When reading the book of Genesis you may, at some point, ask how the patriarchs of scripture were able to live over 900 years old. This is undoubtedly a point of contention for those just starting to read scripture for the first time, and even for those who are fairly studied in it's pages. From the start, if you can get past the creation of the universe, taking it as literal fact, then this honestly shouldn't be too much of an issue to accept. However, sometimes we just want a little more explanation. Are there any reasonable scientific answers as to why these early people lived so long? Is there anything more than simply stating 'It's just the way it was'? Believe it or not, there actually are some scientific answers to this phenomenon. If you get a good grasp on what the world was like before and after the Flood of Noah's time, it will start to make sense. With this in mind, I will start by explaining the Flood in detail so by the end this article it will come together and make sense.
The world before the Flood was much different than it is today. Scripture states that before the flood the sky never rained, instead there was a mist that came up from the ground that watered the plants.
"But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground."
- Genesis 2:6 KJV
Consider that it was not the rain that totally flooded the earth, but rather the "fountains of the great deep" breaking open and spewing out the massive amounts of water from underground that had, before this event, misted the surface of the earth.
"In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened."
- Genesis 7:11 KJV
Before the breaking up of these great fountains, probably by powerful earthquakes, scripture says that the entire earth was inhabitable by humans that lived upon it. Basically meaning, that people could live anywhere on the planet, not just on the limited land masses we see today. There was no wasted space where people could live; "He created it not in vain". Which means the the areas where the oceans take up over 70% of our earth were actually quite nice and livable.
"For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else."
- Isaiah 45:18 KJV
Before the Flood, the oceans that we see today were underground. I would be confident in guessing there were probably still lakes, streams, and rivers since Genesis does speak of rivers flowing from the Garden of Eden, but nothing taking up significant parts of the world. However, as the weight of the underground water spilled out on the surface of the earth's crust, it would have cause the weaker areas of the earth's crust to cave, especially where there were now emptying voids underneath the surface. This would have created the great craters on parts of the earth where our oceans now reside.
Another point that is MOST IMPORTANT to understand here is that scripture describes a canopy of water above the atmosphere surrounding the earth before the Flood!
"And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament [the invisible barrier which separates our atmosphere from space] from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so."
- Genesis 1:7 KJV
"Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens."
- Psalm 148:4 KJV
We do not know if this was a thick layer of water, or even just a thick mist. Some scholars even suggest it might have been a layer of ice or ice particles since space as we know it now is cold. However, I would be willing to guess that if the whole earth was tropical like, the greenhouse effects of the atmosphere could have very easily kept this layer, or mist, of water in a liquid state.
Why is this important to know? Because water is probably the best way to protect yourself from harmful UV rays of radiation coming from the sun. And if you know anything about UV radiation, it is what's mostly responsible for aging your body. It's also responsible for sunburns, suppression of the immune system, eye damage and even skin cancer.
"Water absorbs more than 90% of these UV rays and hence is very good for blocking UV radiation. … As can be seen in the graph, water can absorb all kinds of radiation except visible light and adjoining frequencies. That is why we can see through water."
- Daniel, Does Water Block Radiation - https://emfadvice.com/water-block-radiation/
Absorption spectrum of water - https://emfadvice.com/water-block-radiation/
When the Flood event took place, scripture states that for the first time in earth's history, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Before that, for 1656 years since creation, there was never rain, but only the mist from the ground as we previously discussed.
"... for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, … "
- Genesis 2:5 KJV
"... and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."
- Genesis 7:11-12 KJV
Scripture doesn't actually say where this rain came from, but having rain on the entire earth for 40 days and 40 nights would have taken a significant amount of water in the heavens! And since we don't observe water above our atmosphere today, I believe it's safe to say that the rain was actually the collapse of the water that was above our atmosphere. This is further supported when you chart out the lifespans of those who lived before and after the flood. After the Flood, for those who were now exposed to exceptionally more UV rays from our sun, had their lifespans shortened drastically.
Before the Flood, people enjoyed no only a worldwide tropical climate, but also a water barrier surrounding the atmosphere that protected them from the UV rays that cause dramatic aging on the body. This would have undoubtedly allowed them to live for much longer. In addition to this, there is some proof that the oxygen levels and atmospheric pressure was probably much higher in the days before the Flood as well. These conditions would allow the body to heal very quickly, granting tremendous health and even size (I believe normal people were significantly taller in these days as well because of this, getting up to 10 or 15 ft.! Read my article Giants in the Land). Professional sports teams and specialized medical programs replicate these very conditions using Hyperbaric Chambers where people with injuries or an array of health issues would spend time in a pressurized tank with elevated amounts of oxygen. Perhaps the weight of the water canopy squeezed the atmosphere and made for a more pressurized environment?
In summary, I believe the proof points towards the existence of a water canopy that allowed for the patriarchs of the Old Testament to live for over 900+ years. The chart above shows clear evidence that a fantastic cataclysmic event drastically shortened lifespans. I think it's safe to say it was the collapse of this water canopy and exposure to new elevated levels of UV radiation.
Written by: Joshua Berry
Article: Timeline for the Flood - Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/bible-timeline/timeline-for-the-flood/
Article: Does Water Block Radiation – All That You Need To Know - EMF Advice, https://emfadvice.com/water-block-radiation/