Recently a re-broadcast of an episode of the TV game show I’ve Got a Secret from October 29, 1962 featured contestant Roy Davis appearing with his great-grandson who was five years old.
The remarkable twist for this show’s “secret” was that the man also brought his grandson, age five, and his own son who was likewise age five. Could the panel figure out that Roy Davis had a son, a grandson, and a great-grandson — all of whom were the same age?
At first this seems astonishing. Is it possible for a man to have a son, a grandson, and a great-grandson all of whom are simultaneously five years old? How could this be? (Keep reading to find out.)
This situation was intriguing for a popular TV show in 1962, because in modern times it is a rare and unusual occurrence.
But before Noah’s Flood this would not have made the cut for an antediluvian I’ve Got a Secret show. It would have had no entertainment value, because it would have been a common occurrence. Men commonly lived for 900 years before the Flood and sired children for hundreds of years.
In Genesis 5 the record of the antediluvian patriarchs gives ages of men at the birth of one of their sons, not necessarily the oldest or the youngest. These ages ranged from 65 to 500 and averaged 155. The pre-Flood patriarchs were continuing to beget children at much greater ages than when men sire children today. It would not have been at all uncommon for a man to beget sons at the same time older sons and grandsons and great-grandsons were also begetting children.
Take Adam, the father of mankind, as an example.
It is likely there were many sons and daughters born to Adam and Eve both before and after Seth, because the first recorded command God gave to Adam and Eve was “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Genesis 5:4 explicitly says that Adam begat other sons and daughters in addition to Seth.
Here is a hypothetical chart showing how multiple generations of Adam’s descendants could all plausibly be age 5 simultaneously. It also shows how game show contestant Roy Davis could have had three generations of descendants simultaneously aged 5 by the time Davis was 65 years old.
|20||Adam begets son A|
|40||Adam begets son B
Adam’s son A at age 20 begets son AA
|45||Birthday: Adam’s son B & his grandson AA are both 5 years old|
|60||Adam begets son C
Adam’s son A at age 40 begets son AB
Adam’s grandson AA at age 20 begets son AAA
|65||Birthday: Adam’s son C & his grandson AB & his great-grandson AAA are all 5 years old|
Clearly this pattern could have continued, so the pre-Flood patriarchs could have had many generations of descendants all aged 5 simultaneously.
If Adam had a child every two years, he could have had 65 children by the time Seth was born. Many of those children could have been married and having children of their own who were also having children of their own by the time of Seth’s birth.
Genesis does not record the number of Adam’s children. But he could have had hundreds of kids since the patriarchs were capable of begetting children at least up to age 500. If Adam had a child every 2 or 3 years to age 600 (about 2/3 of his 930-year lifespan), he could easily have had well over 200 children. If Adam continued having children throughout his life, as men today can do, he could have had close to 500 children.
The Old Testament does record some large numbers of children for several men.
One of the judges of Israel some 2,000 years after Adam’s death was Gideon (aka Jerubbaal), son of Joash. Gideon had at least 72 sons by his wives and concubines (Judges 7:1; 8:29-32; 9:4-5, 16-19). Several hundred years later, King Rehoboam of Judah fathered 28 sons and 60 daughters for a total of 88 children (2 Chronicles 11:21). King Ahab of Israel had 70 sons some 2500 years after Adam (2 Kings 10:1). Assuming Gideon and Ahab had about as many daughters as sons, this means each had close to 150 children in a normal lifespan thousands of years after Adam.
Thus it is very possible, and I think highly likely, that Adam sired hundreds of children during his lifetime. Exactly how many we do not know, because the Bible does not tell us. He certainly could have had many generations of descendants of the same age, even many more than game show contestant Roy Davis.
Questions to Ponder
- Have you heard skeptics dismiss other elements in the Biblical record because they differ from present-day culture?
- What family patterns today would be incomprehensible to antediluvians?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!
©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)
Wednesday January 4, 2017 A.D.
When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died. (Genesis 5:3-5)