,000 years. The message should be clear to us that none of these are our familiar calendar years as established by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.

There have been studies to determine how ancient people expressed time. The Hebrews used lunar cycles for reckoning time, but they have modified that because certain numbers had special significance. For example, seven indicated completeness, and six was just short of completeness. The Book of Revelation contains symbolic numbers that people have often erroneously misinterpreted.

A careful study of this subject will show that the intent of Genesis 5 is not to establish time or the chronological ages. Applying modern calendar concepts to Genesis would mean that Methuselah was killed by the flood of Noah. The message of the passage is not the age of Methuselah, but that he was a descendent of Enoch and an ancestor of Noah.

When you read any book of any culture, you have to look at who wrote it and to whom and why, and how the people it was written to would have understood it. That is especially true when considering the ages of ancient personalities.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Twin Study in Space

Twin Study in Space

One of the most exciting experiments conducted on the Space Station has been the twin study in space. Mark and Scott Kelly are identical twins, and both are astronauts. Scott lived aboard the International Space Station for a year. Mark remained on Earth and lived his normal lifestyle. Both men took daily blood and urine samples so that scientists could evaluate any changes caused by living in space.

Life aboard the space station is very regimented and very different from Scott’s previous life on Earth. On the Space Station, fluids swelled around Scott’s upper body and head, his immune system worked overtime, and his metabolism was altered. Of greatest interest to scientists was that Scott’s genetic makeup – his DNA – had been damaged.

There are protective structures called “telomeres” at the ends of our chromosomes. These structures get shorter with age and put the person more at risk for age-related illnesses. In Scott’s case, the telomeres temporarily lengthened and then became shorter. This means that space flight could put the body at risk for age-related conditions such as heart disease and cancer.

In addition to the changes in the telomeres, there were other changes in Scott’s health. His eye shape changed, and his vision weakened. His cognitive speed also decreased. Scott’s risk of heart disease measurably increased.

What conclusion can we draw from the data of the twin study in space? First, the human body was designed for living on planet Earth. Even a small change in environmental characteristics can make genetic changes that can be detrimental to human health.

The experiment also shows useful facts about the human body. The effect of telomeres is interesting and may explain the changes in humans’ life expectancy in the past. The importance of taking care of the world in which we live is also apparent from this data. We can clearly see that God designed this planet for humans to live. We will have challenges if we start traveling great distances into space in the future.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Data from

Alzheimer’s Disease and God

Alzheimer's Disease and God
The theme of the December 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation is “Understanding and Helping Those with Alzheimer’s.” The American Scientific Affiliation is an organization made up of scientists holding advanced science degrees who are believers in Jesus. This issue brings up questions regarding Alzheimer’s disease and God.

The World Health Organization reports that there are 47.5 million people with dementia worldwide. Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 70% of those. The WHO also tells us that 7.7 million new cases are added each year. The National Institute of Aging ranks Alzheimer’s as the third leading cause of death for older people–behind heart disease and cancer. There is still much that science does not understand about Alzheimer’s. Neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga writes that “dementia including Alzheimer’s may simply be the result of our brains living beyond what they were designed for.”

The question concerning Alzheimer’s disease and God becomes whether God’s design is flawed or whether Alzheimer’s is something humans have brought on themselves. First, we need to understand that there are two forms of Alzheimer’s. One occurs early in life and is called familial Alzheimer’s. It is a rare disease accounting for less than 5% of all Alzheimer’s cases. The more common late-onset Alzheimer’s is associated with a gene called apolipoprotein E which is involved in metabolizing fats in the body. Studies have linked diet and environmental contaminants to Alzheimer’s. It now appears that Alzheimer’s is not a single disorder, but that there are many forms with many different causes. Obviously, that makes identifying the specific cause and treating patients very difficult.

The bigger question is how we handle people with Alzheimer’s. One solution is euthanasia at early stages of the disease. Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who developed a lethal injection system as a means for assisted suicide, promoted this view. The first patient he euthanized by his system was a 54-year-old Alzheimer’s patient. Peter Singer, who is the head of the ethics department at Princeton University, has promoted this view on an academic level.

Because the American Scientific Affiliation is a Christian organization, the euthanasia alternative is dismissed by the magazine. Instead, it suggests ways that faith can help patients and caregivers deal with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

If your view of life is that it is all about “survival of the fittest,” then Alzheimer’s is simply a demonstration that the patient is not fit. That would suggest a treatment that concerns itself more with those who are fit and doesn’t address the quality of life objective that Christ would teach for the patient. For more about ASA go to their website. To see the issue on Alzheimer’s Disease and God click here.
–John N. Clayton © 2017

How to Stop the Aging Process

Stop the Aging Process
It’s scientifically impossible to stop the aging process. That is the conclusion of a new study reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on October 25, 2017. You can read the full report here.

The problem is defined mathematically in that report. It involves two forces that take place in multicellular organisms, such as humans. As cells reproduce, mutations accumulate causing the cell functions to become sluggish and lose function. The result is wrinkled skin, gray hair, weakened bones, and many other things. When the body’s cells are young, they cooperate to weed out imperfect cells. With age, there are more cells with imperfections, and the body can’t keep up with removing the bad ones. At the same time, some cells start to reproduce uncontrollably. We call it cancer. Either we have sluggish cells or out of control cell reproduction.

Removing the sluggish cells leaves more room for the out of control cancer cells. Removing the cancer cells leaves the sluggish cells. A balance between the two is not mathematically possible to sustain. Eventually, the math catches up with us and death results. According to the report, scientists who are looking for the cure for aging are not going to succeed. Of course, we all know that lotions, creams, vitamins, and health foods have limited success in keeping us looking and feeling young. According to the research, either your cells will become more sluggish, or they will become cancerous. There is no other option. There is no fountain of youth. You can’t stop the aging process.

But wait! Genesis 2:9 tells us about the trees in the Garden of Eden, and mentions two of them by name. God commanded the first couple not to eat from only one of those two. The other one that they could eat from was called the Tree of Life. When Adam and Eve were banished from the garden that God had prepared for them, they were cut off from the Tree of Life. God said that if they ate from it, they would live forever (Genesis 3:22). For them to live forever in their fallen state, separated from God, would be worse than death. On that fateful day, Adam and Eve died spiritually, and their bodies began to die physically. Ever since then, humans have tried to cheat death and live forever. The result has been a long history of failure.

But God had a better plan. He prepared a way to restore the descendants of the human race to Himself. He hinted at it in Genesis 3:15. The plan was revealed and completed by Jesus Christ. He set out to finish the task of restoration (John 4:34 and 5:36), and He did (John 19:30). We read in Revelation 22:1-2 about the River of Life flowing from the throne of God. Growing along the sides of that river we find the Tree of Life. No longer will it be out of reach. Until then–according to this scientific report–scientists are searching in vain to find a way to stop the aging process and death.
–Roland Earnst © 2017