What Does Methuselah Mean
Theologians generally agree that his name foreshadows the flood, and the destruction of the ante-diluvian people and culture. While there is some debate as to the exact translation, all have a sense of foreboding, an ominous warning of destruction and judgment. Some variants on the translation include, Death of the Sword, When He Dies Judgement, or When He Is Dead, It Shall Be Sent. Some speculate the nature of Methuselahs long life was because God was giving Noah time to build the ark, and an opportunity to repent. There are also theories that Methuselah served as a priest or prophet of some sort, since prophets of God later would sometimes take on, or be given names at birth, that were symbolic, significant, or prophetic.
His appearance in Genesis is brief, When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech. Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died . His long lifespan is what makes him stand out amongst the other patriarchs.
Ask A Priest: Did Noah Really Live 900 Years
Q: I was going through RCIA class, but I stopped going because Im experiencing a period of doubt. What should I do when I happen across difficult Bible passages? Im experiencing doubt of the Bibles accuracy over the fact that Scripture records Noah and the other patriarchs as having lived over 900 years. When the Bible records the patriarchs to live to be over 900 years, is it literal or figurative truth? It just seems plainly unbelievable and actually silly to think that someone could live that long. What are your thoughts? Perhaps you can revive my faith. -C.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: It is good to hear that you were in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The questions you raise are good, but your difficulties shouldnt dissuade you from continuing in the RCIA.
It is permissible for Catholics to believe that the long ages of the patriarchs are literal. But practically all Catholic interpreters consider the ages to be meant to teach us a theological truth, that sin brings with it death, expressed symbolically in the constantly decreasing number of years people lived.
Gods original plan for Adam and Eve was immortality they wouldnt die. But Adam and Eve fell, and sin entered the world. As we go through the Book of Genesis we see that the life spans of key figures get shorter. This seems to figuratively represent how sin brings death into the world.
Answers By Expert Tutors
A key and important detail to point out in order to answer this question is that only certain people/individuals in the Old Testament, in particular the Pentateuch, were said to live an unusual amount of time. The reason for this is very clear, especially when one considers the Genealogies listed in Genesis 4 & 5.
In Genesis 4, Cain’s descendants are the focus. No dates or lifespans are given and this is intentional of the author. Instead, details concerning Cain’s descendants highlight actions such as builders of cities, weapons crafters, and polygamy, all of which would have been associated with kings in the Ancient Near East.
In contrast, Seth’s descendants in Genesis 5, are highlighted by their longevity and their devotion to God. They are not perfect, as is also clear by later followers of YHWH, such as Abraham and Moses. Longevity and the blessings they receive is not a consequence of their perfection but rather of their devotion to God and his laws. It is clear in this case that the longevity of Seth’s line is meant to be interpreted as divine blessing, not a universal standard.
Hope that this helps!
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Being Pregnant Adversely Affects Your Immune System Then You Tend To Be Susceptible To Other Diseases Jane Humphries
We know, for example, that being pregnant adversely affects your immune system, because youve basically got another person growing inside you, says Jane Humphries, a historian at the University of Oxford. Then you tend to be susceptible to other diseases. So, for example, tuberculosis interacts with pregnancy in a very threatening way. And tuberculosis was a disease that had higher female than male mortality.
The Roman noble Julia the Elder died in the year 14 at the age of 54, but most sources agree her death was the untimely consequence of exile and imprisonment
Childbirth was worsened by other factors too. Women often were fed less than men, Gazzaniga says. That malnutrition means that young girls often had incomplete development of pelvic bones, which then increased the risk of difficult child labour.
The life expectancy of Roman women actually increased with the decline of fertility, Gazzaniga says. The more fertile the population is, the lower the female life expectancy.
The difficulty in knowing for sure just how long our average predecessor lived, whether ancient or pre-historic, is the lack of data. When trying to determine average ages of death for ancient Romans, for example, anthropologists often rely on census returns from Roman Egypt. But because these papyri were used to collect taxes, they often under-reported men as well as left out many babies and women.
On the record
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How And Why Did People In The Bible Live So Long
Why were life spans of people living in biblical times so much long then than they are today? What has changed? Why did people in the Old Testament live for hundreds of years before the flood drop dramatically after the flood? Why do people living today live much shorter life spans than in the days in which the Bible was written?
