RE: Ages

Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Thu, 17 Jul 1997 10:01:03 -0400

Dick Fischer cites Jacobson's comment on the longevity of the OT
patriarchs. I'd be surprised if "living slowly" would result in
longevity! If this were the case, one would expect people in "fast
paced societies" to expire earlier and I haven't seen any obvious
evidence of that.

I'm not a medical doctor, so I'm treading lightly here, but should we
not look at the causes why the body wears out? True, a lot of people
die of one disease or another and we have been able to postpone death by
better medication (my grandfather died of pneumonia in the 1910's but
would most likely have beaten that disease with penicillin), but
eventually the body wears out, or the body simply stops replacing worn
out parts. I seem to recall that the formation of free radicals in
cells has been suggested as the reason why the body finally gives out.
Free radical formation can be induced by radiation and that then begs
the question if radiation levels were lower in those days. Yet,
concentrations of K-40 in potassium, which goes to muscle tissue and is
one source of internal radiation (the other is Carbon-14), are lower now
due to radioactive decay! Same goes for K-40 in geological material and
daughter products of U-235 and U-238 which also must have been present
in higher concentrations in the past.

Like Jim Taggert, I'd like to know how we can square the Biblical
account with our present scientific understanding.

Chuck Vandergraaf

T.T. Vandergraaf
Geochemistry Research Branch
Whiteshell Laboratories
Pinawa, MB R0E 1L0
((204) 753-2311 xt. 2592

>From: Dick Fischer[]
>Sent: July 15, 1997 9:29 PM
>Subject: Re: Ages
>Jim Taggert wrote:
>>One item that has been bothering me lately is the great ages achieved by
>>the people in the Old Testament. I haven't seen any discussion about
>>this here before. Maybe you all settled it before I came along.
>>What explanations do we have for the apparent longevity of the
>From the Lagash Kinglist, Jacobsen noted that the post-flood kings of
>Lagash (Semites probably) not only lived extraordinarily long, they also
>lived extraordinarily "slowly." 1
> In those days a child spent a hundred years
> In diapers (lit. "in <bits> of the wash")
> After he had grown up he spent a hundred years
> Without being given any task (to perform)
> He was small, he was dull witted
> His mother watched over him.
>1. Thorkild Jacobsen, "The Eridu Genesis," Journal of Biblical Literature
>100/4 (1981) 520-521.
>Dick Fischer