Genesis | Chapter 6

Genesis 6:1-22

“The way off the Island of iniquity”

  1. Intro.
  2. Vs. 1-7 Broken lives, broken heart
  3. Vs. 8-22 The ship called Grace


In chapter 5 we saw the godly line of Seth and how at that time they “began to call on the name of the Lord.” By the time of Noah these two groups of people began to commingle with the results of the ungodly impacting society at the expense of the godly line. The result was predictable “moral decay” upon society. We shall see what led up to this moral decay, how we can avoid it and what God does about it.

Vs. 1-7 Broken lives, broken heart

Vs. 1-4 The first four verses give us five stages that make up the crumbling of a society which eventually leads to God’s judgment.

  1. 1 Multiplication of people: “when men began to multiply on the face of the earth”: Given the fact that each couple lived hundreds of years in an ideal environment the earth was most likely “filled” with people long before the flood. If you start with Adam and Eve then increase the population by 2% a year, which is the annual growth rate today, and span that out over the 1,656 years from Adam to the flood you would have well over 10 trillion people on the planet at the time of the flood. Now factor into this the fact that like us they were all “sons of Adam” and not all created in the “likeness and image of God” and you can see where society’s problems started. As people multiplied who were 100% sinners by nature the potential for this sin to adversely affect society increased. God had warned Cain, “sin lies at the door and its desire is for you.” No matter what the social evil, at the root of it is a heart of sin whose only antidote is the blood of Jesus.
  2. 2, 4 Compromise: “sons of God saw the daughters of men; that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.” Whatever else may be said about this verse one thing is certain no matter what your interpretation, societies down fall came about through compromise, the godly with the ungodly. Now to understand just what is meant about that compromise we will need to determine three things:
  • Who are the sons of God?
  • Who are the daughters of men?
  • Who are their offspring the giants upon the earth” (verse 4)
  1. Sons of God”: There are three views as to just who the “sons of God” are:
  2. Sethites: Genesis makes it clear that this line began to call upon the name of the Lord, thus this view makes the assumption that ALL of this Seth’s decedents were godly while all of Cain’s were ungodly. So then the problem was that the godly line intermarried with the ungodly line. The problem with this view is that this would make all of Seth’s descendant’s boys while all of Cain’s descendants were girls, a biblical and mathematical impossibility. Remember that all of Adams descendants were in the image of man and not God so all were born sinners!
  3. Children of rulers: Some seeing the difficulty in this passage have chosen to render the Hebrew word for “God” (elohim) in its plural form “gods” which can mean rulers. In their interpretation they say that these men were born into influential homes and took women from whomever they wanted thus their children were as verses 4 says, “mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” The trouble with this interpretation is that the Jewish scribes translated the word into Greek in the singular form. Furthermore in the three other places the phrase “sons of God” appears the meaning is never rulers as this interpretation supposes.
  4. Demon possessed men: Again noting the Hebrew phrase the Jewish Scribes always rendered it as “angels of God”. The fact of this is further implied in the N.T. understanding of Gen. 6:2 by Jude where we read:
  • Jude 1:6And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.

Based upon this passage as well as 2 Peter 2:4-6 it appears that the fallen angels or demons left their own habitation of which they have no sexual reproduction and possessed ungodly men who in turn took women sexually, who were perhaps demon possessed themselves. The offspring of which was genetically altered into giants, mighty men of renown.

  1. Daughters of men”: Daughters have been born into families prior to this otherwise we would not have had such a great population. We get a further understanding of what is meant by the words, “that they were beautiful” which implies that these “sons of God” were looking at the daughters of men with an eye to the beautiful ones classifying the ones that were outwardly beautiful. So their eye was only towards the “babes or fox’s” and not looking at the inward character thus they married the ungodly women. The problem with these women being only from Cain is that it doesn’t make since. Both the daughters of Cain and the daughters of Seth were the daughters of “Adam” which is the word used for man. Finally even though marriage of godly to that of ungodly is wrong it does not produce genetically altered children or even ones that are more sinful.
  2. Giants upon the earth”: The word “Giants” is a word that has a double meaning in the Hebrew. First it literally means “fallen ones” which seems to point to the nature of their parents. Second it came to describe the physical stature of some of the people in the land of Canaan. The fact that there were people of extremely large stature is supported by archaeologists who have discovered “giant” cities in Bashan (an area of northern Israel bordering Jordan) where they have found beds and other items 10 to 15 feet in length. Apparently their stature made them very well known for their military superiority something that we see in the story of David and Goliath.

