From what I understand, the reason Adam and his sons etc lived so long was a change in our biology, in essence, an evolution has caused us to live shorter lives. We are pre-programed to wear out by our 80's or 100's. In ancient times, their bodies were made to live longer for reasons we know of were written, "multiply and replenish the earth." How could we do this by only living about 100 years then?? By today's standards, if we only had a couple of kids, it would take forever to people the earth as it is now with it's diverse folks.
Ofir, You are right, they say that in the primordial world, till the creation of the sun and moon on the fourth day, time was not calculated the way we know today.
Genesis 1:14 (Day Four)
"Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate day from night; they shall serve as signs for the set times--the days and the years."
Therefore the generations from Adam till Noah lived extraordinarily long lives but by our standards, and Desiree makes a great point for why that might have been so.
Genesis 6 notes a remarkable legend about relationships among divine beings and mortal women, and by Genesis 6:3 it is decided to limit the days of man to 120 years.
Genesis 6:1-4 Celestial-Terrestial Intermarriage.
The theory of time being different in biblical times is more commonly used to explain that the six days of creation were not actual 24-hour days like we have now, but possibly billions of years. This is a way to reconcile the age of the universe as estimated by contemporary science with that stated in the Torah.
Regarding the longevity of early bible characters, it's more a case of a change to human physiology.
Ron, I'm not sure where you get that explanation from. In the Hebrew the text is very clear that this is the generic "adam" (i.e. humanity) and NOT Adam. The following link has the English and Hebrew opposite each other (this English translation is *derived* from the KJV): http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0106.htm#1
If you look as 6:1, it is very clear that "Ha'Adam" is plural, as the end of the sentence clearly states "them". The same can be said for 6:2 where while not as clear-cut the, it would NOT make sense to say this means "the daughters of Adam", so again here too "adam" is the generic plural. For that matter throughout the entire episode 6:1-7 it is pretty obvious that adam is plural.
Lastly, if one does the math, then Adam, aged 930, had died 126 years before Noah was even born, a total of 726 years before the flood. See this time-line for example:
It is interesting to note, that Noah would have heard a 2nd hand account of the story of Eden, from Adam's son Seth.
The "Hundred and Twenty Years" of Genesis 6:3.
These are generally taken as meaning 120 years before the flood. But
this mistake has been made by not observing that the word for"men" in
Gen. 6: 1, 2, is in the singular number with the definite article, as in v.3
"man", and means The Man Adam. The word "also" clearly refers to him.
It has no meaning if "men" be read , in the plural. It means, and can mean,
only that Adam himself, "also", as well as the rest of mankind,had "corruped his way". If "men" be the meaning, then it may well be asked, who are the others indicated by the word "also" ?
In Gen. 2: 17, the Lord had declared that Adam should die. Here, in Gen. 6, it was made more clear that though he had lived 810 years he should surely die; and that his breath, or the spirit of life from God, should not remain in hin.
This fixes the chronology of v. 3, and shows that long before that time,
A.M. 810, and even before Enoch, this irruption of fallen angels had taken place.