How Many Human Generations Are There from Adam Until Today?

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Introduction

I’ve heard this title’s question many times over the years. Can we even get an estimate?

We are certain from Genesis 5 and 10 that Noah was in the tenth generation from Adam because all the genealogical data is given from father to son.1 After Noah, we split into three sons (Japheth, Shem, and Ham), and from there, to everyone today.

The full genealogy from Adam to Jesus was 76 clearly listed generations, and from Noah to Jesus, it was 66.

In Luke 3, we even have a full biblical lineage from Adam to Jesus through notable progenitors, like Noah, Shem, Abraham, David, and Joseph (Mary’s husband), who was only the supposed father of Jesus (Luke 3:23). The full genealogy from Adam to Jesus was 76 clearly listed generations, and from Noah to Jesus, it was 66.

Given the age of creation, can we know the approximate generation number from Adam to people today? Actually, we can in some instances. The Queen of England (Queen Elizabeth II) has a lineage that goes back to Noah—which is fairly well-known based on the six Anglo-Saxon royal houses (Anglia, Kent, Lindsey, Mercia, Northumbria, and Wessex).2 In fact, this is the case with many royal houses in Europe. Though this lineage is known, it is deemphasized and largely ignored in our secular culture that insists in recent times that we are the progeny of animals instead of Noah.

Bodie’s Short Lineage

Interestingly, I am aware of many of my genealogical lists through my father and my mother. Through one of my mother’s lineages, my genealogy connects to the same lineage as the Queen of England. She’s my cousin—a distant cousin. I am in no position to ever inherit that throne!

My closest direct ancestor with the Queen of England and her descendants is King Edward I, the Longshanks, who lived in the 1200s and early 1300s. (For the Hollywood crowd, this was the “bad guy” in the movie Braveheart.)

Where the Queen’s line continues with Edward I’s eldest son Edward II, my family line diverges with another of his sons, Thomas of Brotherton, the first Earl of Norfolk. In the list below, I split with the Queen between the 62nd and 63rd generation.

