These 3 enigmas or problems can only be solved if fatherhood and childhood (life) are calculated from conception forward. Otherwise the math won't work.
The 3 problems above require certain information in order to reach 2 key facts. Then the math issues can be resolved.
- Who entered and who left the ark?
- How long did the flood last? (How long was Noah on the ark such that everyone’s age went up?)
The information for these makes the answers unquestionable.
Clearly only Noah, his wife, his 3 sons and his sons’ wives entered and left the ark.
Entering the ark (per the KJV):
Gen 6:10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Gen 6:18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.
Gen 7:6-7 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
Gen 7:13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark.
Leaving the ark (KJV):
Gen 8:15-17 And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
Gen 8:18-19 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
Gen 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
Gen 9:8-9 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
Gen 9:18-19 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
The span of time between when the floodgates were opened and the earth was again dry (or Noah and his adult relatives could have left the ark) was more than 1 year. Therefore everyone’s age went up.
Exact Flood Extent = 1 year and 10 days (or about 375 days):
In the 600th year of Noah's life, in the 2nd month, on the 17th day of the month…the floodgates of the sky were opened. (Gen 7:11)
In the 601st year of Noah's life…in the 2nd month, on the 27th day of the month…the earth was dry. (Gen 8:13-14)
The time between those 2 verses is exactly 1 year, 10 days (or about 375 days).
Estimate of Flood Extent (374 days):
The net time between Gen 8:5 and Gen 8:4 just before it is about 74 days.
(Gen 8:5 having had 9 months gone by less: Gen 8:4 having had 6 months and 16 days having passed. That difference is 2 months and about 14 days. 2 months * 30 days/month + 14 days = 74 days).
The total for this estimate is therefore 374 days (150 + 150 + 74).
Estimate of when Noah left the Ark (381 days):
A- The floodgates of the sky were opened.
B- Add 270 days:
“The waters continued to diminish until the 10th month, and on 1st day of the 10th month the tops of the mountains appeared” (Gen 8:5).
With 9 months having passed, this is about 270 days (9 months * 30 days/month).
C- Add 40 days:
“At the end of 40 days Noah opened the hatch he had made in the ark, and he sent out a raven, to see if the waters had lessened on the earth. It flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth. Then he sent a dove to see if but the dove could find no place to alight and perch, and it returned to him in the ark, for there was all over the earth. Putting out his hand, he caught the dove and drew it back to him inside the ark” (Gen 8:6-9).
D- Add 7 days:
“He waited 7 days more and again sent out the dove out from the ark. In the evening the dove came back to him, and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf! So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth.” (Gen 8:10-11)
E- Add another 7 days:
“He waited still another 7 days and then released the dove once more; this time it did not come back.” (Gen 8:12)
F- Add 57 days:
The additional time, from Gen 8:13 to when the earth was dry at Gen 8:14, was about 57 days.
“In the 601st year of Noah’s life, in the 1st month, on the 1st day of the month, the water began to dry up on the land. Noah then removed the covering of the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was drying up.”(Gen 8:13)
“In the 2nd month, on the 27th day of the month, the earth was dry.” (Gen 8:14)
Regarding the 601st year of Noah’s life, Gen 8:13 is in the 1st month’s 1st day; Gen 8:-4 is in the 2nd month’s 27th day. The difference between the two is about 57 days.
The total for this estimate is therefore 381 days (270 + 40 + 7 + 7 + 57).
Theologians such as Professor Gerhard von Rad and Jeremy Hughes haven’t been able to explain the issues; they focused on the 2 year flood problem.
Professor Gerhard von Rad per his book "Genesis":
“There is an inconsistency between the data in Ch. 5-32 and Ch. 7-11 on the one hand and Ch. 11.10 on the other which has not yet been satisfactorily solved, if one decides against simply deleting the words “two years after the flood”, for at this time Shem was not 100 years old, but 102.”
Jeremy Hughes per his Secrets of the Times:
“And the only way out of this dilemma that I can see is to suppose that this 2 year interval is actually a chronological correction made after 2 years had fallen out of antediluvian chronology through some process of textual corruption when it was noticed that the remaining figures no longer added up to the correct totals required by Priestly tradition.”
We’ve been misinterpreting the wording of these problems and therefore finding our math incorrect. In every case, the Genesis authors are telling us that "years old" (KJV) and "years old"/"age"/“lifetime” (NAV) begin at birth. However, they're also saying, mathematically, that parenthood and childhood/"life" can only begin at conception.
Thinking in that way the math gets resolved; otherwise it does not. The best example for showing this is the most difficult problem, the "2 years after the flood":
Note: Calculations below use 30 days in a month, 9 months of time between conception and birth, and “age” meaning “years old”.
Gen 5:32: And Noah was 500 hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (KJV)
Noah became Shem’s father at conception, but Shem wouldn’t be born for about 9 more months. 9 months after Shem’s conception, Noah would have been at least 500 years, 9 months old and at most 501 years, 8 months, 29 days old (the latter being 9 months added to 500 years, 11 months, 29 days old).
Gen 7:11 In the 600th year of Noah's life, in the 2nd month, the 17th day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. (KJV)
Noah’s life to date, in its 600th year, 2nd month, 17th day would have been 599 years, 1 month, 16 days. With his conception having been 9 months earlier, deducting 9 months from that would have his age at 598 years, 4 months, 16 days.
Therefore, Shem’s age at the start of the flood would have been at least 96 years, 7 months, 17 days and at most 97 years, 7 months, 16 days. (i.e. Noah’s specific age at the start less how much Noah may have been older).
Gen 11:10 These are the generations of Shem: Shem was 100 years old, and begat Arphaxad, 2 years after the flood. (KJV).
At the end of the flood which lasted 1 year, 10 days, Shem’s age would have been at least 97 years, 7 months, 27 days, and at most 98 years, 7 months, 26 days.*
2 years later, and in terms of years only, Shem could have been 100 years old and able to begat his son, with the math correct and no child having left the ark. Only this works.
* Those are the range of his ages at the start of the flood with the stretch of the flood added).
Two stories, one from Luke and the other from Genesis, show children alive in mothers' wombs.
Luke shows the baby John in Elizabeth’s womb leaping for joy, and a pregnancy lasting about 9 months.
“And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb, and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:41); “For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (Luke 1:44) “And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the 6th month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:36-37) “And Mary abode with her about 3 months, and returned to her own house.” (Luke 1:56) (KJV)
Genesis has the babies Esau and Jacob fighting while in, after leaving, and while being born from Rebekah’s womb, with Jacob holding Esau’s heels. God confirms the “two nations (are) in thy womb” are the twins struggling.
“And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels;” (Gen 25:22-23) (KJV) “And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: (Gen 25:25-26) (KJV)
In summary, the two stories’ words show children’s action/life in mothers’ wombs. The Genesis authors, in using the numbers/ages, take the assumption that parenthood and childhood/"life" begin at conception and reveal it to be a fact.
Two of several signs I found came from focusing on parenthood years for everyone we can in Genesis, including Sarah, the only female in Scripture with any age given. That total came to 9,999, yet only under the assumption that parenthood begins at conception. Next, the total parenthood years after the flood turned out to be 3,333, but again only under the same key assumption. While these truly prove nothing on their own, they became great signs toward reaching the conclusion with math correct.
From these 3 cases fatherhood begins at conception, so motherhood and childhood/life have to also. Furthermore, that helps explain the following questions.