Genesis 6:1-12 — Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God

Noah’s Ark Under Construction (artist unknown)


When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

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

The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

This is the account of Noah and his family.

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.

Genesis 6:1-12

When human beings began to increase in number on the earth… (v.1) Imagine with me how rapidly the population would multiply in a time when the average lifespan ranged from 777 to 969 years. (Genesis 5) People had that much more time to have children. And of course the parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents, etc. would be included in the population count for a time period, in some cases, approaching 1,000 years. We know that the current worldwide average human lifespan is 69 years. (Data Source World Bank, World Development Indicators) We also know that the average woman worldwide has 4 children. (median average: World Bank, Fertility Rate Data) If we take a conservative approach and multiply the current human lifespan by 10 to 690 years and we say that every 69 years an antediluvian woman (woman before the great flood) had 3 children, that’s 30 children per mother during each lifetime. If that were true, in just nine generations the earth would be populated with more than 5 billion people. (see table below) Now I’m not saying that there were more than 5 billion people on earth before the flood. I’m just pointing out that the population of the world just before the flood was most likely quite substantial, possibly even comparable to our population today.

…the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. (v.2) Some scholars say that the sons of God mentioned here refer to the line of Seth and the daughters of humans refer to the line of Cain. A couple of thoughts. In verse 2 we see the term “sons of God” which is benai elohim in the original Hebrew. And we see it again in verse 4: The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. Every time the term benai elohim is found in the Old Testament it refers to angels. So it could be that these are …the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home. (Jude 1:6) It could be that these are those who God subsequently …has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. (Jude:1:6) It fits because the term Nephilim used in verse 4 means giants. If the sons of God and the daughters of humans were from the lines of Seth and Cain then why were the offspring giants? And verse 4 also refers to the heroes of old, men of renown. It would appear that the offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of humans were some type of giant super beings. Notice too that in verse 4 the phrase and also afterward is used. This explains the giants such as Goliath of Gath who are found after the flood. I’m inclined to agree with the scholars who adhere to this second school of thought. It’s interesting that these sons of God are mentioned twice here in Genesis 6. Could it be that this was the basis for the myths of ancient Greece? Of course we don’t know for certain. I’m looking forward to hearing the full explanation in heaven.

The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. (v.5) According to the FBI, in the U.S., every 34 1/2 minutes someone commits murder, every 6 minutes someone forcibly rapes, every 1 1/3 minutes someone commits a violent robbery, and every 39.1 seconds someone commits an aggravated assault. It’s no wonder that …the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” (v. 3) God’s adjustment to the human lifespan from the 777 to 969 year range to a maximum lifespan of around 120 years was an act of mercy.

The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. (v.6) The Lord’s heart was deeply troubled at the sin and wickedness of man. So He determined that He would wipe mankind from the face of the earth. Unless… unless they would listen to the one who had found favor in God’s sight. Unless they would listen to Noah, the descendant of Enoch, the man who walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (Genesis 5:24) In that culture of evil and wickedness God found a man who desired to walk in His ways. Today there’s so much emphasis on going with the flow of society. If you believe in what God teaches in His word you’re often ridiculed. I just learned about a friend’s experience having lunch at a restaurant in a metropolitan area with another Christian brother: their Bibles were open, they were quietly discussing God’s word, when they noticed that the people at the table next to them were requesting to be moved because they were offended. Just envision what it was like for Noah in his day. It must have been far worse than what we experience today. Yet Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. (v.9) Noah resisted the flow of his culture and lived his life according to God’s word. What if he hadn’t? What if he had crumbled under the pressure of those around him and went with the flow. It may have meant the end of mankind.

Jesus said,

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:37-39)

The people in Noah’s day gave no regard to Noah’s testimony of the building of the ark. Jesus says that in the days before His coming it will be as it was in the days of Noah, people will continue to live their lives as they always have, without regard to Jesus’ testimony. Did you know that one of the most dangerous activities you do, by far, is to drive or ride in a car? Every thirteen minutes someone dies in a car accident in the U.S. That’s just one of the ways that Jesus might come to you or I in the next day, or week, or month. Talk with any family member of someone who’s died recently in a car accident and they’ll tell you, they knew nothing about what would happen until… (Matthew 24:39) How are you living your life? Are you and your friends and family eating, drinking, or marrying without any thought given to when Jesus might return? Follow the example of Noah. Resist the flow of our culture, of what’s on TV, of the news on the internet.

May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways… (1 Kings 8:58)

Live for Him.


Antediluvian Population Growth Table:

1st generation: 2

2nd generation: 32

3rd generation: 482

4th generation: 7,232

5th generation: 108,482

6th generation: 1,627,232

7th generation: 24,408,482

8th generation: 366,127,232

9th generation: 5,491,908,482


References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Biblos

The World Bank

Oxford Journals

FBI Crime Clock

Chuck Smith

Ray Stedman

Jon Courson

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