Abundant Life (Part I)


“Oh, man. This is really living.” Just before singing the refrain of Bare Necessities in The Jungle Book, Baloo exhales these words to Mowgli while relishing in the enjoyment of an excellent backscratch (see here). The catchy tune telling of Baloo’s delight in life’s simple pleasures was an anthem for the carefree bear of The Jungle Book and Disney watching children around the world. All the log-crawling bugs, fruit-laden trees, back-scratching bark, and abundant amusement in Baloo’s everyday life was cause for daily celebration.

But why live with the bare necessities when you can have abundance?

Another teacher spoke of there being something more in life than just life’s simple pleasures. This man promised His followers abundant life, a real and eternal life that was more and better than they had ever dreamed of [1-2].

The tunes of Baloo put the swing in my step; the words of Jesus ring in my ears like a riddle.


Multiplying definitions

Abundance in the Oxford dictionary means to have “a very large quantity of something” or “a plentifulness of the good things in life” [3]. I like to think of it as a state of having more than enough, excess, overflow. On the other hand, life is defined as a state of being that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, “including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death” [3].

Combining these two definitions in the spirit of matrix multiplication (a method of multiplying variable sets), abundant life is:

  • To have more than enough growth
  • To have more than enough activity (function)
  • To have more than enough reproduction (legacy)
  • To have more than enough change before death

Now, maybe the multiplication of word meanings isn’t entirely comprehensive in the above example, but I believe it does provide a new view on what abundant life could mean. Abundant life is about relishing in our ability to be alive. Growing, moving, being, inventing, evolving, creating.


The variable of life

While my right brain muses on the meaning of the words of Jesus and the lyrics of Baloo, my engineering brain has me thinking of abundant life in terms variables and the data they represent. Of the many classifications and constraints one can put on data, I present two: the binary variable and the positive continuous variable.

  • Binary variables are variables which can take only one of two values: 1 or 0. They are the backbone of computer systems and often used to model yes-no decisions.
  • Positive continuous variables can take on any possible value ranging from 0 to infinity. The total number of unique values which a positive continuous variable can assume is theoretically limitless.

Biologically, the state of being alive is much like a binary variable in a computer program: one or zero. True or false. Life or absence of life. Notice I did not say death. Life is the intangible substance of our existence as human beings. Death is an event, not the absence of life.

The concept of abundant life radicalizes the binary nature of a biological lifeform to one of a positive and continuous nature. This conceptualization adds a continuum of states beyond merely existing to describe all the ways life can be exceeding, abundant and above all that we can ask, think or imagine [4].

More to come in Abundant Life – Part Two.





[1] John 10:10 NIV

[2] John 10:10, The Message Translation

[3] Oxford English Dictionary oxforddictionaries.com

[4] Ephesians 3:20 NIV

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