Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | August 24, 2022

How Long Did Noah Live?

(3 Minute Read. 24Aug2022)

Painting by James Tissot (1836-1902)

Did Noah really live for more than nine centuries, for almost a thousand years?

Nowadays living for even 100 years is rare.

How could it have been possible for Noah to live for almost 1,000 years? Is that even believable?

The record in Genesis actually has lots of very specific, detailed, age-related information about Noah. He was 500 years old when he fathered Japheth, Shem, and Ham (Genesis 5:32). Noah was six hundred years old when the Flood began. In particular, it started in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month (Genesis 7:6,11). Notice how specific that information is.

In the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth and Noah opened the Ark. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, Noah and his family and the animals left the Ark. (Genesis 8:13-19)

After the flood Noah lived for 350 years. He died at age 950. (Genesis 9:28-29)

It is clear that the author of Genesis intends to report that Noah lived for a very, very long time. Many verses testify of his great age. Several verses date events to the year, month, and day of Noah’s life.

Noah is not the only man to have lived to a great age. Noah’s nine ancestors all lived for hundreds of years — most of them for over 900 years. For example, Adam lived for 930 years. His son Seth lived to age 912. Jared lived for 962 years. Methuselah lived for 969 years. (Genesis 5:3-32) Noah’s son Shem lived to age 600 (Genesis 11:10-11).

How Could Noah Live to 950?

Notice that before Noah’s Flood, lifespans were relatively stable. They averaged over 900 years.

But after the Flood, ages gradually declined. Noah died at age 950, his son Shem died at 600, and his grandson Arpachshad died at 438. Ten generations after Noah, Abraham lived to only 175, and his grandson Jacob to 147. Hundreds of years later around 1400 BC, Moses lived to 120 and Joshua to 110.

The Flood had a dramatic impact on lifespans. Key factors affecting reduced lifespans include:
1. Loss of an atmospheric water barrier
2. Genetic bottleneck
3. Genetic deterioration.

First, the Genesis record reports that on Creation Day Two the Great Creator divided the waters into two portions, one above the heaven and one on earth below the heaven (Genesis 1:6-8). The thick water layer above heaven was the source of the rain that fell for 40 days and 40 nights from the floodgates of the sky at the onset of Noah’s Flood (Genesis 7:11-12).

Before the flood, this thick water layer provided a warm, tropical climate for much of the earth’s surface. Abundant vegetation would have been lush and superbly nourishing. The “waters above the heavens” also gave great protection from fierce ultraviolet radiation which damages and ages human cells. After the “waters above the heavens” precipitated in the Flood, this water barrier no longer shielded people from the sun’s harmful cosmic rays. Thus life spans declined after the Flood.

Second, a genetic bottleneck occurred at the Flood. The entire human population was wiped out except for Noah, his three sons, and their four wives. The subsequent human population descended from only six people: Noah’s three sons and their three wives. Therefore much of the genetic diversity of the human population was lost in the Flood.

The remaining three reproducing couples after the Flood possessed less genetic variation than the drowned population. They produced succeeding generations using less genetic information in their DNA than was in the previous entire population, leading to less vigorous and resilient organisms. Experimental biologists have seen lifespans decline after bottlenecks in various animal populations like dogs and fish, due to the reduced genetic variety.

Third, the reduced lifespans after the Flood follow an exponential decay curve. Due to reduced genetic variation and continuously accumulating mutations over the centuries, humans are degenerating genetically. The pre-Flood men were closer in time and genetics to the perfect Adam and Eve and had accumulated fewer harmful mutational errors in their genes.

The genetic bottleneck at the Flood and the loss of the water barrier stimulated the genetic degeneration and resulting reduced lifespans.

The Genesis record is completely trustworthy. Noah lived for 950 years.

Questions to Ponder

1. If you could live for another hundred years, how would you use the time?
2. Can you think of advantages of reduced lifespans?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

This is the 20th article in a series on Noah. This Noah Series will suggest answers to many of the questions believers and skeptics have about Noah, Noah’s Ark, and Noah’s Flood.
Read the prequels:
1. Think You Know Noah?
2. Did Jesus Think Noah Was Real?
3. How Long Did It Take Noah to Build the Ark?
4. Could Noah Build the Ark in 75 Years?
5. How Big Was Noah’s Ark?
6. Were Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?
7. Could Noah Fit All the Animals on the Ark?
8. What Was Noah’s Flood Like?
9. Was Noah’s Flood Global or Local?
10. Life on Noah’s Ark
11. Were Zebras on Noah’s Ark?
12. Evidence of Noah’s Flood: Canyons
13. Evidence of Noah’s Flood: Fossils
14. Evidence of Noah’s Flood: Rock Layers
15. Evidence of Noah’s Flood: Worldwide Memories
16. Significance of Noah’s Flood
17. How Did Noah’s Kangaroos Get to Australia?
18. Replicas of Noah’s Ark
19. The Waters of Noah’s Flood

Read the sequel:
21. How Could Noah Love a God Who Killed So Many People?

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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)
Wednesday August 24, 2022 A.D.

Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.
(Genesis 6:13-17)

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