Bible Question:

Why did the length of life change after Noah's flood?

Bible Answer:

Genesis 1 and 2 tells us that God created the universe in six days including the stars, our sun, moon, and earth. Genesis 1:31 tells us that when God was finished creating the universe, He said that everything was very good.

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:31  (NASB)

Our Damaged Creation

But today the creation is not very good. It is very bad because we do not see God’s original earth.  Romans 8:18-22 states that the creation groans now because of the corruption to which it was subjected to. That is, when sin entered the world through Adam, the creation also became corrupted.

Our current earth is a damaged version of the original earth. Sin not only damaged the creation, it also caused every human to die both spiritually and physically (Genesis 2:15-17; Romans 6:23). Since Adam and Eve sinned and were destined to die, God sent them out of the Garden of Eden and did not allow them to eat of the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24). So, humans would not physically live forever. Consequently, Adam died after 930 years.

Length of Life Declined After the Flood

Length of Life Declined After the Flood


The table below shows the genealogy from Adam to Jacob. Then the second table below shows that the life span of these early humans decreased significantly from 930 years to 147 years. Before Noah’s flood (Genesis 6-8) the table shows that the ancient patriarchs lived from 777 years to 930 years, except for Enoch who was taken to heaven by God because of great faith. After Noah’s flood a dramatic decrease in life expectancy occurred. A gradual decline in the length of life began with Jacob living only 147 years.

Chronology of The Ancient Patriarchs

Chronology of the Ancient Patriarchs


Life Spans were Shortened After the Flood

Life Spans Shortened After the Flood


Our Reduced Lifespans

Why did the dramatic decline in our life spans occur after Noah’s flood? There are many proposals, but the Bible never explains why this occurred. The most probable theory notes that Genesis 1:7-8 refers to an expanse or  a water canopy that surrounded the earth before the universal flood (Genesis 6-8). While some claim the water canopy is not a likely theory, Larry Vardiman, PhD, at the Institute for Creation Research, has developed computerized models of a water canopy and reported that a water canopy is a credible solution. He spoke at the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 4–9, 2003. The title of his presentation was “Temperature Profiles for an Optimized Water Vapor Canopy.”1

When Genesis 7:11 refers to the “floodgates of the sky” opening, this appears to refer to the water canopy. Genesis 7:11 describes the water canopy emptying its water upon the earth.  Consequently, the water canopy was no longer present to prevent genetic damage to human life. Without a water canopy, genetic damage could have occurred due to radiation penetrating the earth from the sun. Without a water canopy, the increased heat would have made changes. The sun’s harmful radiation would have affected the earth itself and the various life forms upon the planet.

One of the effects that could have occurred due to a missing water canopy is described in Psalm 90:9-10. The length of human life is now about seventy to eighty years, or longer depending upon one’s physical strength.

For all our days have declined in Your fury;
We have finished our years like a sigh.
As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
For soon it is gone and we fly away. Psalm 90:9-10  (NASB)

Now man does not have to suffer so long the wickedness and evil that controls our world. But the sad truth is that escape from this earth results in punishment in hell for the wicked dead. Only those who believe in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins will escape evil. Only seeking God’s forgiveness and trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins will result in forgiveness of your sins and eternal life in heaven.




1. Larry Vardiman. “Temperature Profiles for an Optimized Water Vapor Canopy.” Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, R.L. Ivey (Ed.), pp.29–39, 2003. (