In view of the recent post on the antediluvian genealogies, I thought some readers might be interested in mathematical attempts to decipher them.
Here is a summary of the numbers in the genealogies in Genesis 5, excerpted from the Word Biblical Commentary (vol 1) by Gordon Wenham. The excerpt references a couple of studies. One attempt that appeared after the WBC was published is that of Donald Etz. It’s interesting, but I don’t find it persuasive. As the WBC notes, there’s no completely satisfactory mathematical cipher.
That was an interesting summation. I’ve always held one question though, why would the son listed in the genealogy have to be the first born? Seth(the son of Adam in said genealogy) is known(in the text) to not be the first born and is the only one listed(in the genealogy). The list also makes sure to mention that the predecessor had other sons and daughters(who are not named). As far as Noah’s sons are concerned(according to the text), only Shem has an exact age given(and his birth coincided with the building of the Ark) – And that was 100 years not 120 as most hold fast too… The text gives the feel that Noah’s other two sons are born before hand and Shem is the youngest(but that is simply conjecture seeing as the text does not give concrete evidence; at face value the text implies they are triplets). What are your thoughts?
Hello Dr Mike. I’d be interested to hear your understanding of the age spans here? Do you believe that they are literal ages of these specific ancient patriarchs from Adam to Noah? And if so, how do you deal with the discrepancies that exist between the LXX, the Masoretic and the Samaritan Pentateuch? If they are not literal, how are we to understand them? I understand there is also some possible connection to the Sumerian King Lists.
Thanks for all your work. I appreciate it very much. I am very much in agreement with most of your views (that I’ve heard or read so far) particularly in relation to the Divine Council and the Two Powers of the Godhead, and I have added many of your videos to various playlists on my Youtube channel.
My suspicion is that the numbers here involve/are a mathematical cypher. Proposals to that end have been offered, but none has won the day.
Sorry, I’ve just discovered that you addressed these issues somewhat in your Summary link above! Missed that earlier. I’ll check that out now. Thanks for responding though.
RE. the long age spans; if one believes that spirit beings took on human form and had human hybrid offspring; or that God can raise up dead people; then surely, believing that a chosen line of ancient patriarch-prophets had their mortal lives extended by God’s power is not that far fetched!
I offer the following thoughts. To my understanding so far (briefly stated), Adam was not literally the first human, but he is spoken of in such a way in Scripture because he was the first human to enter into covenant relations with the revealed Creator, being in the image of God. Paul states in Romans 5:14 that Adam was a pattern of Christ; and if the Second Adam was born with a human mother, then so surely was the first Adam.
The chosen lineage from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Israel and ultimately to Jesus reveals a unique line of patriarch-prophet/kings who through miraculous means testified to the One true God, Yahweh – and some of them in the pre-flood era lived a very long time. This is my present understanding.