Hi Mike, you wrote:
>I think the Bible itself gives us indications that this is the case. For
>instance, the writer of Genesis makes a point to tell us that Noah's three
>sons who accompanied him on the ark were all born after Noah was 500 years
>old. (Gen. 5:32) And he tells us that Noah was 600 years old when the flood
>began. (Gen. 7:6) And the writer of Genesis only records an unusually long
>life for only one of Noah's sons, Shem. (Gen.11:11) Thus the writer of
>Genesis seems to have made a point of allowing us to understand that Noah's
>other two sons may have had lives of normal length.
It's the line of promise that is important, and so the details are
included. Plus, I think it is a practical matter that more
information is available. How much more do you know about your
brother or sister versus your third cousin?
>The writer of Genesis also seems to say that God Himself told Noah that He
>intended for men to be "mortal," with life spans limited to about "a hundred
>and twenty years." (Gen. 6:3) To me this seems to indicate that God gave only
>a few of Adam's descendants extremely long lives.
You can see the days shorten up for each patriarch. There is a
gradual decline in life spans from Noah through Abraham that I
attribute to the Adamic line intermarrying with the indigenous
>So, I can only conclude that God must have only given a few specially
>selected descendants of Adam extraordinarily long lives. If this is true He
>must have done so for a reason. Why would He have done such a thing? After
>Adam, from my count, the Bible records only 24 people as dying at an age
>beyond their 120s. With this in mind, I believe God may have supernaturally
>extended the lives of these 24 people to numerically symbolize something.
>24 is 2 x 12 and brings to mind the 24 elders in Revelation. I believe 12 is
>the number the Bible uses to represent God's people. In Old Testament times
>there were 12 tribes. Thus 12 is used to represent all of God's faithful Old
>Covenant people. In New Testament times there were 12 apostles. Thus 12 is
>also used to represent all of God's faithful New Covenant people. Together
>these two 12s, totaling 24, may well represent all of God's faithful people
>throughout time, from both physical and spiritual Israel, Jews and
>Christians. (I believe the number 144,000 - 12 x 12 x 1000 - is a variation
>on this same theme.) By God supernaturally postponing the deaths of 24
>people, He may have been symbolically pointing to the fact that He will one
>day eternally extend the lives of all of His Old Testament and New Testament
I'm not much of a numbers guy to be perfectly frank. However, I'll
give you another. The sexagesimal system was in operation in ancient
Sumer and Accad. Our compass and clocks reflect this: 360 degrees
and 3600 seconds in an hour. Ages of Sumerian kings were divisible
by 60 and 60 squared. Take 144,000 divided by 60 squared and you get
40. And 40 is a beautiful number, a significant number in the life
of Christ. So that number may very well have symbolic value.
>Are you of the opinion that all of Adam's descendants and those of Noah up
>until the time of Abraham, or thereabouts, had unusually long lives?
Unusual for us, maybe usual for them. The days of the first ten
patriarchs vary, but Noah lived longer than Adam. Then God says
their days will not exceed 120 years. Starting with Shem, who lived
to the age of 600, their years did exactly what was stated, they
dwindled down. There is an interesting comment about the post-flood
kings of Lagash who lived not just long lives, but aged slowly. This
fragment was brought to light by Thorkild Jacobsen:
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.
Can you imagine 100 years in diapers? So I think it probably was
normal for not only the patriarchs, but all their unnamed "sons and
daughters" to live long lives, but don't hold me to that. It is just
Yours in Christ,
Dick Fischer - The Origins Solution - www.orisol.com
"The answer we should have known about 150 years ago"
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