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“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.”

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”

“Death . . . is Life’s change agent.”

—Steve Jobs, Commencement Address at Stanford University (June 12, 2005)

Much will be said tonight and in the days ahead about this entrepreneurial genius. (See, for example, Albert Mohler’s excellent obituary.) From a spiritual perspective, this much can be said with certainty: Steve Jobs, created in the image of God, was a remarkable example of God’s common grace in his aesthetics and creativity and productivity.

And we can all hope that in his final days, this recipient of so much common grace found rest in God’s sovereign saving grace.


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31 thoughts on “Steve Jobs (1955-2011)”

  1. ELLEN says:

    “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.”

    I am saddened to think that he never read St. Paul’s letters.

    Death is a door, not a destiny.

  2. Sphen says:

    I am saddened by Jobs’ passing. My prayers are with his family and friends. I don’t mean for this to be insensitive, but why would those who believe in the concept of God’s sovereign saving grace have any “hope” one way or the other that Jobs found rest in it? Wouldn’t they just want God to carry out His salvific desires in whatever way HE sees fit?

    “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”

    if God decided to NOT impart Jobs with His sovereign saving grace (he didn’t appear outwardly a believer), this only magnifies the grace that the elect receive: “that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.”

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Sphen: Good question. We ultimately submit to God’s sovereign, secret will (God will have mercy on whom he has mercy). But it’s entirely appropriate to pray and labor and hope for the manifestation of God’s revealed will (God desires all to be saved, is not wishing for any to perish, takes no pleasure in death, etc.).

  3. steve hays says:

    Demonstrates our impotence. He had the best treatment money could buy, but that wasn’t enough. Death is greater than man. God is greater than death.

  4. Yuriy says:

    We can’t know for sure but some of my Christian friends believe Steve may have been saved due to fact he spoke humbly at public events. Of course for the sake of his professionalism at Apple henprobably did not talk about it, but we can hope. Thank you Lord that you gave the world, and particularly Americans this intelligent man, in Jesus’ name thanks!

  5. Andy says:

    I think that everyone can extend condolences to Jobs’ family.

    However, if you go onto most sites reporting his death, you see a great deal of idolatry in the comments sections – people exalting Jobs as a savior-like figure.

    The man’s abilities in the production and marketing of technology are above nearly all human beings, but I’m not sure that technology ought to be praised/welcomed as much as it is, or that these sorts of skills that have a (media-recognized) large impact on human beings ought to be put above other skills or geniuses like preaching the Gospel effectively or loving one’s spouse deeply, etc.

  6. This is a beautiful epilogue of grace.

  7. Gareth says:

    Well said Justin.

  8. kpolo says:

    There is an article where Steve is quoted as saying, “Death is the single biggest invention of life.”

    http://www.thestreet.com/_yahoo/story/11269716/1/steve-jobs-death-is-the-single-best-invention-of-life.html

    Whether Steve was a believer or not, there is not much use in speculating. But this much I know – his statement about death ought to provide a great conversation for us believers. Death isn’t an invention of life, it is the “wage” for sin. Death is not to be celebrated. It is a constant reminder of our separation from God. Death doesn’t force people to innovate. It lays to waste all of man’s plans and visions. Death is not life’s change agent. Christ is.

  9. Bill says:

    Justin,
    Your words about our response to the secret and the revealed will of God make some sense of our attitude in this present life, but this is because of our limited perspective and our lack of sanctification. As Reformed theologian John Gerstner says about heaven,” When you go to heaven, you’ll be so sanctified that you’ll be able to look down into hell and see your friend there and rejoice that he’s there.” R.C. Sproul says that in our present unsanctified state our concerns are more in line with those who are in rebellion against God but when we are finally sanctified our desires will be more aligned with the glory of God.

  10. Looseycult says:

    “As Reformed theologian John Gerstner says about heaven,” When you go to heaven, you’ll be so sanctified that you’ll be able to look down into hell and see your friend there and rejoice that he’s there.”

    How ironic, a quote taken from an unsanctified man at that time.