  1. Adam (Created by God and placed in the Garden of Eden in 4004 BC; d. 3074 BC)3 and Eve
  2. Seth
  3. Enosh
  4. Cainan
  5. Mahalalel
  6. Jared
  7. Enoch
  8. Methuselah
  9. Lamech
  10. The ancestors below this lived post-Flood.
  11. Noah (King at the Flood; 2348 BC; b. 2948 BC, d. 1998 BC)
  12. Japheth (Iafet also known as Sceaf)4
  13. Bedwig (a son after the dispersion at Babel)
  14. Hwala
  15. Hrathra
  16. Itermon
  17. Heremod
  18. Scealdwea
  19. Beaw
  20. Taetwa
  21. Geat (founder of the Geats (Gēatas/Gotar/Goths) in southern Sweden)
  22. Godwulf
  23. Fin (Finn)
  24. Frithuwulf
  25. Freawine
  26. Frealaf
  27. Frithuwald
  28. Woden (Othin/Odin/Oden/Bodo) (King of most Northern Europe; b. AD 256 and d. AD 3005; married to Frea/Fria)6
  29. Baeldaeg (Beldeg/Baeldeagus)
  30. Brand (Brond/Brandius/Brando)
  31. Freothogar (Frithogar/Freodegarus/Fredegar)
  32. Freawine (Freawin/Friairin)
  33. Wig (Wigga)
  34. Gewis (Gerisius/Gewisch)
  35. Elsa (Esla I)
  36. Elesa (Esla II or Elisius))
  37. Cerdic (Cherdick/Cerdick; First King of the West Saxons; d. AD 534)
  38. Cynric (Chenrick/Kenrick; d. AD 560)
  39. Caewlin (Ceolin/Cheoline; deposed in AD 592)
  40. Cuthwine (Cuthwin)
  41. Cutha (Cuth)
  42. Ceolwald (Chelward)
  43. Cenred (Kenred)
  44. Ingild (Ingrils)
  45. Eoppa
  46. Eafa (Efa)
  47. Ealhmund (Elmund/Alemund)
  48. King Ecbryht (Egbert; King of Wessex, i.e., West Saxons, from AD 802–839)
  49. King Aethelwulf (Æthelwulf/Ethelwolf; AD 839 began reigning7)
  50. King Alfred The Great (Æfred; b. AD 848; first overlord of all England; began reign AD 872, d. AD 900/901)
  51. King Edward I The Elder
  52. King Edmund I The Magnificent b. AD 921
  53. King Aedgar The Pacific b. AD 944
  54. King Æthelred II The Unready b. AD 968
  55. King Edmund II Ironside b. AD 988
  56. King Edward The Outlaw or Exile
  57. Princess/Queen Margaret (daughter of Edward; m. to King Malcolm II Caenmor of Scotland) d. 1093
  58. Queen Eadgith/Edith (Matilda of Scotland) (Daughter of Margaret and Malcolm III) b. 1080 married King Henry I Beauclerc [b. 1068], son of William the Conqueror)
  59. Queen Matilda Lady of the English Empress b. 1102, d. 1167, m. Henry V of the Holy Roman Empire and Emperor of Germany
  60. King Henry II Plantagenet b. 1133
  61. King John Lackland Plantagenet (brother of King Richard I The Lion-Heart [Coeur de Lion], b. 1157) b. 1166
  62. King Henry III Plantagenet b. 1207
  63. King Edward I Plantagenet Longshanks b. 12398
  64. Thomas of Brotherton Plantagenet 1st Earl of Norfolk b. 1300 – Alice de Hales/Halys Countess of Norfolk b. 1302
  65. Margaret Marshall Plantagenet b. ~1322 – John de Segrave 4th Baron Segrave b. 1320
  66. Elizabeth Segrave 5th Baroness Segrave b. 1339 – Lord John de Mowbray 4th Baron Mowbray b. 1340
  67. Joan/Jane De Mowbray b. 1363 – Sir Thomas de Grey b. 1359
  68. Matilda Maud Grey b. 1382 – Sir Robert Ogle, Warden of Roxborough Castle b. 1406
  69. Owen Ogle 2nd Baron Ogle b. 1440 – Eleanor Hilton b. ~1446
  70. Ralph Ogle 3rd Baron b. 1468 – Margaret Gascoigne b. 1473
  71. Dorothy Ogle/Lady Grey b. ~1490 – Thomas Forster b. 1485
  72. Margaret (Forester) Heron b. ~1505 – Sir William Heron of Ford b. ~1505
  73. Elizabeth (Carr) Heron b. ~1520 – Thomas Carr b. ~1520
  74. Agnes (Carr) Stackhouse b. ~1534 – James Stackhouse b. ~1520-1530
  75. John Stackhouse b.1550 – Ellen Clark b. 1576
  76. Thomas Stackhouse b. 1601 – Anna (?) Stackhouse b. 1611
  77. Ellen (Stackhouse) Cowgill b. 1639 – Ralph Cowgill b. 1635
  78. John Cowgill b. 1665 – Rachel (Baker) Bunting b. 1669 Born in Gigglewick, West Riding, Yorkshire, England died in Dover, Delaware;
  79. All others below this are born in America.
  80. Henry Cowgill I b. ~1704 – Mary Boulton b. 1706
  81. Henry Cowgill II b. ~1735 – Ruth Johnson b. ~1740
  82. James Cowgill b.1762 – Charlotte Holloway b. 1776
  83. Abigail (Cowgill) Scott b. 1796 – William Scott b. 1796
  84. Lewis Cowgill Scott b. 1824 – Anne (Montgomery) DeWitt b. 1834
  85. Abigail (Scott) Tucker b. 1878 – James Edward Tucker b. 1872
  86. Ary Abigail (Tucker) Vincent b. 1900 – John Edmond Vincent b. 1892
  87. Aryetta Maxine (Vincent) Duvendack b. 1922 – Richard Warren Duvendack b. 1921 9
  88. Cheryl Elaine (Duvendack) Hodge b. 1949 – James Alfred Hodge b. 1950
  89. Bodie Hodge b. 1974 – Renee Ham b. 1978 (in Australia)

