“Why did the people in Genesis live such long lives?”
It is somewhat of a mystery why people in Genesis lived for so long. There are many theories put forward by Biblical scholars. The genealogy in Genesis 5 records the line of the godly descendants of Adam - the line that would eventually produce the Messiah. God possibly blessed this line with especially long life as a result of their godliness and obedience. While this is a possible explanation, the Bible nowhere specifically limits the long life spans to the individuals mentioned in Genesis 5. Further, other than Enoch, Genesis 5 does not identify any of the individuals as being especially godly. It is likely that everyone at that time period lived several hundred years. Several factors probably contributed to this.
A protective canopy of water
Genesis 1:6-7 mentions the water above the expanse, a canopy of water that surrounded the earth. Such a water canopy would have created a greenhouse effect and would have blocked much of the radiation that now hits the earth. This would have resulted in ideal living conditions. Genesis 7:11 indicates that, at the time of the Flood, the water canopy was poured out on the earth, ending the ideal living conditions. Compare the life spans before the Flood (Gen 5:1-32) with those after the Flood (Gen 11:10-32). Immediately after the Flood, the ages decreased dramatically.
Sin corrupted the genetic code
Another consideration is that in the first few generations after Creation, the human genetic code had developed a few defects. Adam and Eve were created perfectly. They were surely highly resistant to disease and illness. Their descendants would have inherited these advantages, albeit to lesser degrees. Over time, as a result of sin, the human genetic code became increasingly corrupted, and human beings became more and more susceptible to death and disease. This would also have resulted in drastically reduced life spans.
“What is the origin of the different races?”
The Bible does not explicitly give us the origin of the different “races” or skin colours in humanity. In actuality, there is only one race - the human race. Within the human race is diversity in skin colour and other physical characteristics.
Did it all begin at Babel?
Some speculate that when God confused the languages at the tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9), He also created racial diversity. It is possible that the Lord made genetic changes to humanity to better enable people to survive in different ecologies, such as the darker skin of African people being better equipped genetically to survive the excessive heat in Africa.
According to this view, God confused the languages, causing humanity to segregate linguistically, and then created genetic racial differences based on where each racial group would eventually settle. While possible, there is no explicit Biblical basis for this view. The races/skin colours of humanity are nowhere mentioned in connection with the tower of Babel.
Various cultural groups were formed
At the Tower of Babel, when the different languages came into existence, groups that spoke one language moved away with others of the same language. In doing so, the gene pool for a specific group shrank dramatically as the group no longer had the entire human population to mix with.
Closer inbreeding took place, and in time certain features were emphasised in these different groups (all of which were present as a possibility in the genetic code). As further inbreeding occurred through the generations, the gene pool grew smaller and smaller, to the point that people of one language family all had the same or similar features.
Another explanation is that Adam and Eve possessed the genes to produce black, brown, and white offspring (and everything else in between). This would be similar to how a mixed-race couple sometimes has children that vary in colour. Since God obviously desired humanity to be diverse in appearance, it makes sense that He would have given Adam and Eve the ability to produce children of different skin tones.
Later, the only survivors of the Flood were Noah and his wife, Noah’s three sons and their wives - eight people in all (Gen 7:13). Perhaps Noah’s daughters-in-law were of different races. It is also possible that Noah’s wife was of a different race than Noah. Maybe all eight of them were of mixed race, which would mean they possessed the genetics to produce children of different races. Whatever the explanation, the most important aspect of this question is that we are all human, all created by the same God, all created for the same purpose - to glorify Him.
“If God knew that Adam and Eve would sin, why did He create them?”
The Bible says that God created all things - including us - for Himself. He is glorified in His creation. “From Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen” Rom 11:36.
It may be difficult to see how Adam and Eve’s falling into sin could bring glory to God. In fact, some might even wonder why He made them when He knew all the trouble they would cause.
The Lord’s plan for the fall
God is omniscient (Psalm 139:1-6), and He knows the future (Isaiah 46:10). So He definitely knew that Adam and Eve would sin. But He created them anyway and gave them a free will. We must carefully note that Adam and Eve’s falling into sin does not mean that God is the author of sin or that He tempted them to sin (James 1:13). But the fall does serve the purpose of God’s overall plan for creation and mankind.
The storyline of Scripture
If we consider what some theologians call the “meta-narrative” (or overarching storyline) of Scripture, we see that Biblical history can be roughly divided into three main sections:
Paradise (Gen 1-2)
Paradise lost (Gen 3 – Rev 20)
Paradise regained (Rev 21 - 22)
By far the largest part of the narrative is devoted to the transition from paradise lost to paradise regained. At the centre of this meta-narrative is the Cross, which was planned from the very beginning (Acts 2:23). “The Lamb...was slain from the creation of the world” Rev 13:8.
