Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? It was released in 1993, and has since become one of the top 10 classic American fantasy comedy movies. The main character in the movie, Phil Connors, is played by Bill Murray. Connors is an arrogant Pittsburgh-based television meteorologist who is assigned to cover the annual Groundhog Day ceremonies in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Connors is offended by the assignment because he considers it an insult to his intelligence to report on such a frivolous matter.
After complaining bitterly about the assignment, Connors covers the Groundhog Day ceremony and then tries to leave town as quickly as possible. Despite his efforts, he and his crew are unable to leave due to a blizzard that has shut down all travel. Connors is then forced to spend the night in Punxsutawney.
The next morning Connors wakes up to the reality that he is reliving the previous day’s events. Everything that happened the day before happens again. When he goes to sleep that night and wakes up the next morning, he realizes that he is again being forced to live through the same (Groundhog) day again.
Each day thereafter when Connors wakes up, he is confronted with the same situation. He eventually decides to take advantage of his misfortune. Since he knows what everyone in town is going to do, he takes advantage of them by stealing money, treating them badly, and seducing women.
There is one particular woman that Connors is attracted to — her name is Rita. Despite his attempts to develop a relationship with Rita, she refuses to have anything to do with him.
When Connors finally realizes that he is in a time loop that will never end, he becomes depressed and despondent. He subsequently commits suicide by driving off a cliff. As usual, he wakes up the next morning and is faced with the same dilemma of having to again relive the same day all over again.
Over time, Connors begins to change his attitude and his approach to life. He starts becoming friends with the people he repeatedly encounters each day and uses his knowledge and experience to help the people he comes into contact with.
Rita is impressed with the kind and generous way in which Connors is treating other people. After an evening dance, Rita bids for Connors at a bachelor auction and ends up winning the auction. After the auction, Connors spends romantic time with Rita and they end the evening in his room.
The next morning, the clock radio alarm goes off and plays something other than the song that has played every morning since Connors arrived in Punxsutawney. He then realizes that the time loop has been broken and it is now the day after the Groundhog Day ceremony. Connors is thrilled that Rita is still with him in his room and they go outside, where he proposes to Rita. Rita accepts and they decide to settle down in Punxsutawney.
The movie was eventually released in a DVD version that included an interview with the director. In the interview, the director stated that he believed that Phil Connors was stuck in the time loop for 10 years and that it took Connors that long to modify his behavior. Sometime later, in an email response to a reporter, the director wrote, “I think the 10-year estimate is too short. It takes at least 10 years to get good at anything, and allowing for the downtime and misguided years he spent, it had to be more like 30 or 40 years.”
I thought about the movie recently when I read an article about Ray Kurzweil, an inventor who is considered by some to be the modern-day Thomas Edison. Some of Kurzweil’s inventions have included the flatbed scanner, a music synthesizer that reproduces the sound of a grand piano, and the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind.
In his 1990 book, The Age of Intelligent Machines, Kurzweil predicted widespread use of the Internet and the rise of mobile phones. In his 2005 best seller, The Singularity Is Near, Kurzweil focused on the future of mankind and the exponential growth of artificial intelligence. In his 2009 book, Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever, Kurzweil predicted that the biotechnology and molecular nanotechnology revolution would eventually enable us to reprogram and rebuild our bodies to live forever.
While some people may think that Kurzweil is a crazed scientist, there are several billionaires who support him and believe that what he is predicting is possible. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and one of the richest men in the world, has called Kurzweil “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence.”
Larry Ellison, the billionaire founder of Oracle, Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon, and Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire founder of Facebook, are all fans of Kurzweil and have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in health-related and antiaging projects that are similar to what Kurzweil is working on.
The billionaire founders of Google were so impressed with Kurzweil that they convinced him to come to work for Google as its director of engineering to develop machine intelligence. Kurzweil’s ultimate goal is to develop the technology that will allow a human being to live forever. It is his contention that over the next 20 to 25 years, we’re going to be able to overcome almost all disease and aging.
So will Kurzweil and the other individuals who are working toward reengineering the human body to live forever succeed? For those of us who believe in God and the fall of man, the answer is no. While new advances in biotechnology and molecular nanotechnology may eradicate most diseases, enhance the quality of life, and even extend life, there will never be a time when the human body will live forever.
Although Adam and Eve were created to live forever, when they defied God and sinned, they ushered in death for the entire human race. While the scientists and inventors of the future may be able to figure out ways to enhance our health and extend our lives, they will never be able to modify or alter our souls, which are the spiritual source that makes our lives possible.
We are not just physical beings — machines that can be reprogrammed to run forever. Deep within us is a power source that we call the soul. Our souls exist in the spiritual realm and play an integral part in determining when our bodies will die. Our souls cannot be seen or manipulated by geniuses like Kurzweil.
While our bodies will someday die, our souls will live forever. If we do as our Lord said — take up our cross every day and follow Him — we will live forever with Him in Heaven. If we fail to do what He said, we will suffer in Hell forever. For the souls who end up in Hell, it will be like the most wretched Groundhog Day they could ever endure — not for 10 years, but for 10,000 years multiplied by infinity.
I’m going to play it safe, and follow the lead of our Savior rather than Kurzweil and his friends.