There are 21 generations between Queen Elizabeth II and Edward I the Longshanks; there are 25 generations between Bodie and Edward I the Longshanks. Subtract two to put us at the level of first cousins (19 and 23), and this makes the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, my 42nd cousin (by the common usage method (CU) not the consanguinity method [e.g., degrees and removals]).10

By this lineage, Adam is my 84th great grandfather, and I am in the 87th generation from Adam. Noah is my 74th great grandfather. There are 66 generations from Noah to Christ, and there are 77 generations from Noah to me. Subtract two from each side (64 and 75) to get to the level of first cousins. By tallying these up, we arrive at our Lord Jesus Christ being my 139th cousin (CU) in this lineage.

Is This Lineage Feasible?

Is it feasible to have 66 generations from Noah to Jesus per Luke 3 (who lived 2000 years ago) and only 77 from Noah to me?

Is it feasible to have 66 generations from Noah to Jesus per Luke 3 (who lived 2000 years ago) and only 77 from Noah to me? There are a few things to consider.

Biblical record of Israelite rapid generations in Egypt

When the Israelites were in Egypt, God gave them explosive growth just as He promised (Genesis 13:16, 22:17, 26:4; Exodus 1:7, 12, 20). In only four generations in Egypt, they were living contemporaneously with the tenth generation and beyond. For example, Moses was part of the fourth generation in Egypt on his father’s side (third generation by his mother Jochebed’s side per Exodus 6:20 and Number 26:59), and Joshua was the 10th generation (1 Chronicles 7:22–27)!

The point is that God gave the Israelites far more generations beginning at this point. This is actually a blessing from God, and the increase was clearly shown. By the time the Israelites entered the Promised Land, the population had grown to more than 1.2 million people, if you presume there are about the same number of females as males over the age of 20, in Numbers 1:1–3 and 2:32.

So the lineage of Jesus, which comes through the Israelites rapid growth period, is far more than typical gentiles—especially of that time (the Egyptians wanted to slow their growth if you recall). This rapid Israeli growth explains why there are more generations from Noah to Jesus down the line of Shem than there are generations from Japheth to me (Bodie).

Lineage Factors

Another reason for 77 generations from Noah in my lineage is that lineage also heavily depends on generation times in Japheth’s line—their ages for instance, particularly the age at which their respective sons were born.

Did you know that one of the presidents of the United States who was born in the 1700s still has two living grandsons as of the writing of this paper (2019)? John Tyler was the President who held office from 1841–1845 and was born in 1790. John Tyler had a son named Lyon Gardiner Tyler Sr. when he was 63 in 1853. Lyon Tyler Sr. had sons in 1924 (Lyon Tyler Jr.) and 1928 (Harrison Tyler), when he was 71 and 75 respectively. These living grandsons are only the third generation!11

Consider this in regards to Japheth and his progeny’s early lineage. We know Shem’s lineage includes ages of birth and death, but not Japheth’s lineage. Did Japheth and his early descendants live longer than Shem’s descendants for some time? It’s possible.

One historical account has Japheth’s grandson Togarmah living 600 years.12 Yet Togarmah was living at the same time as Shem (Genesis 11:10–11), his great-uncle who lived 600 years (502 after the Flood). Shem was in the first generation after Noah where Togarmah was the third generation after Noah. Shem’s grandson Salah, who was in the third generation after Noah, however, lived only 433 years (Genesis 11:14–15).

Did Japheth and Bedwig13 still live upwards of 700–800 years? It’s possible. Did they have children much later as Noah did (e.g., at age 500)? It’s possible. If so, then with these considerations, 77 generations could work out rather reasonably.

