He gave a commencement speech at Stanford University. An excerpt:
“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. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent: it clears the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. But someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it’s quite true.”
Andy Crouch of Christianity Today saw him as a secular evangelist for technology-generated hope when he “strode on stage with a miracle in his pocket.” But his cold outlook was godless, soulless, self-centered, morally neutral and offered no promise of an afterlife. On 60 Minutes Jobs said “You’re born alone, you’re gonna die alone. And does anything else really matter? I mean what is it exactly, is it that you have to lose? You know? There’s nothing.”
This was consistent with his embrace of Zen Buddhism, which is non-theistic and denies the existence of self.
But impending death challenged him. He told biographer Walter Isaacson “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….. maybe it’s because I want to believe in an afterlife.’
Steve Jobs was consumed with work to the exclusion of many other things, including God. Once his illness slowed him down he seems to have sensed Him and decided there was a better than even chance for an afterlife after all. Shortly before he died Jobs told his sister “that he was going to a better place.”
“Oh wow, Oh wow, Oh wow” were Steve Jobs’ last words. Peggy Noonan, writing in, The Wall Street Journal, thinks they “were the best thing said in 2011.” “What happened there that he looked away from his family and expressed what sounds like awe?”
Noonan told of a friend whose son died at home, surrounded by family. “As Robert breathed his last an infant in the room let out a great baby laugh as if he saw something joyous, wonderful and gestured toward the area above Robert’s head. The infant’s mother, startled, moved to shush him but my friend, her mother, said no, maybe he’s reacting to …something only babies see.” And the dying person experiences.
Monumental wealth, fame and success still leaves one guessing about the afterlife. Steve Jobs learned it exists when he finally met God. It would have been better if he’d been a Christian and known Him long before he died.