Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer, and the Solutions Barbados' candidate for St George North. He can be reached at

“Difficult Conversations – Not a Bridge Too Far” by Grenville Phillips II

“Difficult Conversations – Not a Bridge Too Far” by Grenville Phillips II

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer, and the Solutions Barbados' candidate for St George North. He can be reached at

When I am called up yonder, I may depart by way of: accident, terminal illness or execution; but if I could choose, I would request a flaming chariot like that which took Elijah.  If the chariot is unavailable, then I would want to go like Moses who walked to his funeral and was buried by God Himself – at the expiration of 120 years.

This is now my 60th year on Earth and I noticed that I am attending funerals of persons who did not live this long.  A distressing refrain when attending those funerals is that they have ‘gone too soon’.  I do not plan to go ‘too soon’.  Rather, I intend to use up all the time allotted to me.


When situations that cause our lives to end are out of our control, then I believe that we go when we are called – and not a moment too soon.  However, when these situations are entirely within our control, then we choose (i) to go ‘too soon’ and (ii) our method of exit.

Choosing high-sugar foods is to choose a premature exit by way of heart disease.  Choosing drugs is to choose to go ‘too soon’ from an accident.  Choosing a life of violence is to choose to leave shortly by way of murder.


We are designed to live on this Earth for 120 years.  How do I know this?  Every manufactured item comes with a User Manual and our Creator gave an expiry date of 120 years.  The quoted section follows.

“And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”” (Genesis 6:3)


Many believe with certainty that our expiry date is 70 years, because that date is mentioned in the User Manual in the following manner.

“The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10)

It is important that the context of this statement is understood.  It is an observation made by a fellow creation approximately 3,400 years ago, and not a declaration by our Creator.  He observed that back then, people tended to live 70 years, much like today.  However, our Creator established the design life of his human creation as 120 years.


The confusion with 70 and 120 years reveals the risk with all User Manuals – they are rarely read in their entirety because users think that they know how to operate the item.  This may lead to the unknowing misuse of the item until it malfunctions – and is gone too soon.  Not: reading, believing, or adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions may only disadvantage the users and those whom they influence.

Why is 70 to 80 years still the norm for an advanced age rather than the allotted 120 years?  The answer may lie in the type of fuel we consume to operate our bodies.  Rather than speculate, let us see what the User Manual states.

“And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.“” (Genesis 1:29)


There are later verses that seem to permit the eating of animals.  Jesus explained such apparent contradictions when discussing the permanence of marriage.  The religious leaders asked Him to explain the apparent contradiction with Moses’ command.

“Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”  They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”  He [Jesus] said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matthew 19:6b-8)


Eating meat will still allow us to work, study and play for many years.  So will: smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, and consuming high-sugar processed foods – all of which are toxic to our bodies.  However, if we want to use the allotted 120 years, then we should make better health choices.

My best advice is to: (i) choose the plant-based diet prescribed from the beginning, (ii) sleep 7 to 8 hours every 24 hours, (iii) forgive everyone, (iv) keep learning new things, and (v) run (not walk) at least 1 km each week.  I will plan to write about running in a subsequent article – because it is not a ‘bridge too far’.

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