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Methuselah: The Oldest Person Ever?

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Updated November 02, 2008

Who was Methuselah?:

He was a Hebrew patriarch and the grandfather of Noah. Not much is known about him, other than his extraordinary lifespan. According to the Book of Genesis (5:27), Methuselah lived 969 years. If true, this would make Methuselah the longest-lived human by over 840 years.

Methuselah died in the year of the Great Flood. Some interpret this as God waiting for Methuselah to die before causing the Great Flood.

What About His Family?:

Methuselah came from a line of long-lived individuals. His father Enoch was 65 years old when Methuselah was born. Enoch then lived another 300 years and had other sons and daughters after Methuselah. Altogether Enoch lived 365 years. When Methuselah was 187 years old, he had a son named Lamech. After having Lamech, Methuselah lived another 782 years and had other sons and daughters. Methuselah's great-great-great-great-grandfather was Seth whose parents were Adam and Eve. Lamech (Methuselah's son) is the father of Noah.

What are some Explanations?:

1. Calculation Error:

An error occurred when converting the numeric system used in Bible. This theory seems the most logical, as the numbers do not always hold up when scholars reconvert them from ancient texts.

2. Lunar Years:

The number 969 represents lunar, not solar cycles. This would make Methuselah 78 when he died and 15 when he had Lamech. However, it would make his father 5 years old when Methuselah was born.

3. Life was Different Then:

Some creationists take the lifespan literally and believe that after the Great Flood, humans lives were shortened. Changes in the environment after the Great Flood cause people to age faster or God has decreased the lifespan of humans due to their behavior.

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