What does Genesis 5:5 mean?
ESV: Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.
NIV: Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.
NASB: So all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.
CSB: So Adam's life lasted 930 years; then he died.
NLT: Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.
KJV: And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
After revealing in the previous two verses that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born and then lived 800 years after the fact, this verse reveals the inevitable math: Adam lived to be 930 years old. Could that possibly be true? The Bible's claim is that these first generations of humans after the garden and before the flood lived extraordinarily long lives, at least by modern standards.
Over the centuries, some scholars have suggested that the ages listed here do not represent actual years as we understand them. Some have suggested these numbers are in months (12 times the actual age), seasons (4 times the actual age), or tenths of years (ten times the actual age). Others have speculated that there is some form of symbolic or metaphorical intent from the author. The text itself, however, gives no explicit answer one way or the other, nor any particular reason to doubt that these were real people who lived extremely long lives.
Scholars have also speculated that the idealized environment of creation before the flood made it possible for human beings to live so many years. This is not only possible, it coordinates with modern understanding of genetics. In short, the lifespan of a living creature is far more dependent on its environment than its design. This means it's also possible, if not likely, that God's decree to restrict how long He would allow humans to live was specifically meant to limit the damage they could do with their sinful lives (Genesis 6:3).
Genesis 5:1-32 is a bridge of genealogy connecting the time of Adam and his son Seth to the time of Noah. This brings the Bible's historical record to the era of the flood. It provides a small, but helpful set of details: early humans lived a long time, had many children, and all died as a result of ubiquitous human sin. Enoch is the exception that proves the rule, commended for walking with God and seemingly taken away before his physical death. Despite the presence of early God-worshippers such as Adam and Seth, man will quickly descend into extraordinary wickedness, as seen in chapter 6. The coming of Noah at the end of this chapter prepares us for God's response to the sins of humankind.
Chapter 5 uses a simple genealogy of Adam's descendants through Seth to link the earliest humans with the time of Noah and the flood. In the generations after the garden, human beings live extraordinarily long lives, have great numbers of children, and continue to be in relationship with God though separated from Him physically and spiritually. The description of Enoch being ''taken'' by God is the exception that proves the rule: No matter how long a person lives, sin always leads to death.
Genesis 4 ends with the birth of Seth's son Enosh, and a statement that people had begun to call on the Lord's name. Chapter 5 details the generations from Adam through Seth to Noah, connecting the time of Adam and Seth with the time of Noah and his sons as described in chapter 6. This sets the stage for God's judgment of mankind's pervasive sin in the flood.
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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