Why don’t people live as long as they used to in the Bible? 

As Nannygranne and Kiera painted fairy doors for the big elm tree out front, they chatted about different things of God.  Without looking up from her delicate work on a tiny flower, Kiera said, “How come people don’t live as long as they used to in the Bible?  Do you have a story about that?”

“Now that’s a great question.  You’re the first one to ask me about that,” Nannygranne said, matching Kiera’s intensity of work.  “Actually, God did tell us a story about how that all came about.  Would you like me to read it to you?”

“Sure,” she answered, “While I try to make the right color of pink.”  She was extremely creative for her age and it was fun watching her work.

“OK.  I’ll read it to you now.”  Nannygranne grabbed her phone, again accessing an easy-to-read version of Genesis chapter 5 through chapter 6:3 (MSG).  She read the portions pertinent to human longevity, hoping Kiera would see the progression of thought.

This is the family tree of the human race: When God created the human race, he made it godlike, with a nature akin to God. He created both male and female and blessed them, the whole human race.  When Adam was 130 years old, he had a son who was just like him, his very spirit and image, and named him Seth. … Adam lived a total of 930 years. And he died.  When Seth was 105 years old, he had Enosh…Seth lived a total of 912 years. And he died. When Enosh was ninety years old, he had Kenan…Enosh lived a total of 905 years. And he died.  When Kenan was seventy years old, he had Mahalalel…Kenan lived a total of 910 years. And he died. When Mahalalel was sixty-five years old, he had Jared…Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years. And he died. When Jared was 162 years old, he had Enoch… Jared lived a total of 962 years. And he died. When Enoch was sixty-five years old, he had Methuselah….Enoch walked steadily with God. And then, one day, he was simply gone: God took him.”

Kiera suddenly stopped what she was doing and gasped, “Gone?  Where did God take him?”

“Well, the Bible doesn’t say, but wherever God took him would have been really good, wouldn’t you say?” Nannygranne responded.  “I once heard about a little boy who came home from Sunday school.  His mother asked him what they’d talked about in Bible class, and he told her that they talked about a man named Enoch.  Enoch and God were taking a walk one day, and when it got late, they were closer to God’s house than Enochs, so Enoch just went home with God.”  Then Nannygranne laughed.

“Yeah, I like that story,” Kiera said as she returned to her painting.  “Go ahead and read the rest.”

Nannygranne continued,  When Methuselah was 187 years old, he had Lamech… Methuselah lived a total of 969 years. And he died.  When Lamech was 182 years old, he had a son. He named him Noah, saying, “This one will give us a break from the hard work of farming the ground that God cursed…Then God said, “I’m not going to breathe life into men and women endlessly.  Eventually, they’re going to die; from now on, they can expect a life span of 120 years.”

“Oh!  So when there got to be enough people in the world, God didn’t’ make people work so long and have so many kids?”

“I’m impressed, Kiera.  You understood exactly what God was explaining in this story.” She gave the girl a high five.

“Then why don’t we all live to be 120 years old, then,” Kiera wondered.

“Some do.  Every once in a while, you read of someone living for more than 100 years.  Let’s Google it and see if anyone’s ever lived for over 120 years, OK?”

Kiera immediately stopped what she was doing to see the results of the search.  Sure enough, a lady in France had lived over 121 years!

“I guess if we ate healthy and exercised, we’d live as long as her, too, right?” Kiera guessed.

“We at least know it’s possible.  But remember what Noah’s daddy said about being able to rest from having to work for so many years?”

“Oh yeah.  That lady from France does look tired,” Kiera said as she leaned closer to study the aged face on the screen.

Nannygranne laughed and added, “I’d rather live in God’s world than stay here forever.  I’m glad Jesus shows us the Way there, too.”

“Me, too, Nannygranne.”

Then she cheered as she clapped joyfully. “I like our doors!”

“…and the pond,”  her mentor added.  A day well spent.




I am a mother, grandmother, nanny, and writer—with a passionate concern about children, all children. With the help of my son Travis (who has a graduate degree in apologetics) I hope to share some thoughts that will be helpful to all who have the same concern.

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