Genesis 5:3-5 says:

When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:3-5, NIV)

Does the text make specific indication that the period of time (130 years of age and then 930 years of age) occurred from the point when the Fall occurred? In other words, does the Biblical text allow us to read that Adam had lived for an indefinite period of time in innocence before the Fall (for perhaps billions of years)?

  • This has been pondered by a great many minds, we know that Adam and Eve were warned that they would die if they ate of the fruit of that tree, which implies that if they had not, they would not die. It is speculated by many LDS in-particular that Adam may have lived a great many years before the fall.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 17:08
  • There does not seem to be any textual evidence to support that conclusion, so it would just be speculation. Imo, typically it's better to try to understand what Scripture is saying than to speculate about things the authors of Scripture weren't even trying to say (or emphasize).
    – Jas 3.1
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 17:33
  • As ShemSeger mentioned LDS speculated Adam lived a great many years before the Fall in the Garden of Eden. Wasn't one of the punishments of the 'Fall' was that they would die after a finite life. So before they were punished they did not have a 'sentence' of a finite life. Even if Adam living a long time is speculation it is possible and would be a BETTER alternative than insisting the Earth is Young. Materialists and Secularists use this as a criticism of Christianity..
    – user128932
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 3:19
  • I think if many Christians do not believe in the Young Earth concept yet they do believe in the Genesis story they should make their numbers known showing creationists do not dominate Christianity. I mean it's hard to proselytize when one also says the Earth is only about 6000 years old.
    – user128932
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 5:32

3 Answers 3


The genealogies of the New Testament should be read not for length of peoples' ages - these may very well be inaccurate - but instead for the honor claim that they make. This is also part of a literary device used to divide the structure of Genesis called the toldot formula into 7 parts. Radiometric dating indicates that modern mankind has lived for many years before the 6000 year length recorded in The Bible, so it is very unlikely that the ages given are accurate. As such, trying to figure out if this was from the birth or from the fall is probably a moot exercise.

Note: First link is Richard Rohrbaugh's lecture before the Biblical Archaeology Society titled Honor and Shame: Core values of the Biblical World.

  • First link is Richard Rohrbaugh's lecture before the Biblical Archaeology Society titled Honor and Shame: Core values of the Biblical World. Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 21:40
  • Very interesting +1. Thanks, James. Could you add the information from your comment into your answer so that future readers more easily find it? Comments aren't always permanent, so any citation information should be in the answer itself. Thanks
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 22:15
  • If it is possible Adam ,before the Fall, with a potentially unlimited lifespan ( before the punishment of a finite life) lived MANY years before being expelled then the Earth is not Young. This might 'agree' with radio carbon dating (or whatever method used) and thus not sound ridiculous to scientists like those in the Scientific American magazine , some of whom have written articles pulling apart Creationism and the 6000 years date. If you are worried about Evolution propaganda that occurs a lot in the media and how average people see Creationism this is important..
    – user128932
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 3:34
  • Actually, that doesn't make sense either because there would only be one set of remains to date instead of the many remains that scientists find which shows an age greater than 6000 years. I'm not worried about 'propaganda' or how average people see creationism - I'm worried about how Christians see creationism. Lastly, radio carbon dating is not the same as Radiometric Dating. There are many methods independent of carbon dating (though they all independently verify the accuracy of radio carbon dating). Just like the earth isn't flat, the earth isn't young. That shouldn't be a faith breaker. Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 13:33
  • How possibly potential Christians see Creationism is very important. This month's Popular Science has a picture of Bill Nye (forgive spelling) the Science Guy fighting misconceptions about science including Creationism. He was on a TV show were he debated a leader of some Creationism group , and it seemed to show the Creationist stubbornly sticking to a young Earth concept; Bill Nye the defender of reason. James Shewey said the Earth isn't young ; actually more Christians in the public forum should say they believe the Earth is not young to show Creationists don't dominate Christianity.
    – user128932
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 18:26

In Genesis 1:19-20 God ask man a task to name all the birds and wild animals where God brought all the animals to the man and been named. That would take lots of time. So Adam lived in Eden for long time. And then the fall where death is. And when we start to age.

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    – enegue
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 12:35

In terms of the Young Earth / Old Earth debate, the Gap Theory / Ruin Reconstruction view of Genesis should be taken into account here as an alternative or addition to any theory about the age of Adam. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD6cM08CGUU

There are theological arguments on both sides of this theological view but it definitely impacts this discussion since the gap theory implies an older earth even if there is a "young" generation counted from Adam.

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