The effect of the Flood on human life-spans

Question 124, from SF

The average life-span of people written about in the Old Testament was hundreds of years, yet after the flood life spans dramatically declined. I have heard somewhere that the cause of this is related to a change in the earth’s atmosphere after the flood. Where might I go to find out more on this theory?

The only time average human life-spans are recorded as notably longer is before the story of the great flood. Although there was a much lower life-expectancy in Old Testament times, for the vast majority of the Old Testament, a life-span of 70 years was considered a good age (see, for example Psalm 90, verse 10).

The theory mentioned in the question is often found in creationist literature produced by people who seek to ‘prove’ (more…)

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Pagan quotes in the New Testament

This question is sponsored by Going Public

Question 123, from ‘Sandra’

I was told there were six pagan quotes in the New Testament. Can you list them?

The New Testament was written in Greek, with many of the letters written in a multi-cultural society, so the fact that popular quotations from ‘pagan’ authors appear in the New Testament is unsurprising. What is more surprising for many people is to learn that phrases and words ascribed to Jesus himself often have ‘pagan’ roots and imply that Jesus was aware of contemporary pagan culture.

Examples of this include the word ‘hypocrite’, which was usually used in the context of Greek theatre to mean ‘actor’. It is certainly a Greek (Hellenistic) word that owes nothing to the Jewish culture or faith. In The Cosmopolitan World of Jesus, author Carsten Peter Theide puts forward a thesis that Jesus may have been a theatre-goer, or was exposed to pagan culture in Sepphoris, an almost-exclusively Roman city next to Nazareth (op cit, chapter 2). Similarly studies have been made of gnostic or other religious words (e.g. ‘logos’) which appear in to have been appropriated by the authors of the New Testament.

In Paul’s letters and recorded speeches, there are considerable allusions and references to pagan culture. (more…)