God designed old age on purpose. Really!

Did you know God deliberately created old age? Such a thought comes as a surprise to many – because everything we hear about being old is negative.

Far from old age being recognised as part of the Divine plan, it’s wrongly seen as something to be feared, resisted and fought against. For example, the anti-ageing cosmetics industry spends £billions on conveying exactly that message.

So I’m never surprised, when speaking on this subject to a large group of Christians, to find some are not convinced. However the majority, when they see the truth in the Scriptures, see it and are delighted.

We should not be surprised by this failure to see old age being part of God’s plan.

That’s because we know God is opposed by an implacable enemy out to thwart his plan for human kind. And the weapon used to thwart his purpose for older people is ageism’ – with its hidden, subtle, and powerful messaging that diminishes the sense of self and warps expectations.

Ageism is not a jokey, trivial thing. It seeps into our souls silently, powerfully, and daily – in hundreds of different ways. Blinding us to our value, and leaving thousands feeling they are so worthless their lives are a waste of time.

That’s why it is important for old age to be seen from God’s perspective.

God positively wants us to grow old

When God created the universe, he set in motion times and seasons and the ageing process. When you realise the purpose God has in mind, you see how wonderful growing older is meant to be.

God sees old age as a reward and a blessing.  Consider these promises –

‘With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see my salvation.’ Psalm 91:16,

‘… if you walk in my ways, I will prolong your life. 1 Kings 13:14,

‘you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.’ Genesis 15:15.

‘Honour your father and your mother, so you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.’ Exodus 20:12

The peak of the culture of Scriptural times was wisdom, and because it’s acquired with experience and age, older people were respected. ‘Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days,’ (Job 12:12) In contrast, in our culture, the peak of attainment is youth. 

God has a purpose for older people

There is no ‘use-before’ date in 2 Ephesians 10, where God makes clear he has equipped us for the good works that he has already planned for us.

God spends our whole lives honing us to develop the character that will bless others – being reflective, less impulsive, able to take the long view, with emotional balance and empathy, compassion and listening skills.

This long preparation is for seniors – the Bible regards older people as seniors, without actually using the word – to be an elderhood in society. Not lording it over others, but helping, listening, mentoring, encouraging and above all – telling of his faithfulness (Psalm 78).

Following a talk I’d given on this topic, a lady came to me with her face aglow. She said, ‘I’m 70, and a retired teacher. I thought there was nothing else for me now.’ Then, lifting her fists and punching the air, she added, ‘but God’s got more for me yet!

Following a talk I’d given on this topic, a lady came to me with her face aglow. She said, ‘I’m 70, and a retired teacher. I thought there was nothing else for me now.’ Then, lifting her fists and punching the air, she added, ‘but God’s got more for me yet!

Most people respond like this, both to my talks and my book, ‘What’s Age Got To Do With It?’ It is such a blessing to see people released into God’s purpose for them.

Imagine that happening with thousands and thousands of older Christians. Think of the energy that would be released for sharing the gospel and helping those with physical frailties.

However, so much more could be done to see older people released into God’s purposes if this same message was espoused in our churches, as are other biblical principles.

How have you seen God’s purpose for your later years worked out? Do please share here or on the AfterWorkNet Facebook Group.

Louise Morse

Louise Morse is a popular speaker and writer about old age, including dementia, and follows current research on the issues. She’s media and external affairs manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society, a Christian charity giving practical and spiritual support to older people.


  1. Yes
    There is much in your positive comments, but we need to add that there will be no more pain or death in the new creation.
    Part of old-age is failing powers, deteriorating health, body functions less efficient and failing, and tears for some, regrets and much suffering for some.
    Isn’t some of this the work of the enemy, Result of the fall, sin and imperfection? Not quite God’s original purpose, But he was not caught out nor were his plans to be completely frustrated.
    He had prepared a means of redemption for the whole of creation, through his faithful son and his mission to restore all things.
    The whole creation stands on tiptoe yearning for the redemption of the sons of God!

    1. I really struggle with this and would agree with Brian. I cannot believe that God planned old age and all that comes with it. As I look after my sister who developed neurological symptoms at 47 and has slowly deteriorated til now at 75 she can’t read, can hardly speak, can’t walk and struggles to eat. I try to say that God can use the situation and He allows it for some purpose which may one day be revealed but to say that He planned that I find almost insulting. Would a loving father plan that? I just hold onto the fact that one day my sister will be welcomed by her Father and given “a new body”

      1. Fiona, I do understand your pain in this. But may I suggest there is a difference between the natural aging process with the wisdom that comes from added years and disease that destroys the quality of life. The latter could never be part of the plan of a loving God.

        1. I have been thinking about this a lot. I quite agree we can think positively about old age because on the whole we have longer years than our predecessors and we should use them positively. But I am not sure what you mean by the difference between “natural ageing” and disease. From what I understand, in God’s original plan there was no ‘natural ageing’. As Brian said ‘this is all part of the fall’ and the disease that has come with it leads many to suffer deterioration of mind and body and the loneliness of a life without your life partner. Those of us who are blessed with relative health in old age should certainly feel privileged but please to say God designed it originally does not give credit to the loving Father I am trying to believe He is.

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The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years"

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife