Diminishing Life Spans

life-spans

According to the Bible, God created the first humans—Adam and Eve—without sin and with the ability to live forever. God gave the first human couple everything they needed for their eternal health and happiness in the Garden of Eden; but He warned them not to eat fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or they would die, as indeed would all their descendants after them (Genesis 2:16–17). When Satan’s deception prompted Eve to disobey this command and then Adam willfully disobeyed, their minds and bodies profoundly changed (Genesis 3). Not only did they become subject to death, but their firstborn child (Cain) became the world’s first murderer. Truly, the wages of sin is death, physically and spiritually. It is sobering to think that the Bible would have been only a few pages long—from creation to the fall into sin—were it not for the undeserved love of God who both promised and sent the Messiah to save us from sin and death (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 25:8; Psalm 49:14–15; 1 John 5:13).

For 1,500 years after creation, men lived such long lives that most were either contemporaries of the first man, Adam, or personally knew someone who was! The ten patriarchs (excluding Enoch) who preceded the Great Flood lived an average of 912 years. Lamech died the youngest at the age of 777, and Methuselah lived to be the oldest at 969.

During the 1,000 years following the Flood, however, the Bible records a progressive decline in the life span of the patriarchs, from Noah who lived to be 950 years old until Abraham at 175. In fact, Moses was unusually old for his time (120 years).

Extrabiblical evidence to support the long life spans of the people in Genesis is found in the Sumerian King List. This list mentions a flood and gives the length of the reigns of kings before and after a flood. There are many striking parallels between the Sumerian King List and Genesis, such as a flood event, numerical parallels between the pre-Flood biblical patriarchs and the antediluvial kings, and a substantial decrease in life span of people following the flood.2 One author on this subject concludes, “It is highly unlikely that the biblical account was derived from the Sumerian in view of the differences of the two accounts, and the obvious superiority of the Genesis record both in numerical precision, realism, completion, and moral and spiritual qualities.”2 It is more likely that the Sumerian King List was composed using Genesis for numerical information. Obviously, the Book of Genesis would only be used if the person writing the list believed it to be a true historical account containing accurate information.

Today, man’s maximum life span is about 120 years,3 and our average life expectancy is still only 70–80 years—just as it was when the 90th Psalm was written 3,400 years ago! The precipitous plunge in life spans after the Flood suggests that something changed at the time of the Flood, or shortly thereafter, that was responsible for this decline. A line graph of this decline reveals an exponential curve. An exponential decay rate is often called a “natural” decay rate because it is so often observed in nature. For example, this is the decay curve we see when living organisms are exposed to lethal doses of toxic substances or radiations. Since it is unlikely that people living in pre-Flood times were familiar with exponential decay curves, it is thus unlikely that these dates were fabricated.

The fossil record reveals that prior to the Flood, most of the earth appears to have had a tropical type of environment. Following the Flood, there was clearly an environmental change resulting in an ice age that covered nearly 30 percent of the earth with ice (primarily in the northern latitudes). This, together with other changes following the Flood, could have adversely affected life spans.

Both aging and life span are processes that have genetic determinants that are overlapping and unique. Approximately 20–30 percent of factors affecting life span are thought to be heritable and thus genetic.4 Life span varies greatly among individuals, indicating that while aging plays a role, other factors are also involved.

If you are interested in a crash course on DNA that is broken down for a common layman or laywoman, I highly recommend this link: http://www.astirinch.com/creation/dna-genetics-evolution-is-not-the-answer/

I am going to include just the summary from the aforementioned crash course just because it is so amazing.

