Why did people live longer in Genesis?

There are a number of possibilities why people lived longer in Genesis.  Although some people want to dismiss the ages as simply exaggerated I believe these are literal ages and not symbolic in any way. 

To answer the question, first of all note when the ages dropped off dramatically – right after Noah and the flood.  They cut in half for Noah’s sons, then half for their sons, and then finally the next generation – Abraham – lived close to what we’d consider a normal life.  This would seem to indicate that the flood caused some kind of change that shortened lifespans.

The first reason that people may have lived longer in Genesis is that God is supernaturally expanding people’s lifespans.  God keeps people alive longer so that they populate the earth.  If this is case, it is no surprise at all that the person who apparently walks so close to God that God allows him to escape death, Enoch, is the father of the person who lives longer than any other man, Methusaleh.  Even among incredible lifespans, Methusaleh is blessed. 

The flood caused great changes to the earth.  Going back to the second day of creation, we should note what takes place.

Genesis 1:6-8

 And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.”  So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so.  God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

We know that the air contains moisture and that clouds are a collection of water in tiny droplets but this appears to be more.  At creation, the earth is more like a tropical rain forest that does not need rain because of the canopy of water overhead.  Genesis 2:4-6 gives more indication as to what all of this looked like.

 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.  When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.

There was no rain and the earth essentially took care of itself because of the streams that sprung up and the moisture in the air.  The thick atmosphere served as protection from the sun and numerous harmful things like radiation which we know about now.  There is no telling what kinds of diseases did not exist because it could not live in such an environment.  All of these things would help people live longer.

Another possibility has to do with atmospheric pressure.  Scientists believe that the atmospheric pressure was about double what it is now.  This makes sense when one considers what all of the extra moisture would do in the air.  I don’t understand all of the science behind it but greater pressure seems to help with healing.  Hyperbaric chambers are designed specifically to increase the pressure around the body which helps with oxygen in the bloodstream.  Football players have started using these in their homes to recover from injuries.  The medical community is using them for everything from treating burns, to carbon monoxide poisoning, to healing crush injuries.  There are also studies being conducting regarding the use of hyperbaric chambers for the treatment of autism and even certain types of hearing loss.  In other words, the world before the flood could have been an environment that allowed the body to heal itself much better than today.

The fourth possibility has to do with genetics.  In short, Noah was the last to have the longevity gene.  His children had it, but only half because they only got it from their father.  The next generation only had one quarter of it.  This would give an explanation as to why the ages cut in half from Noah to the next generation.

In truth, we can’t be certain but any or all of these are possibilities as to why people lived longer in the book of Genesis.

Studying the book of Daniel

I’ve been working a lot on the book of Daniel lately.  It began by compiling an extensive Bible study that my good friend and mentor had done and putting it online.  While I was doing this I began to think about what my next sermon series should be about and I came to the conclusion that Daniel would be a good book to study.

So after compiling the entire Bible study for the website I decided to turn around and study the book again to preach from it.  And then to promote the website I’ve been writing a series of short articles about each chapter on another blog.  If you’re interested you can follow the blog at http://hubpages.com/hub/Studying-the-book-of-Daniel.

So I have Daniel on the mind a lot right now.  The Bible study site has an in depth commentary on the book with each chapter being discussed for about ten pages.  My sermons are about half of that length or less.  And my blog posts are around 500 words each.  I’ve really run the gamut on the topic.

No matter how many words that I’ve used to speak on the book of Daniel, I still come to the conclusion that it is an amazing book.  There is perhaps no greater book in all of the Bible in terms of the range of subjects.  There are children’s stories such as Daniel and the lion’s den and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace.  And on the other end of the spectrum are incredible prophecies such as Daniel’s seventy sevens.  Throw in some miracles and the amazing conversion of Nebuchadnezzar and the book has it all in just 12 chapters.

Every chapter displays the power of God in a new and magnificient way.  This is something that has really come out in my sermons.  This makes Daniel an important book to study because the church needs a reminder of God’s power.

All in all I just can’t get enough of the the book of Daniel right now and I’d highly recommend the study of it to anyone who was looking for a book or series to study.

The end of the world?

I posted an article at http://hubpages.com/hub/Its-not-the-end-of-the-world so I won’t repost the whole thing here.  However I’m still bothered by Christian perspectives on disasters and other bad things.  Within five minutes of posting the article I got a response on facebook that basically said that the truth is the truth whether I wanted to accept it or not, the signs prove that Jesus is returning soon. 

Of course the entire point of the article is that we simply don’t know because all of the things that are being pointed to as signs have been around since Jesus left us.  Things might be worse now or they might just get more television coverage.  There is no way that we can know for certain.  Every generation has seen disasters in their lifetime and has had reason to believe that they were signs of Jesus’ return.

Of course I reread Matthew 24 over the weekend.  There are a few things that are absolutely clear.  One part has been fulfilled – the destruction of the temple in AD 70.  Another part is still definitely future – the abomination that causes desolation.  This leaves us looking for signs to mark the time of Jesus’ return.  The more I read, the more I believed that Jesus was purposely vague.  This wasn’t vague like Nostradamus or other so called prophets that can be twisted in a number of ways until they are proven right.  Instead it is vague as a warning.

Matthew 24 closes with Jesus saying that no one knows the time of His return, not even He.  This means that anyone who claims to have figured out the date is a liar because they claim to know more than Jesus.  The chapter closes with a warning to be watching for His return.  I believe that is the point. 

Every generation has seen signs of Jesus’ return because God wants us to be watching and waiting.  We should live our lives as though Jesus could return at any moment, because He can.  The things that are going on in the world today could be signs of Jesus’ imminent return, or they could be more of what we’ve always had.  We simply don’t know for certain.  Things could get much, much worse.

I have always believed that Jesus could return at any moment and have tried to live my life in light of this fact.  He could return today.  Or He could be another thousand years off.  We simply don’t know.  What some Christians are offering as proof is not a guarantee if for no other reason than God’s measure of time is not the same as ours.  The birth pains that act as a sign could be a hundred years long.  It is not our job to interpret the signs.  Instead, we need to live our life like He could return at any moment.