What is the antediluvian period?

Question
What is the antediluvian period?
Answer
Antediluvian means “before the flood.” It refers to the entire period before the flood recorded in Genesis 6-8. The saints who lived before Noah’s time are called antediluvian patriarchs. These are those such as Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Enoch, and Methuselah, etc. (cf. Gen. 4-5).

Jesus alluded to the antediluvian period when he spoke of the signs of his second coming. Matthew records:

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:37-39).

(Please see “Predicting the Second Coming” below.)

Jesus also refers back to the creation account(s). In Matthew 19:4-5, he tied the chronological (Gen. 1:2-2:4) and the topical accounts (Gen. 2:5-25) of creation together and used them to teach his audience. Referring to Genesis 1:27; 5:2 Jesus said, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female." And referring to Genesis 2:24, he continued saying, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

Thus Jesus himself confirms the existence of the antediluvian period. Luke, the historian, refers to this period (Luke 3:36-38), as does Paul (Adam; cf. Rom. 5:12, 14; 1 Cor. 15:22, 45; 1 Tim. 2:13-14), the writer of Hebrews (Heb. 11:7), Peter (Noah; 2 Pet. 2:5), and Jude (Jude 1:14). The antediluvian period is literal history.

The antediluvian period was a unique time in human history. Some individuals had very long life spans. For example, Enoch lived 365 years, Lamech 777, Mahalalel 895, Enos 905, Kenan 910, Seth 912, Adam 930, and Noah 950. It was the time of the Nephilim (cf. Gen. 6:4; Num. 13:33) who were more than likely very large fierce warriors. (Please see “Nephi-What?” below.) During this time some initially “began to call on the name of the LORD” (cf. Gen. 4:26), but ultimately, as time passed, wickedness grew to such an extent (cf. Gen. 6:5) that God flooded the entire earth (Gen. 6-8).

Related Topics

Predicting the Second Coming
Nephi-What?
A Universal or Regional Flood?
Did it rain before Noah's Flood?
Why did the Ark require pitch?
The Ark and the Temple?
Did man eat meat before the Fall and the Flood?
Baptism in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2?
Noah, Baptism, and Hell - 1 Peter 3:18-22

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).