  • DNA is an information storage molecule. It stores digital data in quaternary (twice binary) so densely that a pinhead of DNA equals 2 million 2-terabyte hard drives, and the length of this double helix structure would circle the earth 30 times.
  • The base-pairing design of DNA allows it to be easily replicated, error-checked, and repaired.
  • The human genome is about 3 billion base pairs long, making the DNA structure around 6 feet long, and contains the equivalent of 750 Mbytes – a CD’s capacity.
  • Proteins are made from long chains of 20 different amino acids, which are the building blocks of life. The genetic code in genes tells cells how to make each of the 100,000+ different proteins in the human body. Genes can be described as protein recipes, as they list the amino acids required and their configuration.
  • Structural proteins include hair, nails, skin, muscle, bones, eye ball parts, etc.
  • Functional proteins, called enzymes, have the ability to carry out metabolic processes. It’s accurate to call them biological molecular machines because that is how they are designed and is how they function. Many have multiple moving parts to carry out their work.
  • The genetic code is the name of the language given to the set of instructions contained in every organism’s DNA, and is comparable to computer assembly language.
  • The Codon Table is the genetic code’s instruction set. Each instruction is called a codon and is 3 bases long and each has 64 possible values. Codons code for amino acids plus the control codes Start and Stop.
  • The Codon Table is finely-tuned to avoid decoding errors and to allow for embedded genes. It couldn’t have evolved because any changes have fatal consequences. It had to be present in its finely-tuned configuration right from the beginning – at the origin of life.
  • Genes are packages of information – stretches of codons which code for proteins and enzymes. They begin with a Start codon and end with a Stop codon. They are analogous with computer inline subroutines. Because they code for proteins, cells really are programmable protein makers – software driven.
  • A main function of cells is gene expression – to synthesise proteins according to the instructions contained within genes. First the gene is transcribed off DNA onto an mRNA strand, then this is cut and spiced, then it’s translated into a chain of amino acids, finally the chain is folded into a 3D shape.
  • Alternative Splicing can be equated to a lossless data compression algorithm very similar to Lempel–Ziv–Welch (LZW), which allows 21,000 genes to code for 100,000+ proteins.
  • To considerably increase DNA’s storage capacity, there are six reading frames – three each side of the strand. Three bit streams using the same nucleobases. The Codon Table has been finely-tuned to allow for this.
  • For storing even more data in DNA there are embedded genes. Genes written within genes, sharing the same nucleobases. They can overlap, be totally embedded within the host gene, even being read in the OPPOSITE direction to the host gene. Again, the Codon Table has been finely-tuned to allow for this as well.

Mutations and Genetic Bottlenecks

A mutation is any change in the sequence of DNA.5 All known mutations cause a loss of information. The rate at which all types of mutations occur per generation has been suggested to be greater than 1,000.6 We inherit mutations from our parents and also develop mutations of our own; subsequently, we pass a proportion of those on to our children. So it is conceivable in the many generations between Adam and Moses that a large number of mutations would have been present in any given individual.

Genetic bottlenecks (or population bottlenecks) occur when significant proportions of the population dies or proportions become isolated. Such a bottleneck occurred at the time of Noah’s flood when the human population was reduced to eight people (Genesis 6–9). Other smaller bottlenecks occurred following the Tower of Babel dispersion (Genesis 11). These events would have resulted in a major reduction of genetic variety.

The Y Chromosome and Mitochondria DNA (basics)

The sex chromosomes are named X and Y. Males have two distinct sex chromosomes (X & Y) and females have two of the same (X & X). So the Y chromosome is passed on only from father to son.

Mitochondria – these are little compartments inside each of our cells which house the components to produce the cell’s energy. They have their own, separate strand of DNA (separate from the main/nuclear/chromosomal DNA) and it’s called Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Since only the mitochondria contained in the fertilized egg are used at conception, mtDNA is only inherited from the mother. Males are therefore dead-ends for mtDNA.

When DNA (which contains the sex chromosomes) and mtDNA are passed down to offspring, mutations (copying errors) can and do occur. DNA receives over a 100 mutations per generation whilst mtDNA receives a lot less (due to the size of mtDNA being a lot smaller than DNA – approx 16,000 base pairs compared to approx 3 billion base pairs for DNA).

Because of these mutations, DNA and mtDNA have been slowly diverging/degrading from the DNA and mtDNA of our first ever ancestors (whose possible identities are about to be discussed).

Reminder:

Y:                Father -> son
mtDNA:      Mother -> all children 
 

What we should expect for proof of Noah’s Flood

To begin with, the first Book of the Bible (Genesis) was written nearly 3,500 years ago (around 1,400 BC) by Moses. There is very good evidence to support this. The “documentary/JEDP hypothesis”, which denies that Moses was the writer and consequently dating the Book to around 600 BC, has no historical evidence to back it up (as explained here).

Genesis states that eight people were on the Ark: Noah and his wife, their three sons and their three wives. So:

  1. There should be signs of a population bottleneck in which humanity almost became extinct.
  2. How many different Y chromosomes were on the Ark? One – the three sons inherited their Y chromosome from Noah, and since it’s only one generation down, mutations would have been little to none.
    1. So, there should be only one Y chromosome lineage today.
  3. How many different mtDNAs on the Ark for offspring? Three. The three wives of Noah’s sons. (The Bible doesn’t mention that Noah and his wife had any more children).
    1. So, there should be three mtDNA lineages today.
  4. These three mtDNA lineages should trace back to a single female ancestor (Biblical Eve). Proof of this would be that the three mtDNAs lineages are similar.
  5. Due to the relatively high amount of mutations humans pass down to children (approx 100 mutations per generation), and the Flood occurring about 4,500 years ago, genetic diversity in humans today should be consistent with thousands, not millions, of years. (Human history, not the age of the earth – the age of the earth is irrelevant).

