DID PEOPLE REALLY LIVE
FOR 900 YEARS IN BIBLE TIMES?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, August 19, 2001


"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

There is a great deal of interest in prolonging human life today. Scientists are constantly trying to add a few extra years to man's life span. That's why stem cell research and cloning are in the news each day.  People want scientists to increase their life span through these new technologies.  Each new breakthrough in science is reported widely by the news media.

James P. Dawson has said:

How would you like to live for 900 years? The patriarchs in Genesis did, you know. This is one of the remarkable things recorded in Genesis (the first book of the Bible).

Many (liberal) theologians deny the validity of the book of Genesis. They indicate that the (lifespans) of the patriarchs in Genesis 5 cannot be taken as stated.

(James P. Dawson at www.jpdawson.com/lifetime, p. 1).

Modern unbelieving liberals deny that the Genesis record is true. They say it is a myth. They say, among other things, that the patriarchs did not live an average of 912 years each. The Bible tells us that they would deny the Scriptures in the last days:

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables"

(II Timothy 4:3-4).

I say that the unbelievers are wrong, and that the Bible is right. Let's examine the evidence from the Bible itself.

I. First, consider what the Bible says about the age of the patriarchs.

Dawson comments:

The average age of the patriarchs up to and including Noah was 912 (years). This excludes Enoch who God took to heaven at the age of 365 years, and Lamech who was 777 years old when he died…From this data we can determine that Adam lived to within 130 years of Noah…It is reasonable to accept that (all people lived this long).

One of the remarkable things about the record of the early chapters of Genesis is the straightforward simplicity with which the writer recorded (these) facts of history…One would think that the writer (of Genesis) would have explained or at least expressed wonder at the uniqueness of the things he was describing.

But instead he wrote the account in the most simple and straightforward way possible, as a sober historian or news reporter would do, with no attempt whatever to justify or explain (these) events (ibid, pp. 1-2).

The only logical explanation for reporting these amazing facts in such a simple way is that, when the original writer recorded them they were not unusual at all, but common experience…Adam lived to within 130 years of Noah, so these accounts in the early chapters of Genesis were probably eyewitness accounts, orally transmitted. Later they were written on stone tablets and then transmitted down the line of the patriarchs until they finally came into Moses' possession (ibid).

Under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, Moses collected them and transcribed them as the book of Genesis (see ibid).

II. Second, consider the shortening of human life after the Flood.

Noah lived 950 years, but his descendant Terah lived a much shorter life:

"And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran" (Genesis 11:32).

Abraham only lived 175 years:

"And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people" (Genesis 25:7-8).

Abraham's grandson Jacob lived only 130 years:

"And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers…"

(Genesis 47:9).

Joseph lived 20 years less than his father Jacob:

"And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years" (Genesis 50:22).

"So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt"

(Genesis 50:26).

God had sent death to the human race as a result of our first parent's sin. After man sinned, God said:

"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:19).

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

Everyone died in the times of the patriarchs, but they lived much longer than people did after the Flood. The length of human life became shorter and shorter after the Flood and started leveling off in Joseph’s time, until the Bible finally says:

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off…” (Psalm 90:10).

Even today, with all of our advanced technology, most people live, on an average, between 70 and 80 years. We think it is quite remarkable for someone to live past 100.

Something happened at the time of the Great Flood, in Noah’s day, that began to shorten man's life span on earth. Dr. Henry M. Morris says:

Many writers have noted that life spans began a slow and steady decline after the Flood, showing evidently that they were connected with the Antediluvian (pre-Flood) climatology (climate conditions) and environmental conditions.

      (Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood,

      Creation-Life Publishers, 1976, p. 155).

Before the Flood, there was a great canopy or envelope of water around the earth, in the atmosphere above the air-layer (cf. Genesis 1:6-8). This vast blanket of water above the troposphere made the earth a paradise compared to what it is now, "A global greenhouse, maintaining an essentially uniformly pleasant temperature all over the world…windstorms would be unknown…there could be no rain" (Morris., ibid., p. 60).

"But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground" (Genesis 2:6).

"A vapor canopy would also be highly effective in filtering out ultraviolet radiation, cosmic rays, and other destructive energies from outer space. These are known to be the source of both somatic and genetic mutations, which decrease the viability (length of life) of the individual and the species, respectively. Thus the canopy (of water around the earth) would contribute effectively to human and animal health and longevity" (Dr. Morris, ibid., pp. 60-61).

Dr. Henry M. Morris holds a Ph.D. in hydrology and geology from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Morris goes on to say:

The congenial climate…and the radiation-filtering effect of the canopy (of water around the earth before the Flood) enabled the people of that age – and probably animals as well – to live to much greater ages than is now possible. In recent years, it has been demonstrated in biomedical research that both the existence of such high pressures and the absence of mutation-producing radiations in the environment do contribute significantly to longevity. In addition, of course, the pristine purity of the human genetic system and its bloodstream, with so few accumulated mutant genes, together with the primeval absence of disease-producing organisms (which only gradually developed, through the outworking of the curse [of sin] ) from the originally created beneficient microorganisms, served to maintain life through great age-spans (Morris, ibid., p. 143).

Thus, people lived for much longer periods of time before the effects of the Flood ruined the environment of our planet.  President Reagan's daughter Maureen died from skin cancer last week, produced by the rays of the sun.  Many other diseases are related to the environment that were unheard of before the flood.

III. Third, consider what the Bible says about the certainty of death.

A few days ago, our friends Dr. and Mrs. David Innes of Hamilton Square Baptist Church in San Francisco took us on a train ride through a great redwood forest near San Francisco. When we got off the train we saw a section of one of those redwood trees that was cut down, as I remember, in 1934. The section of the tree was displayed, showing yearly growth rings going back before the birth of Christ – and continuing until the tree was cut down in 1934. This tree was close to two thousand years old when it died. Even in a world ruined by the Flood, these great trees are able to live 1,500 to two thousand years! Yet unbelieving, liberal teachers think that human beings couldn't possibly have lived only half that long in the paradise-world before the Flood! Tortoises on the Galapagos Islands today live over 200 years.

Yet that two-thousand-year-old tree died. The tortoises die also. All redwood trees and tortoises die sooner or later. Death comes even to those ancient trees because of man's sin in the Garden of Eden. The Bible says:

"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:22).

Only when Christ returns will the earth be restored to the paradise it once was,

"Because the creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Romans 8:21).

But Christ has not returned yet. The world is still under the curse of man's sin.

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

You are going to die – as a direct result of Adam's sin and your own sin as well. The Bible says:

"For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

And you are going to die. The Bible says:

"It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

When you die you will stand before the Throne of God. God will open His books and read your name. He will read the careful, minute record of every sin you have ever committed. And God will send you to Hell, justly and correctly, because you will deserve to be sent to eternal torment for the sins you have committed.

That's where Jesus Christ, the Son of God, comes into the picture. Jesus is the mediator between a Holy God and a sinner like you.

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 2:5).

Jesus Christ died on the Cross to pay for your sins, and He shed His Blood so your sins could be washed clean out of God's records. The Bible says,

"Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood" (Revelation 1:5).

What must you do to have your sins cleansed and blotted out of God's books? The answer is simple:

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"

(Acts 16:31).

Would you like to have your sins washed away by the Blood of Christ? Would you like to have your sins paid for by His death on the Cross? Jesus is alive right now, at the right side of God in Heaven. If you will throw yourself on Jesus, He will wash away all your sins and you will be able to go to Heaven when death comes to you.

I would like to talk to you in my office about that. I would like you to get up out of your seat and come and stand here in front of the pulpit. And after you have all come, I will take you up to my office and we'll talk, just you and me together, about how you can be saved from sin and cleansed from sin by His Blood.

We're going to sing a little song from memory. While we sing, I want you to get out of your chair and come and stand here. Then we'll go to my office and talk it over, and I'll give you some literature to take home and read, and think about. We won't keep you long. You get up and come as we sing.

(END OF SERMON)



Scripture Read Before Sermon: Genesis 5:8,11,14,17,20, 21.

Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "I Know the Bible is True”

by B. B. McKinney (1886-1952)

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."



THE OUTLINE OF

DID PEOPLE REALLY LIVE
FOR 900 YEARS IN BIBLE TIMES?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

I.   Consider what the Bible says about the age of the patriarchs, Genesis 5:8,11,14,17,20, 21

II.  Consider the shortening of human life after the Flood, Genesis 11:32;
Genesis 25:7-8; Genesis 47:9; Genesis 50:22,26; Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12;
Psalm 90:10; Genesis 1:6-8; Genesis 2:6.

III. Consider what the Bible says about the certainty of death,
Romans 8:22,21; Romans 5:12; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27;
I Timothy 2:5; Revelation 1:5; Acts 16:31.