16 The Original Life Span
The early patriarchs lived to a much older age that we do today. Kuyper looks at some explanations that have been put forward for this. These include different ways that have been used to calculate years or the idea that the supposed number of years were actually months. That would, however, mean that Mahalalel was five years old when he became a father!
Kuyper wants to take scripture seriously and writes: "We are told that they lived ten times as long as we, and we must accept this report". He maintains that the decline in longevity is a consequence of the fall. Humans were intended to live for eternity. "Death is not part of God's creation. Death entered God's creation through, and as a result of sin. And if sin had not entered the human race, humanity would never have experienced death." (149)
When Jesus returns those who are still alive will not die but be changed.
“Adam was susceptible to sin, death, and curse, such that he had to make a transition to a state that was sin-proof, death-proof, and curse-proof.” (153)
In Paradise there was no sin, but sin could have occurred. In contrast in the kingdom of glory there is no sin and there is no danger of sin entering it. The tree of life played an important role in Paradise, it is a tree that maintains life and whose leaves bring healing. Kuyper mentions two views regard the red, the first is that it has a divine power, the second was that it was a sign, comparable to the bread and wine. This theme is take up in the next chapter.