Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wickedness in the World – Genesis 6 vs. 1 - 8

Someone sent me this wonderful poem (original author unknown) the other day that I want to share with you and keep in your mind of God’s promise and hope in Jesus:

I have in my hands two boxes, which God gave me to hold.
He said, "Put all your sorrows in the black box and all your joys in the gold."
I heeded His words and in the two boxes, both my joys and sorrows I stored. 
But though the gold became heavier each day, the black was as light as before.
With curiosity, I opened the black, as I wanted to find out why.
And I saw, in the base of the box, a hole which my sorrows had fallen out of.
I showed the hole to God and mused, "I wonder where my sorrows could be!" He smiled a gentle smile and said, "My child, they're all here with me...”
I asked God, why He gave me the boxes … why the gold and the black with the hole?
"My child, the gold is for you to count your blessings and the black is for you to let go."

GEN 5: 1 – 2…  When man began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

They increased in number just as God had commended but here we see that it started taking on a negative ungodly view.  It also leads to increasing wickedness on the earth.  The problem does not start with the coming together of the sons of God and the daughters of man but is intensified by it.

GEN 5: 3…. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

Well at first I interpreted this verse to mean that this was the reason God started to decreased the age of mankind and that it means that human being lived no longer than 120 years. While it is true that this is one of the interpretations that some expert have, one must bear in mind that some of those born after this period exceeded this age (e.g. Abraham).  So upon further study it actually seems to mean that God gave humanity 120 years to change their ways before the flood was to come. Here we learn a different thing about God that previously in Genesis we have not seen – God is patient. How does this apply to us? Well time is running out for us too as we all eventually die therefore we need to turn out eyes upon Jesus and not let go.

GEN 5: 4… The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

In Genesis 3 we discovered the heavenly being called the Cherub and now we are encountering a Nephilim.  So what is a Nephilim? Well this I can tell you, this one tiny word can give you an epic headache.  Well not so much the “what” but the “how”.  There are so many different opinions out there and arguments and counter arguments that it hurt my head to think about.  I will only be listing the different interpretations and not going into depth about the arguments and counter arguments of each.  If you are interested Google Nephilim – there is so much on the internet.  I will however share which argument I tend to believe in after all my research.

Firstly what is a Nephilim?

1.    The offspring of the “sons of God” and “the daughters of men” as Nephilim existed before and after the flood
2.    Later in Ezekiel they become known as uncircumcised men that went to the grave with their weapons of war (i.e. wicked men / an indication of how wicked the earth had become)
3.    In Amos they are described as reaching the height of cedar trees. (I.e. a powerful race of giants).  These are the giants who will come to inhabit Canaan in Numbers (time of Moses) and also the Giants in the time of David.

However, in Genesis it is a bit ambiguous.  The sentence read as a whole in context makes it unclear who the “sons of God” are.  Therefore, experts have the following interpretations of this verse (some of them are weird):

1.    The Nephilim were already on the earth and created a powerful race by mixing with the daughters of man.

2.    Satan was trying to thwart God’s plan (as he always does) and so tried to create giants in order to overtake God’s chosen people. There are several ways he could have done this:
a.    Brought aliens to impregnate woman thereby giving birth to Giants aka Nephilim
b.   Fallen Angels (demons) or satan himself possessed men and caused them to breed with woman thereby mixing the correct DNA
c.   Fallen Angels themselves took the form of man to breed with humans

3.    Men were naturally large due to large amounts of oxygen at that time (even huge dragonfly fossils have been found).  Then for some reason one race became extra-large and these already giants were called the “sons of God” and they married the daughters of normal men

4.    Kings, princes or other rulers – The Bible sometimes calls kings and other leaders “sons of God.”  Or “children of the Most High”

5.    Offspring of Angels – A number of early sources (i.e. the Dead Sea Scrolls) often refer to the “sons of heaven” as angels and a few early Christian writers agreed with this view thus creating a superhuman race.  In fact the words “the sons of God is used only twice outside the Genesis chapter and in both instances (Job 1:6 and Job 2:1) the phrase explicitly references angels.  However in Matthew, Jesus did say that angels have never taken wives – but does not specify if fallen angels have taken wives. Anyway it brings us to point 6.

6.    Offspring of Seth – This is the view I tend to agree with most. Seth was the child of Adam and Eve that began to call on the name of God (it is also his line that gave birth to Noah, Abraham and eventually Jesus i.e. the chosen line) and his descendants were the ones that became repentant of sin. The assumption is that they had much wisdom (unlike Cain and his descendants).  Therefore the interpretation is that Seth’s offspring are referred to as the “sons of God” and some revelled and married outside the faith thereby having offspring with the “daughters of men” who were that of Cain’s descendants hence mixing the two tribes and strengthening DNA so they produced giants.  In actual fact other commentaries and translations may read “sons of nobles” or “sons of rulers” or “sons of judges. Also some translations actually say the word “wives” which may suggest more than one wife (i.e. polygamy).  So this view summed up actually means the unholy alliance between God’s people and idol worshipers and it also brought great evil.

