The Significance of Genesis: Noah was different from others; he walked with God (Gen. 6:9-12)

The Significance of Genesis: Noah was different from others; he walked with God.  

(Genesis 6:9-12)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, March 27, 2022

Have you ever been in a room totally dark? I am sure you have. Now suppose that one person had a candle. I have a candle, now I would like to ask someone to turn out the lights. Hold a candle and light it.

It is a little dark isn’t it? Suppose it was dark outside and only my candle was lit. It would be very dark. But my light would stand out. I would be different.

Are you standing out as a Christian?

Dr. Bill Brown was the president of Cedarville University. A while back I heard him tell a story about when he was working on his Ph.D. During this time his wife was working somewhere and the boss wanted her to do something unethical, which lacked integrity. The boss wanted her to change the numbers so the company received more money. During this time, he was not earning much money. His wife’s income was their income. So, she went to her boss and said, “I can’t do this.” He said, “You have to.” She thought about it at her desk and went back again and said, “I can’t do this.” He said, “You have to.” Again, she goes to her desk, calls her husband and he says, “We must obey God and not man.” She tells the boss, “I can’t do this, I must obey God.” He says, “When you are here, I am your God!” So, she said she couldn’t do it and she was fired. Later that day she went with her husband to deliver some manuscripts that he was working on for a professor. He was editing a Greek text working for a professor. The professor asked if she was off work. They explained the situation. He needed an assistant and hired her. She got a job typing what is now the NKJV Bible.

Why do I tell this story? I see in this story two themes that are important to today’s passage. One is the continual theme of Christians being different from the world. Incarnational. Christians must be light. Dr. Brown’s wife may not have made the boss happy; however, she had to be light in a dark world. The world may say, “Do what you have to do to get more money!” That is what her boss wanted her to do, changing the numbers, but Christ calls us to integrity. The world must see Christians with integrity and when they do, they will see us as light in a dark world. This is because we will be trustworthy.

The second theme from that story is reverence for God. The boss said, “When you are here, I am your god.” The passage we will look at will talk about reverence for God. So, let’s look at the passage.

My theme is:

Noah was different from others; he walked with God.  

  • In verses 9-10: we see the introduction to Noah. Verses 9-10 read: These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
  • We are in a sermon series focusing on the significance of Genesis chapters 1-11. Here we see the beginning of the narrative regarding the flood.
    1. Here we see details, details that show that these were real people in the midst of a real event.
    2. Noah was righteous… blameless… this does not mean that he was sinless. It does mean that the patterns of his life were walking with God, pursuing God.
    3. There is an order here: The order is one of increasing spiritual quality before God: “righteous” is to live by God’s righteous standards; “blameless” sets him apart by a comparison with those of his day; and that he “walked with God” puts him in a class with Enoch (5:24).[1]
    4. Noah fathered 3 sons.
    5. We will hear more about his sons later on.
    6. For now, what is important is that there is an emphasis on Noah being different.
    7. Noah stood out in a crooked, corrupt world.
    8. Noah was light in a dark world.
    9. Now, the emphasis here is not on “shining light,” or Noah’s witness, but it is on Noah being different.
  • In verses 11-12 we see the corruption of the world.

