Saturday, July 13, 2013

How Long Did Adam Live?

{5:3} And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begot a son to his own image and likeness, and called his name Seth.
{5:4} And the days of Adam, after he begot Seth, were eight hundred years: and he begot sons and daughters.
{5:5} And all the time that Adam lived, came to nine hundred and thirty years, and he died. (Douay Rheims version based off of the Latin Vulgate)


The solution to this problem is, I think, fairly simple. On the one hand, when Adam reappeared on the ground in the event of God mystically casting him and Eve from Paradise, he did not live to be the days of 930 solar/sidereal years old. This is irrational, inconceivable, impossible. Anyone who defends the years defined as solar or orbital years in any manner whatsoever is not defending the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture. All they are defending is absurdity. Nor do the years resolve to the number of solar/sidereal years in which Adam's teachings had influence in the world. This verse explicitly refers to the personal cycle of Adam's life, from when he arrived back on the ground from Paradise to his death.

The numbers do not resolve to esoteric meanings as in (Jewish numerology) in this context. God and his people are not like this. Yes we have mysteries and profundity, but no we do not have that which is esoteric.  Yes numbers are used to represent certain meanings, in certain contexts of Sacred Scripture, but not in this context.  If this were the case the whole fifth chapter would be some sort of code which had to be deciphered.  This would be absurd.  This is a Divine Public Revelation for the entire human family.  The underlying purpose of the lineage is to trace the Promise of the Messiah. The men listed in the genealogy of Genesis 5 are in accord with the Law of Moses, real ancestors of the Promised Messiah. Compare Genesis 5 to Luke 3. And Adam is everyone's first ancestor whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim or not.

The weak link in the interpretation of this passage of Sacred Scripture is not the numbers.  It is rather the interpretation and translation of the Hebrew word transliterated: shanah. To put it bluntly the Greek and Latin translators made a poor translation in place of the Hebrew word shanah. Saint Jerome should not have chosen the Latin annus (year) for this context. Saint Jerome had the best of intentions, but in this he made a circumstantial error. It was not his fault. By his time the Hebrew tongue was long lost. And he did not have a Hebrew grammar and his resources were very limited.  In any case, according to his work called Hebrew Questions on Genesis, Saint Jerome seemed to treat these as years used in the Roman calendar, and this is a mistake.  A shanah used by these pre-flood and post-flood patriarchs does not equal 365 days.   

The roots of the Hebrew word shanah signify an undefined concept of revolving-change(s), not the defined concept of a solar year or sidereal year, a Greek year or even a Jewish year. I take this from Fabre d' Olivet's masterful work titled The Hebraic Tongue Restored under the Cosmogony of Moses. He has this word translated in this context as 'revolving change' and he makes an argument from the root of the word shanah:

Its root is which we have just now seen to be that of number two and containing every idea of mutation, of variation, of passing from one state to another. Thus the word root, expresses a temporal mutation, relative to the being which is its object. . . finally, the last of these terms is shanah, which should mean every revolution which replaces the being in its original state. (p. 155)

Adam lived in 900 temporal mutations and 30 temporal mutations. These revolutionary changes are not representative of the days of the Earth's revolution around the Sun, nor the days of a year as calculated by Hipparchus or any Greeks.  The ancients did not agree upon and establish our standard a solar year or sidereal year so as to keep track of their days. How could they?  Adam and his close relatives did not understand the solar or sidereal year.  Nor were they even using the days of a Jewish calendar established by God through Moses.  They defined their own shanah.  

I assume, just on the stated fact that these numbers are so great, that a patriarch soon after the flood or perhaps Noah himself originally made this list.  The shanah of Adam and all were inscribed, probably on a stone or metal plate and then passed down for posterity.  They used a different scalar quantity than that of a single lunar cycle or solar year. They had a different standard. Time is an abstract concept.  Times associates memory and relative motion.  A metric is decided upon to trace motion to help recall. The metric is seemingly arbitrary and in context to the culture.  This is why these numbers do not make sense to us. There is no esotericism or figuration in these numbers.  The solution to the problem is found in a different understanding of the word shanah.  

