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Answering The Atheist
June 15, 2003 / Volume 3, Issue 24

What is the span of human life? Psalm 90:10 says seventy years, but Genesis 6:3 says 120 years. And yet, many after Genesis 6 lived hundreds of years (Genesis 11:12, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 32). Is there a contradiction?

Let us begin with Genesis 6:3. The questioner has misapplied this number of years as being a statement of the life span of a man. This was the number of years which the Lord permitted man before He destroyed the world by water. Often we see the longsuffering of God in Scripture, when men ought to be destroyed, He gives time for repentance (see 1 Peter 3:20). Besides preparing the ark, Noah would have used this time to preach to the people of the Lordís ways and the impending judgment (2 Peter 2:5).

Of the men listed in Genesis 11, indeed, there were several who lived a great many years, Methuselah (actually recorded in Genesis 5:27) being the oldest, dying at the age of nine hundred sixty-nine years. The Lord has not, at this point, stated a span for manís life. It is quite possible that due to the purity of the earth in which they dwelt, there being few toxins, to pollute the atmosphere and the body, these lived incredible amounts of time.

Through David, the Lord spoke of the span of manís years. Notice though, it was not a set frame of time, whereat every person would die. Psalm 90:10 reads, ďThe days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.Ē These words supply an estimate of the time which man can expect to live. Some die well before this age, some die well after it. The importance of the statement was not to chronicle every manís years, but to show us the brevity of life, and to cause us to think on the use of our lives.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible