Hundreds Or Even 900 Years?


#1

What is the Catholic explanation for the Bible saying people lived hundreds of years, even up to 900 years?
I’ve read that genetics changed, but I find it really hard to believe people ever lived that long.


#2

It is difficult for us to understand the use of those large numbers. The eventual decrease in life span seems to go along with the tide of increasing sin.


#3

Different measures of time, better genes, or maybe healthier lifestyles.


#4

Do you mean that maybe they calculated time differently than us, and therefore didn’t actually live that long?


#5

It’s one theory.


#6

It’s likely poetic.

Didn’t you start a similar thread asking this question some time back?


#8

That doesn’t hold true.

Human lifespan has increased dramatically since the industrial revolution. Our paleo ancestors who did not eat any processed food did not have a long life expectancy.

Like most the old testament I don’t read it literally.


#9

They didn’t actually live that long.

More than likely those years are written to correspond with the cumulative effect of sin.


#10

Processed food is the difference between 900 and 80 years…???


#11

I kind of wish that I could live that long.


#12

Adam and Eve were created to live forever (conditionally), and had much vitality.

However, we see a change. Cast out of the Garden. Curse upon the ground, blood of Abel, and then the flood.

The answer is found in several things. Global change of atmosphere (oxygen, air pressure, etc), geological (upheaval, complete change), arboreal (trees having to start), vulcanism (gas clouds, lava, ash), weather (cold, ice due to particulates in atmosphere), due to the global flood.

However, God also says something key in Genesis 9:5. God (temporarily and with restrictions) gave mankind flesh of clean beast, which would shorten man’s life. Study the ages before the flood (exclude Enoch), and then just after the flood, and then a generation or two after, unto Moses (120).


#14

Definitely poetic. Anyone who tells you people literally lived 900 years due to fresh air or lack of processed food is engaging in self deception. This just illustrates why taking the Bible hyper-literally leads to absurdities.

It’s almost certainly poetic license on the part of the author, used to mean “a very old age.” Similar to someone saying, “wow, I have a million things on my to-do list today.” You would understand that he or she means they have a lot to do, not that they literally have a list with 1,000,000 items.


#16

Another explanation is that humans didn’t live that long.


#17

Sometimes I feel that way, if I was asked how old I was I might say the same thing, “about 900 today”

Or how about their years were shorter, maybe the Earth was zipping around the sun faster?


#18

When I took Survey of the OT at a Baptist university, the explanation was that the lifespan was symbolic of the individual’s closeness to God. So,

So, looking at the handy-dandy chart, it looks like humanity was much closer to God prior to the Flood.

With the Hebrew numbers also having other symbolic significance, there’s also probably another layer of symbolism that I’m not catching.

For me, personally, it doesn’t make a big difference as to whether their lifespans were literally x years, or if it was intended to represent something else.


#20

I think it was CS Lewis who said that after the fall it took us a while to learn how to die.


#21

Wow!
That’s really interesting thank you.


#23

:joy: :rofl:

Well, thank God for all those chemicals, I say!

Can you imagine having to work and pay bills and do all those household chores for hundreds and hundreds of years!!! :scream:

No thank you. I agree with Diggory from the Narnia series: “I’d rather live a normal life, and then die and go to heaven.”

:+1:


#24

Something else which adds more weight to this view (which I agree with):

The numbers for the ages in the Hebrew Masoretic Text, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Greek Septuagint are all somewhat different.

This points toward the numbers being hyperbolic and/or symbolic.


#25

Imagine the letters from the Queen for each century!

Dear Noah, happy 700th, ps what skin creme are you using, you haven’t aged a bit since the 600th!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.