Saturday, January 16, 2010

Genesis 5

I guess reading the Bible is providing me solace, as it is giving me something to do while my husband assuages his Cardinals' loss by playing xbox! This time we're hitting "Adam's Descendants to Noah and His Sons" which sounds oh-so-exciting. But skipping over the unpalatable parts is exactly NOT the point, so here I go!

Adam was 130 when Seth was born (Seth being the 3rd son, after Cain and Abel). This is obviously something that cannot happen nowadays or in any previous historical era. I forget if there is an explanation coming later, but as I touched on the other week, it is very illogical to say that human lifespans are dictated by God. Because we can now medically extend lifespans, does that make us more powerful than God, able to override his will? Or can we assume that he likes us more than he like those of the 19th century but much less than he liked Adam? It says right in verse 5 that Adam died when he was 930 (which is a far cry more than a day from when he ate of the tree!).

Outlined here is the following genealogy (with ages):

Adam (930) to
Seth (912) to
Enosh (905) to
Kenan [and the lesser-known sibling Kel...] (910) to
Mahalalel (895) to
Jared (962) to
Enoch (365) to
Methusaleh (969) to
Lamech (777) to

Pretty straight forward genealogy except for the fact that these people are living almost a millennium each. I really just cannot see any way to accept this as anything other than a myth. Oh, back before the Flood, people lived sooo long! Yeah, so did the Númenóreans of Middle Earth. Also of note is Enoch, who is famous for being taken by God rather than dying. It doesn't say here why Enoch was taken or anything, just that he walked with God and was no more. Something that also stood out to me was that Lamech lived to be 777. Seven is a holy number in the Bible (or so I was taught, as evidence by instructions to forgive "seven times seven" and such), so is there any significance to the fact that Lamech lives to such an age? Perhaps because he was Noah's father he was an accorded a special status of some sort. Also, this is obviously a different Lamech than Cain's son, but the first repetition of names so far. Perhaps an oral tradition getting muddled?

The chapter ends by mentioning that Noah, at the age of 500, has 3 sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. How many of us can even hope to be fertile at 50?

A boring chapter, overall, but I think it's another chink in the armor of literalness. Not that anyone with half a rational brain takes this stuff literally, but it boggles my mind to read this and think that anyone thinks this is 100% true. My faith in humankind is slowly sinking by the verse.


Hopefully the next chapter will be more entertaining!

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