    1. Jordan says:

      Justin thank you for your words on this. I wonder about that statement from Gerstner (and Bill) on the rejoicing that your friends in hell, in part because of the parable that Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus. In that, didn’t Abraham say that there was a great chasm between heaven and hell so that those that wanted to go from one place to the other were unable (Luke 16:26)? I know we ought not to press parables too far, but a plain reading here would seem like there might be those that would want to…I shall submit to the wisdom of the crowd on this. :)

  11. Oliver says:

    Are we idolizing a man here? Opinions appreciated. I’m not trolling.

    As I go through my Facebook yesterday and today and read all the condolences and news streams, what is evident is that everyone is sad and is sending well wishes that Steve Jobs to rest in peace. Christians, non-Christians; if you are a Mac or if you are a PC. Everyone appreciated and in some respects adored a man who gave them products that they love to use. As a Christian, I was curious to find out that Steve Jobs was a Buddhist and was never saved.

    So, my question is this: am I the only crazy one here? As Christians, why are so many of us eulogizing Steve Jobs as if he were more special than anyone else? Why are Christian blog sites not talking about that while Steve was indeed a visionary and a person who made a lasting impact on this world; it is only in this world. His salvation in eternity is not there. I would have an easier time arguing the case for Gandhi, than I would Steve Jobs. I came to The Gospel Coaltion site hoping that you guys would be the reason in the midst of this madness. Isn’t Steve Jobs in Hell? Or does “Love Wins”?

    1. @Oliver, we can’t really KNOW he’s in hell. Yes, if he held onto his Buddhism (I actually didn’t know that tidbit about him) all the way till death, then yes. He never placed his faith in Christ, but Justin DID say we can HOPE that he did. I think that’s fair. We can hope that about Steve Jobs, or Michael Jackson, or just the homeless guy down the street. The rest in peace comments….ok, you might have a point there. :-)

  12. Bill says:

    John Gerstner might say that his comments do come from an unsanctified man but they are based on the teachings of scripture. Show him how he is wrong in his interpretation and he will acknowledge his error. Simply saying that being unsanctified does not rule out the possibility of correctly interpreting the Bible. If it did then we could not justify any interpretation of the Bible since none of us are completely sanctified at this point.

    1. kpolo says:

      Where in the Bible does it say that we will rejoice to see the lost in hell? I don’t believe Scripture makes any comment on whether we can see hell from heaven (the parable doesn’t count in my opinion). But then again, I’m no Biblical scholar and so look forward to the pruning …

      1. Justin Taylor says:

        I think commenters are thinking here of Rev. 18:20.

    2. I should not be commenting... says:

      I would respond this way:

      [1] If we conform our attitudes to God’s attitudes, then we make progress in sanctification. (premise)

      [2] God’s attitude towards the death of the wicked is pleasure and joy. (premise for reductio)

      [3] If our attitude towards the death of the wicked is pleasure and joy, then we make progress in sanctification. [1 and 2]

      [4] Yet God does not take pleasure or joy at the death of the wicked (Ez. 18:23) (factual premise)

      Therefore, if our attitude towards the death of the wicked is pleasure and joy, then we do not make progress in sanctification.

      I suppose [4] is where things are going to be disputed, but even most Calvinists I’ve read seem to agree that such is the case. If not, then hyper-Calvinism is not far off.

      1. @I should not be commenting…

        I don’t know anyone who would disagree with point four. I think that’s sort of a gimme.

  13. Looseycult says:

    No….it’s still pretty ironic.

  14. Brad says:

    I was struck by this comment from Jobs,

    “This stuff doesn’t change the world. It really doesn’t,” he said about technology in a Wired magazine interview, eight years before he was diagnosed with cancer.

    “I’m sorry, it’s true. Having children really changes your view on these things. We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much — if at all.”

    Brad

  15. karen carder says:

    My mother in law was saved on her deathbed….we cannot know the heart of any man or say where they are when they die….Steve Jobs opened the world of technology to so many and many of us are grateful for that…I dont think it is worship to say that!…appreciated your thoughts Justin!

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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