The ancient patriarchs who recorded the Book of the Lineage of Adam used a different scalar quantity. They had no concept of what we call a tropical year (synonym: solar year) or an orbital year.  It is that simple. Their shanah was a cycle of whatever scalar quantity they decided upon.
So what does their shanah resolve to? I do not know! I was not there with the patriarchs defining a shanah for the tribe.  All I can do is make some suggestions.  Perhaps they had their own agreed upon number of days as a metric, e.g. one shaneh equals a cycle of twelve sevens, i.e. 84 days.  Once the cycle of days is complete they started to count again from one.  Or perhaps a single shaneh was defined as a cycle of three new moons.  In any case one shaneh encompasses so many days.  Perhaps their shaneh had something to do with prayer and penance.  One shanah equals one cycle of prayer and penance, but even this would be mingled with a count of days.  So a change of prayer and penance is 84 days.  

I have no definition of their shanah.  All I know for certain is that they defined their shanah different than subsequent shanahs of the nations.  Their shanah were not approximately 365 days.  And so it is a moot point.  So now who cares? All that matters is that someone stand up and make the point that these scalar quantities are not our own. They were not using our agreed upon metrics. They did not have 365 days in their shanah. They had their own standard of encompassing days.  These never got converted over to the Western tropical year or sidereal year when the scribes copied and edited the Sacred Script. 

The translators of Greek Septuagint LXX as well as Saint Jerome were lost to this point.  And so were the Samaritans.  And probably even most Jews. But he who first copied and recreated Genesis, I think Moses, understood his ancestor's shanah.  And he honored and respected their lives by recording their number of shanah.   
  
In this context, the Hebrew word shanah represents an unknown ancient metric. One shanah is a revolution of so many days.  When Adam and Eve were cast down to the ground from Paradise they probably soon decided upon a shanah so as to not lose count of their days.  For sake of utility they could have decided that their standard shanah would be 84 days or a cycle of three new moons (about 89 days). The shanah could have even had subdivisions, in other words, weeks.  They were probably the first to conceive of the concept, label it, define it and apply it.  Time is observer dependent.  We are the one's who conceive the concept and apply the same in any sort of arbitrary manner that suits us within Providence.
Adam lived for 930 shanah.  If a single shanah (really a shaneh) equals say 87 days then he would have lived to be about 222 solar/sidereal years.  In spite of the Fall, Adam had the prototype body so these are more or less reasonable. In spite of the truth that he inherited harmful mutations in his body, he still had the mission of propagating the human family, and so an age beyond 120 solar years is not so unreasonable.  After many generations the body of mankind had weakened. Later in Genesis, Abraham's duration of 175 shanah was based on a different type of standard than the earlier Genesis 5-11 shanah. He had some other manner of counting days since he grew up among the Chaldean, several generations after the Flood and the Babel event. 

After the Flood and after Babel, different tribes and nations used different manners of tracing days. Parts of Genesis were likely compiled and recreated by Moses or the other Jews from different written sources. And it is not clear where and when the ancients changed their scalar quantities. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich suggests that the sojourn in Egypt was much shorter than commonly interpreted:

From Josephs death to the departure of Israel from Egypt, there were about one hundred and seventy years according to our manner of reckoning. But they had at that time another way of reckoning, other weeks and years. This was often explained to me, but I cannot now recall it. (Mysteries of the Old Testament)

So it is recorded in Sacred Scripture that the Jews were in Egypt for about 430 shanah. These are not the days of a solar year or sidereal year. They are some other type of count.  They were using some other type of calendar.  No one ever converted the numbers to fit the new systems of keeping track of days.  

So much fuss over nothing!!!

The tribe or nation decided that so many days would be a shanah so that the shanah can be used to track all the days of their lives.  That is my interpretation.    

Time is not an object that has shape and location. It does not exist. It is observer dependent. It is time the West stop acting as if they are the cradle of civilization. If it were not for Adam and Noah grinding out their hundreds of shanah, whatever they were defined as, there would be no West, and no one would be able to dream up a romance about cosmological time and the mythical 13.8 billion years of the universe.  

And so in conclusion I think it should be clearly taught that these numbers modify an unknown ancient scalar quantity different than our own. The shanah used by the patriarchs relates a definite number of days decided upon probably by none other than Adam and Eve. Each of their 'shanah' was a duration of so many days which they agreed upon and decided to use in their lives.  Their shanah were of smaller duration than our solar/sidereal years.  The solar/siderealy years contain about 365 days, as opposed to their shanah which contained maybe about 87 days in pre-Flood times and over double this in post-Flood times.  Out of respect for the ancient patriarchs the numbers were never converted to fit our more refined temporal concepts based in astronomical observations.  

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