Possible Gap

Gaps in genealogies can easily occur outside of Scripture.

A gap will not give millions of years, so don’t bother even considering it. Gaps in genealogies can easily occur outside of Scripture. These lists are not inerrant like Genesis 5, 11; 1 Chronicles 1–2; and Luke 3. The gaps in Matthew were intentional and without chronological data like Genesis 5 and 11.

But in my lineage’s case, it is possible there are gaps or errors (one possible gap is mentioned below). Ancient historical sources outside the Bible can err and get convoluted and should always be treated delicately.

Bodie’s Long Lineage

In my research, one alleged gap actually gives a genealogy, albeit longer, that still traces my lineage to Noah. I call this my “long chronology.” The following 16 “missing progenitors” from the genealogy above are between #11 Japheth and #12 Bedwig:

  1. Javan (Jove)
  2. Jupiter Dodanaeus (Dodanim/Rodanim)/Dardanus m. Batia (wife)14
  3. Erichthonius
  4. Tros
  5. Ilus
  6. Laomedon
  7. Priam, High King of Troy15
  8. Troan (wife) – m. Munon, one of the collective Kings of Troy
  9. Tror
  10. Loridi
  11. Einridi
  12. Vingethor
  13. Vingener
  14. Moda
  15. Magi
  16. Sceaf (Seskef)

This lineage adds a sub-lineage which can also be documented between the generations from Noah to Sceaf. This line presumes Sceaf is not a variant name of Japheth but a name of a person far down the line of Japheth.16 By this lineage, Adam is my 100th great grandfather, and Noah is my 90th great grandfather.

With this line, there are 66 generations from Noah to Christ, and there are 93 generations from Noah to Bodie minus two from each side (64 and 91) to get to the level of first cousins. By adding these up, we arrive at our Lord Jesus Christ being my 155th cousin (based on the CU method).17

Again, there remain 21 generations between Queen Elizabeth II and Edward I the Longshanks; there are 25 generations between Edward I the Longshanks and me (Bodie Hodge). Subtract two to put us at the level of first cousins (19 and 23), and the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, is my 42nd cousin (CU method). So this doesn’t change.

What Can We Know for Sure?

Outside of the historical documentation in Scripture, we need to be cautious.

Outside of the historical documentation in Scripture, we need to be cautious. In either lineage, I go back to Noah and Adam. Of course, all people after the Flood go back to Noah and Adam, according to God’s Word. But this effort gave me something tangible and two potential lineages. To a history buff like myself, this is exciting.

So about how many generations are there from Adam to people today? In these two lines, I have a range from 87 to 103 generations—or 88 to 104 if you count my children. Both are reasonable, given what we know, and useful for approximating others’ lineages. But I’m not absolutely firm on either one of them.

Bear in mind that if you are in the line of Israelites who had massive growth quickly, your generations could easily be more. And some cultures have quick generation times (e.g., Afghanistan even in modern times). Quick generation times can increase the number of total generations. In the case of former President Tyler’s grandsons who are still alive, it may be fewer, considering his family’s case in the last 230 years.

I encourage others to study their own ancestry. Perhaps you too can find some fascinating details of your heritage and even come up with numbers on your own. After all, this is but one lineage on my grandmother’s side. I have other lineages that I am still exploring.

Learning that we all go back to one man (Noah and ultimately Adam) only 4000 or so years ago is a great way to realize that we’re all One Race and One Blood with the same sin problem.

Noah had his Ark to be mercifully spared from the judgment of the Flood, and we all have Jesus Christ, the foreshadowed Ark of salvation to spare us from the judgment to come. Find out more about the first Adam’s problem and the second Adam’s solution that began in Genesis.

