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

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