Did People in the Bible Really Live 900 Years: Myth or Reality?

did people in the bible really live 900 years

People in the biblical era, particularly before the flood, are said to have lived remarkable lifespans. For instance, Adam reached 930 years and Methuselah, the longest-lived, made it to 969.

Such longevity appears in Genesis Chapter 5, tracing the genealogy from Adam to Noah. This period is marked by near-millennial ages, reflecting an original divine blessing that was passed down through ten generations.

The shortest lifespan, at 365 years, belongs to Enoch, who maintained a close relationship with God and was taken by Him. Lamech, another notable figure, lived to 777 years, with his lifespan seemingly tied to his audacious claim of avenging himself 77 times.

His son, Noah, recorded as living 950 years, is considered the last of the supercentenarians before the flood reversed humanity’s fortunes.

Post-flood, lifespans dropped significantly, generally between 200 and 600 years over the next ten generations.

These lifespans underscore the shift from the pre-flood era, signaling the end of the period marked by extraordinary longevity.

This change is reflected further in the drastic reduction of age limits, with even significant patriarchs like Abraham living to “only” 175 years.

God’s cap on human life at 120 years, as described in Genesis 6:3, sets a boundary for humanity due to increasing sinfulness.

While patriarchs dominate the narrative, some matriarchs are mentioned with notable lifespans. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, lived to 127 years.

Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, reached approximately 120, and Moses’ sister Miriam is noted at over 125. Deborah, a prophet-judge, lived to 130 years, showcasing that even women, though less frequently mentioned, had significant lifespans.

Humanity’s corruption deepened, as per Genesis Chapter 6, after interactions between celestial beings and human women, an event leading God to curb human longevity.

These stories illustrate a blurring of divine and mortal realms, often taboo in Genesis, and prompt divine intervention to prevent further chaos.

Moreover, there are parallels to these long lives in other ancient cultures. For instance, a Sumerian king list records rulers with lifespans extending tens of thousands of years, also concluding with a great flood.

Such tales of lengthy lives and catastrophic events are common across various traditions, including Buddhism and Islam.

Many biblical literalists argue these long lifespans were due to better environmental conditions or divine favor. Some interpretations suggest these ten generations were not actual lifetimes but represented historical epochs.

However, the prevailing scholarly view suggests these ages serve a theological message: human sinness leads to mortality and suffering.

Reflecting on these stories, other religious traditions and ancient texts share similar narratives of long-lived individuals, emphasizing a universal theme of golden ages followed by decline.

In contemporary terms, the Psalms set realistic expectations for human life, typically capping at 70 or 80 years, encouraging people to cherish their limited time.

This section is derived from casual interpretations of Genesis and other historical narratives. These stories, while rooted in faith and tradition, subtly remind readers of the ancient belief in humanity’s potential and downfall, as well as the importance of living a meaningful life.

Posted by Samuel Brown

Samuel Brown is the founder of REEP.org, a Christian blog intertwining gardening with spiritual growth. Through REEP.org, Samuel explores the biblical symbolism of gardens, offering practical gardening tips infused with spiritual insights. Inspired by Jeremiah 17:8, he emphasizes the parallels between nurturing plants and cultivating faith. Join Samuel on a journey where gardening becomes a metaphor for resilience, spiritual fruitfulness, and a deeper connection with God's creation.