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Why Did People Live So Long In The Old Testament
One of the enduring questions about these early days after Creation, but before the flood, is how and why did people live so long?
Firstly, sin had only just entered the world. While there were sins, problems, and repercussions, many theologians point out that it has taken a stronger grip on people through time. While they died eventually, they were closer to Creation, and the way things ought to have been. There is also speculation that because the world was different before the flood, with higher barometric pressure and greater vegetation, that perhaps the climate was well-suited to longevity.
Ultimately, there is only one verse that may or may not indicate God putting a limit on the life of man. In Genesis 6:3, it says, Then the Lord said, My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years . While some argue this verse is the Lord capping mans lifespan, there is another camp which believes that this verse is God giving man 120 years until the Flood. Ultimately, there is no clear-cut answer as to why people lived so long in the Old Testament â even after the Flood. Some argue the years should be taken symbolically, rather than literally, however that does make some the ages of the fathers and their sons â including Enoch and Methuselah, impossible, as they would have been very young to father children.
Biological Causes Of Aging
What exactly causes this process of aging in our body? Although themechanism of aging has long been an object of biomedicalresearch, science still has no definitive answer to this question. Around the turnof the century, it was believed that aging didnt directly involve the living cells ofour body but rather was an extracellular phenomenon. It was believed that ournormal living cells, if properly nourished, could grow and divide indefinitelyoutside our body. In 1961, this idea was refuted by Leonard Hayflick, who grewhuman cells outside the body in covered glass dishes containing the necessarynutrients. Hayflick discovered that cells cultured in this way normally died afterabout 50 cell divisions . This suggests that even the individualcells of our body are mortal, apart from any other bodily influence.
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Mutations And Genetic Bottlenecks
A mutation is any change in the sequence of DNA.5 All known mutationscause a loss of information. The rate at which all types of mutations occur pergeneration has been suggested to be greater than 1,000.6 We inherit mutationsfrom our parents and also develop mutations of our own subsequently, wepass a proportion of those on to our children. So it is conceivable in the manygenerations between Adam and Moses that a large number of mutations wouldhave been present in any given individual.
Genetic bottlenecks occur when a significantproportion of the population dies or proportions become isolated. Such abottleneck occurred at the time of Noahs flood when the human populationwas reduced to eight people . Other smaller bottlenecks occurredfollowing the Tower of Babel dispersion . These events would haveresulted in a major reduction of genetic variety.
For every gene there are two or more versions called alleles. This is analogousto the color red but different shades of redlight and dark . It ispossible for good alleles to mask or hide bad alleles.However, in a smaller population with less allelic variation, this becomes moredifficult to accomplish, and thus mutated alleles have a greater effect.
Why Did Man Live Longer Before The Flood
The Bible tell us that men who existed before the flood such as Adam lived 930 years, Jared lived to 962, and Jaredâs grandson Methuselah lived the longest in history at 969 years! While the average age at death before the deluge was high, it averaged only 317 years for the ten generations following it.
Many who refuse to believe in the Bible say that the ages upon death found in the first several chapters of Genesis are nothing but fabrications and tall tales. Several things could have contributed to the shorter lifespans of man after the flood. Scripture denotes that the waters God brought on the earth would destroy not only animals by the earth itself.
And God said to Noah, âThe end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them. And, behold, I will destroy them with the earth . . . And I will establish My covenant with you . . . Neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth .
The earth after the flood was dramatically different than it was before it. The differences included the altering of the climate, atmospheric changes, changes in the hydrologic cycle, geologic features, a significant increase in harmful radiation reaching ground level, manâs dietary habits went from solely plant-based to one where meat was eaten, and so on. These and many other factors led to manâs much shorter lifespans.
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Did People Actually Live That Long
What stands out immediately in chapter 5 is how long Seths descendants lived, with most of them living over 900 years. This is so different from the human experience for most of recorded history that scholars have attempted various ways to reinterpret the numbers. For example, some have posited that units of time may have changed their meaning. But no method of reinterpreting the references yields a consistently convincing result. It appears from the text itself that the life-spans are intended literally. After the flood, the Bible records much shorter life spans.
