People Living to be 900 Years Old?
The Bible records that people used to live to a vast number of years of age as compared to the present day human life expectancy. The average age of the patriarchs from creation to the Flood, excluding Enoch and Lamech, was 912 years old. Are there scientific and medical explanations which would support these statements of great age or are they mythological? Yes, there is data from both the scientific and the medical fields to support these statements.
If we look at the age at which the various patriarchs died as recorded in the Book of Genesis, we see that there is a clearly defined downward turning exponential curve associated with the decreasing ages of mankind. From creation to the Flood, everyone lived about the same number of years. After the Flood, the life expectancy dropped rapidly as the outside environment and internal body mechanisms degraded over time. Here are samples of seven scientific and twelve medical reasons that caused this to happen. (The following are only a partial listing of reasons and should not be considered an exhaustive listing.)
What Scientific Reasons Are There to Believe in a 900 Year Life Expectancy?
People started out with perfect genetic material at the time of creation. This genetic material remained perfect until the time shortly after creation when mankind sinned. This event brought imperfection into the universe. The mechanism which continues this process of becoming more and more imperfect is called the Second Law of Thermodynamics in science, and it is a part of The Curse of Genesis 3:17, Romans 8:20-22 and Revelation 33:3.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to all natural and physical systems, including biological ones. The Second Law also applies to the transfer of information, and in this special case, use of the concept which is called Information Theory. Information Theory says that every time you handle information, some of it will be lost and that no new organized information will spontaneously arise.
Today, we know that one of the major reasons people no longer live to be 900 years old is that their genetic information has been degraded by the accumulation of mutational copying errors over time. The aging process is accomplished, in part, by the breakdown of the chromosomal information inside the cells of your body.
Magnetic Field of the Earth
The strong magnetic field of the earth during the first few thousand years of earth history would have had two major influences upon human longevity in the past.
The decline of the earths magnetic field has been measured scientifically since 1835. Based upon this information we may determine that the field was substantially stronger in the past. The magnetic field would have been ten times stronger than it is now at the time of the Flood, about 4,500 years ago. It would have been twenty times stronger at the time of creation, about 6,000 years ago. Laboratory experiments conducted on animals by Dr. Jeno Barnothy in the 1960s have shown that exposure to intense magnetism from the time of conception to the time of puberty stabilizes their chromosomes, slows their aging process and increases their longevity.
The earths magnetic field has a second influence upon longevity. The magnetic field of the earth holds in place the three Van Allen Radiation Belts which surround the earth. If the magnetic field is stronger, these Belts are held further away from the surface; conversely, if the field weakens, these Belts would descend closer and closer to the earths surface. Since the earths magnetic field was stronger in the past, this would have kept these Belts farther away from the earth and obviously lowered the effect of radiation upon all life-forms on the surface.
Today, we know that as the field weakens, we are exposed to more and more radiation which speeds up the aging process and causes a demonstrable rise in cancer cases.
The Bible tells us that at the time of creation there was far more moisture contained in the earths atmosphere than there is now. This blanket of moisture was dissipated at the time of the Flood, but it would have provided for longevity in two ways.
First, it would have provided for an environment something like a greenhouse all over the earth. That would have meant that there would have been relatively uniform temperatures all over the earth, even from pole to pole. Wind is produced by a temperature gradient. Basically, on the surface of the earth, wind may be defined as the movement of cold air towards places where warm air is rising. Since the temperatures on the surface prior to the Flood would have been relatively uniform, there would have been little temperature gradient, and therefore, little wind. Prior to the Flood no one would have died from being subjected to strong violent weather patterns or severe seasonal weather patterns. There were simply no hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms or lightning which would have killed people prior to the Flood. In fact, there was no rain prior to the start of the Flood.
Second, the high moisture content of the atmosphere would have also acted as an umbrella to block out much of the incoming ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Exposure to UV radiation has a direct effect upon skin cancers, cataracts and certain other diseases.
Today, we are exposed to much higher levels of UV radiation than the people living prior to the Flood and we have the well-documented rise in cancers to prove it.
Volcanoes and Earthquakes
The Bible describes that there was no appreciable amount of earthquake activity, nor the volcanic activity which frequently accompanies it, from creation to the Flood. The first time these things are mentioned is at the beginning of the Flood. The start of the Flood is described as a time when the earth was massively cleaved from below, breaking up the earths crust, and releasing huge quantities of hot water which were stored below the surface. When hot liquid water came up from below, hot liquid rock came up with it. This, in turn, caused tens of thousands of volcanoes to erupt all over the earth.
The lack of such earthquake and volcanic activity prior to the Flood would have contributed to human longevity. Today, thousands of people may die in just one earthquake or volcanic eruption. Consider what would happen if thousands of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions were to all occur at the same time.
From the time of creation to the Flood there was little natural or manmade pollution. The major industry of mankind prior to the Flood was agriculture. The agricultural work was accomplished by the work of people and animals, not tractors and combines. The heavy industry described as existing prior to the Flood, such as the smelting of metallic ores, was relatively insignificant. The first significant pollution to occur after creation was when hundreds of cubic kilometers of volcanic ash were released at the initiation of the Flood.
Today, pollution of the environment is an important topic of discussion, although it is highly misstated in the press and highly misunderstood by the public at large. Fifty years ago, people were being told that the solution to pollution was dilution. We know that is simply not true. The solution to pollution is prevention.
What Medical Reasons Are There to Believe in a 900 Year Life Expectancy?
In Genesis Chapter One, God instructed Adam and Eve to eat of the green plants; they were to be as meat to their bodies. First, we see that from creation to the Flood, people and animals were all vegetarians. It was only after the Flood that God issued a new directive to Noah and his family that things had changed, and now they were going to have to eat animal flesh as well as vegetable material in order to survive. Second, apparently while plant products had provided all the necessary nutrients and amino acids for life prior to the Flood, the continuing ravages from the degrading of genetic information and the downhill slide of the environment had taken its toll and plants were no longer able to do so after the Flood.
Today, the health benefits to be derived from a diet high in vegetable matter and low in animal fat are well known. Such a diet would prevent most heart and artery disease, prevent most high blood pressure problems and promote general good health. Caution should be taken, however, in advocating an all-vegetable diet. God said that we were to eat both vegetables and meat; that we were to eat them in proper proportions; and that we were to eat them in moderation.
The Waters Above
At the beginning God created the earth with high moisture content in the earths atmosphere, part of the waters above as described in Genesis. The extra weight of this volume of water suspended in the air caused the atmosphere to weigh 2.0 to 2.2 times the current amount. Living on the earth prior to the Flood would have been like living in a hyperbaric chamber. This added pressure caused the oxygen content in the blood of living organisms to be doubled, which in turn led to the large size of plants and animals and to the rapid healing of wounds. What might have been a lethal injury after the Flood was not a lethal injury prior to the Flood. This would have promoted longevity.
Today, some modern hospitals are equipped with hyperbaric chambers because certain types of wounds heal much faster when they are exposed to high oxygen concentrations. Certainly rapid healing from injuries prior to the Flood would increase the average life span.
The high moisture content of the atmosphere prior to the Flood would have also protected life on earth from some of the harmful radiation coming in from cosmic rays and x-rays that are now bombarding earth. The forty days and forty nights of rain brought this moisture barrier down and the present forces in nature are unable to regenerate it.
Many people today try to downplay the damaging role stress plays in our daily lives. Today, its effects are well documented, but prior to the Flood there was much less stress. This was because, while work was required to get food, shelter and clothing; food, shelter and clothing were easily supplied. The conditions which existed prior to the Flood allowed for plant crops to grow year around. So while there was effort involved in survival, the level of stress was much lower.
Stress was lower for several other reasons as well. There was no stress from high population densities as there was ample land available for all. Attack by wild animals was not a threat to human life since all the animals were vegetarian. The earth was a veritable green house and crops could be planted immediately after the harvest of the prior crop. The water needs of crops were automatically taken care of, so the building of irrigation systems was unnecessary. In essence, God provided an abundance of all the things necessary for life and so the level of stress was minimal, promoting long life.
The human immune system was originally created perfect and this would most certainly have increased life expectancy. Our immune system did not start off with the accumulation of genetic errors which have now made it less effective. The initial immune system of people might have been able to fend off many, if not all, of the diseases which are now common among the human population.
Initially, there would have been no genetic diseases. Hemophilia would not have existed. The load of genetic mutations which makes it disastrous for near relatives to intermarry did not built up sufficiently to be a problem until the time of Moses, a period of 1,000 years after the Flood. Even Abraham married his own half-sister without a problem, and their offspring is in the messianic line. By the time of Moses, however, God had to step in and command that there be no more close marriages. The need for genetic diversity to combat genetic disease had come to fruition.
If evolution were true, we would expect to see more and more species of plants and animals evolving into existence. The opposite, however, is true, which is at least an indicator that creation is also true. Every year species are becoming extinct and no new ones are coming into being. We cannot know what medicinal value or beneficial nutrients might have been available to people from plants which are now extinct. We know of many plant species which are extinct, but we can only speculate what benefits they might have passed on to us. Plant life, both living and extinct, may have contained chemicals, vitamins, nutrients and immunity drugs, of which we are not even aware today.
This is a two-edged sword. The coincident degrading of the human genetic information over time may mean that we are no longer able to utilize the food we eat in order to live as healthy a life as the people did prior to the Flood. We are not able to know what changes have occurred in us over time which may have lessened our ability to digest or utilize food and the food we eat is not as nutritious as it once was. Both edges mean that we will not live as long as humans were once able to live.
The people of the pre-Flood world led, for the most part, an agrarian life style. Even in the cities, the people would have, in general, led a more vigorous lifestyle than we lead today. The agrarian lifestyle with its aerobic physical demands would have been much healthier than our current sedentary lifestyle. Physical fitness and good nutrition would have been the rule of the day.
These scientific and medical factors, combined with others, show how people could have indeed lived for hundreds of years, even 900 years!