A Biblical Population Explosion

(an outtake from Once More, From the Beginning. This is one of the bits that didn’t make it into the book.)

When Cain murdered Abel, God broke up the First Family, sending him to slither away, a fugitive and vagabond.

For the next several thousand years Eve’s family, split as they were, devoted their attention most enthusiastically to being fruitful and multiplying. Curiously, the long list of family members we’ve been given in the bible includes the names of twenty-three men and only four women. Unless we assume that each woman had an average of six mates, this is a rather serious oversight. As much as they would like to ignore the fact, men are not now, nor have they ever been, able to produce all those generations entirely on their own. But men, it seems, just love to hear the sound of their own names – it so effectively gives the illusion of significant accomplishment.

The tediously exhaustive list of male family members is complete with statistics on their rather impressive life duration, and suggests that men lived more or less 900 years in those days, with Methuselah topping the charts at 969. But in case men were in the habit of exaggerating the duration of their life span then the way they exaggerate their sexual prowess now, perhaps we shouldn’t make the mistake of taking these numbers too seriously. Lacking corresponding statistics about the women, we can assume only that people often lived at least long enough to adequately accomplish the necessary begetting. Anyway, God eventually decided that a hundred and twenty years was long enough for any man to live (although it appears to have been some time before he acted on this decision), and that probably applied to women as well.

He may have been finally starting to see the specter of a potential population explosion looming over the future. Had he only thought ahead a bit, he might not have pushed the fruitful begetting quite so insistently, and the bad weather coming up in the next scene would have been quite unnecessary.


About Wendy Bertsch

I’m a Canadian author—a pragmatic optimist with rather eclectic interests and a pervasive sense of humour. Toronto born and bred, I live by the lake with a motley array of dogs and a cat, all but myself being of unknown origin, in a comfortable old house filled with books. Over a thousand books. Books in every nook and cranny. And now, since there can never be too many books, I'm writing more. Once More, From the Beginning highlights the women in the bible. It's about time! And believe me, they see things quite differently. And in Dodging Shells, you'll meet the irrepressible Tommy, as he fights his way through Italy in World War II. You'll love Tommy. I do. Next? Well, that's a secret yet. Stay tuned... I recently initiated the fledgling Ocean Highway Books, providing editing, formatting and cover design services to authors wishing to self-publish.
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