What we observe today, from worldwide surveys of human genetics

  1. The Human Genome Project was declared complete in April 2003. One of its findings was that all humans have virtually identical DNA. They suggested that this is due to a population bottleneck in our past, where our numbers dwindled so low that we teetered on the brink of extinction.
  2. Y chromosomes are indeed similar worldwide. No divergent Y lineages have been found. Therefore, evolutionists acknowledge a paternal common ancestor, calling him Y-chromosomal Adam.
  3. There are indeed three main mtDNA lineages found worldwide today. Evolutionists have labeled these lines “M”, “N”, and “R”. (In a court of law, this would be considered inculpatory evidence.)
  4. There is little difference between these three mtDNA lineages, so they must have originated in a single female, who lived not long before the bottleneck. (Evolutionists call her Mitochondrial Eve).
  5. Since humans have virtually identical DNA, the genetic diversity is consistent with thousands of years, not millions of years.

To summarize, recent genetic studies reveal one Y chromosome lineage, three very similar mtDNA lineages, and the whole human race having virtually identical DNA, firmly matches the Bible’s account of Noah’s Flood (and Adam & Eve).

It’s important to mention here that evolutionists do not claim that the above evidence proves that there was only one male and/or female alive at any point in the past. This is explained shortly.

Proof of Noah’s Flood: mtDNA

Here is one source of proof for the three mtDNA lineages, which will probably surprise you for two reasons: 1) It comes from evolutionary scientists, and 2) the Biblical scenario is surprisingly easy to see.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_mitochondrial_DNA_haplogroup

Just look at the Lineage Perspective tree after the introductory paragraphs. Time effectively runs from left to right. At the top is the lineage evolutionists call L (Mitochondrial Eve). You can plainly see the three main lineages that appear further down – “M”, “N”, and “R”, which all have their own derivatives under them (caused by mutations passed down through the generations). (Interestingly, “R” is under “N” which could mean that two of the three wives on the Ark were related, possibly cousins).

Here is the Lineage tree, which I have rotated 90° and edited slightly:

chart

Proof of Noah’s Flood: Y-chromosome

Here is the Wikipedia entry for the Y-chromosomal Adam:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Adam

“In human genetics, Y-chromosomal Adam (Y-MRCA) is the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) from whom all living people are descended patrilineally (tracing back only along the paternal lines of their family tree). Recent studies report that Y-chromosomal Adam lived as early as around 142,000 years ago. Older studies estimated Y-MRCA as recent as 60,000 years ago.”

“Y-chromosomal Adam is named after the biblical Adam. This may lead to a misconception that he was the only human male alive during his time, even though he co-existed with other human males, including, perhaps, his own father who was not the “most recent”. However, unlike himself and his paternal line, each of his male contemporaries failed to produce a direct unbroken male line to all males living today.”

What evolutionists make of this data

The evolutionary explanations for the above data are contradictory and confusing to say the least. Depending on which genes they use in their research, different bottlenecks ranging from 2 million years ago to 60,000 years ago are proposed. On top of this, they’re also proposing different bottlenecks for males and females (e.g. a male bottleneck around 142,000 years ago and a different bottleneck for females around 200,000 years ago).

For the sake of simplicity, here is a general take on their beliefs concerning the required bottlenecking:

  1. There was a population bottleneck in which humanity almost became extinct, about 70,000 years ago.
    1. The population became as low as 1,000 to 10,000.
    2. Even though many women made up these numbers during the bottleneck, only the lineage of one of them (dubbed “Mitochondrial Eve”) survived. All the other mtDNA lineages ended in dead-ends (childless couples or boys-only families). What are the odds of this happening?
    3. In much the same way, only one Y chromosome lineage survived from a single male (dubbed Y-chromosomal Adam). All other Y lineages ended in dead-ends (childless couples or girls-only families). Again, what are the odds of this happening? Then imagine what the odds are for BOTH male and female lineages suffering the same fate. Alternatively, how about there was actually only one male and one female in the beginning?
  2. Another theory suggests a “long bottleneck” where the population dropped to around 2,000, and remained at that population for at least 100,000 years. Credible?

