Author Topic: a theory on really old antediluvians  (Read 1566 times)

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Offline MatCauthon

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a theory on really old antediluvians
« on: December 14, 2012, 08:26:35 AM »
The oldest is Methuselah, who lived to 969 "years," which I believe to mean cycles of the moon. If you divide 969 by 13, the number of lunar cycles in an actual year, you get 74.5, which would be a nice old age indeed back then!

The hebrew word for years is shaneh, which can mean a number of things:

a) as division of time
b) as measure of time
c) as indication of age
d) a lifetime (of years of life)

None of these definitions are "the amount of time it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun," leaving a lot of room for interpretation as to what the word actually means. Granted, these people were barely out of the Stone ages, so what better way to count the time than the cycles of the moon? It seems to be the easiest way because it is so short and easily counted.

Offline screwtape

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 08:41:25 AM »
"years," which I believe to mean cycles of the moon.

why do you believe that?
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Offline MatCauthon

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 08:56:50 AM »
"years," which I believe to mean cycles of the moon.

why do you believe that?

Read first post.

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2012, 09:27:16 AM »
Granted, these people were barely out of the Stone ages, so what better way to count the time than the cycles of the moon? It seems to be the easiest way because it is so short and easily counted.

Does make me go 'hmmm'.
What are the seasons like in the Middle East? I mean, if you live 'up North' winter is pretty in-your-face. Snow, bare trees, short days.
But none of this is as clearcut in the Middle East. It would indeed make sense for a borderline stoneage culture to use lunar months as their basis for counting 'long' time. Sure, there are plenty of cultures living as close to the equator who did figure out what exactly a year was, but then again, the Ancient Hebrew are not exactly known for their fancy science skillz. So, yeah, ages being noted in months, the number gets passed down, some translation errors here and there you are ... 900 year old guys.
I can see how that would work.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 09:29:53 AM by Fiji »
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 09:39:10 AM »
Hmmm also.

Unfortunately, doesn't really hold up.  Reading the whole passage, you see things like Gen 5:9:

"And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan"

If we're still talking lunar months, that means Enos became a father aged seven and a half.

For Methusalah's age to be given in months, rather than years, you would need to explain why there is a jumping from one style of measurement to another (and back, several times over) in the same passage.

Better explanation?  It was all just made up, yer honor.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 10:30:20 AM »
And it gets even more complex when you toss in the methods used to determine the age of earth as per young earthers. If the dude who added up all the peoples ages, among other things, used 74 years instead of 800 plus for Methuselah, then that would mean, by their reckoning that the earth was even a few thousand years younger than their already very wrong first guess.

Methinks that would be awkward for them. Because even they have admitted that civilizations like Egypt are pretty old. If suddenly the flood appeared to have happened in 1000 BC, there would be a lot of 'splainin to do.

And the people who have insisted that the old ones lived longer because the ball of water that surrounded the earth at that time protected people from the more harmful of the solar rays. Of course I've never been able to convince them that that much water in the upper atmosphere would crush all living things on the surface makes no sense to them, so it isn't facts they are after anyway.

But you could be right. But if folks couldn't and didn't bother to measure things in years, what else were they incapable of. Explaining reality perhaps?
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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2012, 12:02:36 PM »
The oldest is Methuselah, who lived to 969 "years," which I believe to mean cycles of the moon. If you divide 969 by 13, the number of lunar cycles in an actual year, you get 74.5, which would be a nice old age indeed back then!

The hebrew word for years is shaneh, which can mean a number of things:
Well, I'm not sure this is correct; from Strong's Hebrew and Greek dictionary:
Quote
shâneh  shânâh
shaw-neh', shaw-naw'
(The first form being in plural only, the second form being feminine); from H8138; a year (as a revolution of time): -  + whole age, X long, + old, year (X -ly).

I think someone struggled to find some possible interpretation so the Bible doesn't look stupid.

Take this example:

"I have a set of pens." Now we think that this means, "I have several pens that match in some way."

However, you are claiming that it means

"I have a badger's hole filled with pens." because "set" also means "a badger's den or hole."

On top of that, you think that God is unable to express himself properly.

Look, when God says "years", that is what He means - Years - periods of 12 months:

Genesis 6:3 ESV
Quote
Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years*.”

* same word: shâneh  shânâh
shaw-neh', shaw-naw'
(The first form being in plural only, the second form being feminine); from H8138; a year (as a revolution of time): -  + whole age, X long, + old, year (X -ly).

So we live to be 10 years old do we?

My advice:
1. read the Bible
2. Think.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2012, 12:09:05 PM »
Read first post.

