Some argue that since Scripture does not total the ages in the Genesis 5 & 11 genealogies, then it must not intend the genealogies to provide chronological information. I disagree.
First, there is an implicit invitation in the text to add up the years. For each antediluvian patriarch, Scripture adds the patriarch’s age at the birth of his named son to the patriarch’s subsequent life-span to yield his total life-span.
Why should it be thought unreasonable to follow Scripture’s lead and add up the numbers for the entire patriarchal period? This is simply drawing logical conclusions from Scriptural data, a practice followed by Jesus and His apostles.
Second, what is the point of including the father’s age at the birth of his son? Such information is irrelevant unless Moses intended to convey chronological information.
Third, Moses could not total the “age at birth” figures to give an exact span for the patriarchal period because the ages are not specified to the exact month and day—partial years are not given. A total might be off by a few years because we don’t know the partial years for the 20 patriarchs. But this approximate figure could not be off by more than 20 years.
The Genesis chronogenealogies record an unbroken line of descent from Adam to Abraham and provide a solid foundation for constructing a reliable chronology.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the 19th in a series of blog posts on the Age of the Earth. I began with the Biblical testimony that the earth is 6,000 years old, because the evidence from nature should be interpreted and understood in the light of clear Biblical truth. The prequels have considered the issue’s importance and what Jesus thought. Current posts are analyzing the Genesis genealogies. Future articles will survey the historic teaching of the church and discuss scientific evidence on the age of the earth, explaining fallacies of radiometric dating methods and giving examples of scientific methods which yield short ages.
Read the prequels:
1. How Old Is the Earth?
2. Why Is the Age of the Earth Important?
3. Earth: Young or Old?
4. Age of the Earth—Jesus’ View
5. Age of the Earth—Jesus Interpreted OT Literally
6. Age of the Earth—What Did Jesus Say?
7. Age of the Earth—What Did Jesus’ Contemporaries Think?
8. Age of the Earth—Genealogies
9. Age of the Earth—What Does Begat Mean?
10. Age of the Earth—Interlocking Genealogies
11. Age of the Earth—Any Gaps in Genealogies?
12. Age of the Earth—No Gaps in Genealogies
13. Age of the Earth—Any Missing Generations?
14. Age of the Earth—Scriptural Confirmation (Adam to Noah)
15. Age of the Earth—Scriptural Confirmation (Noah to Abraham)
16. Age of the Earth—Luke’s Testimony
17. Age of the Earth—Luke & Cainan Puzzle
18. Age of the Earth—Luke & Cainan Explanation
Read the sequel:
20. Age of the Earth—6,000 Years Old
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Monday August 18, 2008 A.D.
And Shelah lived thirty years, and became the father of Eber; and Shelah lived four hundred and three years after he became the father of Eber, and he had other sons and daughters. (Genesis 11:14-15 NASB)