Talk about a long-lasting-marriage!
I think to truly understand the scope of aging and dying, it behooves us to go back to the beginning. My pal Twilight asked me if I was going to look at biblical ages in The Old Testament and that’s exactly where I was going to begin.
The fifth chapter of Genesis breaks down the ages of Adam’s progeny. Adam himself, based on Old Testament info lived to 930. Seth lived until 912, Noah, 950 and good old Methuselah, he stuck around for 969 years. Enoch lived to be 365, Lamech to 777 and then the curve really drops off. Terah clocks in at 205, then eventually we get to Abraham at 175, Joseph, 110, Samuel 111, then the all-too-human, David at 71 and finally Solomon, 58. By 600 BC, we’re locked into the physical cage of this mortal coil. Did the elders of The Old Testament really live that long and why does the curve drop off like a sand bar?
My sense is that the likes of Adam, Noah, Seth and Methuselah did live that long and that The Bible is a fairly accurate record of lives and ages.
While I am not a creationist, as you shall soon see, I tend to side with them on their record of life spans, for vastly different reasons that they would ascribe to. The critics of biblical record claim that a year in “biblical” or “old testament time” is different than our current cycle of a year. There may be some truth to this on some level, but not to the extent that one would take the ages of The Bible and divide by twelve months. To gain a greater perspective on the lives of Adam, et al. we have to travel back to 4,000 BC, which is where most biblical scholars place the father and mother of humanity.
If we take a brief census of developing cultures on Earth, we see a veritable explosion of development in agriculture, smelting, architecture and social order. In both Mesopotamia and Sumeria, literally, out of the sands of the desert, we witness very complex systems rapidly evolve. Almost out of the ethers, sailing, complex hydrology, civil law, mathematics, the potters wheel, the wheel itself and astrology, all emerge in a flash. Culture literally shot up up like wild plants along the banks of The Tigris and Euphrates. If we are to believe that Adam lived in 4,000 BC, then there’s probably a pretty good chance that he was either a Mesopotamian or a Sumerian, likely the former since of the two, it is the older of the cultures and is where the foundation of The Old Testament emerges; The Epic Of Gilgamesh. To truly understand the roots of the bible and perhaps to understand the nature of longevity itself, we need to have a more than just cursory look at perhaps the most important and controversial off all the creation myths, the one that seems to be the root myth for nearly every other story, replete with anti-diluvian morality tales and even clues for surviving and thriving in our own times.
Tomorrow, we’ll spend a fair amount of time with the likes of Enki (Ea) and his brother Enlil, creator gods from the stars and how they may have not only shaped the life spans of Adam and Eve, but might also have been the anatomical engineers of our very own biology.