How could Bible people live hundreds of years?

Did Adam really live to be 930 years old?

Adam in the garden ADAM, THE FIRST MAN, COULD HAVE LIVED FOREVER (Genesis 3:22). But he sinned by disobeying God and brought death on himself and all humankind.

However, when God created Adam it was before modern diseases had taken hold, so Adam didn't have the harmful health problems we have today (mutant genes, illnesses, and so on).

In fact, the Bible tells us that all the people who lived in the early years after Creation lived long lives. Methuselah lived longer than Adam (969 years), and so did Noah (950 years). Adam's son Seth lived to be 912.

When life spans began dropping

After the worldwide Flood in Noah's time, life spans gradually decreased as illnesses increased and mutations accumulated, until the average life span fell to today's average of about 70 years.

Another reason for such good health at that time may have been that the whole world's temperature seems to have been sub-tropical to temperate. There is evidence of this because even under the ice in Antarctica and Alaska lush forests and warm-climate trees are known to have once grown.

Were they real years?

Some people have had trouble believing that the years were real years, so have suggested alternative theories. One is that the years were really months.

Were the years months?

Adam's 930 years, and the hundreds of years lived by the early patriarchs and people mentioned in the Bible's book of Genesis, were real years, not just months.

If they were months, then Mahalaleel, who in Genesis 5:15 had his first son at 65 years, and Enoch, who became the father of Methuselah also at 65 years (Genesis 5:21), would have been fathers when they were only five years old!

Thousand years as one day?

Another attempted explanation is that the years weren't real years because the Bible says in 2 Peter 3:8 that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

Perhaps some people don't understand that verse, but if one day is as a thousand years then under this theory you would have to multiply the number of days in a year by 930, and you would get a number a lot bigger than 930.

And if you use the other part of the verse you would be in trouble again, because none of the patriarchs lived even one thousand years, so if a thousand years equals one day, this theory would have them all dying on the first day!

Long lives mentioned outside Bible

Although some have questioned the long lives of early biblical figures, an interesting confirmation of sorts comes from sources outside the Bible.

Excavations near Babel unearthed a “king list”, which records 10 kings who lived very long lives before the Flood. At first these ages were interpreted as thousands of years, which seemed mythological. But improved translations have revised them to be more in line with ages in the Bible.

Other traditions from the Romans, Greeks and Chinese also recounted great ages for ancient men.

There is no doubt that the years were really years, as the Bible says.


Picture credit: "Book of Genesis Chapter 2-5 (Bible Illustrations by Sweet Media)" by Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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