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Adam Lived to Be 900? Maybe, but Our Shorter Life Spans Tell Us More Than We Might Like to Admit


I sometimes get questions about the remarkably long lives of the patriarchs who lived before the great flood. Consider some of their reported ages when they died:

  • Adam 930
  • Seth 912
  • Enosh 905
  • Jared 962
  • Methuselah 969
  • Noah 600
  • Shem 600
  • Eber 464
  • Abraham 175
  • Moses 120
  • David 70

How should we understand these references? There are many theories that have tried to explain the claimed longevity. Some propose a mathematical corrective, but this leads to other inconsistencies such as certain patriarchs apparently begetting children while still children themselves. Another theory is that the ages of the patriarchs are actually just indications of their influence or family line, but then things don’t add up chronologically when considering eras and family trees.

Personally, I think we need to take the stated ages of the patriarchs at face value and just accept it as a mystery: for some reason the ancient patriarchs lived far longer we do today. I cannot prove that the patriarchs actually lived that long, but neither is there strong evidence that they did not. Frankly, I have little stake in insisting that they did in fact live that long. I think it is best just to accept that they did.

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