Do you believe the Flood really happened? Was there really a Garden of Eden from which God evicted Adam and Eve? How long has mankind been around? Aren’t those questions for archaeologists, anthropologists, and scientists?
Not if you believe that God’s Word is true. Biblical genealogies offer precise information and an unexpected glimpse at personal relationships that shine brilliant spotlights on such questions. For example, do you know when the Flood happened?
What Year Was the Flood?
The Flood happened 1656 years after Adam was created. Anyone can figure that out by reading Genesis 5, 7:11, and 8:13. Biblical genealogies are simple mathematical story problems that tell us when important events happened and who probably knew whom. Knowing when something happened often builds confidence that it did happen. If your grandpa told you a colorful story of the huge storm in the spring of his fourteenth year that swept the family farm into the next county, you’d believe every word.
Ancient history isn’t as ancient as you may think. Harrison Tyler’s grandpa was born in 1790, one year after the US Constitution was ratified. Grandpa’s daddy shared a room with Thomas Jefferson when they attended the College of William and Mary.
Harrison Tyler is still living. Let that sink in. There’s a man today whose grandpa was born in 1790.
Did you know that the last person to receive a Civil War pension, Irene Triplett, just passed away in May 2020?
In some families, ancient history isn’t that long ago.
Where’s the Application in Bible Genealogies?
This week, my Bible study considered Genesis chapter 5, the genealogy of Adam. Most people skim the strings of verses documenting who begot whom because, they ask themselves, what real theological meat is there in a list of names? Can I discover anything in biblical genealogies that applies to me today?
I’ve learned to look for rich veins of ore in every Bible verse, even the ones with no obvious context or meaning when read individually. But once I dig into them, I’m often rewarded with unexpected treasure.
Juicy Facts and Unexpected Connections in Adam’s Genealogy
For the first time in four years, we didn’t even get to the chapter itself until the very end of our time because of the lively conversation, questions, and observations about my genealogy handout.
I’ll share it with you in a bit, but first a little foundation.
The Bible gives more specific information than most folks realize. If you believe God’s Word is true, dating historical figures and events is often more precise than anything science imagines with radiometric dating systems or piecing a myriad of unrelated historical footnotes together to form a considered opinion.
What Year Did God Covenant with Abraham?
For example, what year did God make His covenant with Abraham? It happened 2,107 years after Adam was created.
The format of biblical genealogies isn’t always as much of a family record as it is the history of man’s relationship with God. The Bible outlines Adam’s genealogy based on those from whom Jesus descended.
Every father represented had other sons and daughters, but these are the ones God chose for Jesus’s lineage.
Birth and Deaths from Adam to Joseph
AM stands for Anno Mundi, the Year of the World. Each date is the number of years since Adam was created.
- Adam was created on the sixth day of the first year and died in AM 930
- Seth was born in 130, died in AM 937
- Enosh was born in 235, died in AM 1140
- Cainan was born in 325, died in AM 1235
- Mahalel was born in 395, died in AM 1290
- Jared was born in 460, died in AM 1355
- Enoch was born in 622 and was no more in AM 987
- Methuselah was born in 687, died in AM 1656
- Lamech was born in AM 874, died in AM 1651
- Noah was born in AM 1056, died in AM 2006
- Noah’s son Shem was born in 1556, died AM 2158
- The FLOOD happened in AM 1656
- Shem’s son Arphaxad was born in AM 1658, died in AM 2096
- Arphaxad’s son Salah was born in 1693, died in AM 1723
- Salah’s son Eber was born in 1723, died in AM 2187
- Eber’s son Peleg was born in 1757, died in AM 1996
- Peleg’s son Reu was born in 1787, died in AM 2026
- Reu’s son Serug was born in 1819, died in AM 2049
- Serug’s son Nahor was born in 1849, died in AM 1997
- Nahor’s son Terah was born in 1878, died in AM 2083
- Terah’s son Abram was born in 2008, died in AM 2183
- Ishmael was born in 2094, died in AM 2231
- Abram was circumcised in 2107 the year of the covenant with God.
- Abraham’s son Isaac was born in 2108, died in AM 2288
- Jacob was born in 2168, Jacob died in AM 2315
- Jacob’s son Joseph was born in 2269, died in AM 2379
Fascinating Family Relationships
Noah’s father, Lamech, was 56 years old when Adam died. Imagine the stories he told Noah and his other children about the Garden of Eden and life before the world turned evil from someone who lived through it.
I wonder how many people dared ask Adam what he was thinking when he and great-great-great-grandma Eve got themselves thrown out of the Garden. Adam had more than nine centuries to consider and explain the cost of that single temptation.
Shem, Noah’s son in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, could easily have known Abraham who was already 150 years old when Shem died. Isaac was 50 years old when Shem died, one of the eight people to survive the Flood.
The span from Creation to 2,288 years later seems small when you know that Adam could have known Noah’s father, and Noah’s son could have known Isaac.
Incredible Generational Timelines of Our Day
Many family reunions have four generations in attendance. John Tyler, the 10th President of the United States, offers an amazing example of family history. President Tyler served from 1841 to 1845, yet on Labor Day 2020, he still had two surviving grandsons.
President Tyler, born in 1790, just one year after the US Constitution was ratified, was Grandpa to Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr. who died just six weeks ago in September 2020. Harrison Ruffin Tyler is still living.
Imagine the family stories you’d know if your Grandpa was born at about the same time as the United States. That’s almost how it may have been for Adam and Noah.
How Creation was Recorded
No one can prove it, but Moses is generally accepted as the author of the Creation chapters in Genesis. How did he know what happened? The bottom-line answer to that is the Holy Spirit.
The easier-to-process evidence is family history. Looking at the genealogy above, Moses knew family who knew family who were on the Ark. They knew family who knew Adam himself. Who better to tell the story of man’s fall than the man who fell?
Just as there must be fascinating stories of Great-grandpa and Thomas Jefferson around the Tyler family holiday dinner table, one may reasonably assume that the same was true in Noah’s family. After all, Noah’s daddy may have shared many campfire conversations with Adam himself.
The majority of this genealogy is the product of simple mathematics and Genesis chapter 5. Other Bible verses provide the dates and ages of patriarchs I used to compute the birth and death years for Noah’s descendants.
If you’d like to geek out on more genealogical material, Queen Elizabeth traces her lineage back to Noah and thus to Adam through Seth. The article also reviews the number of generations from Adam until today. Because it uses extra-biblical data, I can’t vouch for it. While it may not be valuable as a student of God’s Word, it’s interesting knowing that the greatest monarchies include Noah in their histories.
They had to know about the Flood, right?
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