God is always in control
Reading Scripture carefully, we are led to the following conclusions:
Mankind’s fall was foreknown by God
The crucifixion of Christ, the atonement for God’s elect, was ordained by God
All people will one day glorify God (Ps 86:9), and God’s purposes (Eph 1:10).
The goal is His glory
God’s purpose was to create a world in which His glory could be manifest in all its fullness. The glory of the Lord is the overarching goal of creation. In fact, it is the overarching goal of everything He does. The universe was created to display God’s glory (Ps 19:1), and the wrath of God is revealed against those who fail to glorify Him (Rom 1:23). The world that best displays the glory of the Lord is the world we have - a world that was allowed to fall, a world that is being redeemed, a world that will be restored to its original perfection.
Our desperate need for grace
God’s wrath and mercy display the riches of His glory, but we cannot see either without the fall of mankind. We would never know grace if we had never needed grace. Therefore, all of God’s plan - including the Fall, Election, Redemption, and Atonement of mankind - serves the purpose of glorifying Him. When man fell into sin, the Lord’s mercy was immediately displayed by not killing him on the spot.
God’s grace was immediately evident in the covering He provided for their shame (Gen 3:21). His patience and forbearance were later on display as mankind fell deeper into sin. God’s justice and wrath were on display when He sent the Flood, and His mercy and grace were again demonstrated when He saved Noah and his family. God’s holy wrath and perfect justice will be seen in the future when He deals with satan once and for all (Rev 20:7-10).
The greatest display of love
God’s glory is also revealed in His love (1 John 4:16). Our knowledge of God’s love comes from the Person and saving work of Jesus Christ in this fallen world. “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him” 1 John 4:9.
Had God not decided to create Adam and Eve, based on His knowledge of their fall - or had He made them automatons with no volition - we would never have truly known what love is.
The ultimate exhibition of God’s glory was at the Cross where His wrath, justice, and mercy met. The righteous judgement of all sin was executed at the Cross, and God’s grace was on display in His Son’s words, “Father, forgive them” Luke 23:34.
God’s love and grace are manifest in those whom He has saved (John 3:16; Eph 2:8–9). In the end, God will be glorified as His chosen people worship Him for all eternity with the angels, and the wicked will also glorify the Lord as His righteousness results in the eternal punishment of unrepentant sinners (Phil 2:11). Without the fall of Adam and Eve, we would never know God’s justice, grace, mercy, or love.
His will is sovereign
Some raise the objection that God’s foreknowledge and foreordination of the fall damages man’s freedom. In other words, if God created mankind with knowledge of the impending fall into sin, how can man be responsible for his sin? The best answer to that question can be found in the Westminster Confession of Faith: “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”
In other words, the Lord ordains future events in such a way that our freedom and the working of secondary causes (e.g., laws of nature) are preserved. Theologians call this “concurrence.” God’s sovereign will flows concurrently with our free choices in such a way that our free choices always result in the carrying out of God’s will (by “free” we mean that our choices are not coerced by outside influences). It’s a complex interaction of wills and choices, but the Creator God can handle any amount of complexity.
The Lord foresaw Adam and Eve’s fall. He created them anyway, in His own image, to bring glory to Himself. They were given freedom to make choices. Even though they chose to disobey, their choice became the means by which God’s ultimate will was carried out and by which His full glory will be seen.
“Where was the garden of eden located?”
People have searched for the Garden of Eden for centuries to no avail. There are various spots claimed as the original location, but no one can be sure. What happened to the Garden? The Bible does not specifically say, but it is likely that the Garden was completely destroyed in the Flood.
An uncertain origin
The only thing the Bible tells us concerning the Garden of Eden’s location is found in Genesis 2:10-14, “A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold...The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”
The exact identities of the Pishon and Gihon Rivers are unknown, but the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers are well known.
If the Tigris and Euphrates mentioned are the same rivers by those names today, that would put the Garden of Eden somewhere in the Middle East, likely in Iraq. However, even a small local flood can change the course of a river, and the Flood of Noah’s day was more than a localised flood! The Deluge completely changed the topography of the earth. Because of this, the original location of the Tigris and Euphrates is uncertain. It could be that the modern rivers called the Tigris and Euphrates are simply named after those associated with Eden, in the same way that Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is named after the town in Judea.
The remains of the garden
If the Middle East region is where the Garden of Eden was, and if crude oil is, as most scientists believe, primarily decayed vegetation and animal matter, then it stands to reason that the Middle East is where we would find the greatest oil deposits.
Many people speculate that the vast stores of oil in the Middle East are the result of the decomposition of Earth’s lushest organic materials in the Garden of Eden. While the oil in the Middle East could be the dregs of Eden, those who promote such ideas are simply theorising.
Heaven will surpass Eden
Got Questions seeks to glorify God by providing Biblical and applicable answers to spiritually related questions. For more info: www. gotquestions.org