How Could Man Live Hundreds of Years

11 Oct

How Could Man Live Hundreds of Years

This is a very commonly asked question.  Can you give an answer?

How could man live hundreds of years?

Great question!  First, let’s take a look at a few of the biblical figures he’s referring to:

Adam – 930 years old – (Gen 5:5)
Seth – 912 years old – (Gen 5:8)
Shem – 600 years old – (Gen. 11:10-11)
Abraham – 175 years old – (Gen. 25:7)
Methuselah – 969 years old – (Gen 5:27)
Moses – 120 years old – (Deu. 34:7)

And there’s a LOT more!  Right about now I can hear the collective chuckle from the naysayers.

“How ridiculous, that’s impossible!  Man couldn’t have lived that long!”

I know that we live in a world that likes to make excuses for what we can’t understand or explain using conventional wisdom.  But, just because we don’t believe it or have an answer to it doesn’t mean that it’s not true!

While researching this I found a few ways some Christians try to reconcile this issue.

1.  It’s a “mistranslation”!

The excuse goes something like this, “The writer didn’t mean “years” when he wrote the Scripture, He meant “months”!  You see, if you convert “years” to “months” that would make Methuselah only 78½ years old when he died.”[1]

Problem solved, yeah!

“Houston, we’ve got a problem!”

I’ve found that when we approach God’s Word with a “God, I know what you wrote, but let me tell you what you meant!” mentality, bad things happen.  This is one of those instances.  Here’s why, if you use the same calculations with Enoch, who lived over 360 years, he’d be fathering Methuselah at the age of 5![2]  I don’t think we want to go there!!  Talk about making fun of snakes and donkeys that can speak!  Wow!

2.  It’s just “symbolic”!

This argument tells us that numbers have a symbolic meaning.  ie.  7 the perfect number representing God, so Methuselah’s great age had a symbolic meaning, it wasn’t literally true!

What does “is” mean?  Hmmmmm!

The Scripture is an amazing book.  It’s written in many different styles including, but not restricted to, poetry, allegory and historical narrative.  By reading it in context we figure out what is being taught.  As a minimum we know that Jesus believed in Adam, Eve (Matt. 19:4-5) and Noah. (Matt. 24:37-39)  So, if Jesus can take these folks and accounts as truth, so can I!

3.  It’s a “Fictional account!”

These great ages are just a fairy tale.

Of course it’s not real, Bill Maher tells us, ““I think religion is a neurological disorder.”  So, this account is just a story or possibly the result of our brain chemistry malfunctioning.

Well, the same argument applies to this accusation as the “symbolic” account.  If Jesus can take these historical figures and accounts as truth, so can I!

So, could man really have lived hundreds of years.  And, surprisingly to those who don’t believe the biblical accounts, the answer is “Yes!”

Why do we die so young??

My premise is that “IF” God created us the way that He says that He did in the Bible that man was created to live forever.  And if that’s the case, the capability to live long ages should be within the human make up.  And sure enough, it is!

It’s been interesting following reports on human longevity over the last few years.  Scientists don’t know why we age!

Dr. Nathan Shock, not “Spock”, said,

‘We do not have the faintest idea what causes aging,’[3]

As a Christian, we know why we age, it’s called “sin”!!

Enter Valter Longo, Professor, Gerontology/Alzheimer’s Research/Cancer Research, Bilogical sciences (say that 3 times quickly!) at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Longo believes that an 800-year life isn’t just possible, it is inevitable.

“I don’t think it’s going to be very complicated to get to 120 and remain healthy, but at a certain point I think it will be possible to get people to live to 800. I don’t think there is an upper limit to the life of any organism.”[4]

Interesting!!  Not to be outdone along comes Dr. Aubrey de Grey from Cambridge!

“I think the first person to live to 1,000 might be 60 already.”[5]

And people want to make fun of those who believe the ages we read in the Bible!!  Here’s the bottom line, IF God created the way that He said that He did, and the biblical accounts happened the way that He said they did, we should see exactly what we see in the world today!

Let me leave you with a quote from a secular article!

“People, then, may reject the possibility of Methuselah’s age, even joke about it. But they cannot do so on scientific grounds.”[6]

Stay bold!



[1] Hill, Carol A. (2003-12-04). “Making Sense of the Numbers of Genesis”.  Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 55: 239.

[2] Morris, Henry M. (1976). The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings. Grand Rapids, MichiganBaker Book House. p. 159. ISBN 0-8010-6004-4. “Such an interpretation would have made Enoch only five years old when his son was born!”


[4] DNA Breakthrough Could Give Humans Lifespans Lasting Hundreds of Years, by Steve Connor

[5] ‘We will be able to live to 1,000’, by Dr Aubrey de Grey


Carl Kerby

Carl Kerby is an inspiring, motivating and highly respected Christian speaker. With more than 20 years of ministry experience, Carl shares his extensive knowledge and understanding of God’s creation in his presentations, outreach events, books and other resources as the President and founding board member of Reasons for Hope, Inc.