Genesis 5 states that the patriarchs prior to the flood lived as long as 900 years. How exactly is anyone supposed to take this into consideration when during ancient times, life span was actually shorter than it is now?  Only now are humans living longer, not shorter. So in the face of this how could anyone take this seriously?  It is difficult to accept
the Bible when such ideas defy science itself. Are there any credible explanations? So far any concept I have read brings no resolution. Thanks.


I will have to agree that science cannot be used to explain or to support the biblical description of unnaturally long life-spans before the flood.  I have a reasonable explanation, but it is not scientific, per se.  Before I do let me comment on one thing you say.  You say that life spans were shorter in ancient times. I agree that the average life span was much less in ancient times. More than half died in infancy and many died in childhood. This made the average span of life much shorter, but the evidence is that the maximum life span in ancient times was similar to what it is now. If I am right, and I believe I am, the natural human life span has not increased in recent times.  I do not believe this really changes your question, but I thought I would mention it.

As for the life spans in Genesis before the flood, let me propose a possible explanation. I believe that Adam and Eve were a special creation by God.  I believe that they were more “perfect” genetically than we are. I speculate that the first humans had a genetic makeup somewhat different than us which allowed them to live longer than we do. Over time, as mutations occurred, this longer life-span was not passed on to the later descendants. Nearly all mutations have either no effect or a negative effect, so I speculate that a genetic change entered the population which brought the longer life spans to an end. Of course, this idea is not scientific. It is a kind of ad hoc explanation coming from someone who believes the Bible is inspired by God.

I will be completely honest with you. I believe the Genesis account largely because of the overwhelming evidence for biblical inspiration. Given the evidence for the miracles of Jesus, for the historical accuracy of the Bible, for the scientific reliability of the scriptures and the fulfillment of messianic prophecy, I conclude that the Bible is inspired by God. This faith causes me to give the benefit of the doubt to the reliability of the Genesis account. I believe the longer life spans because of my faith in the reliability of the Bible overall. This leads me to speculate as to a reason for the longer life spans. So…. My answer is not a scientific one, but it is a sensible explanation of something I believe by faith.

So, take my answer for what it is worth, as it comes from one with a bias toward biblical inspiration, but I believe it is a rational explanation which is scientifically believable, but certainly not provable by science.

John Oakes

Comments are closed.