Consequences of the Flood: Shortened Lifespans

Greatest Geologic Impact

In terms of geologic impact, no other event has done more to change the landscape of our world since it was created by God than the Great Flood of Genesis 6-9. The impact of this event led to a number of consequences which continue still today. In this article, we will examine the consequence of mankind’s shortened lifespan.

Why Such Long Lifespans?

The question of why Genesis records such unnaturally (from our perspective at least) long life spans for the Patriarchs has held the curiosity of men for many years. Skeptics have maintained that the incredibly old ages, such as Methuselah’s 969 years (Gen. 5:27) were falsified, inflated, or mistranslated. However, while few written records of any kind exist from time periods close to this, a few examples we have found suggest otherwise.

The simple answer

For the believer in God, the answer is really quite simple: However the process took place, it was done so in order to fulfill God’s purposes and command to “[b]e fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…” (Gen. 1:28, NASU). An interesting theory suggests that the nature of the world before the Great Flood may have had some to do with these long ages.

A possible answer

Between Biblical hints and statements and curious geological finds of recent years, it has been suggested that the world before the Great Flood was very different. One major difference was in the atmosphere; instead of varied climates, it is possible the entire world was “encased” in a water vapor which provided temperate climates all over the globe, and providing a climate more suited to longevity.

Post-flood impact

Whether this is the case or not, the Biblical narrative is clear that post-Flood, the long ages of men began to wane, ticking downward to the 80ish or so average years of our experience. Whether because of changed climate or because of God’s hand (or both), mankind lived for a far shorter time.

The Bigger Question

With this said, the bigger question is: Was this a good or bad consequence? On face value, living shorter lives would seem a bad consequence. Let us not forget, however, that man given multiples of hundreds of years to live brought about the absolute worst world imaginable (Gen. 6:5). It would seem a short life is preferable to 900+ years on this earth, especially when we look forward to eternity with God!

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