So how tall were these giants anyway?  Well from several bones and skeletons found around the world and from the Bible itself (see also Deut. 3:11), experts put these giants at between 9 – 16 feet (2.5 – 5 metres). Then the question still is were 2.5 metre men the exception or were people really big in those days.  Maybe 5 metres were the giants and 2.5 metres were normal men.

As I said this one word Nephilim gave me a headache of epic proportions. Anyway there are some things we will never know but they are not all that important. There is however very important things that God does want us to know and that is in the Word of God. So let’s continue.

Though it would be difficult to determine which of these views may be correct, it is clear that the kind of relationship described here involved some form of grievous sexual perversion wherein the “sons of God” took any woman they wanted.  The verse further implies more than 1 wife hence Polygamy as up to that point man had only taken 1 wife.

It is also important to note that this is a similar situation to that of the original sin:


In both cases something good in God’s creation is used in a sinful and disobedient way against God, with drastic consequences.

GEN 6: 5-8… The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain (deeply troubled). So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and the creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

This concisely describes the worldwide intensity and extensiveness of human wickedness.
God is grieved over his creation which he at first saw was “very good” but which is now filled with sin.  Only through Jesus were we washed clean of the sin and seen once again as “very good”.
Only Noah stands apart from the previous mentioned sin.  I am not saying that Noah was perfect but he did find favour in God’s eyes (perhaps it was his faith – we’ll learn more about Noah in our next study)

Anyway, God was so grieved that by the time of Noah, that He decided to wipe out all of humanity and try to start over with the one remaining godly family – the family of Noah.  Not only was mankind to be wiped out but animals, birds and every living creature suggests that it was to be a total reversal of God’s creative work.

Imagine if Noah had not found favour with God? What would have happened then? Would God have totally wiped out the whole of humanity and started over from scratch from the Garden of Eden?

So … if God was so grieved he had made humans, then did he regret making us? Well no because God doesn’t make mistakes and doesn’t change his mind (1 Sam 15:29).   Instead he was just expressing sadness and disappointment just like a parent would with a rebellious child.  God never stopped loving us but sin breaks God’s heart – it always has and always will but it’s our willingness to repent and our faith that makes God find favour with us.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Adam’s Descendants – Genesis 5 vs. 1 – 32

I would like to begin, with a scripture that has been on my heart lately.  This scripture is from Proverbs 3 vs. 3 – 4: Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 

Wonderful passage isn’t it?  What does it mean to you? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand - Genealogies.

Before we begin however I do want to draw your attention to the most important part of Genesis 5.  While we chat about genealogies and ages, I need you to keep in the back of your mind that the main part of this passage is that these people actually lived (regardless of how long) and they actually died as God promised they would.

Ok now some of you are going to find this surprising but I absolutely love genealogies!! I don’t know why but for some reason I love to see who was related to whom and in what way.  Like Lamech descendant from Cain’s line and Enoch descendant from Seth’s line were distant cousins and maybe even born around the same time. 

The Bible contains several of these genealogies / list of ancestors.  It is important to mention again as I have in a previous blog that the word ‘begat’ or ‘father of’ often meant ‘father’ but could also mean ‘fathered a descendant of’ and therefore sometimes there is a possibility of it skipping a generation or two as they sometimes only indicated heads of family or famous people.  That is why the same record from two different places in the Bible will differ slightly. So in saying this we cannot take the family tree at face value but I think it was a pretty close record most of the time.

So this brings us to the question of why genealogies are included in the Bible? Well there are a few reasons for this:

(1)   At first there was no form of writing and the genealogies were passed down verbally from generation to generation along with the ancestors’ stories.   So the genealogies formed an outline and way to remember all the stories.
(2)   Later when writing came to be, it would have been recorded as a way to show that the coming messiah, Jesus Christ, would be born into the line of Abraham.
(3)   It is also important to mention that each individual person is important to God.  Therefore God refers to them by name and mentions the age that respective individual lived to.

GEN 5 1-32 … This is the written account of Adam’s line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man.”

Isn’t it amazing that everyone is related to Adam and Eve.  So technically mankind has the same blood and are very distant relatives – hence we are all brother and sisters in Christ.

When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.