In addition to what graybeard and others said, we are talking about hebrew, a language that is still in use.  And the people who use it regard a year as a specific thing which is distinct from a lunar month.  In fact, they define a year by a fixed number of lunar months.  That the age of methuselah works out when divided by 13 is coincidental and does not make your case, given the number of other ages that do not work out so well.

I understand that language and word usage changes over time.  but for jews, tradition is of utmost importance.  obviously, since many of them still use their antiquated lunar calendar.  So I find it unlikely that over time the word for year at one point actually meant month.

 
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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2012, 12:34:47 PM »
What are the seasons like in the Middle East? I mean, if you live 'up North' winter is pretty in-your-face. Snow, bare trees, short days.
When Lawrence of Arabia was with his men freezing in the winter he sent for woolen blankets.  He got an response from a bureaucrat in London that "Arabia is a tropical country".

The Book of Job gets poetic about God keeping the precipitation as reserves in heaven, a store of water which He draws for rain, a room full of hailstones and a "treasury of the snows".

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2012, 01:28:17 PM »
What are the seasons like in the Middle East? I mean, if you live 'up North' winter is pretty in-your-face. Snow, bare trees, short days.
They are often distinct. Temperatures drop, in Tel Aviv, snow is not completely unknown. Days are shorter.  There is not much doubt that the agrarian society knew of the seasons and years:

Ecc 3:1  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
Ecc 3:2  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
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Offline Samothec

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2012, 05:50:17 PM »
Adam lived nine hundred and thirty moons (71.5 years).
Seth lived nine hundred and twelve moons (70.2 years).
Enos lived nine hundred and five moons (69.6 years).
Cainan lived nine hundred and ten moons (70 years).
Mahalale'el lived eight hundred ninety and five moons (61.9 years).
Yered lived nine hundred sixty and two moons (74 years).
Methuselah lived nine hundred sixty and nine moons (74.5 years).[1]

As for the "lived x years/moons then begat (the next one)" - the bar/bat mitzvah celebrates the begining of adulthood for a Jew. If taken as moons after the person reached adulthood, it works just fine. Depending upon their math and writing skills it might add 13 years to the above years but those ages at death would still be realistic.

So, using Methuselah, the choices are:
a) 969 years
b) 74.5 (or 87.5) years
c) that whole history in Genesis is a fiction

While much of Genesis is unsupported there has been some verification of possible events that could have been written up as presented in the bible. The most logical answer is B given it was an oral history and that words do change over time. A and C are unrealistic choices (for different reasons obviously).
 1. (I might have missed one in the list but don't feel like checking.)
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 05:52:34 PM by Samothec »
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Offline MatCauthon

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2012, 08:48:41 PM »
Hmmm also.

Unfortunately, doesn't really hold up.  Reading the whole passage, you see things like Gen 5:9:

"And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan"

If we're still talking lunar months, that means Enos became a father aged seven and a half.

For Methusalah's age to be given in months, rather than years, you would need to explain why there is a jumping from one style of measurement to another (and back, several times over) in the same passage.

Better explanation?  It was all just made up, yer honor.

Sure, all the supernatural stuff was made up for obvious reasons, but why would they have made up people's ages?

Oral tradition is enough to account for the different measurements throughout the bible and other contradictions such as different versions of the same story. But here, the bar mitzvah marking the beginning of adulthood makes sense (ty Samothec).


In addition to what graybeard and others said, we are talking about hebrew, a language that is still in use.  And the people who use it regard a year as a specific thing which is distinct from a lunar month.  In fact, they define a year by a fixed number of lunar months.  That the age of methuselah works out when divided by 13 is coincidental and does not make your case, given the number of other ages that do not work out so well.

I understand that language and word usage changes over time.  but for jews, tradition is of utmost importance.  obviously, since many of them still use their antiquated lunar calendar.  So I find it unlikely that over time the word for year at one point actually meant month.
 

So what's your explanation? They actually lived hundreds of years? I actually think you make my case here, since they base their calendar around lunar months. It would be quite easy to make the leap to a person's age as the total number of lunar months. It would be like bragging for the really old. I can see it now:

Grandson: How old are you, grandfather?
Grandfather: Very old, grandson.
Grandson: But how old? When were you born?
Grandfather: Many moons ago, grandson...


I think someone struggled to find some possible interpretation so the Bible doesn't look stupid.


LOL that's going to be pretty difficult. Unfortunately, the original writers aren't around, so we have to come up with ideas as to what they were really saying.

"I have a badger's hole filled with pens." because "set" also means "a badger's den or hole."

