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).

Prayer


[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; https://youtu.be/0c9nvAiqwIE

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

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