Footnotes

  1. Paul F. Taylor, “An Extra Cainan?” in Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions: Volume 1 (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2010), https://answersingenesis.org/bible-timeline/genealogy/an-extra-cainan/.
  2. See my genealogy below that shares these.
  3. The genealogy of Adam to Japheth comes from Genesis 5. The date for Adam and Eve’s creation comes from James Ussher, The Annals of the World, revised and updated by Larry and Marion Pierce (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003), 17–18.
  4. Most believe the name Sceaf is a variant name of Japheth after the event that occurred at Babel in Genesis 11:1–9. Name changes were very common after the confusion; by this, his son Bedwig is merely another son after the split occurred at Babel. Other rare proposals are that (1) Bedwig was Magog or that (2) Sceaf is Ashkenaz, where Sceaf is not Japheth but Ashkenaz, the son of Japheth with a variant name. Though these possibilities are not as common, I made the main connection that Sceaf is Japheth.
  5. James Anderson, Royal Genealogies (London: James Bettenham Publisher, 1732), 733. (Certain dates were inserted between Woden and King Alfred the Great.)
  6. From Bedwig to Woden (and beyond), there are several patriarchal genealogies recorded of the Norwegians, Danes, Icelanders, and English Saxons, as found in several ancient documents: Asserius, De Rebus Gestis Alfredi; British Museum Cotton Manuscript Tiberius. A; Vetustissima Regum Septentrionis Series Langfethgatal Dicta; Fabii Ethelwerdi Chronicorum Libri Quattuor; Prose Edda; and Nennius, Historia Brittonum; as well as the Six Royal Houses of the Anglo-Saxons: House of Lindsey, House of Kent, House of Mercia, House of Northumbria, House of East Anglia, and the House of Wessex.
  7. According to James Anderson, Royal Genealogies (739), King Ecbryht died in 836 and his son Aethelwulf began to reign in AD 836 as well.
  8. From Woden to King Edward I (Longshanks) is in common with the current Queen of England (Elizabeth II) and was obtained in chart form from Windsor Castle (home of the Queen) as tallied from Ancestors.co.uk; Can also be found in James Anderson, Royal Genealogies, 1732, pp. 733–738.
  9. The remaining ancestors from Thomas, the Earl of Norfolk to the present can be tallied through Ancestry.com.
  10. Common usage method finds the closest set of first cousins and then merely counts cousins down the line(s) in question. It’s easy to use for long lineage comparisons, which is why I prefer it here.
  11. Curt Mills, “President John Tyler Has 2 Living Grandsons,” US News and World Report, February 20, 2017, https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2017-02-20/president-john-tyler-born-in-1790-still-has-2-living-grandsons. Though this paper was in 2017, these two grandsons were verified to still be living in 2019.
  12. “Early Days: Chapter 1, Concise History of the Georgians,” The Georgian Chronicle, translated by Robert Bedrosian, accessed September 20, 2019, http://rbedrosian.com/gc2.htm.
  13. A son born to Japheth after the events occurred at Babel. He was not listed in Genesis 10 as coming out of Babel with a new language and so he was born to Japheth later—how much later is the question being discussed.
  14. Dodanim/Dardanus to Priam is recorded by ancient historians Homer, Virgil, and Hesiod; for graphical depictions and discussion of this lineage, see M. Gascoigne, Forgotten History of the Western People (Camberley, England: Anno Mundi Books, 2002), 91–93.
  15. Priam to Sceaf (presuming Sceaf is disassociated from Japheth) is found in Brian Tompsett, Icelandic Prose Edda, Directory of the Royal Genealogical Data, University of Hull. From Japheth, the long and short genealogies deviate and return with Sceaf and Bedwig. For graphical depictions and discussion of this lineage, see M. Gascoigne, Forgotten History of the Western People (Camberley, England: Anno Mundi Books, 2002), 126–127.
  16. Perhaps, as many people do, Sceaf was a person named for his ancestor Japheth (Sceaf). It’s possible then that these are two separate lineages were convoluted.
  17. Cousins in this calculation is strictly by counting (e.g., common usage method), not by the consanguinity method (e.g., degrees and removals).

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