Adam was the first human that was created by God. After God created him, he put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it (Gen. 2:15). It is not clear how long he lived before God created Eve to help him. However, once Eve came into the picture, they started procreating and thereby started the long journey of fulfilling God’s command to “multiply and fill the earth.” One of the questions that often arises concerning the life of Adam is how long he lived.
So how old was Adam when he died? The scripture explicitly states that Adam was 930 years old when he died. We know this from Genesis 5:5 which states, “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.” Even though the Bible remains silent on the age at which Eve died, we can safely infer that she died around the same time Adam did. We know this because most of the early descendants of Adam lived as long as he did.
According to Genesis 5:9, Seth, who was Adam’s third son lived for 912 years. Noah’s father Lamech died when he was 777 years old. The person who lived the longest in the Bible is Methuselah, grandfather to Noah. He died at 969 years old. The last patriarch of that era was Noah who lived for 950 years. After Noah’s flood, the lifespan of humanity began to decrease over the years. While the early patriarchs had lived for an average of 900 years, the post-flood patriarchs lived for an average of 400 years. By the time Abraham came on the scene, the average lifespan had shrunk to 200 years and this had shrunk to 100 by the time Moses came. Today, we are living in the fulfillment of Psalms 90:10 which says, “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty”
Why Did Adam and His Descendants Live So Long?
As we have already established, the early patriarchs lived for an average of 900 years. While the Bible does not explicitly state the reason for this, we can infer from context that they lived long because sin hadn’t increased as much as it did just before the flood. Adam was created in perfect condition and before the fall, he was enjoying eternal life in Eden. Adam and Eve were living in ”God’s rest.”
After Adam and Eve fell, sin was introduced to mankind and a trace of the genealogies afterward reveals a bleak picture of a man sinking deeper into sin. As Romans explained, the entrance of sin also brought death.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people because all sinned. Romans 5:12
In other words, sin introduced degeneration and that would explain why the lifespan began shortening rapidly. However, it makes sense that the degeneration process didn’t happen immediately, the earlier people did not have as many diseases and genetic defects as the subsequent ones. Over time, diseases and all forms of corruption spread through the human race which continued to affect the mortality rate.
There is another school of thought that believes that longevity was a necessity at the beginning of the human race. Considering that God started the human race with only two people, they would need to live as long as possible to give them a fair chance to fulfill the command of procreating and filling the earth. If people originally lived for only 70-100 years, it would take mankind too long to fill the earth.
It has also been suggested that environmental factors may have contributed to the shortened life span over the years. As mankind continued to advance, there were lots of dietary modifications coupled with climatic changes that may have impacted their health. Some scholars believe that the flood of Noah had a huge impact on the environment. According to Genesis 1:6-7, there was a water canopy that watered the earth before rain came. This water canopy is what watered the ground instead of the rain that we now have which is believed to have started during the flood. The water canopy that is described in Genesis 1:6-7 was destroyed during the flood of Noah and this means that the greenhouse-type conditions that had sheltered mankind from the harmful rays of the sun were no more. This canopy is believed to have limited exposure to the radiation of the sun which helped to slow down the aging process.
Would Adam Have Died If They Had Not Sinned?
After the fall of man, Adam and Eve were not only kicked out of Eden but an angel was placed to guard the way to the Tree of Life.
After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[a] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life. Genesis 3:23
This could mean two things. First, it means that man had access to eternal life while in the Garden of Eden. Secondly, it means that when sin entered, man lost eternal life. To put it simply, no, Adam would not have died if he had not sinned. Instead, Adam would have continued living in Eden just as God had originally intended for him and his family.
To wrap it up, Adam died when he was 930 years old. As old as that sounds, other patriarchs came after him and lived even longer including Noah who lived for 950 years, and Methuselah who lived for 969 years. There are all kinds of theories that try to explain why Adam lived for so long including the fact that sin had not yet grown as much as it did in subsequent generations. By the time Psalms was being written, the Psalmist had reckoned that our lifespan is 70-80 years.