Verses 11-12 read: Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

  • This is a reiteration of how bad the people were.
    • “Corrupt…”
    • “In the sight of God”: This is anthropomorphic language. God does not literally see as we do. God knows all things and He is present everywhere. This is describing things as if God saw it as we do.
    • The earth was “filled with violence…”
    • New American Commentary: The justification for the calamity is the complete moral corruption of the human family and the defilement of the earth (cf. 6:6–7). The repetition of “corrupt,” occurring three times in vv. 11–12, underscores God’s appraisal of the human condition (6:5) and proves the legitimacy of the extreme penalty he will invoke. “Earth” also occurs three times in the passage, indicating that the fortunes of humanity and the earth are intertwined. This “corruption” is further defined by the term “violence” (ḥāmās, v. 11), which is used of severe treatment against another person (e.g., 16:5; Exod 23:1; Mic 6:12) and may involve physical harm (e.g., 49:5; Judg 9:24). Whereas God has blessed the human family with the power of procreation to fill the earth (1:28; 9:1), these culprits have “filled the earth” by procreating “violence” (cf. v. 13; Ezek 8:17; 28:16).
    • Further, Verse 12 intentionally recalls v. 5, where “the Lord saw” the intensity of human evil (“every,” “all”), and 1:31, where “the Lord saw” the “good” earth he had made. Here “God saw” that the “good” earth was now corrupt, and the corruption was all-inclusive (“all people”), excepting Noah. For this reason “only Noah was left” from the earth (7:23).20[2]
    • The earth was corrupt.
    • ESV Study Note: The ancient Near Eastern epics of Gilgamesh and Atrahasis also tell of a flood sent to punish human beings. In those stories, however, it is merely the disruptive noise of humanity that leads to their destruction. Genesis emphasizes that God destroys the people he has created because of their immoral behavior.[3]
    • God looks on the earth.
    • Certainly, God knows all and sees all and even knew it before it happened.
    • God is inspiring Moses to write in our language.
    • It was corrupt, stated again. “Corrupt” or “corrupted” is used three times in verses 11 and 12.
  • Applications:
    • We are to be different.
    • Noah was different.
    • Do you realize the world is still corrupt? We as Christians are to be different.
      • It ought to be our goal to walk with God as Noah did (Gen. 6:9).
      • It out to be our example to stand out in a perverse world as Noah did (Gen. 6:9-12).
      • Noah was different from the world (Gen. 6:9-12), may we also be different from the surrounding world.
      • May we live out Romans 12:1-2; may we not be conformed to the world but be transformed by renewing our mind.
      • May we recognize that friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).
      • We must standout as Noah did. We must be different.
      • We must allow the Holy Spirit to reign in our lives so that we have the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

Have you ever been in a room totally dark?

Now, I have my candle and it is dark.

Now, think of it this way. If you are a Christian, you are the light. The Holy Spirit lights you up and if you allow the Holy Spirit to reign in your life you will be different. You will shine.

But what if everyone had a candle? This would lighten the surroundings much more. Then we can take our light out into the world. We are all light in a dark world but our light is dull and faded, even covered up. But as we are made holy, as we become like, Jesus we are light in the world. How are you doing? Are you light? Are you complaining and arguing without reason? Are you allowing God to work in you?

Mathew 5:14-16:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.


[1] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ge 6:9.

20 The NAB has accordingly “all mortals on earth.”

[2] K. A. Mathews, Genesis 1-11:26, vol. 1A, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 356–360.

[3] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 62.

The world is growing increasingly corrupt, yet Noah finds favor in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:1-8).

There is a well-known book titled, Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Let me suggest another: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Noah:

  1. Don’t miss the boat.
  2. We are all in the same boat.
  3. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
  4. Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something big.
  5. Don’t listen to critics; just do the job that needs to be done.
  6. Build your future on high ground.
  7. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
  8. Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
  9. When you’re stressed, float a while.
  10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
  11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.[1]

My theme today is:

The world is growing increasingly corrupt, yet Noah finds favor in the eyes of the Lord.

  1. The perversion of the people (Genesis 6:1-7).
    1. Remember that Genesis 5:32 left off with Noah. Noah was 500 years old, and he fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
    2. Remember that in Genesis 5:28-29 it read: Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.
    3. In the previous section we talked about how important names were. In this genealogy Noah is one of the few people in which we have more detail about their name. It seems as if Lamech thought Noah was going to be a “type” of Messiah. Or, maybe God gave him that thought.
    4. The name Noah appears to be related to the Hebrew word נוּחַ (nuakh, “to rest”). There are several wordplays on the name “Noah” in the story of the flood.[2]

Verses 1-2 read: 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.

When men began to multiply on the face of the land…

We just studied a whole chapter about this. Also, the previous chapter of Genesis 4:17-24 ended with the descendants of Cain.

The people are living incredibly long.

We do not know the ages of the wives.

We do not know the ages of Cain’s descendants.

Each time it says that they had other sons and daughters.

Assuming they were healthy for a good bit of that time they could have had a lot of children!

We know that many of them were over 100 years old when they had children.

They were living a long time, they had a lot of time to think up sin.

The sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. This is one of the most hotly debated passages in the Bible.

“god” in this passage is Elohim and does not necessarily refer to the Lord. Here it is clear that it does NOT refer to the Lord.

Who are the “sons of god”?

Fallen angels? This would mean that fallen angels would be the “sons of god” and they married the women. In Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 the phrase “sons of god” was used for angels.

Royalty or despots who could take whatever he wanted. The royalty would sometimes be called “gods.”

“Sons of god” = the godly line of Seth and daughters of men = the ungodly line of Cain. This is the view that I favor.

Notice how it says that the “sons of god” saw that the “daughters of men” were beautiful and they took wives for themselves… this is parallel to Genesis 3:6 when Eve took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Basically, the sons of god are doing something that is not good.

I favor the view that this was the ungodly line of Cain, marrying the godly line of Seth. The sons of god are the godly line of Seth and they are marrying the “daughters of men.” This creates an unequally yoked marriage (2 Cor. 6:14) and corrupts the human race.

It is true that sometimes in the Psalms angels are called “gods” (see Psalm 8:5, but that is the general word Elohim a generic word for God). However, Jesus said that angels cannot marry or be given in marriage and so it is believed that they cannot pro-create (Matthew 22:30).

It seems that holding a view that this is about demons having sexual intercourse with human women mixes in ancient middle east myths as well as ancient Greek mythology.

Back to verse 2: they took, again, negative implication, wives for themselves whomever they chose. These were unequally yoked marriages.

They saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, or it could be literally “good.” Meaning they were good as wives.

Verse 3: Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”

  • His days will be 120 years. It seems that this is showing that God will gradually reduce the life expectancy to 120 years. This seems to happen by the end of Deuteronomy with Moses’ death at 120 years old (Deut 34:7).

Verse 4: 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.

  • Much has been said about this word “Nephilim” but it just means “fallen ones.” It does not mean giants. They were mighty, but just fallen and mighty, that does not mean some form of super-being.

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.

  • The Lord is seeing… in reality he knows. When it says “the Lord saw” this is ascribing to God human attributes, which is to use anthropomorphic language.
    • Humans are wicked, every intent of thoughts of his heart… continually!
    • This is a sad verse. This is a very sad verse.
    • It says, “constantly wicked,” they are living hundreds of years and thinking up new ways to sin.

Verses 6-7: And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

  • This is anthropomorphic language again. God knew what man would do.
    • God does not have emotions like we have emotions.
    • There is a doctrine, the impassibility of God. “Impassible” means not able to experience passions. It is controversial because in scripture we see that God does have passions.
    • The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit and can be grieved (Eph 4:30). But here is what it (impassibility) means: God can never be the victim of emotions. Tears can sneak up on us, but not on God. God does not get knocked around by emotions. God is not at the beck and call of evil provoking Him to anger or grief.[3]
    • So, is this simply anthropomorphic language? I think so, but I do like John Piper’s thoughts, he writes:…I conclude, therefore, that Gen. 6:6 does not call God’s foreknowledge into question but shows the complexity of God’s emotional life that is far above our ability to question or comprehend. Even in our own experience, there are times when we look back on difficult decisions we made and feel both sorrow at making them and yet approve making them.[4]
    • I like what Piper shares, but I think it can also be anthropomorphic language.
    • Remember God is omnipresent, this means that He is present everywhere and outside of time. He knows all things. He knows the future. He could NOT regret like we do.
    • Verse 7 is about the flood. Again, God is sorry that He created humans. God is going to bring a judgment. I have a few thoughts about this:
    • Quit judging God! We are no different than Adam when he said “the woman You gave me” (Genesis 3:12). We have the sin problem and yet we blame God.
    • Secondly, it seems that things were really corrupt. Don’t fill in the gaps that you do not know. In other words, we do not have a clue how bad things were, and we start judging God.
    • Thirdly, I think there is grace here. God could’ve wiped out all of humanity, but He did not. Also, I believe the children went straight to Heaven. There may have been many victims that went straight to Heaven.
  • Noah found favor (Genesis 6:8).
    • Read with me Genesis 6:8: But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
    • This is key to the rest of this narrative. God noticed Noah.
    • Noah was not perfect, but it seems that his patterns of life were following God.
  • Some applications:
    • It seems that the godly line of Seth married the ungodly line of Cain causing unequally yoked marriages that resulted in a corrupt world (Genesis 6:1-2). May this be a reminder against being unequally yoked (2 Cor. 6:14).
      • As Christians, we must not be unequally yoked in marriage. This means we must not have Christians marrying non-Christians.
      • As Christians, we must not be unequally yoked in business. When we can avoid it we must not have non-Christians partnering in business with Christians. 
    • The Lord is grieved by our sin, may we pray that we are also grieved over our sin (Genesis 6:6; Eph 4:30).
    • In verse 5, Genesis 6:5, we see that the people were into evil continually. May we guard our heart, may we guard ourselves against getting into constant evil.
    • May we live out Gal 5:22-23.
    • This is a lesson on the depravity of men. This is a lesson on how bad we can get.
    • Don’t blame God. We have the sin problem, don’t be like Adam who blamed God and his wife when he sinned (Genesis 3:12).
    • May we find favor in the eyes of God (Genesis 3:8).