Of course, because people sometimes fill badger's holes with pens. I can see that. In fact, it makes more sense than having a set of pens. Who would have a set of pens? Crazy people, that's who!

On top of that, you think that God is unable to express himself properly.

YHWH isn't quoted in Gen 5. Also, if he put a limit on people's lives, why did they live longer than that? Are you assuming that everything in the bible should be taken at face value? No errors? All the supernatural stuff is true? Because that's how you come off, like the contradictions make sense in your mind. This is all very confusing to me.

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2012, 09:10:53 PM »

Take this example:

"I have a set of pens." Now we think that this means, "I have several pens that match in some way."

However, you are claiming that it means

"I have a badger's hole filled with pens." because "set" also means "a badger's den or hole."



You lazy bastard GB   where are the other 462 examples of possible meanings of the word "set".
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Offline screwtape

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2012, 08:31:41 AM »
So what's your explanation?

It's a fable.

I actually think you make my case here, since they base their calendar around lunar months.

...
I do not see how that makes your case.  If the words "month" and "year" already have very specific, clearly defined and interrelated meanings, how is it easy to just switch them around?  If year meant month, then what word would they use for year?  I cannot think of any words that have the different meanings within the same context. 

It would be quite easy to make the leap to a person's age as the total number of lunar months.

Seriously?  You are saying an entire society spontaneously changing the meaning of a well defined word is more likely that the the story being a bit of fantasy?  I do not find that a compelling argument, Mat.  You are going to have to explain that process a little better.


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Offline Samothec

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2012, 04:38:41 PM »
It would be quite easy to make the leap to a person's age as the total number of lunar months.

Seriously?  You are saying an entire society spontaneously changing the meaning of a well defined word is more likely that the the story being a bit of fantasy?  I do not find that a compelling argument, Mat.  You are going to have to explain that process a little better.

Note the origin of the word "hussy" from Dcitionary.com.
Quote
hus·sy - [huhs-ee, huhz-ee] noun, plural hus·sies.
1. a brazen or immoral woman.
2. a mischievous, impudent, or ill-behaved girl.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Origin: 1520–30;  earlier hussive: housewife
That is a far stranger change than the one we are discussing of a time cycle of a moon to a time cycle of a year. Especially since we don't know how long the moon to year meaning transformation took. Plus it was an oral tradition, not even written.

What if it originally was conditional? It might have only reliably meant a time cycle. When used with age it could have referred to a moon. When used with crops it may have meant three months. Later as the society advances they find a need for a term for a year and use the same word for that too. Eventually the conditional meanings are abandoned and it is mainly used to mean year. But their oral tradition handing down the ancestor list has not been updated, just repeated and 969 moons unintentionally becomes 969 years.

A logical and very possible chain of events that matches known facts. Or someone just made it up and talked everyone into it - not. Or do you have a plausible explanation for how such an outlandish fiction becomes accepted?

Heck, look at the word "set" - while I didn't find 462 definitions, Dictionary.com lists over 100.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 04:46:37 PM by Samothec »
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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2012, 04:51:06 PM »
The problem with that is that, as Anfauglir points out, the passage gives ages that make no sense for lunar counting.  It's the same word, in the same context.
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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2012, 05:07:28 PM »
We find much evidence that the annual cycle was of utmost importance to the ancients. And understandably so. If they were growing crops, they knew what a year was.

The Stonehenge, Aztec and Mayan Pyramids, stone circles in France and Scotland and other locations all point to peoples who were very aware of the annual cycle, and knew the difference between it and the lunar cycle.

If they were hunter-gatherers, I'd cut you some slack.

They were farmers and herdsmen. They knew what a year was.
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Offline Samothec

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2012, 05:26:38 PM »
The problem with that is that, as Anfauglir points out, the passage gives ages that make no sense for lunar counting.  It's the same word, in the same context.

Now it is the same word in what seems like the same context. What was it then? No one has that answer.
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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2012, 06:07:04 PM »
Sure you do.  No evidence for it, but you definitely do have the answer.
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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2012, 07:10:03 AM »
[15] And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared:
[21] And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:
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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2012, 07:07:02 PM »
OP : What are u suggesting? That they didn't actually live to be 900 something years old back then? Well, if that's it, then u're just like those guys who say that the earth was really created in 6000 years & not 6 days since a day with The Lord is as 1000 years.

Yes. Earth conditions were much better pre-flood & also a little after flood. Oxygene quality much better, water quality much better, etc... Yes there were giants in that time, yes they had a much bigger brain than ours, yes they lived longer.

