A world engulfed in the darkness of sin needs the light of God’s people shining brightly and consistently, demonstrating the truth and pointing others to it. Noah’s life of holiness, patience, and perseverance was a lonely but bright light in an extremely dark world.
As we come to Genesis 6, you might need to hold on to your hat, because God’s Word just might turn upside down some things you have believed.
In the fifth chapter of Genesis, we have the genealogy of Adam all the way down to Noah. I take this genealogy literally. There’s absolutely no reason not to take it that way. In fact, this genealogy is identical to the genealogies presented in 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke chapter 3.
These genealogies clearly indicate something that might surprise you. They reveal that mankind has been around for 6,000 years.
When we put the biblical timeline together, Abraham lived 2,000 years after Adam. And Abraham lived about 2,000 years before the birth of Christ. And the Lord Jesus was born 2,000 years ago. So, do the math, and you get 6,000 years of human history.
The Bible tells us in Genesis chapter 1 that Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day of creation week. And in that same week, the earth and universe were created as well. The universe, then, is also around 6,000 years old.
Wait a second. The academic world claims that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. They arrive at that number, not from Genesis, but largely through radiometric dating of rocks and meteorites. That measures the decay of certain atoms and the presence of certain minerals to determine how old something had to be to have decayed that much or to have formed those minerals.
But the inconsistency of this measurement tool was proven by the volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. Scientists measured the radioactive decay in the lava rock from that volcano after it cooled, and it measured 350,000 years old. And the minerals found in the rocks were dated at 2.4 million years old; but they had been formed in the volcanic eruption, just ten years earlier.
Radiometric dating was off by as much as 2.4 million years. So, when people say the earth has to be 4.5 billion years old, they’re using a measuring system that can’t account for something unusual happening in time—like a volcanic eruption or some other catastrophe.
And the greatest catastrophe, known as the worldwide flood of Noah’s time, is about to be described here in Genesis chapter 6.
But first, we’ve got another issue to settle. Genesis 6 begins by taking us back in time to set the stage for God’s judgment.
We read here in verse 1:
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. (Genesis 6:1-4)
There are basically three views regarding the identity of these “sons of God” who produced the Nephilim, or giants, in the land.
One view says the “sons of God” were fallen angels who cohabited with women and produced a race of half-angel, half-human beings.
The problem with this view is that angels aren’t created with the ability to procreate. Matthew 22:30 says angels aren’t given in marriage. That doesn’t just mean angels don’t get married; it means they cannot fulfill one of the primary functions of marriage, which is reproduction.
Angels weren’t created with the ability to produce sperm, or seed—DNA that could unite with a woman’s DNA to produce a child. This view belongs in the comic books, as far as I’m concerned.
Another view is that the “sons of God” were godly descendants of Seth’s line in the family tree, but they married ungodly women. It’s hard for me to imagine that godly men suddenly started marrying ungodly women, although that can certainly happen.
The third view, which I believe, is that demons were involved here. The phrase “sons of God” is found in the Old Testament for angelic beings (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7), and I believe it’s used here for angelic beings who fell in rebellion against God, along with their leader, Satan.
Ever since then, they’ve attempted to corrupt mankind in any way they can. In 2 Peter 2:4-5 and in verses 6-7 in the book of Jude, demons are related to this incident here in Genesis chapter 6, so something is taking place in which the demons are involved.
I believe fallen angels literally possessed unbelieving mankind to a large extent, intending to corrupt their offspring with a demonic, wicked character.
The offspring of these demon-possessed men included “Nephilim,” or giants. You can understand the word Nephilim to be a reference to physical giants or a reference to famous men or mighty leaders—frankly, they might have been both.
Mankind is totally corrupted by demonic influence and immorality. Moses writes in verse 5:
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Verse 6 tells us, “The Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” And at the end of verse 7 God Himself says, “I am sorry that I have made them.”
When you and I say, “I’m sorry” about something; it’s usually because we did something wrong. Did God do something wrong here when He created mankind? No. We’re simply being shown that God has true feelings of grief over the sinful condition of mankind, not because He made a mistake, but because sin has so thoroughly polluted the human race. And He’s truly sorry about that. He takes no pleasure in wickedness or judgment.
But God isn’t surprised here. He’s not panicking. God has never called an emergency meeting of the Trinity. God knew this would happen from eternity past, but it still grieved His heart.
Here in Genesis 6, we’re shown that humanity has become so vile and wicked that God will send judgment in the form of a flood that will cover the earth.
But God also introduces us to His gracious plan of deliverance. And let me say that throughout human history, God’s plans usually involve a person. And in this case, that person’s name is Noah.
So, Genesis 6 introduces us to Noah. Let me point out a couple of characteristics of this godly man.
First, Noah chose purity even though he was surrounded by immorality. Noah’s culture won’t turn off the faucet of immorality; it’s flooding the earth. But in verse 9 we read that Noah is above reproach and that he “walked with God.”
Noah is just one little light in the darkness, but he’s going to let his little light shine. My friend, your culture does not have to rewrite your character.
Second, Noah was obedient even though God’s plans were confusing. Noah will be told to build a boat 500 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 50 feet high; this isn’t a little rowboat. In fact, it’s going to take him 120 years to build it. He’s never seen an ark; he’s never seen a flood. And the plans for this boat don’t call for a rudder or sails. So, who’s going to guide this thing? God will.
The last verse in Genesis 6 is perhaps the most remarkable: “Noah . . . did all that God commanded him.”
I don’t know about you, but I want to be a lot more like Noah. We’ll take a closer look at him in our next study.