How evolutionists apply long timelines

You’re probably thinking something like “the evolutionists are stating tens to hundreds of thousands of years, to millions of years of human history – how can it be just thousands of years instead?”

Well, evolutionists base their dates on evolutionary assumptions. They assume that evolution is true to start with, and so they assume that the fossil record represents millions to billions of years of history – bacteria evolving upwards through worms, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, primates and us. With this timeline in mind, they calibrate everything to fit to this timeline.

They use an idea called Molecular Clocks – that there is a fixed rate of mutations per year in any population. How do they know what this rate is? They calculate it by using evolutionary assumptions as I mentioned above – based on their interpretation of the fossil record.

E.g. they believe that humans and baboons shared a common ancestor “x” years ago, so they look at human’s mtDNA and at baboon’s mtDNA, and get the number of differences between the two, which is “y”. Then the mutation rate per year would be y/x. This type of logic has resulted in estimates for when their “Mitochondrial Eve” lived to be between 70,000 to 800,000 years ago.

As you can see, Molecular Clocks are derived from the assumption that evolution is true and that we’re related to baboons/chimps/etc. There’s no actual measurement of hundreds of thousands of years.

With their timeline in mind, the fossil record represents millions of years of separate catastrophic events (local floods, extinctions, volcanic flows, earthquakes, etc), whereas under the creation model most of these events occurred during and after the Flood.

New analysis points to a recent human genome

The following paper came out not that long ago (Jan 2013), throwing the idea that humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years (millions of years if you include earlier “ancestors”) into question:

10th Jan 2013 – “Analysis of 6,515 exomes reveals the recent origin of most human protein-coding variants”

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v493/n7431/full/nature11690.html

A couple of excerpts (SNV = Single Nucleotide Variant = 1 mutation/copying error):

  • “Large-scale surveys of human genetic variation have reported signatures of recent explosive population growth, notable for an excess of rare genetic variants, suggesting that many mutations arose recently
  • “We estimate that approximately 73% of all protein-coding SNVs and approximately 86% of SNVs predicted to be deleterious arose in the past 5,000–10,000years

What this is basically saying is, most mutations in humans occurred in the last 5,000-10,000 years. Obviously, this was not expected by evolutionists who believe that humans have been around for 200,000 to millions of years.

If evolution is to be believed, then for hundreds of thousands of years (or a few million years), human DNA hardly received any mutations, then in the last few thousand years most of the DNA damage we’ve all inherited occurred. Sound feasible? Or how about this: there was simply no human history prior to a few thousand years ago.

As you’ll recall from above re: Molecular Clocks – that evolutionists assume that there is set mutation rates per year, and use that rate to date our supposed ancestors – some might say that these new findings have thrown the Molecular Clocks into the bin.

Declining human lifespan – Noah’s descendants

If you look at the life spans of Noah’s descendants after the Flood (about 4,500 years ago), they decrease exponentially – i.e. fast at first, then more gradually. Noah lived to 950, his son Shem 600, then Arphaxad 438, Shelah 433, Eber 464, Peleg 230, Reu 239, Serug 230, Nahor 148, Terah 205, Abraham 175, and so on. On a graph, it’s an exponential decay pattern (see below). It looks very typical to many decay patterns seen in biology; a biological decay curve.

This is to be expected if a recent human history is true, beginning with Adam and Eve created with perfect genomes, which have been degenerating since then due to constant deleterious mutations (proven by the recent study mentioned above). It can be assumed that the decline in genome fitness would have taken life expectancy down with it.

Genesis was written nearly 3,500 years ago by Moses. Therefore to refute this, atheists will have to either believe that the lifespan drop recorded in the Bible that exactly matches a biological decay curve (see graph below) is just a coincidence, or the writer of Genesis fabricated the data using sophisticated math instead of a simple linear decrease. Though logically, if someone was writing fiction, surely they would have chosen believable life spans of under a 100 years for all of them?

chart-2

(The above graph is taken from Dr. John Sanford’s book Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome, a book I highly recommend Available Here)

This was actually a personal revelation for me. Prior to understanding genetics, I wondered why Biblical men lived to ridiculously old ages. It didn’t make any sense at all, and in my mind, hurt the Bible’s credibility. Now that I understand genetics and the harm that mutations do, and that the first humans had to have perfect genes, the life spans decreasing from abnormally high ages not only makes complete sense, but is a huge boost to the Bible’s credibility. What better confirmation is there than new scientific research solving a long-held problem?

