I was watching a show that was filled with supernatural creatures with longer lifespans than humans. One character was over 700 years old, while another was at least 3000. I wondered, what would it be like to be 1,000 years old?
You’re born in Europe in the year 1020 AD. Forty-six years later, the Norman Conquest of Britain begins. You’re 75 when Pope Urban II calls for the Crusades.
It’s the year 1206, and you’re 186 years old. Genghis Khan starts building his empire across the east. Nine years later, the first democratic document, the Magna Carta, is signed.
Marco Polo travels to Asia and India, looking for a spice route that eventually became the Silk Road. You’re now 251 years old. Two years later, you read Thomas Aquinas’ greatest work, the Summa Theologica.
You ring in the new century; the 1300’s with the Renaissance in Italy. Forty-seven years later, the Black Death/Bubonic Plague spreads across Europe, carried by fleas from rats. About 25,000,000 died. You did not. Now you’re 327 years old.
It’s 1438, and though you don’t know it, the Incan Empire forms in Peru. What you’re looking forward to happens seventeen years later when the Gutenberg movable type printing press produces the Bible. Thirty-seven years after that, it is 1492, and Christopher Columbus gets lost trying to sail to the Indies and stumbles on the New World.
You’re now 472 years old.
It’s 1509; you’re in Italy watching Michaelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. Four years later, you devour Machiavelli’s The Prince. Another four years pass, and Martin Luther initiates the Reformation after asking the Catholic Church 95 questions.
Spain arrives at what would one day be Mexico to find the Aztec Empire at its height. It’s 1519, and you’re almost 500 years old.
The rest of the century is relatively quiet in comparison to what you’ve seen so far.
In the first decade of the 1600s, you got to watch Shakespeare’s Hamlet, read Cervantes’s Don Quixote with his windmill tilting knight. Galileo looks to the sky with a telescope.
You’ve been alive for 589 years. In those years, you watched at least three empires rise and fall, and a plague kills millions, and two holy wars along with a church split.
Books are written, art spread, scientific discoveries are made, and democracy/republic gains a foothold in the West. It hasn’t been all bad, as long as you don’t dwell on all the friends you outlived.
It’s 1637, and Descartes publishes his work of philosophy, Discours de la methode. You think, therefore you are, you think…
In India, the Taj Mahal is completed in the six years that have passed. Nineteen years later, Isaac Newton puts forth his theory of universal gravitation after getting hit in the head. It is 1664.
Three years later, you read Milton’s Paradise Lost. Leibniz’s calculus makes your head hurt. To soothe the headache, you read John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
It’s 1721, and you pass your 721st birthday by listening to Bach’s Brandenberg Concertos.
Thirty-nine years later, the Industrial Revolution begins in England. It is 1764 and Mozart writes his first symphony at eight years old. Five years later, the first practical steam engine is patented.
It’s 1776, and an upstart British colony declares independence, and a war begins. They beat one of the largest empires in the world. In 1787, they signed the Declaration of Independence, which was partially inspired by the Magna Carta, which you saw signed 572 years prior.
105,841 to 155,841 died in it.
Thirteen years after the American Revolution began, the French Revolution begins. You leave town as Mary Antoinette loses her head.
At least 40,000 were killed.
It’s 1808, and you’re listening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Four years later, England attacks America again in the War of 1812, burning down the capital of the new country. Three years later, Napoleon is defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.
One year before you turn 800, Bolivar defeats Spanish forces at Boyaca.
It’s 1833, William Wilberforce, an outspoken Christian finally wins his charge to end slavery in the British Empire.
1859, Charles Darwin publishes his book On the Origin of Species. It is 1862, germ theory is discovered. Medical science now gives you a better understanding of why people get sick.
From 1861 to 1865, you watch the United States of America divide into two nations and go to war against each other and combine again. The bloodiest war to ever hit the country with 620,000 dead.
It’s 1867, and Japan ends 675 years of shogun rule after American ships appear off the coast with an offer to trade.
In 1876, at 856 years old, you can make your first phone call thanks to Alexander Graham Bell. Three years later, not to be outdone, after thousands of tries, Thomas Edison invents the electric light.
In 1893, New Zealand becomes the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote.
The 20th century is on the horizon, and you don’t know it yet, but it’s going to be a doozy. Scientific discoveries will abound, human rights will be recognized, and it will be the bloodiest century ever.
Einstein announces the theory of relativity in 1905. In 1911, Rutherford discovers the structure of the atom. The repercussion of this will come to a head decades later.
In 1914, you find yourself fighting in World War 1. About 40,000,000 people die in that war.
In the trenches, you read that Lenin leads the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. A year later, in 1918, you survive the global Spanish flu pandemic. It infects 500,000,000 and kills around 20,000,000 to 50,000,000.
It’s 1920, and you’re now 900 years old. Seven years later, Lemaitre proposes the big bang theory. Scientists are shocked; the line of thinking has been that the universe is eternal. Two years later, another scientist offers the argument that the universe is expanding.
It is 1928, penicillin is discovered. A year later, the U.S Stock Market crashes, triggering a global depression.
This century has really sucked so far.
In 1936, Keynes publishes The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. It puts you to sleep.
Three years later, in 1939, Hitler invades Poland. The second world war begins. It is 1942, Hitler begins his roundup and mass execution of Jews. In all your years, you’ve never seen such systematic evil.
It is 1945, the culmination of Einstein and Rutherford’s discoveries explodes in Japan in the form of two atomic bombs. The war is over. But not after 56,400,000 people die (56.4 million), soldiers and civilians alike.
The same year the first electronic computer is built called ENIAC. A year later, the United Nations is created from the failed League of Nations. Winston Churchill makes a speech marking the beginning of a new war, a cold war.
Across the Far East, Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement leads to an independent India in 1947. Two years later, Mao Zedong leads a Communist victory in China and promises to destroy Christianity in the country. He doesn’t succeed.
It’s 1953, the structure of DNA is discovered. Brown v. Board of Education begins unraveling U.S racial segregation almost a hundred years after slavery was ended.
You’re 949 years old, watching Armstrong and Aldrin walk on the moon. That same year, 1969, the internet goes online. The paper says it’s called ARPA.
It is 1980, and smallpox is eradicated. A year later, AIDS is identified. In 1983, a cool dude is born, Vance.
Communism fell in eastern Europe in 1989. Two years later, you watch as the Soviet Union crumbles, and apartheid ends in South Africa.
The 21st-century dawns, and in 2001, terrorists fly planes into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and another is crashed in a Pennsylvania field. Two thousand nine hundred ninety-six are killed.
The longest war in American history begins.
It’s 2008, and the first black president is elected in the United States.
It’s 2020, and COVID-19 spreads across the world. This is your third worldwide pandemic. Seriously…?
Can you imagine being alive that long and seeing all that and more? I’ve been reading a few books on the supernatural realm in the Bible, and of course, God’s seen it all.
He knew about it before it happened, or sees it all at once, depending on which philosopher you ask.
Instead, think about this—the angels and demons aren’t omniscience or omnipresent. They likely experience the world the same as us. They see it all for the first time as we do.
C.S Lewis reminds us that every human is an immortal. I don’t know how that will work when the physical part dies, but imagine seeing the world go on after you’re dead.
It is something to think about, along with how humans run the world.