[1] Source: Source unknown; submitted by Jon Mutchler, Ferndale, Washington

[2] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 5:27–29.

[3] John Piper, Look at the Book, November 25, 2021 on Eph 4:30;

[4] Piper writes: Piper “Providence” page 348 on footnote

Human beings continue from Adam to Noah, but without a Savior.

The Significance of Genesis 5 Part II: the ‘Image of God’ from Adam to Noah (Genesis 5:3-32)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, March 12, 2022 and Sunday, March13, 2022

The late President Calvin Coolidge returned home from attending church early one Sunday afternoon. His wife had been unable to attend, but she was interested in what the minister spoke on in the service. Coolidge responded, “Sin.” She pressed him for a few words of explanation. And being a man of few words with his wife, he responded, “Well, I think he was against it.”[1]

We are in a sermon series about the significance of Genesis chapters 1-11. We are now on Genesis 5:3-32. We will not read all these verses, but I will focus on a few of them.

My theme today is:

Human beings continue from Adam to Noah, but without a Savior.

  1. First, let’s talk about the significance of the descendants of Adam.
    1. We have gone through Genesis 4 and in Genesis chapter 4 we see the descendants of Cain. We see that Cain’s descendants became very corrupt. Now, we are in Genesis 5 and the descendants of Adam continue to multiply. In this chapter, we see the descendants of Adam through the line of Seth.
    2. Let’s read the first few verses:
    3. Genesis 5:3-5: When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.
    4. What is interesting is it seems that we do not see the sin that we saw in the previous chapter. However, by Genesis 5:29 we see the naming of Noah. With the naming of Noah we see indications that they were longing for a Savior. We will come back to that.
    5. Within the genealogy of Adam’s descendants, we see other signs of the fallen world.
    6. The phrase “and he died” is used 8 times in Genesis 5.
    7. There is an emphasis that because of sin people are dying. Every one of them but Enoch died (Gen. 5:24). Enoch walked with God and so God took him.
    8. One of them, Methuselah lived 969 years (Gen. 5:25-26), but they all died, except for the aforementioned Enoch.
    9. Further, Methuselah would have died in the flood written about in Genesis 6. The man that lived the longest died as part of corrupt humanity.
    10. We also know that by Genesis 6 humanity was very depraved. I wonder if that was beginning by the time we get to Noah. Noah is named hoping that he will bring “relief from their work and the painful toil of their hands.” I would think so.
    11. The people are living in a world without a Savior. We have never lived in a world without a Savior. Some do not know about the Savior, but Jesus has come and saved us from our sins and we need to share that with other people.
    12. From Genesis 6-8 we have the flood. Between Genesis 9-11 the people spread out. Then we get to Genesis 12 with the first prophesy that through Abram the world will be blessed. How will the world be blessed? The world will be blessed because one of his descendants will be Jesus, our Savior. However, in our chapter, the people are multiplying in a depraved world without a Savior.
    13. We will come back to that in a minute. First, what about these life spans.
    14. These life spans may be unfathomable to us, but they should not be.
    15. Sin had only contaminated creation for several hundred, and then a few thousand years. Therefore, the world was not as contaminated. Our genetics were not as damaged by sin. There were not as many diseases. Further, prior to the flood it seems that the world was different.
    16. Similar claims of long life spans are found in the secular literature of several ancient cultures (including the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Chinese).[2]
    17. Extrabiblical evidence to support the long life spans of the people in Genesis is found in the Sumerian King List. This list mentions a flood and gives the length of the reigns of kings before and after a flood. There are many striking parallels between the Sumerian King List and Genesis, such as a flood event, numerical parallels between the pre-Flood biblical patriarchs and the antediluvial kings, and a substantial decrease in life span of people following the flood.