Vs. 3 It seems as though that at the time when women were chosen according to their outward beauty and not their inward heart by those that were demon possessed that God issues a message that His patience towards mankind’s rebellion and compromise is going to come to an end in 120 years which was to be the flood, whether that message was by way of Noah or Methuselah or both we can’t be sure. In Noah’s case, according to Genesis 7:11, the flood came in his 600th year while last week we saw that his three sons were born when he was 500 years old. 2 Peter 2:5 tells us that Noah was a “a preacher of righteousness” which would mean that he started preaching 20 years prior to his son’s birth and ended the day they went into the ark. Every board and nail he built in that ark was a plea to a fallen world of God’s desire for grace as well as a warning of judgment of they don’t repent. Back to the five stages that make up the crumbling of a society:

  1. 5a Absence of the knowledge of God: “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth.” The word “great” means unusually intense and very wide spread. The idea is that the whole world was against God, wickedness is always begins with the absence of God in societies life. Moral wickedness is not the problem it is the symptom, the problem is the absence of the knowledge of God.
  2. 5b Evil imaginations: “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” There was universal wickedness in mankind, which again suggests that demonic influence was present. The depraved heart of man was continually searching for a higher degree of stimulating experiences. The use of the word “heart” here is the first time it is used in the Bible and it is followed up by the word again being used to describe God’s grief in His heart.
  3. 11 Violence: “earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” That is always the progression in a world that is absent from the knowledge of God.

Multiplication of people, Compromise, Absence of the knowledge of God, Evil imaginations and Violence!

Vs. 6-7 God responds to this escalating wickedness in three ways:

  1. 6a Sorrow: God knew that man would become this corrupt, so this passage speaks of the broken heartedness of our heavenly Father. He had not changed His mind towards mankind, He still loved them, but His purpose and intent of continual uninterrupted fellowship with mankind was effected by their habitual sin thus His judgment instead of His love in grace had to be exercised and this caused God sorrow. Society had reached a stage of wickedness that God in love had to destroy that which caused the corruption and this only left 8 people. Kind of like a severely frostbitten limb that left on the rest of the body will bring death to the rest of the body so it must be amputated.
  2. 6b Grief: Grief is always the activity of love. The word “Grief” means to fabricate or to carve out hurt in the heart of God. God’s grief demonstrates two things:
  3. The object of His love: Mankind
  4. The purpose for those He loved: That He desired a relationship with man.
  5. 7 Judgment: God’s plan for mankind was to bless them to see them grow under His grace and love yet because of their sin they chose not to desire to fellowship with Him. The consistent state of rebellion made it a necessity to judge mankind so that those that survived would have the possibility to enjoy that fellowship without being spoiled by the continual sin.

Vs. 8-22 The ship called Grace

Vs. 8 Though wickedness was great on the earth there was a man “Noah” who looked into the eyes of the Lord and not into the eyes of the world. Notice that it says that he “found grace” and did not earn it! The truth is that grace found Noah as it had been searching the earth to show it’s self, strong on behalf of one who’s heart was fixed upon the Lord! Notice the order here in Noah’s character:

  1. Was found by grace, so he was justified.
  2. Justified, so then he was just.
  3. Mature (perfect) in God’s grace
  4. Finally it says that Noah walked with God but because it was grace that had found Noah the truth is it was God who walked with Noah!

There was nothing special about Noah other then he responded to God’s grace in the eyes of the Lord. Because of this grace in the life of Noah we see seven qualities:

  1. 8 Position: “found grace”. Noah’s position before God was upon unmerited favor and not of works.
  2. 9 Attitude: “just man”. Because Noah was right with God he was right with the world and showed an attitude of this by being just.
  3. 9 Character: “perfect”. The idea of this word is that of being whole. Noah was a whole man in a broken world.
  4. 9 Witness: “in his generations”. Noah’s life of grace could be clearly seen amongst those whom he lived with.
  5. 9 Fellowship: “walked with God”. The idea here is that of friendship as well as fellowship. Noah’s best friend was God and that he walked with Him daily! Noah could not walk with anyone who did not want to walk the same direction God was going.
  6. 22 Conduct: “Noah did”. Noah had habit of obeying God daily.
  7. 22 Standard: “according to all that God commanded him, so he did”. Noah’s standard was the word of God, so that what God said Noah did! What would have happened to Noah and those on the ark if he had done everything God had told him except fill the hole in the bottom of the boat?