Most of genesis 5 will take the same form / layout in each paragraph and the pattern is set out as follows with a few variations: When “A” had lived “X” years, he fathered “B”.  After “B” was born, “A” lived “Y” years and had other sons and daughters.  Altogether, “A” lived “Z” years (Z = X + Y) and then he died.

Next let’s talk about a few of the variations:

In this paragraph the slight variation is the words “in his own likeness.”  So Seth was created in the likeness of Adam which implies once more that Seth was a man who walked with God and thereby Seth’s line is portrayed more positively than Cain’s line.

When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. And after he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Seth lived 912 years, and then he died.

When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. And after he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died.

When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. And after he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Kenan lived 910 years, and then he died.

When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. And after he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Mahalalel lived 895 years, and then he died.

When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. And after he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died.

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

This is another differentiation in the sentence structure.

“Enoch walked with God” thereby enjoying an on-going intimacy with God, possibly similar to the way God had envisioned it.  This sentence is also in fantastic contrast to Cain’s line.  Remember in the beginning I mentioned that Enoch was probably born around the same time as Lamech.  Can you remember back to our last discussion what Lamech did? He killed a man! But Enoch walked with God. Cain’s line produces another killer in the 7th generation but in Seth’s line it produces Enoch who walked with God.

Then what happened to Enoch?  Well this is an amazing differentiation in the passage structure.  It does not state the Enoch died but actually suggests that Enoch was taken and implies that he did not die!  Where was he taken? Heaven? The Garden of Eden? There are some theories that even states that he was chosen to write down the condemnation and sins of the world?  Numerous apocalyptic writings even mention him as the angel closet to God? We will never know but isn’t it an awesome thought? To be taken by God because of how you walked with him.  WOW! To be such a human being in the eyes of God.

When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. And after he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died.

Methuselah is the oldest recorded here.  By the time he died he could have seen great-grandchildren to the 4th or 5th generation.  Imagine having the family over for Sunday lunch? LOL!!

Anyway given the dates when he lived, he probably died in the year of the flood. Did you know that other near eastern text interestingly before “a flood” attributes even longer lives to earlier generations?

When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.” After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Lamech lived 777 years, and then he died.

After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

At this point the genealogy pattern is broken to explain Noah’s name.  Lameach expects Noah will bring rest and comfort from painful toil of working the soil.

Ok now in summary I want to chat more about how long these people seemed to live.   We have already chatted briefly above about this but let’s now chat in more depth about it.

In Genesis 5 we see people living to huge ages and a question comes to mind … How did these people live so long?!? Well there are a number of thoughts that experts have had surrounding this:

(1)   The human race was still so genetically pure that they had stronger immune systems
(2)   Maybe there was absence of sickness and disease
(3)   They probably had a much healthier diet than us – remember they were vegetarian
(4)   No rain had yet fallen on the earth yet and plants were still watered from waters bellow (or by humans carrying water from a river) so humans had not yet been exposed to harmful cosmic rays
(5)   God gave people longer lives so they would have time to “fill the earth”

Some say these figures can’t be taken at face value and offer other suggestions:

(1)   These are ages listed of family dynasties and not individual men
(2)   These figures could be symbolic
(3)   These figure are encoded with an honorary significance
(4)   These figures are calculated by a different numbering method

We will never truly know and can only guess at the answer but possibly it was a combination of a few of them? Traditionally speaking though the numbers are taken at face value and it appears that something changed, either the cosmology of the earth or physiology of humans (or both), after the flood resulting in a rapid decline in longevity finally stabilising at a ‘normal life span’ in the range of 70 or 80 years. 

But even after all this interesting discussion I must bring us back to the main part of this passage and that is that they actually lived (regardless of how long) and they actually died as God promised they would.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Adam to Noah - Family Tree

Profiles Adam, Eve, Cain, Able

Every so often I will stop to do profiles.  Profiles will just be a summary of the people we have already covered and just an easy point of reference for those who need to refer to it for Bible study.  It will include a few facts about them, a summary of events that took place in their lives, their weaknesses or mistakes and an overview of what we can learn from their lives.  It will also include a section of where in the Bible to find them so that you can refer to future or past blogs to find out more about them in these sections.


Imagine what it must have been like to be the first and only person on earth?  We often get lonely when alone but what would it have been like for Adam who had never known another human being?  Was he a child or adult when he was created? Did he have a childhood? Either way he had to learn to be human on his own as he had to parents or family.  Fortunately God didn’t let him struggle too long before presenting him with an ideal companion and mate, Eve.  Before sin entered the world, their relationship was a complete, innocent and open oneness without a hint of shame.

