# Re: [asa] Ages of the Patriarchs

From: Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Feb 15 2007 - 03:27:11 EST

Carol Hill's approach is certainly very interesting, but I think she
does the probability calculations wrongly and is overstating the case
to quote odds of a billion to one against the pattern of digits
occurring.

For those who don't want to read the whole article, I'll summarise -
she believes that the numbers given are numerological in intent rather
than taken as face-value lifespans. In support of this she notes that
in the 30 numbers given for the 10 patriarchs (age at birth of son,
years thereafter, and age at death) the last digit is always 0,2,5,7
or 9. This, it is argued is because it is a multiple of five years,
or a multiple of five years plus 7, or (in the case of the third
figure, a multiple of 5 years plus 7 plus 7 ) (as in Methuselah
(180+7) + (775+7) = (985+7+7). This, she argues is because 5 years is
60 months, and the numbers 60 and 7 were very important in ancient
maths. Given 30 numbers each using only half the possible end-digits,
the odds are (0.5^30) = 1/1 billion. However, this is a flawed
calculation - given that the third number is always the sum of the
other two - which could be just a counting convention. Hence the
third number is not independent and the calculation is false. The
true odds are taken by considering the first two, which onlyl use
0,2,5 or 7, in which case the odds are (0.4^20) which is 1 in 90
million. It still seems to be convincing evidence, however.

There are also a number of possible numerological features concerned
with the ages given for Methuselah (969) and Lamech (777) that bear
marked resemblance to some of Vernon's findings, but since geometrical
numerology doesn't seem to go down too well on this foram (sic,
Michael), I'll not go into details.

Iain

On 2/15/07, David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm wondering if anyone has any references / perspectives on the ages of the
> antedeluvian patriarchs. I saw Carol Hill's 2003 PSCF article, which is
> very interesting (
> http://www.asa3.org/aSA/PSCF/2003/PSCF12-03Hill.pdf). I
> see also that Walton in the NIV Commentary favors taking these lifespans at
> face value. I guess they could be some kind of miraculous thing, but the
> sort of approach Carol takes seems reasonable. (My very bright daughter was
> and it kind of stumped me.)
>

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Received on Thu Feb 15 03:27:26 2007

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