How could Methuselah live 969 years?

In the 1950s, the testing of nuclear bombs created a ‘pulse’ of carbon-14 that we can test in living things. This has allowed scientists to determine that Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) are the world’s longest-lived
vertebrates.

Researchers established that the shark has a very slow annual growth rate of about 1 cm (⅓ inch), which translates to a lifespan of around 400 years. Other known long-lived creatures include the chowder clam (500 years), bowhead whale (200) and Galápagos tortoise (170).

Bible skeptics scoff at the idea that humans such as Methuselah (969 years, Genesis 5:27) once lived for centuries and say that would be ‘biologically impossible’. Ignoring death by accident or disease, different living things seem to be genetically programmed to live for different average periods. Such ‘programmed longevity’ in animals can be drastically affected by breeding experiments.

For humans, it may be that the population bottleneck after Noah’s Flood (only eight people survived) contributed to the dramatic decline in post-Flood lifespans. There is also considerable evidence that the relentless accumulation of many mutations in each human generation also played a part, as renowned geneticist Dr John Sanford explains in his book, Genetic Entropy.1

This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.  Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.  When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters.  Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.

Genesis 5:1-5

References and Notes

  1. Batten, Don, editor. “EYEING OFF CENTURIES-OLD SHARKS.” Creation, 2017, pp. 7–7.[]

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