If you read through chapter 5 of Genesis, you notice something:
Adam lived 930 years.
Seth lived 912 years.
Enosh lived 905 years.
Kenan lived 910 years.
And so on…
Point is, all of these guys lived a really, really long time.
Now, contemporary readers of the genealogy might balk at the possibility these men lived upward of a millennium, but some researchers have found reason to interpret the passage more literally.
As the theory goes, the Genesis lifespans started declining immediately after the Flood. The “decay curve” found in these biblical texts aligns with biological decay curves known from the science of “mutation accumulation.” What that means is, as genetic mutations compound each generation, they continually erode genetic information. So the purity in the bloodlines of Adam, Seth, and Enosh were gradually diluted.
Did early mutations damage genes to the extent that lifespans were slashed by more than 90 percent? Perhaps.
But while the longevity of these early patriarchs will continue to be debated, what’s not in question is this:
Death escapes no one.
Whether we live 90 years or 900 years, our lives are indeed finite. We tend to live our lives as if death isn’t inevitable. But it’s a fact of life. It comes for all of us.
All of us—except for two people. Both we learn about in the Old Testament.
Let’s look at Genesis 5:21:
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
And he was not?
It doesn’t explicitly say that he died—just that he was “not.” Enoch did not face death.
We see this account corroborated in Hebrews 11:5:
5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.
The only other person in the Bible to not face death was Elijah. Several characters in the Bible were raised from the dead—Lazarus and Jesus, for instance. But Enoch and Elijah were the only two men who never faced it.
So, “Enoch walked with God.” What does that mean? Well, Enoch was a preacher and he walked with God before there was Judean Law. It’s important to remember that the law doesn’t make us holy. It’s our faith that saves us—not the things that we do.
And, Enoch was faithful. So here’s the takeaway: We either walk in contrast or in step with God.
To understand what that means, let’s take a look at Galatians 5:16:
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
So now we know what it means, but how do we actually walk in relationship with God?
Well, God is knowable. The “pathway” to God is Jesus, but we’re all a little bit different. So exactly how we experience God through Christ can vary, based on our unique personalities.
In his book, “God is Closer Than You Think,” John Ortberg lays out seven practical ways in which we can walk in relationship with God: relational, intellectual, serving, worship, activist, contemplative and creation. You can learn more about each of these seven pathways here.But to keep in step with God, we must walk in faith. Faith is waiting on God to do something. It’s bigger than just the action. When we walk in faith, we wait. What’s important to ask, is “Are we willing to wait?”
The world pressures us in certain ways, so it’s often easier not to do the things God calls us to do. That’s where faith comes in.
When God calls us to slow down, are we walking in contrast with or in agreement with Him?
There is a standard by which followers of Christ should live. But we cannot hold the outside world accountable to that same standard. Rather, we should let them see who God is through us.
We won’t get it right every time, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to walk with Christ.
Imagine, for a moment, what our lives would look like if we only walked in faith.