Why did God cap the human life span?
The average human life span was in the mid 900s at one point, and all of a sudden it was limited to low 100's, with few ever reaching over 120. I was wondering what the actual reason for this was. Was it because God saw that we would become overpopulated too quickly, or did we do something to make him angry?
Thank you Bill A.
Jon M and Jeremy B also make good points.
- Bill ALv 41 decade agoFavorite Answer
Many people understand Genesis 6:3 to be a 120-year age limit on humanity, “Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.’” However, Genesis chapter 11 records several people living past the age of 120. As a result, some interpret Genesis 6:3 to mean that, as a general rule, people will no longer live past 120 years of age. After the flood, the life spans began to shrink dramatically (compare Genesis 5 with Genesis 11) and eventually shrank to below 120 (Genesis 11:24). Since that time, very few people have lived past 120 years old.
However, another interpretation, which seems to be more in keeping with the context, is that Genesis 6:3 is God’s declaration that the flood would occur 120 years from His pronouncement. Humanity's days being ended is a reference to humanity itself being destroyed in the flood. Some dispute this interpretation due to the fact that God commanded Noah to build the ark when Noah was 500 years old in Genesis 5:32 and Noah was 600 years old when the flood came (Genesis 7:6); only giving 100 years of time, not 120 years. However, the timing of God’s pronouncement of Genesis 6:3 is not given. Further, Genesis 5:32 is not the time that God commanded Noah to build the Ark, but rather the age Noah was when he became the father of his three sons. It is perfectly plausible that God determined the flood to occur in 120 years and then waited several years before He commanded Noah to build the ark. Whatever the case, the 100 years between Genesis 5:32 and 7:6 in no way contradicts the 120 years mentioned in Genesis 6:3.
Several hundred years after the flood, Moses declared, “The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). Neither Genesis 6:3 nor Psalm 90:10 are God-ordained age limits for humanity. Genesis 6:3 is a prediction of the timetable for the flood. Psalm 90:10 is simply stating that as a general rule, people live 70-80 years (which is still true today).
- Wendi888Lv 71 decade ago
It's true that people before the flood lived much longer lives than they did after it, although Noah himself lived for over three hundred years after the flood, dying at 950 years. So God didn't cap man's lifespan before the flood. The 120 years he allowed man was the time before his decision to wipe out wicked humanity and the flood began.
It's interesting how the Bible gives the life spans of the generations before the flood but not much after is said about how old the descendants of Noah were when they died. It's true that as man drew farther and farther from perfection, the shorter the lifetime even though Noah exceeded by far any of his descendants.
It may have had something to do with the flood itself. When the God caused the water canopy that was above the earth (Genesis 1:6, 7) to release its contents the lack of this canopy of water onto the earth, there was no longer the "protection" of this canopy from the rays of the sun. If the atmosphere of the earth changed then, it could have had a lot to do with the sudden drop in life span. This might not have affected Noah as much as he had lived most of his life before the flood. It would have affected the temperature on the earth also.
By the time of King David, the normal life span was 70 or 80 years, though some people lived longer than that. Now it is common to live to 90 or 95 due to the advances of modern medicine, although the average life span is still in the 70s.
- 1 decade ago
The drop from 1000 years old to 120 years old didn't happen all of a sudden. If you note the ages of people in the Old Testament you'll see that they began to gradually decrease after Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden and then again after the flood. Man's life span was reduced further from 120 years to 70 or 80 as stated in Psalm 90.
Remember that men inspired by God wrote the Bible. It's a book of absolute principles but not a book of point by point absolutes. In other words in general man lives to 70 or 80 years.
Why did God limit man's life span? Genesis 6 gives us a big clue- a sinful man that lives a long time will do nothing except cause more sin and trouble. Some people say that people today are worse than ever before. Not true- at the time of Noah the wickedness of people was
so terrible that God destroyed everyone except Noah and his family. Yes, the flood story is literal.
It's not difficult to figure out the things in the Bible that are literal, allegorical, informational, or instructional. Good common sense and a commitment to truth and God is all that's needed.
That's not to say that the Bible isn't full of mysteries- it is. There are things which no one knows for sure. The actual time frame of the creation story for example.
- LeanneLv 44 years ago
No, they don't. Your "proof" was a fallacious argument from ignorance and incredulity, as I pointed out. I also pointed out that you stated the "laws" incorrectly, which you've ignored. The total entropy in the universe is a constant, genius. If it decreases in any one location, there's a corresponding increase elsewhere. If you would learn about the "laws," you wouldn't make such obvious mistakes. And calling people who point out how ridiculous and worthless your arguments are "assholes" is the typical response of the ignorant, when they can't "win" an argument with facts and evidence. At *best,* even if your claims were correct, the most you could say would be, "I can't explain how this happens." Claiming "god did it" (no matter what kind of "god") is an argument from ignorance and incredulity -- a fallacy. The thing is, your claims *aren't* correct anyway. Go back to school. Peace.
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- 1 decade ago
No, humans never lived into their 900s. This is absurd.
Humans actually have pretty long life spans in comparison to most other animals. There is a large norm of reaction in most humans based on environmental factors like diet and proper health care. Humans undergo senescence according to our genes. Genes that cause deleterious effects only after reproductive age and allow for some parenting time tend to get a free pass, especially if they confer benefits earlier on in life. There has never been a need for individual human bodies to live past 50, so this is about when "wild" humans would naturally die, give or take maybe 20 years based on environment. You should be happy you live in these times when modern medicine and bountiful food exist, as you now have the ability to live much longer. This is why you see cancer, dementia, and other old age diseases being so prevalent. People are set to die usually before then....
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- 1 decade ago
Because he knew life would suck for people during that era after the fall so he shortened it. That is one good reason at least. Think about it. After people died they would then sleep (experience no time) then awaken at the resurrection and either live forever in New Jerusalem with Christ or be broken eternally from everything but their pride. "Hell" Trust me he alleviated a lot of misery by doing this.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
God did not cap it. Adam and Eve did. Disease and death are the result of sin. The more prevalent sin became the more prevalent death became. The wages os sin is death. After the fall God limited Mans time on earth lest they should eat of the tree of life- probaly worse consequences than what we have now.
- MoiLv 71 decade ago
He grew impatient with man
Gen 6:5 ¶ And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.
Gen 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also [is] flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
- AcornLv 71 decade ago
The writers of the Old Testament used numbers as part of a numerology, not as fixed amounts.
To say Moses lived for 900 yrs didn't mean 900 yrs. the people who were writing this stuff down under the BC sky, knew that nobody knew exactly how old Moses was when he died. The point was that he lived a long life blessed by God.
When they say it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, it doesn't mean the exact number 40. It means a long, long time.
The more we know about the cultures who compiled the Bible, the fewer wild ideas we get, such as the Earth is only a few thousand yrs old.