Skip to comments.Adam Lived to Be 900? Maybe, but Our Shorter Life Spans Tell Us More Than We Might Like to Admit
Posted on 06/10/2016 7:06:28 AM PDT by Salvation
I sometimes get questions about the remarkably long lives of the patriarchs who lived before the great flood. Consider some of their reported ages when they died:
How should we understand these references? There are many theories that have tried to explain the claimed longevity. Some propose a mathematical corrective, but this leads to other inconsistencies such as certain patriarchs apparently begetting children while still children themselves. Another theory is that the ages of the patriarchs are actually just indications of their influence or family line, but then things dont add up chronologically when considering eras and family trees.
Personally, I think we need to take the stated ages of the patriarchs at face value and just accept it as a mystery: for some reason the ancient patriarchs lived far longer we do today. I cannot prove that the patriarchs actually lived that long, but neither is there strong evidence that they did not. Frankly, I have little stake in insisting that they did in fact live that long. I think it is best just to accept that they did.
Many scoff when I articulate this solution. They almost seem to be offended. The reply usually sounds something like this: Thats crazy. Theres no way they lived that long. The texts must be wrong. To which I generally reply, Why do you think its crazy or impossible? The answers usually range from the glib to the more serious, but here are some common ones:
So I think were back to where we started: just accepting the long life spans of the early patriarchs at face value.
There is perhaps a theological truth hidden in the shrinking lifespans over the course of time in the Old Testament. Scripture links sin and death. The day they ate of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve were warned that they would die (Gen 2:17). Yet they did not drop dead immediately. And although they died spiritually in an instant, the clock of death for their bodies wound down much later. As can be seen in the list of lifespans of the patriarchs (see above), as sin increased, lifespans dropped precipitously, especially after the flood.
Prior to the flood, lifespans remained in the vicinity of 900 years. Immediately afterward, they dropped by about a third (Noah and Shem only lived to be 600), and from there the numbers plummeted even further. Neither Abraham nor Moses even reached the age of 200, and by the time of King David, he would write, Our years are seventy, or eighty for those who are strong (Ps 90:10).
Scripture says, For the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23). Indeed they are, especially in terms of lifespan. Perhaps thats why Im not too anxious to try to disprove the long lifespans of the patriarchs. What we know theologically is borne out in our human experience: sin is life-destroying. And this truth is surely writ large in the declining lifespan of the human family.
Does this prove that Adam actually lived to be more than 900 years old? No. It only shows that declining lifespans are something we fittingly discover in a world of sin. Since God teaches that sin brings death, why should we be shocked that our lifespan has decreased from 900 to 85 years? It is what it is. Its a sad truth that God warned us about. Thanks be to God our Father, who in Jesus now offers us eternal life if we will have faith and obey His Son!
How or even whether the patriarchs lived to be more than 900 years old is not clear. But what is theologically clear is that we dont live that long today because of the collective effect of sin upon us.
Do we need any other explanation?
Monsignor Pope Ping!
A usefuleness for the early patriarchs to live through several generations, was that it permitted their stories to be accurately recounted for generations; ie, to get the story down straight and make sure it was remembered properly.
The sun went around the earth faster back then
Apparently, for Catholics the assertion of the Bible that they lived that long doesn't constitute proof.
Personal anecdote: the point at which I left the Catholic Church was when a seminarian told me he couldn't prove a man named Noah ever existed, but neither could he prove he didn't. I walked away that minute after six years of cognitive dissonance.
G-d's assertion that something happened isn't good enough for Catholics.
We do not NEED another explanation, but there are quite a few good books which talk about the post flood and pre flood world and how the removal of the water vapor barrier at the highest altitudes allowed radiation to affect our genes and cause the degradation of what God created.
“The world that then was perished”
Easy answer. God created man with perfect DNA. Perfect DNA means long lifetimes. As generations went by, flaws developed in the DNA pool resulting in the current 70 year lifespan.
For over 2,000 years, these stories were told verbally around the campfire....and never were written down until you reach a point where written language started to exist. So, there’s some pretty good odds that ages might have gotten shifted around and maybe told a bit different, until some guy fixated all this to exact dates with written words. So I might not be too worried or too trusting of this number business. Some of us are lucky if we barely remember our wife’s birthday.
I read somewhere, that there was a higher level of oxygen before the flood that would have contributed to longer lifespans.
Pre/Post-Flood -- THAT is the key.
The entire world was re-booted. The planet itself, magnetic field, air pressure, genetics, and perhaps shield from radiation were dramatically altered.
Pre-flood fossil record reveal much larger flora and fauna, indicating a longer genetic "expiration date." Some argue that today's current "dating" methods and mechanisms don't apply since the earth was "re-booted."
Genesis 6:3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
Excellent book discusses just that:
Yes you do! You have the inerrant, literal Word of God.
The best take away from all this is that no matter how long you live on earth, you will die here with all the rest of us.
“Many scoff when I articulate this solution. They almost seem to be offended.”
Let them scoff. If they don’t believe God about something as simple as someone’s lifespan, then they surely won’t really believe God when he tells them the more preposterous story about sending His Son to die for our sins.
Leap years not consistent?
Seriously, if sin were to be found the reason for a shortened life span, then everyone in DC would be found to have head stones.
Many consider that the 120 years refers to the amount of time which would elapse before the start of the flood.
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