When I was in college, I had this crazy idea. With all the genealogies listed in Genesis, I wanted to see if I could build a family tree from Adam to Abraham. So, I decided to dig a little deeper into the genealogies of Genesis 5 and Genesis 11, the ones that say so and so begot so and so who begot so and so, etc. I know, I know. Couldn’t you think of something else to study, Jonathan? Were you trying to cure insomnia, Jonathan? I don’t have any other explanation than to say that I’m a nerd. And not only did I dig into these chapters, but I did it in the nerdiest way possible. It involved Excel and bar charts.
Now, before I write the next sentence, give me the benefit of the doubt and keep reading. So, here goes…I want to show you what I found. Not only did I learn something, but it completely changed the way I read the book of Genesis, and I think it might change the way you read it, too.
Genesis 5 talks about the genealogy from Adam to Noah. The Holy Spirit decided to record exactly how old each man was when he had a son, and then recorded how old he was when he died. From that, you can do some simple math and determine exactly how long it had been since Creation when each man was born. So, the nerd in me threw all of this into Excel. Look what came out.
If the left of the chart represents Creation (year 0), then the orange section represents each man’s life. Look at the chart for a few minutes. Notice anything you had never thought of before? I saw TONS! Here’s a few things this taught me.
- When we read about the lives of the different individuals in Genesis, those are not isolated stories that happened worlds apart. We can’t know for sure, but these men may have known each other, and may have even visited with each other on a regular basis.
- You think your grandfather tells good stories? Lamech (Noah’s father) was alive at the same time as Adam. He could have sat and talked to his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather about what the Garden of Eden was like, and what it was like to name all the animals! If he did, that means that everyone on the ark could have been given a second-hand account of Creation and not simply have learned it from stories passed down for generations.
- Adam died before Enoch was taken to heaven, but Seth was still alive. It’s a very good possibility that Seth may have known that Enoch was taken (as well as the other men alive at the time). I imagine news of something like that would have spread quickly.
- Scripture never really gives us much detail about Lamech. We know that Noah and his family were saved because God said Noah was righteous (Gen 7:1). Notice that Lamech had died 5 years before God made that statement to Noah, so Lamech may have also been righteous while he was alive. That makes me wonder. If Lamech was righteous, did he help Noah and his three sons build the ark? If he was not righteous, did he give Noah a hard time while he was building it? What about Noah’s grandfather Methuselah. Did he help or not?
- Here’s the one that I really want to ask God someday. We know that Methuselah was the oldest person mentioned in Scripture. If you add up the numbers, he died the same year as the flood (1,656 years after Creation). Did he die in the flood, meaning he was a wicked man? Or could Methuselah have been a righteous man, something horrible happened to him to cause his death (such as being murdered), and it was the final straw that caused God to start the flood and destroy the Earth? I’ve lost sleep over that one.
Ponder on those things for a few days. Go back now and read the first 6 chapters of Genesis. Do you read them any differently? Does this timeline make you think of something I didn’t mention? If so, please comment and share with us.
On the next post, I’ll share with you the things I found when charting out the genealogies provided in Genesis 11. It will really make your head spin when you find out who all Noah lived with after the flood!