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Timeline: From Adam to Abraham

HomeChristianity and the BibleTimeline: From Adam to Abraham

Genesis tells of people who lived very long lives. Methuselah was the oldest, living 969 years. This chart, and the following table, show each person in the family line from Adam to Abraham. The numbers are taken from Genesis 5 and Genesis 11. While some biblical genealogies are incomplete, listing only prominent people instead of every generation, this list reflects direct father/son relationships.

It’s worth mentioning that Adam was still alive when Methusaleh was born, that Methuselah was alive when Noah was born, and that Noah was alive when Abram (Abraham) was born. This means that Abraham might have sat on Noah’s lap and heard a retelling of first-hand accounts of the lives of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. That would be amazing!

You can grab and drag this section left and right.

  • Adam930 years
  • Seth912 years
  • Enosh905 years
  • Kenan910 years
  • Mahalel830 years
  • Jared962 years
  • Enoch365 years
  • Methusaleh969 years
  • Lamech777 years
  • Noah950 years
  • Shem600 years
  • Arphaxad438 years
  • Shelah433 years
  • Eber464 years
  • Peleg239 years
  • Reu239 years
  • Serug230 years
  • Nahor148 years
  • Terah205 years
  • Abraham175 years

Here’s a simple list of the information above:

Name

Age at Son’s Birth

Lived For

Adam

130 years old

930 years

Seth

105 years old

912 years

Enosh

90 years old

905 years

Kenan

70 years old

910 years

Mahalel

65 years old

830 years

Jared

162 years old

962 years

Enoch

65 years old

365 years

Methusaleh

187 years old

** 969 years

Lamech

182 years old

777 years

Noah

* 502 years old

950 years

Shem

100 years old

600 years

Arphaxad

35 years old

438 years

Shelah

30 years old

433 years

Eber

34 years old

464 years

Peleg

30 years old

239 years

Reu

32 years old

239 years

Serug

30 years old

230 years

Nahor

29 years old

148 years

Terah

70 years old

205 years

Abram (Abraham)

335 years

* Noah’s age at Shem’s birth isn’t listed directly, but is calculated this way:

** The Death of Methusaleh

If you do the math, it appears that Methusaleh died in the year of the flood. That leaves us with a couple of options: we can believe that he died before the flood, or that he died in the flood. The Bible doesn’t tell us about his death, so we have no strong evidence either way.

One Jewish source says he died just before the flood. That’s plausible.

Another says he died 14 years after the flood, but I’m not sure how they did that math… or why they would make the claim, when Scripture indicates he wasn’t in the ark.

Another tradition says specifically that he died 7 days before the flood, and that God delayed the flood for a period of mourning due to Methusaleh’s righteousness. More specifically, another tradition says that he died on the 11th day of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan (October-November), just before the flood. These two traditions may be related.


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Comments

8 responses to “Timeline: From Adam to Abraham”

  1. Rose says:

    Hi. I’m a seminary student. I wondered what your thoughts were on the Historical Adam. What is your view of genome science?
    Thanks.

    • Tony says:

      Hey Rose! I’m happy to hear that you’re in seminary. How are things going? What’s your favorite part so far, and what do you enjoy the least?

      Historical Adam, eh? Hmmm.

      We have two choices:

      Adam, as described in Genesis, was a literal person created individually by God, who combined non-living earth with spirit, somehow… or
      Adam, as described in Genesis is a symbol.

      There’s a LOT that could be said about this, and is. I’m not sure I can give a thorough response at this time. Still:

      My first reaction is that the ‘quest for the historical Adam’ is similar to the ‘quest for the historical Jesus,’ in which people who claim to believe in God and trust the Bible deny that miracles are possible, forcing them to reframe what they read in the Bible to accommodate their doubts. This first reaction of mine is admittedly simplistic. That’s what often happens with first reactions, right?

      I would suggest that this simplistic reaction is accurate, though. I’m not aware of anything in the Bible that directly suggests that Moses’ account of the beginning of the universe and humanity is symbolic, metaphorical, truncated by ignorance, or anything else. Were there some Scriptural warrant for reading the creation account as metaphor, I would consider it carefully. Instead, every indication we have is that the people and writers of Scripture spoke of Adam and the creation as if they were literal. While I recognize that really, really ancient Hebrew is difficult to translate, and while I recognize that we understand more details about biology and cosmology than our predecessors, I also recognize that Jesus Himself spoke of Adam in literal terms. One can read his words as if they were metaphor, or parable… but nothing in His actual words suggest that’s the best explanation.

      Paul, of course, used Adam to explain our fall and need for redemption. He could have been using Adam as a metaphor for the human condition… but where else in Scripture do we see that kind of abstraction? We see metaphors as parallels all over the place, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head that abstract at that level. That seems like a modern way of thinking, which makes it unlikely that the writers of Scripture employed it as a method.

      Then you have this: https://godwords.org/timeline-from-adam-to-abraham/. Recently, because I was interested, I put the people in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 into a graph format. I believe that many such listings are truncated, skipping over one or many who weren’t considered noteworthy… but these passages seem very specifically a generation-by-generation account of fathers and sons. Without a historical Adam, these genealogies are meaningless at best, and misleading at worst. By doubting Adam’s historicity, we don’t solve anything… we only push the question forward a generation. If Adam wasn’t real, was Seth? Was Enosh? What about Kenan, or Mahalel, Jared or Enoch? At what point do we end up with a real, historical person?

      I find such discussions very interesting. Unfortunately, we don’t have an iron-clad argument either way… but the implications of a non-historical Adam are, for me, untenable.

      I’m interested in hearing what you think, and what your professors think. Thanks for asking!

  2. NP Yeo says:

    Hi Tony, could you clarify Genesis 25 : 7 These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life, 175 years – instead of 335 years stated above, thanks!

    • Tony says:

      NP Yeo:

      Wow… thanks! I made a mistake. The code that made this chart is pretty complex, and I simply wrote in the wrong number. With your help, it’s been fixed. Is there anything I can do for you?

  3. Jermaine Hart says:

    METHUSELAH HAD TO DIE THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD, HIS NAME WAS A PROPHECY IN ITSELF, WHICH MEANT, “AFTER HIM, IT SHALL COME”, THE FLOOD WOULD NOT COME UNTIL METHUSELAH DIED. ACCORDING TO SOME SOURCE, HE DIED 10 DAYS BEFORE THE FLOOD.

    • Tony says:

      Jermaine:

      Do you have any evidence that your words are true? I’ve not seen any. In fact, no Hebrew language source I can find suggests that Methusaleh means anything like “after him, it shall come.”

  4. Srscotty says:

    For a meaning of the name Methuselah, Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads מות (mut) for the first part and translates the whole name with When He Is Dead It Shall Be Sent. NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary both read מת (mat) for the first part; NOBSE translates the whole name with Man Of A Javelin; BDB proposes Man Of The Dart.

    • Tony says:

      Srscotty:

      Do you have any information that leads you to conclude which translation is most accurate?

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