Where? Garden of Eden
Occupation? Caretaker, gardener, farmer,
Purpose? Told to care for creation and increase in number
Laws given? There was 1 law given to him – don’t eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Summary of Events:

1.    God creates Adam
2.    God places Adam in the Garden of Eden to care for it (first landscape architect)
3.    Adam names all the animals and birds (first zoologist)
4.    Adam sins when tempted
5.    God punishes Adam
6.    God sends Adam out of the Garden of Eden
7.    Cain and Abel are born to Adam and Eve (father of the human race)
8.    Seth is born to Adam and Eve
9.    Was 930 years old when he died

Adam was the first human being and was not born but created by God from the dust of the ground and God breathed the breath of life into him. Adam was the first person made in the image of God, and the first human to share an intimate personal relationship with God. 

Weaknesses and mistakes? (1) Sinned when tempted and in so doing brought sin into the world.  (2) The he avoided responsibility and blamed others (3) chose to hide rather than confront (4) made excuses rather than admit the truth.

Lessons learned from his life? (1) As Adam’s descendants, we are all made in the image of God (2) God wants people who thought free to do wrong, choose instead to love Him (3) We should not blame others for our faults (4) We cannot hide from God

Where to find Adam in the Bible? Genesis 1:26 – 5:5, 1 Chronicles 1:1, Job 31:33, Luke 3:38, Romans 5:14, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45 and 1 Timothy 2:13-14


Even was the first woman and was not born but created by God from part of Adam’s rib.  Therefore she is the only person on earth and in the whole of history to come directly from man.

Where? Garden of Eden
Occupation? Wife, helper and companion to man. Co-manager of Eden. Mother of the human race.
Purpose? Told to support and help her husband and to increase in number
Laws given? There was 1 law given to her – don’t eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Summary of Events:

1.    God creates Eve from one of Adam’s ribs
2.    Eve sins when tempted by satan
3.    God punishes Eve
4.    God sends Eve out of Eden
5.    Cain and Abel are born to Eve and Adam
6.    Seth is born to Eve and Adam

Weaknesses and mistakes? (1) Gave into temptation. (2) Acted impulsively without talking either to God or to her mate (3) Not only sinned but shared her sin with Adam (4) when confronted, blamed others

Lessons learned from her life? (1) Females are also made in the image of God (2) Females are equal to males but just have different roles (3) What God intended marriage to be (4) Human tendency to sin goes back to the beginning of the human race

Where to find Eve in the Bible? Genesis 2:19-4:26


Sibling relationships allow both competition and cooperation.  In most cases, the mixture of loving and fighting eventually creates a strong bond between brother and sisters. In Cain’s case however, his anger and jealously lead to sin.

Where? Near Eden, this was probably lo0cated in present-day Iraq or Iran
Occupation? Farmer, then wanderer

Summary of Events:

1.    First human child born and first to follow his father’s profession, farming
2.    Offered sacrifice to God with the incorrect intentions / heart
3.    Offering was rejected by God
4.    Became angry and jealous of his brother
5.    Was given an opportunity by God to correct his intentions
6.    Anger and jealousy led to sin and Cain killed his brother, Able
7.    Was punished by God by being sent away from his family and his profession
8.    Was cast out of presence of God and became a wonderer
9.    Had a son by the name of Enoch
10. Built a city and became a civilazation

Weaknesses and mistakes? (1) When disappointed, reacted in anger (2) took the negative option even when given the opportunity to correct his actions (3) was the first murderer

Lessons learned from his life? (1) Anger is not necessarily a sin, but action motivated by anger can be sinful. (2) What we offer to God must be from the heart – the best we are and have (3) The consequences of sin may last a lifetime.

Where to find Cain in the Bible? Genesis 4 1-17, Hebrews 11:4, 1 John 3:12, Jude 11


All we know about able is that he was the second child born into the world but the first one to obey God and he was killed by his brother Cain.  Throughout history of the bible Abel is remembered for his obedience and faith and he is called ‘righteous’  He is even the first mentioned in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11.

Where? Near Eden, this was probably lo0cated in present-day Iraq or Iran
Occupation? Shepherd

Summary of Events:

1.    Second human child born
2.    Offered sacrifice to God with the correct intentions / heart
3.    Offering was accepted by God
4.    Killed by his jealous brother

Weaknesses and mistakes? Able might have had an area of weakness but it is not mentioned in the Bible

Lessons learned from his life? (1) God hears those who come to him (2) With the correct heart and intentions we must offer our gifts to God (3) Faith and obedience

Where to find Able in the Bible? Genesis 4:1-8, Matthew 23:35, Luke 11:51, Hebrews 11:4 and 12:24.