Since his death, Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple, has been hailed as a pioneer, a visionary, a creative genius, an American business magnate, and an amazing human being. He was all of those. Diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2003, Jobs decided to forgo conventional treatment in favor of a course of alternative medicine, a decision he later regretted and which doctors say led to his early death at the age of fifty-six.1
Walter Isaacson, Jobs’s official biographer, tells of a fascinating conversation he had with Jobs toward the end of his life:
“I remember sitting in his backyard in his garden one day and he started talking about God. He said, ‘Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50-50 maybe. But ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of—maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone. . . . And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.’”2
Now we know why it can be so hard to find that on-off switch on certain Apple devices! And we know something else as well. As terrible as a terminal diagnosis can be, it affords a person time to reflect on ultimate questions—like whether there is life after death. As Christians, we believe in the existence of an afterlife. Why? Because Christ, our brother, assures us there is one. Furthermore, he has already done the hardest thing possible—dying for us and then being raised from the dead. Because of him, we can face our own death with hope, believing God will restore us to life.
- Jon Swaine, “Steve Jobs ‘Regretted Trying to Beat Cancer with Alternative Medicine for So Long,’” The Telegraph, October 21, 2011, accessed May 22, 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/8841347/Steve-Jobs-regretted-trying-to-beat-cancer-with-alternative-medicine-for-so-long.html.
- Walter Isaacson, “Steve Jobs: Revelations from a Tech Giant,” interview, 60 Minutes, CBS News, October 23, 2011.