Logically, the truth is much more likely to be that the facts presented so far (our DNA, Y chromosome, mtDNA, recent human genome, etc) is proof of Noah’s Flood, and that Moses recorded the lifespan of Noah’s descendants accurately, further backing up that the Flood recorded in the Book of Genesis is true.

Can today’s human diversity come from just three couples?

This is another common argument against the Biblical Flood, and is made without considering that humans were created with perfect genomes, rich in genetic diversity. The three couples on the Ark had a great deal more genetic information than we have today. For proof of this, look no further than domestic dogs. All breeds of dogs have descended from a wolf-like ancestor, which had all the genetic information for all the dog breeds of today in its genome. Through breeding and artificial selection, information was lost, redistributed, and concentrated – not added to. From the Chihuahua to the Poodle to the Great Dane – all these traits were in the wolf-like ancestor, like all the traits in humans today were in the genomes of Adam and Eve. (By the way, evolution cannot explain why wolves had all this genetic diversity in the first place, but creation obviously can).

The creation model clearly explains where the genetic diversity in all plants, animals and humans came from, and why there were no problems with inbreeding. On the other hand, if evolution is true, and all organisms evolved “upwards” via mutations, what explanation can evolutionists give for why every organism’s offspring weren’t all deformed? The fact that organisms can produce offspring which are not mainly deformed is a testimony to creation, not evolution.

Summary

  • All humans today have virtually identical DNA, indicating a recent population bottleneck. New (Jan 2013) genetic analysis found “recent explosive population growth”, “suggesting that many mutations arose recently”, which “arose in the past 5,000 to 10,000 years”. This logically dates the bottleneck to within the Biblical timeframe, rather than the evolutionary 70k+ years timeframe, otherwise there would have been virtually no mutations for at least 60,000 years, then suddenly almost all mutations. Illogical plus it’s contrary to the Molecular Clock idea.
  • The Y chromosomes in all humans worldwide are very similar, indicating a recent sole male ancestor – matching Noah, and before him, Biblical Adam.
  • There are three mtDNA lineages, perfectly matching the Bible’s record of the three wives on the Ark who repopulated the Earth.
  • These three mtDNA lineages are very similar, indicating they diverged from a single female ancestor who lived one to two thousand years before the Flood – matching Biblical Eve. Eve’s mtDNA would have diverged down through Eve’s descendents for roughly 1,500 years (~75 generations), then at the Flood only three lineages were taken onto the Ark.
  • The life spans of Noah’s descendants decrease exponentially – on a graph, it’s a biological decay curve. This is expected if creation is true.
  • Humans have a high mutation rate, passing down over 100 mutations per generation. This is consistent with a human history of thousands, not millions, of years.
  • If we descended from apes millions of years ago, our DNA would have diverged considerably (1 million years = ~50,000 generations). Since all humans today have virtually identical DNA, evolutionists had to come up with an explanation for this, so a population bottleneck was proposed (actually two, for males and females) where only ONE female’s lineage AND ONE male’s lineage survived to today, while thousands of other males and females, living at the same time, lineages died out. One lineage dying out is very improbable; BOTH dying out – in an expanding, post-bottleneck population no less – is ridiculously improbable.

Discussion

You may be wondering why you haven’t heard about this overwhelmingly supportive proof of Noah’s Flood before. You would be right to wonder if it’s “too good to be true”. To answer this, you need to know that one of the basic guiding principles of science is naturalism. This means that supernatural causes must be ruled out as scientific explanations. All proposed scientific explanations must be testable and repeatable, and obey physical laws. Scientists simply cannot explain an event by invoking divine intervention.

In short, even if the evidence points to supernatural causes (e.g. Biblical events), they won’t be able to make that conclusion. They will find the best “natural” explanation and run with that, no matter how improbable it is or how many unanswered questions it requires to work. Some might say if scientists are only allowed “natural” explanations, then they are not pursuing the truth; they are pursuing a natural explanation – even if a natural explanation is impossible.

Source: https://answersingenesis.org/bible-timeline/genealogy/did-adam-and-noah-really-live-over-900-years/

http://www.astirinch.com/creation/dna-proof-of-noahs-flood/

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About

Follower of Jesus, married with 5 grown up children, 6 grand children, ex-military and residing in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. "Papa"

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