Biblical longevity

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Biblical longevity refers to the claimed biologically-impossible life spans of some Biblical characters, which were often hundreds of years long. Some characters in the Bible simply live too long (in terms of hundreds of years[1]) despite God's command after the flood which puts an upper bound on human life at 120 years. This divine decree is a problem for many literal interpretations of the Bible, not least because Jeanne CalmentWikipedia's W.svg lived to be 122, but also because some Biblical characters subvert the decree, leading to a quite a hefty contradiction in scripture.

Contents

[edit] The scriptures

After God has seen how wicked humanity is, He decrees an upper limit to the age of humans after the flood.

Genesis 6:3
And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

If this statement is true, we should not expect anyone to have a life longer than 120 years after the flood. However, in later passages of the Bible there are people who blatantly defy this command and live far more than 120 years.

To be fair, some may interpret this passage as the 120 year countdown to the Flood.

[edit] Examples

  • Abraham lived to the ripe, old age of 175 years old (with the physical prowess to father a child at 100 years of age, no less!)
  • Sarah, Abraham's wife, had her numbers come up at a comparatively low 127 years of age (though she did give birth to Abraham's last child when she was 82 years old!)
  • Noah lived for 950[2] years (That's longer than Adam!)
    • It's 350 years even if you don't count the years he lived before the flood.[3]
    • Although the rule may have not been retroactively applied (he may have been grandfathered in).
  • Methuselah, of course, is famous for living longer than any other person mentioned in the Bible (given that women's ages weren't mentioned), reaching the age of 969. However his longevity wasn't as remarkable as it's often made out to be, since many others (including Noah, as mentioned) are said to have lived well into their 900s.
  • Shem lived for like 600[4] years, so he pretty much got grandfathered in as well.
    • It's not clear why Japheth is not grandfathered in as well (Ham probably did not get grandfathered in due to the Curse of Ham)
  • Pretty much every one of Shem's firstborn descendants[5] as well (Extends all the way to Jacob![6])
  • Moses' father, Amram, lived for 137 years and Moses' grandfather, Kohath, lived for 133 years. Moses himself reached the 120 years (he led the Exodus when he was 80 [7], with the travel towards the Promised Land lasting 40 years).

[edit] Possible explanations

  • Some suggested that free will enables an individual to defy God's commands, and the reduction of human lifespan is no exception.
  • The decree denoted an environment change that gradually lowered the life span. It remains unclear how the discontinuities of life span between the descendants of Jacob and the ancestors of Moses are allowed unchecked.
  • Allegedly, there is a conspiracy theory which explains the differentiation.[citation needed]
  • Records on the naturalistic explanations for the difference in life expectancy was eaten by the goats, and the Bible is patched subsequently to accommodate that.
  • Possibly (just possibly), the Bible is not a mathematically/scientifically accurate source concerning human longevity (or anything scientific, really).

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. That's before we count
    • 2 Peter 3:8
      But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
    and other time-dilation/expansion events/techniques.
  2. Genesis 9:29
  3. Genesis 9:28
    And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
  4. Genesis 11:10-11
    These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood:
    And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
  5. Genesis 11:12-32
  6. After Terah they are:
  7. Exodus 7:7
    And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.
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