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look at the earth below.
The skies will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like clothing.
Those living on it will die like flies;
but my salvation will be forever,
and my justice will never end."


The earth is slowly but steadily wearing out... just like everything in the universe. Ever heard of the 2nd Law of thermo-dynamics, entropy? Also called law of deterioration. Everything is deteriorating in our universe. At a steady pace. Some things faster than others.

So the conditions on earth have been steadily declining since. We are the last generation which is privileged to have the most knowledge, but the worst environmental conditions.

Peace out.
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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2012, 07:40:49 PM »
 
Quote
Gen 7:11 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.

 This passage and others indicate that there was a clear distinction drawn between years, months and days when giving people's ages in Genesis.

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2012, 08:11:25 PM »
You know these people have to be real for any of this to make sense.  Look how old Micky Mouse is?  Hell, He does not look any older than he did 50 years ago.
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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2012, 08:49:48 PM »
Yoda just popped into my head.

Carry on.

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2012, 11:29:34 PM »
Earth conditions were much better pre-flood & also a little after flood. Oxygene quality much better, water quality much better, etc.

?  on what basis do you make this claim?

Ever heard of the 2nd Law of thermo-dynamics, entropy?

Yes.  As a mechanical engineer I studied and used the second law.  Can you tell me the units for entropy?

Also called law of deterioration.

No, it's not.
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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2012, 11:46:38 PM »
Earth conditions were much better pre-flood & also a little after flood. Oxygene quality much better, water quality much better, etc.

?  on what basis do you make this claim?
:? On the basis that since everything is deteriorating then it must have been better before... :? & also, bcz Eden is described as being a paradise on Earth, which is nowhere to be found nowadays... it's supposed to be in the region of Iraq, but we've all seen what Iraq looks like today :P
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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2012, 12:48:28 AM »
:? On the basis that since everything is deteriorating then it must have been better before... :?

Oh, yeah, because you take such an interest in natural history. You study academic journals profusely, and that is what they all say.

I'll agree that man has been cocking things up in the last 200 years, but prior to that, the Earth was clean, and volcanic activity has been renewing the Earth's surface. The state of Eden-like purity is more related to continental drift, which makes slow changes to weather and fertility. The Earth's core is full of minerals and new soils. The rate of decay is terribly sloooow.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics is irrelevant, when you have a plentiful supply of energy beating down on us from the sun. If we were in a closed box, with no solar input, and there were no volcanoes, then I would take your point. Otherwise, you have no point.


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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2012, 03:56:36 AM »
The problem with that is that, as Anfauglir points out, the passage gives ages that make no sense for lunar counting.  It's the same word, in the same context.

Now it is the same word in what seems like the same context. What was it then? No one has that answer.

Except you seem pretty sure that it means either "month" or "year" depending on the point you want to prove.  Who is to say that it didn't mean weeks, or paypackets, or number of camels patted?

You argument seems to be "787 years makes no sense, therefore it MUST have meant months in that line, but years in the lines before and after - no other argument makes sense".  But as I said, the most likely one is that the ages were all made up to make those characters seem both venerable and blessed by god, a suggestion that doesn't require a single word to have shifted from two discrete meanings in the same context into a single meaning over the years, in a manner unremarked upon by any linguistic historians.

It was a fun little theory you had, I grant you - but all the evidence seems stacked against it.  Have you asked yourself why you are so empotionally vested in it?

- - - -

Just as a side issue, assuming that the numbers really ARE ages....

Methusala died in the year 1657 after creation.....the same year the Flood happened.  Now, the flood happened mid-February....and I'm pretty sure that the building of a boat big enough to carry two of every animal would have taken a few months to build.....

Yahweh quite specifically did NOT tell Noah to plan on taking Methuselah on board.  What do you think Methusalah thought about that?  Was Methuselah in fact one of the "bad guys" who Yahweh decided to drown?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline screwtape

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Re: a theory on really old antediluvians
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2012, 11:55:59 AM »
:? On the basis that since everything is deteriorating then it must have been better before...

What specifically is deteriorating?  Normally, when people make such claims, they try to validate it with data from observation.

:? & also, bcz Eden is described as being a paradise on Earth, which is nowhere to be found nowadays... it's supposed to be in the region of Iraq, but we've all seen what Iraq looks like today

What other conclusion might we come to regarding Eden?  And how would we be able to tell which, if either, is correct?

You never answered me about the units for entropy.  You also did not acknowledge the fact there is no "law of deterioration".  You, like many other fundamentalist xians, have either profoundly misunderstood the 2nd law, or you have been lied to by other xians who should know better. 

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