Did Adam really live for 930 years?

Genesis chapters 5, 9, 11, 25, 35, 47 and 50 contain the genealogy of the beginnings of the human family. From Adam through Moses, we are told who was related to whom, the age of the father at the birth of their first son and the age of these individuals when they died. In this way, and without using calendar dates, we are told not only who was contemporary with whom but we can learn something about mankind’s changing physiology.

In the first place, death was not part of God’s creation. Adam was created to be eternal – not, as some have mistakenly claimed, immortal since 1 Timothy 6:15-16 tells us: “He who is … King of kings and Lord of lords who alone has immortality.” God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden and, on that first Friday, invited him to eat the fruit of any tree except “the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil … for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” [Genesis 2:15-17]. Neither Adam nor Eve died on the day they ate the forbidden fruit but rather Scripture records that Adam died at the age of 930 years [Genesis 5:5]. The traditional explanation is an appeal to 2 Peter 3:8: “With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” None of the pre-flood patriarchs lived more than a thousand years – thus, they all died within one of God’s “days.”

Following Adam and Eve’s Fall, God’s punishment for Adam was to “curse the ground for your sake” [Genesis 3:17]; everything that Adam and mankind has since eaten has come from the cursed ground. The immediate effect on Adam and on every other living thing was to slowly change every body-cell from eternal to mortal. Death was thereby introduced for plants, animals and man. Each mortal cell in our bodies grows and is replaced at a definite rate. The rate of replacement depends upon the particular organ. For example, cells in the human brain are replaced every few decades while cells on the tongue are replaced every day. The number of times cells can be replaced is pre-programmed and thus effectively determines our lifespan or longevity. In Adam’s pre-Flood world, the average longevity of man, excluding Enoch, was 907 years. After the Flood, the longevity of man steadily decreased, and the record stops at Moses who died at 120 years [Deut. 34:7].

Is it credible that any biological thing could have lived for almost a thousand years? While this may be difficult to prove in the case of man and those of the animal kingdom, there are plenty of examples from the plant kingdom and these are still alive today (e.g., Giant Sequoia trees of California and Bristlecone Pines. Wikipedia lists thirteen trees alive today that are over 2,000 years old while the oldest, a Bristlecone Pine in California, is 4,800 years old.


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