Does Genealogy in Genesis 5 Demonstrate God’s Mercy?

Genesis 5 provides the first genealogy of the Bible, tracing man’s lineage from Adam to Noah. While genealogies can be dry to read, a closer look at them can shine light on interesting facts.

For instance, Enoch lived 365 years, but he never died. That’s because of a special circumstance. Genesis 5:24 says, “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”

Another interesting fact is that people lived a lot longer before the flood. Take Methuselah, the oldest recorded person. He was 969 years old when he died.

For each man listed in the genealogy, the Bible tells us the age they were when they had their son and how many years they lived. If we start with Adam at year zero, we can easily do the math and come up with the chart below.

Obviously, that isn’t how years are marked historically, but that isn’t the point of this exercise. Look once again at Methuselah and note the year he died. 1656.

Now let’s read Genesis 7:6: “Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth.”

What year was the flood? Noah would have turned 600 years old the same year that Methuselah died—1656.

Coincidence? Maybe. It also would be logical to connect Methuselah’s long life as a metaphor for God’s long-suffering mercy prior to judgment. Could this be an example of the point Peter was trying to make in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Could the flood be a demonstration of God’s mercy as well as his judgment?

ScriptureManYear BornYear DiedAge at Death
Gen 5:3-5Adam0930930
        5:28-32; 7:6Noah10562006950
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