How did the Biblical Patriarchs Live so Long?


According to the Bible, Methuselah lived to be 969 years old. How did the Biblical patriarchs live such long lives?


Have you ever wondered why the first people in the Bible lived so much longer than we do? Genesis chapter 5 contains a genealogical record from Adam to Noah, and tells us how long each man lived:

          Adam lived 940 years;
          His son Seth lived 912 years;
          Seth’s son Enosh, 905;
          His son Kenan, 920;
          His son Mahalale, 830;
          His son Jared, 800.
          Jared’s son Enoch did not die. The Biblical record says that Enoch walked with God. He lived for 365 years and then he was no more, because God took him away. Enoch’s son Methuselah lived for 969 years, making him the oldest person in recorded history. Methuselah’s son Lamech lived to 777, and Lamech was the father of Noah, who lived for 950 years.

An interesting change in the genealogical record took place after the flood which destroyed in world in the time of Noah. Of the ten patriarchs listed above, the average lifespan was 837 years. Genesis 11 continues the genealogy from Noah to Abram, again noting how long each man lived. Of the fourteen names in this list, the average lifespan was only 242 years.

So what happened to the planet during or after the flood that reduced the human lifespan by almost 600 years? Was there a change in diet, or harsher living conditions after the flood?

Ken Ham, president/CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis, has a theory that I think makes a lot of sense.

On the second day of creation, Genesis 1:6-10 says:

 And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so.  God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning–the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.”

These verses are a bit confusing. What does the text mean by “the water under the sky and the water above the sky?”

Ken Ham’s theory is that the waters above the sky actually refer to a canopy of water vapour above the earth’s atmosphere; and the waters below the sky were underground geysers and springs.

If this canopy existed as an evenly spread layer of water above the Earth’s atmosphere, it would have had a greenhouse effect. The whole planet probably shared a pleasant tropical climate. This would explain the mystery of fossilized tropical plants and animals discovered in Polar Regions. There is also evidence in air bubbles found in fossilized amber that the oxygen levels were 50% higher than today. The upper canopy of water vapour between the earth and the sun’s harmful rays, along with the higher oxygen level could account for the incredibly long life spans of the humans who lived before the flood.     

Before the flood, there had been no rain. According to Genesis 2:6, “streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.”

After God shut the door of the Ark to seal it, He released the water from the canopy above the sky and the fountains of the deep (the underground geysers and springs. This torrential onslaught of water from above and below could account for the amount of water needed to flood the entire planet in forty days.

A literal interpretation of the Bible, including Creation and Noah’s flood is not at odds with the geological evidence. Christianity does not require its adherents to ignore science. It is my contention that eventually scientists will catch up with creationists and will have to concede that the Biblical account of the history of the world and humanity is the accurate version.




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