    18. One author on this subject concludes, “It is highly unlikely that the biblical account was derived from the Sumerian in view of the differences of the two accounts, and the obvious superiority of the Genesis record both in numerical precision, realism, completion, and moral and spiritual qualities.” It is more likely that the Sumerian King List was composed using Genesis for numerical information. Obviously, the Book of Genesis would only be used if the person writing the list believed it to be a true historical account containing accurate information.[3]
    19. There are a variety of explanations for people living longer, a few I already mentioned. Another thought is that the world was different.
    20. The people were vegetarians before the flood and likely had a healthier diet (Gen 1:29; 9:3).
    21. It seems that the earth was different. Once there was a worldwide flood it seems as though God changed the way the world operated.
    22. So, considering we have extra-biblical evidence of longer life spans, and we have these life spans in Genesis, I think we take them at face value.
    23. Reading this genealogy, it does not read like a myth. It is not poetic in any way at all. That is another reason to take it at face value.
    24. Further, some of these names show up in Jesus’ ancestry, specifically, Luke 3:35-38. That would indicate tampering with this passage effects other parts of the Bible.
    25. Now, as I have stated, the world is fallen and the people are longing for a Savior. Let’s look at Noah.   
  2. In Noah, they long for a Savior.
    1. Genesis 5:28-32: When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died. After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
    2. Methuselah lives 187 years and fathers Lamech.
    3. Lamech will be Noah’s father.
    4. Names meant something back then and look at the pronouncement with naming Noah. They called him Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”
    5. They longed for a Savior.
    6. One source shares: Lamech’s comment on the name “Noah” (Hb. noakh), which strictly speaking means “rest” (Hb. nuakh), introduces the related concept of “comfort” (Hb. nakham). Lamech expects that Noah will bring both rest and comfort from the painful toil of working the soil.[4]
    7. Moody Bible Commentary: Just as Eve thought the Redeemer had come when her first child was born, so it appears that Noah’s father thought the same—that this child would bring rest from the problem of sin. Though the reason for this expectation concerning Noah is unstated (and hence not essential to the point of the narrative), the “messianic” hope at this point is still imminent.[5]
    8. It is as if they were expecting that Noah may be the Messiah, the Savior, the fulfillment of the Gen. 3:15 prophesy.
    9. We see in this chapter that the human race is multiplying, but they are multiplying in a depraved world. They have left paradise and they need a Savior.
  3. Applications
    1. In Luke 3:35-38 we see some of these names show up in Jesus’ genealogy. This shows there significance. We must believe them here or we cannot believe them in Luke 3:35-38.
    2. God is faithful, we see that the human race continues, and we also see the people longing for a Savior. They needed to be rescued (Gen 5:28-32). Do we recognize our need for a Savior?
    3. How would our life be without any thought or understanding of the need for a Savior?
    4. Do we worship the Lord that we know the Savior?
    5. Do we worship the Lord for revealing Himself to us?
    6. Are we telling others about the Savior?
    7. This was a day and age without a Savior, but in the naming of Noah it appears that they longed for a Savior. America needs the Savior.
    8. The most important application of this passage is to go and tell others about Jesus.

Imagine never knowing about Jesus. Imagine never knowing about our Savior.

More than 5,000 people groups are without an indigenous Christian church, according to recent data from Joshua Project. Nearly 2 billion people—more than a quarter of the world’s population—live in a group without a “self-sustaining gospel movement.” The ten largest unreached people groups are located in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Algeria.

