There is no question that this is what the Bible claims. A simple comparison of Genesis 5 with Genesis 11 reveals that the antediluvians (those before the Flood) lived much longer than those who came afterwards. The average age of pre-Flood patriarchs was 900 years, whereas the postdiluvian age quickly fell to fewer than 200 years. Methuselah lived the longest (969 years). In fact, add his age to that of Adam (930 years), and the lives of those two alone were enough to span the entire gap (1656 years) from Creation to the Flood. That would be like one of Saint Peter’s grandkids, who sat on his lap listening to him describe what it was like to walk on water, living to tell us what his grandpa said today.
Nor will it work to say that the word “year” meant something different after the Flood than before it. People do that with Genesis 1. They say the word “day,” in describing the 7 days of creation, refers to vast geologic ages spanning billions of years. Tough to explain why each geologic age is said to have begun with an evening, marked by darkness, followed by a morning, marked by light. Be that as it may, there is no question what the word “year” means in Genesis 5. It means what it does in Genesis 11 – 365 revolutions of the earth on its own axis while making 1 orbit around the sun. In other words, a year is a year is a year.
So how did they do it? How did the antediluvians live to be nearly 1,000 years old? Two reasons are given by creation scientists: 1) Good genes. Adam and Eve were originally designed to live forever. So is it any wonder that even after their fall into sin, they and their children lived such long lives! It took thousands of years for the human gene pool to degrade to the point where it is today. By the way, if you want to live to a ripe old age, they say the key is still good genes. So pick your parents carefully. Norwegian parents hold the most promise, often giving birth to children who live well into their 90s and beyond!
Even more important was the: 2) Good climate. The Apostle Peter states it as an article of faith that the world that perished (2 Peter 3:5-6) was very different from the world we know today. Genesis 1:7 gives a clue as to why. It says that in God’s original design, there was water both below and above our atmosphere, perhaps in the form of ice rings circling the planet. (Have you ever wondered where all that water came from for the Flood?) This would have had two positive effects. It would have allowed light to penetrate while shielding earthlings from the harmful rays of the sun that cause rapid aging. It would have also had a greenhouse effect, giving the entire planet a tropical climate. (This is a possible explanation for the fossils of palm trees that have been found at the poles.)
So what’s the best tip if you want to live a long life? Be born before the Flood! But since you can’t do that, here are two principles for life today: 1) Obey your parents. Ephesians 6 advises: “Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.” Why is obedience to parents a key to living long? They teach us the secrets to life. “Look both ways before you cross the street.” “Wash your hands after using the bathroom.” “Eat your veggies.” “Get outside and get some exercise.” Furthermore, God promises to bless us if we honor our parents, His first representatives in our lives, and there is no substitute for His blessing. What if your parents weren’t good role models? 2) Obey God’s principles for life. The Bible is filled with them: Avoid strong drink. Stay out of debt. “Flee sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” (1 Cor. 6:18)
Back to Methuselah for a moment. Did you know there’s a hidden warning in his name. Methuselah means: “When he dies, it will be sent.” What will be sent? The Flood! Methuselah’s father was a prophet who warned that God was about to judge the world. Like today, nobody wanted to hear it. Nevertheless, judgment fell. Right on schedule, as his father predicted, Methuselah died the 1656th year after Creation, the very year that the Flood swept away everything on earth that had the breath of life in it. Why end on that sad note? As a word to the wise. For as long as the lives of the antediluvians were, each one’s epitaph is the same: “So all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died.” You see, the most vital principle for life is this: Live for something that lasts longer than this life –