Chapter 19

START CHAPTER 19

Human Longevity Facts

Sometime around 1975-1980, a group of scientists concluded that human beings could live to a maximum of one hundred and twenty years of age. It was discovered that shortly before reaching one hundred and twenty the process that causes body cells to reproduce fails. The cells then die as well as the person.

Recently, scientists believe they have discovered what causes this cell division process to halt around the age of one hundred and twenty years. They believe it is caused by what they call telomeres. This they believe is the key to the human life cycle. Telomeres are repeating DNA strings (TTAGGG) that cap chromosomes. Each time a cell divides its telomeres become shorter. When they reach a preset length the cell ceases to divide, ages, and dies. Independently, others came up with exactly the same number as the maximum age for mortal mankind three thousand years ago:

And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. (Genesis 6:3)

Can this be true when the Bible records that people were living in those times to ages greater than nine hundred years? This has caused readers to lend this verse little credence, if they notice it at all. Let's investigate this verse and see how God accomplished this age limit restriction. This is important because it gives us an idea of how God makes changes. These changes are often introduced through natural processes and physical laws.

The following is a list of people for which the Old Testament gives their age at death. The list is sequential from the first book of the Old Testament to the last, Genesis through Malachi:

And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years... (Genesis 5:5)

And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years:... (Genesis 5:8)

And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years:... (Genesis 5:11)

And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died. (Genesis 5:14)

And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died. (Genesis 5:17)

And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died. (Genesis 5:20)

And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: (Genesis 5:23)

And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years... (Genesis 5:27)

And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died. (Genesis 5:31)

And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years:... (Genesis 9:29)

The next eight individuals, Shem through Nahor, are found in Genesis chapter 11. Their ages require a short calculation. For example:

Shem was a hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood: And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years... (Genesis 11:10-11)

Therefore, Shem lived 100 + 500, or 600 years. If you desire to check this data, it is in Genesis Chapter 11. I will simply list their names and ages here:

HERE88
Name               Age at Death             Verse Reference      
Shem           600       (Genesis 11:11)
Arphaxad           933       (Genesis 11:12-13)
Salah           433       (Genesis 11:14-15)
Eber           860       (Genesis 11:16-17)
Peleg           239       (Genesis 11:18-19)
Reu           239       (Genesis 11:20-21)
Serug           230       (Genesis 11:22-23)
Nahor           148       (Genesis 11:24-25)

And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years... (Genesis 11:32)

And Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. (Genesis 23:1)

And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, a hundred threescore and fifteen years. (175 years)   (Genesis 25:7)

And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, a hundred and thirty and seven years... (Genesis 25:17)

The whole age of Jacob was a hundred forty and seven years. (Genesis 47:28)

So Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old... (Genesis 50:26)

And the years of the life of Levi were a hundred thirty and seven years. (Exodus 6:16)

And the years of the life of Kohath were a hundred thirty and three years. (Exodus 6:18)

And the years of the life of Amram were a hundred and thirty and seven years. (Exodus 6:20)

And Aaron was a hundred and twenty and three years old when he died in mount Hor. (Numbers 33:39)

And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died... (Deuteronomy 34:7)

Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being a hundred and ten years old. (Joshua 24:29)

After this lived Job a hundred and forty years...   (140+ years old) (Job 42:16)

When we reach the book of Psalm, the life span of man in general is seventy to eighty years. That is, man is able to live a little over half of the maximum possible life span of one hundred and twenty years:

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; (70 years) and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years (80 years). (Psalm 90:10)

Some people see this as a contradiction to Genesis 6:3 where the maximum life span of one hundred and twenty years is defined. However, that is not the case. The above verse is simply the present life expectancy during this period based on the style of living at that time. The average is around seventy years, some by reason of strength may reach eighty years.

Observe the summary listed below and notice the pattern that occurs after God creates the one hundred and twenty year age limit on mankind.

Summary in order from the Old Testament:

Person               Age at death                      Notes
Adam             930
Seth             912
Enos             905
Cainan             910
Mahalaleel             895
Jared             962
Enoch             365
Methuselah             969
Lamech             777
Limit of 120 years placed on
life of man at Genesis 6:3
Noah             950
Shem             600
Arphaxad             933
Salah             433
Eber             860
Peleg             239
Reu             239
Serug             230
Nahor             148
Terah             205
Sarah             127
Abraham             175
Ishmael             137
Jacob             147
Joseph             110
Levi             137
Kohath             133
Amram             137
Aaron             123
Moses             120
Joshua             110
Job             140+
People in General             70-80 Average life expectancy
when Psalm was written
Today in USA             Men 73 Average life expectancy
            Women 79 from 1996 data


Notice that God did not simply say the word and everyone immediately started dying at or before the age of one hundred and twenty years. No, it happened over a period of time as indicated above, but rather quickly after the modification was made. How did He perform this feat? Very possibly it was a mutation to the DNA as recently discovered by scientists. This would not have affected people who were already alive. Methuselah, Noah, and others were very probably already born. In any event, once God implemented the limit through natural means, it very quickly took effect. For a certainty Moses knew that this limit was placed on the life span of man three thousand years ago when he wrote the book of Genesis. Coincidentally, Moses lived to exactly one hundred and twenty years of age. Moses wrote this fact down in the scriptures and identified the one responsible for implementing the change:

And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. (Genesis 6:3)


END CHAPTER 19
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