Vs. 10-12 Noah led his wife three sons and their wives to find grace as well. Think of this the same God in whom looked out in grace to find those to love the majority turned away from and found judgment instead. Four times in this account we are told that mankind was all corrupt and violent. That was the sum of the character of the world’s population during Noah’s day. It says here that “God lookedit did not matter what the whole of society thought of their behavior, it was not a question as to whether or not society saw the way some were living as a “gay” or acceptable alternative life style. What matter’s is how God saw it and although He looked out with eyes of grace those eyes were not rose colored glasses which filtered out sinful behavior. God was not “Loving them where they were at to where He wanted them to be”, instead their way was corrupted and was to be judged!

Vs. 13 Notice that it says, “God said to Noah”. Some may be quick to criticize God for destroying the earth but what amazes me more than God’s judgment upon a sinful world is that it did not extend to Noah and Ham who became drunk and Ham lusted after his own father. I question God’s love for Noah more then I question His judgment of the world.

God tells Noah 4 things about His impending judgment:

  1. 13 His plan to destroy the earth: “The end of all flesh has come before Me”.
  2. 13 The reason why: “Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth”: God’s judgment was not to destroy man from the earth but rather with the earth. Man’s home his security must be wiped out so that those eight people would see how everything must depend upon a relationship with God.
  3. 14-16 His plans to save Noah and his family: The arch’s proportions have been scientifically proven to be perfect and are in fact what all naval constructions now follow. The dimensions are perfect for both stability as well as maxim capacity. A cubit is around 17 ½ inches and based upon this measurement would have made it 450 feet long 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. With three decks it would have been over 95,000 square feet capable of carrying 14,000 tons. Not putting this together it could have easily carried 125,000 sheep, which would have been the approximate average sized animal. Since there were no more than 25,000 species of land animals there would have been enough room in an arch ½ the size of the one built. The window was no doubt up so that they had to gaze towards the heavens to see light.
  4. 17 The means to destroy the earth: “I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth”. The flood to destroy every living thing could only be accomplished by a worldwide flood and not just a local flood as some say.

In 1 Peter 3:20-21 we are told that “the ark…is an antitype of that which now saves us…the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” In other words the ark is a symbol or type of Jesus as there are six similarities of Jesus with the ark.

  1. 14 “ark of gopherwood…cover it inside and outside with pitch.” The word gopher and the word pitch form the Hebrew word for atonement. So the idea was to cover the ark in redemptive wood which was able to withstand the storms of life and thus save from death those aboard. Just as Jesus safely carries us through God’s rightful judgment taking upon himself the storms of His wrath.
  2. 14 “make rooms in the ark”. The word rooms is the word used for nest which suggests far more than just a place to ride out a storm but a place of rest and comfort. So too is our Jesus!
  3. 15 One person noted that the exact proportions of the ark are the same as that of a full-grown man. So the ark was built while the world mocked and Jesus as well is our ark as the world watch’s and mocks faith in Him.
  4. 16 “make a window for the ark.. from above”. This was a place not where Noah and His family could look out but rather look up. So it reminds us that Jesus is the window by which we look up and see the Father.
  5. 16 “set the door of the ark in its side.” It does not say “a door” but “the door”. There was not “a door of Buddha, or Mohammed”. No just one door into a place of safety and rest and it did not matter who they were they and to come into the ark the same way.
  6. 16 “make it with lower, second, and third decks.” This reminds me that Jesus humbled himself and became a man with three decks: “body, soul and spirit” so that He would be our ark.

Vs. 18-22 God established a covenant with Noah and his family and it was His promise that saved them and the means to that promise was an ark. That’s what Heb. 11:7 reminds as we read that, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household.” God saved, God called the animals to come, verse 20.