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Dear Gramps,
In 2nd Nephi 2:19-21, it states that after Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit that the days of the children of men were “prolonged” and their time was “lengthened” so that they might repent while in the flesh. This is confusing to me, because it appears that , and not longer as stated in the above referenced scriptures. How should one understand the lengthening that is mentioned above?
Will, from Merlin, Oregon

Dear Will,
I don’t know where you get the idea that after the fall the life span of men was shortened rather than prolonged. The use of this phrase does not refer to a comparison of longevity prior to the fall. Prior to the fall Adam had not yet been appointed his reckoning—

But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the time that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. Now I, Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord’s time, which was after the time of Kolob; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning. (Abraham 5:13)

Prior to the fall Adam’s time scale was that of Kolob, the great governing star nearest to the throne of God—

And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob (Abraham 3:4)

So we must interpret 2 Nephi 2:19-21 as saying that the life of men in the days of Adam was made longer than normal in order to give them time to repent. The life span of the anti-diluvial descendants of Adam was indeed much longer than the life span of those that lived after the flood. Adam lived for 930 years after he was expelled from the Garden of Eden. His son, Seth, lived for 912 years. Seth’s son, Canaan lived for 910 years. Canaan’s son, Mahalaleel, lived 895 years. Mahaleel’s son, Jared, lived 962 years. Jared’s son, Enoch, lived 365 years before he was translated. Enoch’s son, Methusaleh, lived 969 years. Methusaleh’s son, Lamech, lived 777 years. Lamech’s son, Noah, lived 950 years. The deluge occurred in the year 2348 BC, when Noah was 600 years old. Those born after the flood had lives much shorter lives than those before the flood. Their life spans rather quickly decreased from the 400 year range of those born immediately after the flood to less than 200 years within a time span of about 300 years (about 2050 BC) after the flood. For instance, Moses, born in 1571 BC, lived to the age of 120 years.

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