Missiologists say cross-cultural missions are more effective than near-neighbor evangelism to share the gospel with people who have never heard it, but only about 4 percent of global missionaries are going to places where there are no existing churches.[6]

There are things that we can do. Firstly, there are many that do not know Jesus, share Jesus with others that you know. Don’t get discouraged about having to share the Gospel in a certain way, instead focus on spiritual conversations. Focus on having God space in your conversations. Secondly, there are many international students at YSU and many of them are from areas where they have not been reached with the Gospel. Locally, we have a Navigators missionary who would love to connect with us to help minister to the unreached people groups at YSU.


[1] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 522.


[3] Ibid.

[4] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 61.

[5] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 55.

[6] Source: Staff, “Where the Gospel Hasn’t Gone,” CT Magazine (Jan/Feb, 2021), p. 20

The Significance of Genesis 5:1-2: Being Created in the Image of God

The Significance of Genesis 5:1-2: Being Created in the Image of God

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland OH on Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6, 2022.

We have been talking about the importance of Genesis chapters 1-11. I do not believe that we are accidents. No, we are created and created in the image of God with intent. The following comes from the updated “Evidence that Demands a Verdict”:

Evolutionary biologists have faced great difficulty in trying to explain the origin of human language in evolutionary terms. A 2014 paper coauthored by leading evolutionary paleoanthropologists admits that we have “essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved” and “the origins and evolution of our linguistic capacity remain as mysterious as ever” since “studies of nonhuman animals provide virtually no relevant parallels to human linguistic communication, and none to the underlying biological capacity.” (Hauser et al., MLE, 1) Under a biblical view, however, one would expect humans to have a distinct form of communication not seen among lower animals.

A biblical view also makes it reasonable to expect that stories concerning our ancient ancestors would persist in cultures around the world. These stories would have been preserved as oral traditions until systems of writing were developed.

The Sumerian civilization in southern Mesopotamia (c. 3500–2000 BC) is credited with developing the world’s first written language. The oldest written Sumerian records date to 3100 BC. (Britannica, s.v. “Languages of the World: Language Isolates”) The system of writing used was a pictographic type of cuneiform, which gradually changed to conventionalized linear drawings. These were pressed into soft clay tablets with the edge of a stylus, giving it a characteristic wedge-shaped appearance. Cuneiform was adopted for use in other languages, for example Akkadian and Babylonian. (Britannica, s.v. “cuneiform writing”) Archaeologists have uncovered thousands of cuneiform tablets in the Middle East. Many of these have been studied and translated by scholars around the world, enabling them to gain great insight into ANE beliefs about origins. Collins has described how three texts from ancient Mesopotamia demonstrate some parallels with Genesis 1–11. (Collins, DAERE, 137–160)

Chinese characters

There is written evidence for the first humans from a civilization far from Mesopotamia: ancient China. Modern Chinese can trace its roots to inscriptions that have been found on oracle bones dating back to the second millennium BC. (Thong, FOF, 46) Chinese has remained a pictograph-based language since that time, although the characters have changed over the centuries. The characters used today have been grouped into six categories. (Thong, FOF, 47) As described for example by Chan Kei Thong, two of these categories are pictographs and ideographs. (Thong, FOF, 51–52) Pictographs depict objects while ideographs convey abstract ideas and are composed of two or more pictographs. A study of ideographs reveals some of the stories that inspired the ancient people who developed them. Thong demonstrates how several ideographs show clear consistency with the Genesis account of Adam and Eve and their disobedience in the garden of Eden. The three examples listed below are formed using these pictographs: (mouth), (tree) and (female).

