Tuesday, February 21, 2017

What's a Lifetime? And what are the Implications?

Harry S. Truman
I have a memory from when I was six years old; I was mad that my favorite television show was not on. My mother explained to me, "President Truman died. His funeral is all that's on TV today, you just need to accept that."

The annoyance of the young boy has become now the curiosity of an adult man. I was alive at the same time as Harry S. Truman! 

And this got me to wondering, how many lifetimes removed am I from the founding of our Nation?

Ulysses S. Grant
And so, I investigated it as follows. Who was the oldest living president when Harry Truman was born on May 8, 1884?

The answer, surprisingly, is Ulysses S. Grant, who died on July 23, 1885!

And so, who was the oldest living president when Ulysses S. Grant was born on April 27, 1822?

John Adams
The answer is, unbelievably, John Adams himself!

John Adams, at the age of 90, died on July 4, 1826 (Thomas Jefferson died on the very same day).

I decided now to play this back toward the future, starting from George Washington. 

George Washington
My methodology will be, what future president, alive when a president died, would live longer than other presidents alive when he was born.

George Washington, at age 67,  died on December 14, 1799. Who was the longest living future president who had been born when he died?

James Buchanan
The answer is James Buchanan, who was born on April 23, 1791 and died on June 1, 1868.

In other words, a president born before Washington died saw the entirety of the Civil War.

And who was the longest living president alive when Buchanan died?

William Howard Taft
It turns out it's William Howard Taft, born on September 15, 1857 and who died on March 8, 1930. 

And what future president, alive when Taft died, lived the longest?

The answer is, there are two presidents, who were born before Taft died, who are still alive!

Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter was born on October 1, 1924.
George H.W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush was born on June 12, 1924.

I will admit to being surprised how few lifetimes separate us who are alive today from people we assumed were distant history.

As a Christian, I close in contemplating the following.

What was the year when the last Christian who had a memory of an Apostle died? Based on the spans of lives I show here, it is not unreasonable to assert that a number of such people were still alive in the year AD 150. 

What was the year when the last Christian who learned Christianity from someone who in turn had learned it from an Apostle died? The answer will be, somewhere deep in the 200's.

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