On more than one occasion, I’ve been asked if I really believe that people in biblical times lived hundreds of years.  Simply answered: Yes I do!  And here is a brief reason why I believe it.

First and foremost, I believe it because God said it was so.  I believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of an omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God.  The Bible repeatedly claims to be the Word of God and I have never found any reason to doubt that.  If just one word or one letter of the Bible was proven to be untrue, then none of it could be trusted, but to date, that has never happened.

Here is a list of the patriarchs from Adam to Noah to Jacob:

Adam – 930 years

Seth – 912 years

Enosh – 905 years

Kenan – 910 years

Mahlalael – 895 years

Jared – 962 years

Enoch – 365 years (did not die, was taken into heaven alive0

Methuselah – 969 years (died year of the Flood)

Lamech – 777 years (lived 56 years with Adam before Adam died)

Noah – 950 years

Shem – 600 years

Arpachshad – 438 years (everyone from here on born after the Flood)

Shelah – 433 years

Eber – 464 years

Peleg – 239 years

Reu – 239 years

Serug – 230 years

Nahor – 148 years

Terah – 205 years

Abram (Abraham) – 175 years

Issac – 180 years

Jacob – 147 years

As a biologist, I also believe that people in early biblical times lived to be hundreds of years old.  When God created Adam, He created him perfect.  That means that Adam had no genetic defects at the time he was created.  God also intended Adam and Eve to live forever, although He knew Adam would sin and bring death into the world.

When Adam sinned, God cursed Adam, Eve, the serpent and all of Creation.  Plants changed and started growing thorns.  Animals changed and started eating each other.  Eve changed as childbirth would bring her great sorrow in several different ways.  And Adam changed as now he would age and die.

I can’t say for certain, but most likely, as Adam lived for 930 years, his genes experienced a mutation or two.  Each generation after him would have carried those mutations along with some of their own.  By the time of the Flood, there would have been 1656 years of mutations accumulated in Noah’s sons.

Prior to the Flood, there was a fairly large population that would have kept most mutations in check.  But the Flood created the greatest genetic bottleneck in human history.  Everyone born after the Flood came from either Shem, Ham or Japheth.  That means that a significant amount of genetic variation was lost at the time of the Flood. A lesser amount of genetic variation makes one more susceptible to the influences of mutations.

Additionally, there may have been some changes to the overall environment of the earth at the time of the flood.  Some creationists suggest that the atmospheric pressure was greater before the Flood, but that is more theory than fact.  All we do know for certain is that the world that existed prior to the Flood had been completely and utterly destroyed. (2 Peter 3:5-6)

Between the genetic bottleneck and the environmental changes in the new world after the Flood would undoubtedly have played a significant role in decreasing the longevity of humans.  There would have been more diseases as well that also affect longevity.

I trust you are a familiar with DNA.  It exists in all of our cells.  Telomeres are specialized sections of DNA found at the end of each strand.  They serve to hold the DNA together and keep it from fraying or unraveling.  As cells divide, the telomeres become a little shorter.  After enough cell divisions, the telomere is so short that the DNA can no longer divide and the cell dies.

Some diseases including cancer, along with some genetic mutations can affect the length of the telomere, thus reducing the longevity of the cell.  This can affect the tissue or organ the cells are in and eventually the life of the person.  Through numerous studies, telomeres have been linked to overall longevity of humans.  There is also evidence that telomeres were longer and stronger in the past, meaning that people would have lived longer.

When cells and people are younger, an enzyme called telomerase that works to keep the telomere from getting shorter.  As the cell divides, telomerase acts to add the base units that are lost during cell division.  The older the cell and person gets, the amount of telomerase decreases and cannot keep up with the losses incurred in cell division.  Eventually, the losses are far greater than the telomerase available and the cell dies.

Since a number of factors can affect telomeres and telomerase (disease, mutations, environmental), it makes sense that over time, they become shorter and shorter, making life shorter and shorter.

I know that many may try to argue about the shorter lifespans during the medieval times and Middle Ages, but a lot of that may attributed to the overall living conditions during those times which led to increased disease and more dangerous lifestyles.  As improvements to our living standards and along with many medical breakthroughs, our lifespans have been in increasing.  Yet, there still seems to be a gradual decline in human telomere length.  Until science can fix that, our lives will probably not be that much longer than a century, with the few exceptions we see from time to time.

In conclusion, I believe that the early biblical figures lived hundreds of years because of both theological and scientific reasons.  Once again, I started with the Bible and then looked to science which confirmed what God told us.

Leonard’s Biblical Chronological Chart

Originally published in circa-1860 and beautifully bound in hardcover form, Leonards Biblical Chronological Chart is one of the most concise and helpful reference tools you will ever own!

This faithful reproduction of the 19th century original is a visual wonder and a treasure trove of historical fact, biblical chronology, and Old Testament genealogy. Even the ornate edging contains fascinating details that will help explain some of the most common concepts, cultural facts, and details of measurements and dates as revealed in the Bible.

Easily folds out to an intricately-detailed 29″ x 34″ chart
Contains several engraved maps: the journeys of St. Paul, the area of Canaan, and journeys of the Children of Israel
Lineage of the family of Jacob, the Kings of Judah, and the Kings of Israel are shown

Leonards Biblical Chronological Chart folds up easily and securely to preserve it for generations to come. Enhance your understanding of biblical history with this one-of-a-kind resource!

Hardcover, cardstock; folds out to 29″ x 34″

 

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