Who Was Methuselah And How Old Was He
To understand the significance of Methuselah, it is important to understand the period of history in which he lived. He was one of the ante-diluvian patriarchs, or pre-flood patriarchs. These were ten men who held prominence in the world after mans expulsion from the Garden of Eden, but before the Flood, who descended from Adam and his third son, Seth. These men and it is implied the other people alive at the time lived for centuries. Adam, the first man, lived to be 930 years old. In fact, due to the longevity of these men, there is an approximately 30-year period when they were all alive at the same time.
These men were: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah.
Methuselah was the son of Enoch, the father of Lamech, and the grandfather of Noah. Enoch was notable for the closeness of his relationship with God:
When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him .
Enoch did not die, but was translated, or taken up, to heaven to be with God. He had the shortest lifespan on earth of all the patriarchs.
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Long Life Spans In Genesis: Literal Or Symbolic
We at BioLogos are often asked how we understand the long life spans attributed to the patriarchs in Genesis. There is no direct connection between these and the scientific theory of evolution, but I suppose some people think there is a problem for us since the ages given in the genealogies have been used to date the origin of humanity to the relatively recent past . Furthermore, it is charged, people living for more than 900 years stands in conflict with BioLogos acceptance of contemporary science. On this latter point, I should note that our acceptance of science does not at all imply that we think God never performs miracles. If God wanted to make Methuselah live to be 969 years old, we certainly believe that God could intervene in the natural order of things and make that happen. The question ratheras it should be for all biblical interpretationis whether that is really the message of the text.
There are 30 age numbers we can get from Genesis chapter 5three numbers for each of ten patriarchs: the age when a son was born, the number of years the patriarch lived after the son was born, and the total number of years the patriarch lived. For example, When Adam had lived 130 years, he became the father of Seth. The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were 800 years Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years . We get similar accounts of Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah .
Did People In The Bible Really Live For 900 Years
Early parts of the Bible depict humans living incredibly long livessome of them for over 900 years! Are Catholics really supposed to believe that humans lived that much longer than they do today? Fr. Mike Schmitz discusses this question on Catholic Answers Live.
Did the people of old really live that long? Especially when we compare things to science, we would imagine that back in the day they didnt have that much medical aid, I would imagine. I mean, did people really live up to 900? Are we to take things literally?
Fr. Mike Schmitz: Thats awesome, and this is one of the first questions, because right at the very first chapters of the Bible youre like, And then Methuselah lived for 937 years, like, uh, are you sure? Or even, were in the middle of right now reading the story of Abraham and Sarah, and shes like, Uh, Lord, Im a hundred years old. I dont think I should be having kids right now, or, you know, Im past the childbearing age. Or were gonna get, when we get to Moses, you know, he spends 40 years in Pharaohs palace, years leading the people of Israel. So thatsIm not super good at math, but that sounds like roughly 120 years.
So thats how I would respond, Vincent, and I dont want to have, like, a poor response, or too shaky or flimsy, so I want to kick back to Cy and ask if he has anything more to add to that one.
Host: No, I dont. Im not gonna add to the most popular podcaster in the world. Are you kidding me?
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Why Did People Start To Have Shorter Lives After The Flood
When the Flood ended, the maximum life expectancy of humanity dropped quite a bit. What changed to make this happen? Bodie Hodge, AiGU.S., examines the biblical clues.
In A Life Sentence?, you stated that God was not giving men a lifespan, but rather he was giving men one hundred and twenty years to repent.
Now, I too am a Christian but I must ask one question: if God was not setting man’s lifespan, then why is it that after the flood men started living for a shorter and shorter time? It would appear that men were gradually getting to be 120 years old. If this is not the result of God giving them a possible lifespan, then what is it the result of? Why did men gradually live younger?
And yet if it is indeed the result of God’s judgment, then why do some people live past the age of 120? ICR did an article on a woman who claims to be 157 years old, and official documents would place her at at least 135 years old.
So, in a nutshell, why did men gradually get younger after the flood? I’d appreciate your response. Thanks.
It is a pleasure to hear from you. I always enjoy the questions that make us get into the Word in more detail. It is actually exciting.
Remember that just because men began to live shorter lives does not prove that God set a limit on mans life span. The fact is that they were still well over 120 years until the time of Moses. So, God would have been wrong had this declaration been about the 120 year life spans.