The symbol (shu), meaning “to restrain,” is represented by a mouth superimposed over a tree. This correlates to the first restraint placed on Adam, namely the prohibition from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Thong, FOF, 56–57)

The symbol (lan) meaning “to covet,” is represented by two trees on top with a female on the bottom. The use of two trees correlates with the two key trees in the garden of Eden: the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. The female correlates with Eve, the first human to covet something forbidden (fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). Thong notes: “The composition of this character is even more interesting when one recalls that in ancient China, women had no place in society. . . . Yet, the ancient Chinese chose to use the character for ‘woman’ rather than the one for ‘man’. . . . This shows that the ancient Chinese had some knowledge of the story of the first act of disobedience against God.” (Thong, FOF, 58)

Finally, the symbol , meaning “death,” shows that death is associated with two mouths eating from a tree. This correlates with Adam and Eve’s disobedience, for which they suffered the promised consequence of death. (Thong, FOF, 61)

The fact that these three characters have ancient forms demonstrates that they were formulated long before the first Christian missionaries visited China, generally considered to be Nestorians in AD 635. (Neill, HCM, 95) While Thong has acknowledged that Chinese calligraphy scholars do not necessarily agree with his interpretations, he argues that one of the artifacts from the San Xing Dui civilization discovered near Chengdu, Sichuan Province, a bronze tree dated to 1600 BC, supports his view that the ancient Chinese had some knowledge of the events from the garden of Eden. The tree includes fruit, knives protruding from the branches as if to guard the fruit, a feminine hand reaching to the tree, and a serpent. (Thong, private communication)[1]

God created us in His image. We are designed and created with purpose. We are not accidents and neither is our language ability.

Today, my theme:

In Genesis 5:1-2 we see the restatement of God creating male and female in His image.

My application: we are not accidents. We are image bearers.

Read with me Genesis 5:1-2:

This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.

