Some of the fathers of the Church speak of Christ and the saints reigning on earth for a thousand years, once six thousand years of history have passed; some others speak of the antichrist as due to arrive after six thousand years.  Is there any way to reconcile this?

The Roman martyrology gives 5199BC as the date of creation.  As I have mentioned before, Venerable Mary of Agreda says that the Blessed Virgin Mary told her that this date is correct.  On the other hand, calculations of the date of Adam based on taking the genealogies of the bible at face-value yield a date of somewhere around 3950-4000BC.  Is there any way to reconcile these?

We are given no indication by Holy Scripture of how long Adam remained unfallen.  We are likewise not told anything about the nature of the ‘sleep’ into which God casts Adam before the creation of Eve, although the Septuagint calls it an ‘ecstasy’ (ἐπέβαλεν ὁ θεὸς ἔκστασιν ἐπὶ τὸν Αδαμ*.)

Presumably Adam’s life before the Fall was a contemplative life of an exalted kind.  St Ambrose says in his commentary on St Luke’s gospel, chapter 10, that he enjoyed an untroubled beatitude (inoffensa beatitudine perfruebatur).  Presumably, too, the more closely one is united to the eternal God, the less sense one has of time passing.  Could it be that Adam, or both of our first parents, were rapt by God before the Fall into ecstasies that coincided with the passing of hundreds of years in the outside world, somewhat as an angel can stay fixed on the same thought for an indefinite period of time?  If so, that would explain why the martyrology mentions a higher number of years than the bible, the latter reckoning Adam’s age only from the day on which he began to be a mortal man.

In this case, it would be possible to reckon ‘six thousand years’ from two different starting points, thus reaching two different ending points.

It is very striking, as I have also mentioned before, that exactly six thousand years after the date of creation found on the martyrology, the first holy Roman emperor was crowned by the pope, inaugurating a line that lasted a thousand years.  We, or those who immediately follow us, will see what happens when the six thousand years based on a simple reading of the biblical genealogies have certainly finished.

 

* I don’t know why gaps appear in the Greek when one copies and pastes.