Questions From Readers
● The conclusion that the Flood occurred 1,656 years after Adam’s creation rests on the ages in the genealogical list in Genesis chapter 5. The Bible there says how old each man was when he became father to the next. But is it not possible that each was some months older or younger, which could change the total considerably?
Genesis chapter 5 provides detailed information about a chain of men from Adam to Noah. It tells how old each was when he became father to the next link. For example, ‘Adam lived on for a hundred and thirty years and became father to Seth.’ (Gen. 5:3) Thus we have:
From Adam’s creation
to the birth of Seth 130 years
To the birth of Enosh 105 “
To the birth of Kenan 90 “
To the birth of Mahalalel 70 “
To the birth of Jared 65 “
To the birth of Enoch 162 “
To the birth of Methuselah 65 “
To the birth of Lamech 187 “
To the birth of Noah 182 “
From Noah’s birth to the flood 600 “
Total 1,656 years
Some have wondered, though, ‘What if there was a few months’ difference in each case: If Adam was 130 years and 4 months old when Seth was born, and Seth 105 years and 4 months, and so on? Just a quarter year added to each link would amount to some three years more between Adam and the Flood. Might that be the case?’
Frankly, there is no reasonable basis for thinking so.
It would be speculation for someone to hold that Adam was four months older than 130 years when Seth was born. Another could speculate that Seth was four months younger than 105 years when Enosh arrived. So the differences could cancel each other out or average out to the same total reached from the Genesis record.
But let us not ignore this: The Bible does not give paternal ages for the births of many men far more noteworthy than Mahalalel or Jared. How old was Elkanah when Samuel was born? Jesse at the birth of David (or his brothers)? Zechariah when John the Baptizer was born? Or even Joseph (or Mary) when Jesus was born? The Bible does not say. Yet it does give the ages for the human links from Adam to Noah. Why?
It seems clear that God put such facts in his Word knowing that his worshipers would study and use the information. Is it reasonable that God would provide specific figures that, when used, would mislead his people? No. Unlike the Devil, Jehovah God is not a liar or a deceiver. (1 Sam. 15:29; John 8:44) If he put facts in his Word, we can trust that they are accurate and reliable for use.
The genealogical information in Genesis chapter 5 enables us to determine that the Flood came 1,656 years after Adam’s creation. It also helps us to appreciate the unusual ages at which the men became fathers and how very long they lived. Yet the record shows that ‘they died,’ emphasizing the need we all have for the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (1 Tim. 2:6; Rom. 6:23) By faith in Jesus we may live longer than Adam (930 years) or Methuselah (969 years). Yes, we may live forever.