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5.06.2005    |    "All the days of Noah were 950 years"
Those old folks certainly lived long lives, back in the beginning. Noah, a righteous man, lived to be 950 years. Genesis 9:
28After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died.
Many others in Genesis had, shall we say, long, long, lives in comparison to our current measly allotment of 80 or so, if we're lucky and live in a developed nation. And have good health care. And have selected our parents wisely. Consider Shem, in Genesis 11:
10These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood. 11And Shem lived after he fathered Arpachshad 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

12When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he fathered Shelah. 13And Arpachshad lived after he fathered Shelah 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
And on and on; you get the picture. So, what happened? How is it that people lived such amazingly long lives, and the most we hear about in modern times might be some Georgian (from the Caucauses, not where Atlanta is located) claiming to be 115 or so. Those who take their Scripture neat, no exegisis for me, thank ye, have no problem: God said it; it must be so. For me and for, I suspect, most modern Christians and Jews, we look for other explanations.

God needn't explain Himself fully to us. He reveals His truth a little bit at a time, and, perhaps, at the end times, we will find out exactly what He meant when he told us through His Scripture that "all the days of Noah were 950 years." In the meantime, we need to avoid two traps.

The first is to take each word of the Bible as the literal, absolute truth -- even when it conflicts mightily with our God-given reason. This is a trap, although it's also the easy way out for believers. It's a trap because God may have His reasons, but it makes zero sense for the elders in Genesis to live 10 times the alloted lifespan of everyone else. To say, in response to such fantastic numbers, "it's God's will" is to simply duck the question. And gives major ammunition to those who scoff at our faith. If Noah lived to be 950, because he was a righteous man, why weren't other righteous men who followed through the ages also given such lifespans? There is no real answer except, "God works in mysterious ways." Which isn't really an answer.

The second trap is to assume that whoever transcribed the word of God made editorial mistakes and got the figures wrong. No, there's too many specific ages given, and there is some God-given reason for the numbers. The reason could be as simple as showing us that those who truly feared God, using "feared" in its proper sense of being in awe and respect for our Deity and following His precepts, reaped an earthly reward of long life. This is what works for me.

Do I believe that Noah, et.al., actually lived those many years? No. They could have, since I also believe that with God all things are possible. But they did not need to, to make the point that I believe God wished to make: Follow He Who Is; do not deviate from His ways. Live long, and prosper.*

*Could Vulcans be God's creatures as well? Who is their Christ? Just asking.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brother, there is no reason for not believing that Noah actually lived that long ;)

Two things:

1) God said to man, the day you eat of it (the tree) that day you'll die. A day with God is a thousand years on earth. That's why no human being has lived over 1.000 years.

2) In the beginning human blood was pure and not very mixed. The blood quality must have dropped as human beings mixed with each other. I believe the Bible says that a man's age is 70, and 80 if he is strong.

Today people live long. Perhaps because of all the conservation chemicals they put in the food.


Revival in Me

3:06 AM, May 13, 2005  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.