  1. Paradise has been lost.
    1. Allow me to review last week’s message and put this passage in context. More than that, allow me to review Genesis thus far.
    2. Here we are in Genesis 5.
    3. In Genesis 1 God creates everything. We have the big picture of creation.
    4. In Genesis 2 we have the micro. We see creation specific to Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.
    5. In Genesis we see the devil, in the form of a serpent, enter the Garden of Eden and we see the people sin. Paradise has been corrupted.
    6. Everything was paradise. Everything was perfect and then sin.
    7. Sin enters and everything changes.
    8. God in His grace says that it is better than man and woman leave the Garden of Eden lest they live forever in a sinful state. After they leave the Garden of Eden they do not have access to the Tree of Life and they will die (Gen. 3:22).
    9. God set up a guard around the Garden of Eden to keep man out (Gen. 3:24).
    10. In Genesis 4 Cain and Abel are born and we have the first murder.
    11. Paradise has truly been lost.
    12. They were in paradise and now they are out of paradise and there is pride, jealousy, anger, murder, polygamy, among other sins. Yet, Adam and Eve would be alive for quite awhile and see the corruption.
    13. If I was a betting man I would argue that Adam and Eve wept over the corruption. I would bargain this was very difficult for them to see. I would bargain Adam and Eve longed for redemption.
    14. At the end of Genesis 4, in verses 25-26, Eve gives birth to Seth.
    15. This brings us to Genesis 5:1-2.
  2. Life continues
    1. In Genesis 5 we see that life continues.
    2. As we see that life continues we see that God is giving grace.
    3. As long as life continues there is potential for redemption.
    4. God had promised a redeemer (Genesis 3:15). God is faithful.
    5. So, in Genesis 5:1 we have an introduction to the book of generations.
    6. This is called a Toledot which means “family records.” We see it 11 times between Genesis 2:4 and 37:2.
    1. Allow me to share a few words about the geneology in this chapter, though we will share more next week.
    2. The purpose of the genealogy is showing death. They could not correct the problem of death.
    3. Only Enoch escapes death.
    4. Christians must respond to death by calling on the name of the Lord as the previous verse says.
    5. Notice verse 1: This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.
    6. This is the book of the generations of Adam.
    7. So, this the record of the descendants of Adam.
    8. Verse 1 is powerful.
    9. God created man. God made him in the likeness of God (See Genesis 1:26-27).
    10. Verse 2 continues: male and female He created them.
    11. It takes male and female to reflect the image of God (Gal 3:28).
    12. God blessed them.
    13. God named them man, that literally means “adam.”
  3. The likeness of God/image of God:
    1. Male and female were created in the image of God. This is repeated here.
    2. This is showing design and intent and I want to focus on that for the remainder of the message.
    3. There is great danger of a naturalistic worldview. There is grave danger of saying that we evolved from random chance.
    4. Do you realize that evolution across species is based on death?
    5. In Genesis chapters 1-2 we do not see humanity coming about by a process of death.
    6. Let me ask a question: are we getting better? Evolution says that we are getting better, we are evolving better, but we are clearly not getting better.
    7. A naturalistic evolutionary worldview leads to the idea that people are of no greater value than animals.
    8. Look at this quote from Peter Singer a professor of Bioethics at Princeton University:
    9. Therefore, Singer says, causing these animals pain—killing them for food, caging them while they produce eggs, shackling them and kidnapping them for exhibition in a zoo—subverts their preferences and is wrong.  The fact that animals are nonhuman makes no difference.  In fact, an intelligent adult ape has more conscious interests than a newborn human infant. Therefore, faced with the choice of rescuing from a fire either a severely retarded infant, who is unlikely to develop many preferences in the future, and an ape, we should rescue the ape.  To think otherwise is simple bigotry, an example of speciesism.[7]
    10. Another quote:
    11. “[Darwin’s] general theory, that all life on earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwin’s time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe.”[8]
    12. It (Darwinism) is atheism and utterly inconsistent with the Scripture . . . [a] denial of design in nature is virtually the denial of God (Charles Hodge, 1874)
  4. Significance and applications:
    1. Let’s make some applications:
    2. In God’s grace the human race continues. We must trust in God’s grace.
    3. We must trust in God’s plan. God is faithful and His plan is still going forth. God is allowing humanity to continue.
    4. We had sinned against God and yet we continue.
    5. In Genesis 5:1 the Scripture says that they were created in the likeness of God. This corresponds with Eph 4:24; Col. 3:10 and Genesis 1:26-27. We are image bearers of God.
    6. We were created: this means that we are subject to the creator.
    7. We must submit to the creator (James 4:7).
    8. We are finite and dependent. We must depend on the creator.
    9. We are physical creatures and can expect to be in a physical realm for all eternity (Rev 21-22).
    10. Being physical means that we need work, sleep, exercise, food, hygiene, relaxation, laughter, diet, etc.
    11. We are a unity of material and immaterial parts. A physical body is essential to humanity, but we are more than our body.
    12. It is not correct to refer to the “inner you” as the “real” you.
    13. Our body is not evil. That comes from Greek philosophy.
    14. Being created in the image of God shows that we were created with intent.  
    15. We are not accidents.
    16. We are not the product of random evolutionary accidents.
    17. We have worth before God.
    18. Am I valuable for my performance?  What if I fail to live up to my own or society’s standards?  Am I then of no value? No, we have value being created in the image of God.
    19. Am I valuable because other people think I have worth?  Will rejection destroy my value? No, we have value being created in the image of God.
    20. Am I valuable because I decide to invent “self-esteem”? No, we have value being created in the image of God.
    21. Being created in the image of God sets us apart from animals. We have the ability to think metacognitively, to feel, and to choose. We have moral responsibility to God for our behavior. We have the potential to glorify God by choosing to live in fellowship with Him.
    22. It takes male and female to represent the image of God.
    23. We must not look down on male or female as both represent the image of God.
    24. We must not commit idolatry knowing that humans are visible representations of God.
    25. There is no room for bigotry, or prejudice. Everyone is unique and to be treated with respect[9]


C.S. Lewis writes:

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations ― these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit ― immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously ― no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.[10]

Since there are no ordinary people, I challenge you to write a letter to someone this week. It could be an email, or a card, or a written letter. But write a letter to someone telling them how much they mean to you. Write a letter to someone sharing your love and respect.


[1] McDowell, Josh; McDowell, Sean. Evidence That Demands a Verdict (pgs. 440- 441). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Hb Hebrew

[2] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 13.

[3] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 5:1.

[4] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 59.

v. verse

[5] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 13.

[6] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 54.

[7] Christian Century, July 3-10, 2002

[8] Michael Denton, Evolution, 1985, p.77

[9] Some of the content under point IV comes from Cedarville University; Christian Life and Thought notes around 2003.

[10] C.S. Lewis; C. S. Lewis. The Weight of Glory (pp. 26-27). UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition.