Why did the antediluvians have long lives?

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By BibleAsk Team


The topic of the longevity of the antediluvians, or the people who lived before the Great Flood, is a fascinating aspect of biblical history that has intrigued scholars and theologians for centuries. According to the genealogies provided in the Book of Genesis, individuals in the pre-flood era are reported to have lived significantly longer lives compared to those in subsequent generations.

The reasons for their extended lifespans are a combination of factors, including divine blessing, environmental conditions, and genetic predispositions and others. Let us explore relevant passages from the Bible and considering various theological perspectives, to gain insight into the possible reasons for the long lives of the antediluvians.

The Antediluvians Long Lives

1-Man Was created in God’s Image: In Genesis 1:26,27, we read, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over [a]all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
2-Divine Decree and Blessing: The extended lifespans of the antediluvians is found in the divine decree and blessing pronounced upon humanity in the early chapters of Genesis. In Genesis 1:28, “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that [a]moves on the earth.”
This divine blessing may have included provisions for health, longevity, and vitality, enabling the antediluvians to thrive and multiply over long periods of time. Thus, humans had original strength from God at creation. “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).
3-The Outstanding Effect of the Tree of Life: “… The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9). The fruit of this tree must have had the purpose of sustaining life in a way differing from and exceeding in value that of the other trees. The statement that the eating of the fruit of this tree would enable man to “live for ever” (Genesis 3:22) implies that the value of this tree was completely different from that of the many other good trees of the garden.
    4-Favorable Environmental Conditions: Another factor that may have contributed to the long lives of the antediluvians is the favorable environmental conditions present before the Flood. Genesis 2:5-6 (NKJV) describes a pre-flood world characterized by a mist that watered the earth, creating optimal conditions for plant growth and sustaining abundant vegetation: “before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.”
    This lush environment may have provided nutritional benefits and contributed to overall health and longevity. Degeneration and sickness due to pollution were not rampant in the early stage of earth’s history as it exists in our day.
    5-Pure Genetic Factors: The genetic factors at creation contributed to the exceptional physical stature and longevity of these individuals.
    6-Higher Quality of Foods: The higher quality of food in the Garden of Eden before the deadly effect of sin contributed to the longevity of life. “And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food…” (Genesis 2:9). Man’s original diet was the vegetarian diet which enhanced longevity. “Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food” (Genesis 1:29,30). God allowed man to eat meat only after the flood (Genesis 9.1-5).

    7- The Hope of God’s Salvation: God’s promise to send a Redeemer to save humanity inspired people with invigorating hope. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

    Theological Significance

      The long lives of the antediluvians also carry theological significance within the broader narrative of biblical history. Their prolonged existence allowed for the preservation of oral spiritual truths, cultural knowledge, and technological advancements over extended periods of time. Additionally, their longevity serves as a backdrop for the unfolding drama of human history, leading up to the cataclysmic events of the Great Flood and the subsequent renewal of the earth.

        Furthermore, the genealogies recorded in the early chapters of Genesis serve to establish the continuity of God’s redemptive plan from Adam to Noah, culminating in the promise of salvation through the coming Messiah. Despite the increasing wickedness and corruption of humanity leading up to the Flood, God’s faithfulness and mercy are evident in His preservation of Noah and his family, ensuring the continuation of the human race and the fulfillment of His covenant promises.

        Conclusion

        In conclusion, the reasons for the long lives of the antediluvians are multifaceted and involve a combination of divine blessing, favorable environmental conditions, genetic factors, the tree of life and God’s promise of the Messiah. Ultimately, the longevity of the antediluvians serves as a testament to God’s sovereignty, providence, and redemptive purposes in human history, highlighting His faithfulness amidst the complexities of the human experience.

        Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

        In His service,
        BibleAsk Team

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