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Dear Catholic.com visitor: Summer is here, and you may be thinking about a well-deserved vacation, family get-togethers, BBQs with neighborhood friends. More than likely, making a donation to Catholic Answers is not on your radar right now. But this is exactly the time we most need your help. The “summer slowdown” in donations is upon us, but the work of spreading the gospel and explaining and defending the Faith never takes a break. Your gift today will change lives and save souls for Christ this summer! The reward is eternal. Thank you and God bless.

Did people really live for 900 years as described in Genesis?

Question:

Can you give me a logical answer about the people’s ages in the book of Genesis? Some of them lived to be 900 years old. What is the Catholic Church’s teaching about this?

Answer:

The Church has no teaching regarding whether these ages are to be taken literally or not. The Church will say that whatever Scripture says is inerrant but must be understood in terms of the conventions of literature that were in use at the time.

It is known that, in many ancient cultures, fantastically long lives were assigned to famous forebears. This could be an indication that the ages are to be taken as symbolic of the greatness and venerability of the individuals.

However, this is not something the Church has taught. God can keep people alive as long as he wants. If he wants someone to live to be 900 years old, then that person can do so.

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