Thursday, June 3, 2010

LONG AGES LONG AGO

Evolution v. Creation part ____ of 12

LONG AGES, LONG AGO

“The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” ~Psalm 90:10

According to Scripture, Methuselah lived to be a staggering 969 years old. Many others in his time had children when they were several hundred years old. This ancient longevity is one of the allegedly “far-fetched” claims of Biblical creationists.

But, is it really that unlikely? Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Indians, Sumerians, Chinese and other cultures talk of much longer ancient life spans in ancient times, as well. Many tales explain that a great flood shortened these spans. If this happened just as the Bible explains, then these stories would be preserved in common memory and tradition all over the world. This is precisely what we find. What does Scripture actually teach about ancient longevity.

God created Adam and Eve in a perfect state; uncorrupted by sin, sickness and physical death. It has been suggested that they had the ability to live forever here on Earth. They were certainly provided food, water and all they would have needed in the Garden of Eden.

He also provided them only one rule. (While religions of today maybe criticized by some as having too many rules, originally there was just one.) God warned them not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The consequences were also given: they and their descendants would die (Genesis 2:16–17).

With Satan’s diabolical help, our great-great-great (and so on) grandparents rebelled and they changed as a result (Genesis 3). Spiritual death happened immediately, with illness and eventual physical death to follow. Their own firstborn child, Cain, became the world’s first murderer. One of their other children became the first victim. The wages of their sin was, indeed death--both physical and spiritual. This is the bad news, and John 3:16 contains the good news (“gospel” in Greek).

However, sin’s effects on Adam limited his life span to 930 years. The ten patriarchs (excluding Enoch) who preceded the Great Flood lived an average of 912 years! Exceedingly long, when compared to our current spans--but dreadfully short, compared to forever.

Amazingly, for some 1,500 years after creation, most men either could have actually talked to the first man, Adam, or personally knew someone who did! Adam’s own grandsons could have babysat young Noah!

Ages of the Patriarchs from Adam to Noah (Pre – Flood)

Patriarch Age Bible Reference

1 Adam 930 Genesis 5:4

2 Seth 912 Genesis 5:8

3 Enosh 905 Genesis 5:11

4 Cainan 910 Genesis 5:14

5 Mahalalel 895 Genesis 5:17

6 Jared 962 Genesis 5:20

7 Enoch 365 (did not die of old age) see Genesis 5:23

8 Methuselah 969 Genesis 5:27

9 Lamech 777 Genesis 5:31

10 Noah 950 Genesis 9:29

During the 1,000 years following the Flood, however, the Bible records a progressive decline in life span, from Noah who lived to be 950 years old until Abraham at 175. Since then, a few make it to around 120, but most die closer to half of that.

Ages of the Patriarchs after Noah to Abraham (Post – Flood)

Patriarch Age Bible Reference

11 Shem 600 Genesis 11:10–11

12 Arphaxad 438 Genesis 11:12–13

13 Shelah 433 Genesis 11:14–15

14 Eber 464 Genesis 11:16–17

15 Peleg 239 Genesis 11:18–19

16 Reu 239 Genesis 11:20–21

17 Serug 230 Genesis 11:22–23

18 Nahor 148 Genesis 11:24–25

19 Terah 205 Genesis 11:32

20 Abraham 175 Genesis 25:7

As a lawyer, I sometimes use our Tennessee State Law to set out the average life span. Not surprisingly, our current average life expectancy remains between 70 and 80 years. The veracity of the Bible is further confirmed by this fact, even though Psalm 90 was written over 3,000 years ago.

So, what changed so permanently at the Flood? Tropical foliage and a humid environment gave way to an ice age, which led eventually to what we see today. The land mass separated and concentrated our flawed DNA in groups which have recognizable characteristics.

What has not changed is more remarkable. We do not have to teach our children to lie, cheat and steal. Their sin nature takes care of that. We have to teach them to obey and choose the right path. We must encourage them to seek and to find God through the Way, His Son, Jesus.

Jesus, in the Book of John, told us He came into the world to testify to the Truth. The universality of death and suffering should push us towards Him, not away. We know at every funeral that death is an intruder into this world, whether at 9, 90, or 900 years of age. Jesus conquered death by rising from the dead. (see Isaiah 25:8; Psalm 49:14–15; 1 John 5:13). Turn to Him, so that one day you can ask Methuselah what it felt like to live for 969 years.

All prior articles in this series can be found by searching my blog at DavidBPeel.Blogspot.com.