Long Life Spans: "Adam Lived 930 Years and Then He Died"
New Discoveries in the Biochemistry of Aging Support the Biblical Record
By
Fazale R. Rana, Ph.D.
Hugh Ross, Ph.D.
Richard Deem, M. S.

Introduction

"Adam lived 930 years and then he died." The mere assertion that humans could live more than 900 years-as Genesis 5:5 states-seems, for many people, nothing short of absurdity. The mention of long life spans in Genesis 5 hinders these people from openly exploring the Christian faith. Unable to accept 900-year human life spans, skeptics and others view the Bible as unreliable, a book of human myth rather than divine revelation.

This skepticism towards the long life spans of Genesis 5 is understandable. Tremendous advances have been made and will continue to be made in medical science and technology to conquer many dreaded diseases. The Western world has widespread access to health services, and for most Americans, nutrition is not a vital concern. And yet, the average life span in the U.S. is less than 80 years. Over the last century, human life expectancy has increased, but only by a handful of years. In light of these facts, how can the long life spans described in Genesis 5 conceivably be true? Yet another stumbling block crops up in Genesis 6:3, which declares that God intervened to shorten man's life span from about 900 to 120 years. (For a discussion on why God would have allowed man's long life span only to shorten it later, see The Genesis Question by Hugh Ross.) Even though a maximum life expectancy of about 120 years accords with current data, the abrupt shortening of human life spans creates another hurdle for skeptics. How can this dramatic change in human life spans be scientifically rational?

Recent advances in the biochemistry of aging provide answers to these seemingly intractable problems. Scientists have uncovered several distinct biochemical mechanisms that either cause, or are associated with, senescence (aging). Even subtle changes in cellular chemistry can be responsible for aging, and in some cases, can increase life expectancy by nearly 50%.1, 2 These discoveries point to a number of possible ways that God could have allowed long life spans and then altered human life expectancy- simply by "tweaking" human biochemistry. The recent progress of research in the biochemistry of aging, along with the cosmic radiation caused by the Vela supernova eruption, makes the long life spans of Genesis 5 and the decrease of human life spans at the time of the Flood scientifically plausible.3, 4

Reactive Oxygen Species

The free-radical theory of aging is one of the leading explanations for senescence.5 Free radicals are chemical entities that possess one or more unshared electrons as part of their structural configurations. Because electrons find stability by forming pairs, the unshared electron(s) of free radicals makes them unstable, highly reactive and chemically destructive compounds. When a molecule contains an unshared electron it becomes highly reactive because the unshared electron aggressively "seeks out" another electron with which to pair.

Some free radicals produced inside the cell during the normal course of cellular metabolism are derived from molecular oxygen (O2) and are called reactive oxygen species (ROS).6 Some examples are superoxide (�O2-), the hydroxy free radical (�OH), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Most ROS produced internally and occurring normally in the cell come from the mitochondriaorganelles inside the cell that play a central role in harvesting energy.7

According to the free radical theory of aging, the ROS produced in the cell during the natural course of metabolism act randomly and indiscriminately to damage important cell components. For example, in their search for other unshared electrons, ROS attack the molecules that make up the cell's membrane (lipids), Organic compounds made of amino acids arranged in a linear chain, joined together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of the adjacent amino acid residues.proteins, and Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA.8 Since this damage to cellular components is cumulative, ROS may contribute significantly to the aging process.9

Cells do have mechanisms to counteract many of the harmful effects of ROS. For example, the Proteins that encourage a biochemical reactions, usually speeding them up.enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase hunt the free radicals superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, respectively.10 Cells also have additional antioxidants such as glutathione, peroxidase, and vitamins E and C.11 However, these protective systems are insufficient to prevent all the damage caused by ROS over a cell's lifetime.

A team of pharmacologists recently demonstrated that the aging effects caused by ROS can be largely subverted by augmenting the cell's native antioxidant defenses by using A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up.enzyme mimetics.12 A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up.Enzyme mimetics, (synthetic compounds that imitate the chemistry of Proteins that encourage a biochemical reactions, usually speeding them up.enzymes) catalyze (bring about) the same chemical reactions as the Proteins that encourage a biochemical reactions, usually speeding them up.enzymes for which they are named. In other words, A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up.enzyme mimetics imitate natural Proteins that encourage a biochemical reactions, usually speeding them up.enzymes. For example, SOD/catalase A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up.enzyme mimetics catalyze the decomposition of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. The pharmacologists found that administering SOD/catalase A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up.enzyme mimetics to a study group of worms (Caenorhabditis elegans)13 can extend the worms' average life span by 44% by providing additional defense against the damage that free radicals cause.

Not only does the worm study help define the role of ROS in the aging process, it also indicates that human life span could be, and in fact, may be lengthened or shortened by this "pharmacological intervention."14

Researchers also have been able to extend the life span of fruit flies by about 40% through similar means. Instead of using A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up.enzyme mimetics, scientists manipulated the fruit flies' Functional and physical units of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.genes, causing their mitochondria to produce more SOD and catalase.15 The results were similar.

Further evidence that altering SOD and catalase levels can influence life span comes from recent work by researchers at the University of Texas in Houston. These scientists have shown that by targeting SOD, they may be able to selectively kill cancer cells.16

These new discoveries in ROS suggest that one way God could have designed humanity to live for 900 years and then acted to decrease man's life expectancy at the time of the Flood would be to make subtle changes in the level of SOD and catalase A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up.enzyme expression within cells.

Caloric Restriction

Caloric restriction is one of the approaches that researchers have discovered for extending the life span of certain organisms.17 Selectively reducing food intake (calories) by 30 to 70% can extend life span by up to 40% for a wide range of creatures from yeast to mammals. For years, scientists have thought that caloric restriction extends life expectancy by causing a decrease in metabolic rate, which, in turn, leads to reduced production of ROS.18 Recent studies strongly suggest, however, that caloric restriction yields an increase in life span through a biochemical mechanism distinct from the free-radical mechanism.

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), using yeast as a study organism, recently put in place the final piece of the puzzle to explain that biochemical mechanism. 19, 20 Within Threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosomes are Functional and physical units of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.genes that code for rRNA. These Functional and physical units of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.genes have unique features that, due to normal cellular activity, may cause them to become excised from the One of the threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosome. These excised Functional and physical units of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.genes then form individual circular pieces of DNA, (called extrachromosomal Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA circles, or ECs), which self-replicate, accumulate, and compete with the yeast's All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome for vital Proteins that encourage a biochemical reactions, usually speeding them up.enzymes and other cellular materials. For this reason, ECs are toxic to cells and decrease longevity in yeast.21

Researchers from MIT, however, have found that the A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up.enzyme Sir2 plays a significant role in reducing the accumulation of ECs, thereby extending the life span of yeast. (Sir2 has been found throughout the biological realm, including in humans.22) It is activated when the energy status of a cell drops off—which would occur under conditions of caloric restriction.23 When activated, Sir2 causes the Threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosomes to become highly condensed and the Functional and physical units of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.genes within the Threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosomes to be silenced.24, 25 Because the Threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosomes' Functional and physical units of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.genes are silenced, the production of ECs diminishes, resulting in an extension of yeast life span. The results for yeast carry broad implications for the human aging process, since Sir2 has been discovered in humans.

The relationship between The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.gene silencing and aging can be understood through a simple analogy. A car driven normally for thirty years will show signs of significant wear and tear, if it is still functioning. A similar car, however, that is driven only to church on Sundays will remain in mint condition even after thirty years. Likewise, a strand of Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA experiencing normal wear and tear can produce toxic ECs, decreasing life span. The A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up.enzyme Sir2, however, silences the Functional and physical units of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.genes within a One of the threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosome, limits wear and tear on the DNA and prevents ECs from forming, thereby extending the life span of yeast.

The work on ROS and caloric restriction correlates with Genesis 1:29-30, where God prescribes a vegetarian diet for pre-Flood humans. A vegetarian diet not only ensures the consumption of high levels of antioxidants, but also prevents the intake of toxins that accumulate in animal flesh. A vegetarian diet also aids with caloric restriction because the consumption of vegetables yields far fewer calories than does the consumption of the equivalent weight of meat. Through a vegetarian diet, God could have used caloric restriction to help extend pre-Flood life spans.

Another way God could have altered human life spans is through a gene A permanent structural alteration in DNA, consisting of either a substitution, insertion or deletion of nucleotide bases.mutation that mimics caloric restriction. Recent work by investigators from the University of Connecticut identified a A permanent structural alteration in DNA, consisting of either a substitution, insertion or deletion of nucleotide bases.mutation in fruit flies that disables a The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.gene involved in metabolism.26, 27 The loss of this gene's activity makes metabolism less efficient. Inefficiency in metabolism means that the organism can't extract energy from food stuff very effectively. This limits the energy available and, similar to caloric restriction, leads to longer life spans. Fruit fly life spans doubled as a result of this A permanent structural alteration in DNA, consisting of either a substitution, insertion or deletion of nucleotide bases.mutation.

The fruit-fly work demonstrates how God could have helped control mankind's life expectancy by altering the activity of a single The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.gene. Whether He used this method or not, it does represent a simple, viable option. Interestingly, as highlighted by other work on fruit flies, many organisms seem to be genetically programmed to hasten mortality. Recently, scientists have discovered another single The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.gene A permanent structural alteration in DNA, consisting of either a substitution, insertion or deletion of nucleotide bases.mutation that leads to long life spans. Though this The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.gene, called the Methuselah The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.gene, has been shown to extend life spans in fruit flies when mutated, the function of this The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.gene, when not mutated, remains unknown.28, 29

Telomere Loss

Altering telomerase activity is another way God could have acted to regulate human longevity. Telomerase is an A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up.enzyme complex that maintains the length of telomeres—the terminal ends Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA strands in Threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosomes.30 Humans have 23 pairs of Threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosomes; one member of each One of the threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosome pair comes from the mother, and the other from the father. Prior to cell division, each One of the threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosomeduplicates, and, after cell division, the parent and daughter Threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosomesseparate from one another.

Telomeres' DNA that does not carry the information necessary to make a protein.non-coding repetitive The order of nucleotides in a DNA or RNA molecule, or the order of amino acids in a protein molecule.sequences of Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA at the terminal ends of Threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosomes maintain One of the threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosome stability. During DNA replication, telomerase functions to maintain telomere length. Without sufficient telomerase activity, telomeres become successively shorter with each round of cell division. If telomeres disappear, Threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosomes lose stability and the cell's ability to replicate is compromised. Thus, loss of telomerase activity and the disappearance of telomeric Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA is associated with aging.31

Telomere length serves as an indicator of health. Thus, scientists use telomere length to assess the health of cloned animals.32 Researchers have been able to extend life spans by introducing telomerase into cultured human cells that lack telomerase activity.33 Cancer cells, considered to be essentially immortal, possess elevated telomerase activity levels.34 Recent research suggests, however, that the relationship between telomere length and cell longevity is even more complex than previously thought.35, 36 (For example, in an environment where elevated radiation significantly increases cancer cell production, higher telomerase activity may actually shorten, rather than lengthen, life spans.) Nonetheless, God could have changed human life expectancy simply by varying telomerase activity. Alternatively, God may have complemented an increase in radiation levels (see discussion of the Vela supernova event) with a reduction in telomerase activity so as to minimize human suffering in the context of shortened life expectancy.

Genome Size

Investigators from Glasgow University in the United Kingdom have recently uncovered a significant relationship between All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome size and longevity.37 The term All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome refers to the entire Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA makeup of an organism. Genomes consist of Functional and physical units of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.genes—which encode the information needed for the cell to make Organic compounds made of amino acids arranged in a linear chain, joined together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of the adjacent amino acid residues.proteins and structural Ribonucleic acid: a chemical that directs the manufacture of proteins and sometimes codes for the genetic material within certain organisms.RNA molecules—and of noncoding Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA.

The Glasgow team surveyed 67 bird species and found that larger All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome sizes correlate with longer life spans. Birds are ideal models to characterize the effect of All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome size on life expectancy because of the substantial data for bird All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome size and longevity. No clear explanation yet exists for why larger All the DNA contained within species of organisms, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genomes lead to longer lifetimes. The scientists who carried out this study have speculated that larger All the DNA contained within species of organisms, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genomes may slow down the cell cycle (the time between cell divisions). Before a cell cycle can be completed— culminating in cell division—the cell's Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA must be replicated to produce duplicate copies of the All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome. The larger the All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome, the longer it takes for Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA replication to occur. This longer replication process results in a longer cell cycle and ultimately leads to longer life spans.

The correlation between All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome size and longevity is intriguing in light of the Human Genome Project (HGP). Humans have a large All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome—three billion base pairs (genetic letters). However, initial estimates from the HGP indicate that the human All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome possesses only 28,000 to 120,000 Functional and physical units of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.genes.38 This means that noncoding Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA makes up roughly 97% of the human All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome. This prompts speculation, with Genesis 5 and 6 in mind, that quite possibly the large size of the human All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome—comprised of a large amount of noncoding Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA—may reflect God's original purpose for man. God might have designed the large human All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome to allow life spans of 900 years. According to this suggestion, the noncoding Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA may have performed a critical function at one time. Perhaps God left the human All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome intact at the time of the Flood as He acted through astronomical events and other biochemical changes to limit man's life expectancy. Then the human All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome, as observed today, would be a carryover—and a possible testimony to—the time when God purposed for people to live longer.

Alternatively, the human All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome may have been even larger before the Flood. Given their relatively large body size and high level of activity, humans live considerably longer than members of other species. This combination of size and activity level may in itself explain humans' large All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome size, but the pre-Flood life spans may have required an even larger All the DNA contained in an organism or a cell, which includes both the chromosomes within the nucleus and the DNA in mitochondria.genome.

Vela Supernova

A major astronomical event provides a partial explanation for how God may have acted to reduce the long pre-Flood human life spans. Cosmic radiation is one of the main factors that limits human life expectancy. The cosmic radiation coming down to Earth has not been uniform through time, and in fact, most of the deadliest cosmic radiation Earth experiences comes from a fairly recent and nearby (1300 light years away) event, the Vela supernova (A supernova is a rare celestial phenomenon, the explosion of most of the material in a star). About 20,000 to 30,000 years ago (roughly the time of the Genesis flood), the Vela supernova erupted.39, 40

Prior to the Vela supernova, only a fraction of the current level of deadly cosmic radiation bathed the Earth. Under these lower radiation conditions (coupled with complementary biochemical adjustments) life spans of up to 900 years might have been possible. Scientists do acknowledge that this higher-level radiation silently bombarding the Earth since Vela plays a significant role in limiting life expectancy. Moreover, a significant radiation event such as Vela would explain the mathematical curve, the gradual, exponential reduction in life spans, from about 900 to 120 years reported in Genesis 11.

Assessing Scientific Plausibility

Advances in the biology and biochemistry of aging have been remarkable, and, at the same time, they reveal that the aging process is, indeed, complex. Much remains to be learned and discovered about it. Recent discoveries do clearly indicate, however, that aging can result from subtle changes in the invisible realm of cosmic radiation and cellular chemistry. Given the subtly of these changes, investigators are gaining some hope and confidence that in the near future they will be able to slow the human aging process through drug treatment and dietary alteration.

Scientists' success in altering the life span of selected organisms (such as worms, yeast, and fruit flies) and their emerging ability to increase human life expectancy through biochemical manipulation lend scientific plausibility to the long life spans recorded in Genesis 5. If humans with their limited knowledge and power can alter life spans, how much more so can God? He could have used any of four (or more) subtle alterations in human biochemistry to allow for long life spans. He could have used the Vela supernova or other astronomical events, in combination with complementary biochemical changes, to shorten human longevity.

Exactly how God altered human life spans no one knows. However, recent discoveries in the biochemistry of aging continue to build the case for the reliability of Scripture—even of Genesis 5 and 6. Researchers stand on the threshold of additional breakthroughs in understanding the aging process. Further advances are anticipated in the endocrinology and hormonal control of aging, and in deciphering Werner's syndrome (a disorder that leads to premature aging).41, 42, 43, 44 One can look forward to these and other discoveries in the biochemistry of aging with the confidence that they will continue to lend credibility to the biblical record.



Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of ManWho Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man. Are humans just advanced apes or have they been specially created in the image of God? Publications by scientists almost never ask the question, whereas publications by theists seldom examine the scientific data that relates to the question. However, two scientists raised in non-Christian homes, Fuz Rana (Ph.D. in chemistry) and Hugh Ross (Ph.D. in astronomy), have written a new book (Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man) that examines the question of human origins by comparing biblical and evolutionary models.


References Top of page

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Longlife Glossary


Facts for Faith Magazine© Copyright 2001 by Reasons To Believe, P.O. Box 5978, Pasadena, CA 91117. Reprinted with permission from Facts for Faith Issue 5.

http://godandscience.org/apologetics/longlife.html
Last Modified March 9, 2005

 

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