Episode 17 – Ch 6:5-10
Thank you for clicking on the podcast, I appreciate you checking it out. I am your host Randy Duncan, and we are going through the book of Genesis verse by verse.
In the last episode, we began chapter 6, and we had a discussion about who the “sons of God” were that are mentioned in the first four verses. And we mentioned three different views for who they might be: fallen angels, descendents of Seth, or kings and rulers.
We also had a discussion about the children, or offspring, between the “sons of God”, whoever they were, and human women, and that these offspring were the Nephilim. And then we talked briefly about what we know about the Nephilim.
And that is where we will pick up this week. And I want to start by actually touching on something mentioned within the first four verses that I did not cover last time, and that is verse 3. So, lets begin there
V3 – Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.
Some translations say that “my spirit shall not contend with man forever”. The KJV says “My spirit shall not strive with man forever…”. Some commentators also make the case it can mean to “shield/protect”
So what is being communicated here is that God is proclaiming that He will not continually and endlessly allow His life-giving spirit to enliven or shield and protect man. The spirit of life is God’s to give. The breath of life was given by God, and so it is also His to take away.
But then V3 continues and says that “his days shall be 120 years”
This last part of V3 is interpreted by people two different ways. Some believe this 120 years is telling us that God is giving man 120 years before He will execute judgment by bringing the flood. These 120 years before the flood allows people time to repent, and demonstrates God’s patience in exercising His judgment. Notice that although God’s patience is sometimes long, it is always limited.
Others argue that God’s reference to 120 years here is going to be the new limit for lifespans, unlike the longer lifespans we have seen thus far, like those mentioned in the genealogy of Chapter 5 we covered.
People who believe this verse is referring to the 120 years before the flood cite 1 Peter 3:20, which says that “20 becaue they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared”
Now, those who believe that God was giving man 120 years before the flood, also suggest that means Noah took 120 years to build the ark, and all the while was preaching about God’s impending judgment. However, nowhere are we told that Noah took 120 years to build the ark. Even if the 120 years does represent the time before the flood, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Noah took all of that time to build the ark. He may have! It is possible. But that is a conclusion that some people have reached outside of what scripture says.
The other option for the 120 years, as I mentioned, is that this 120 years represents what would become the new standard for lifespans. From now on, nobody is going to live on average more than about 120 years. And what we will see is that immediately after the flood, the lifespans recorded begin to decrease rapidly, and will bottom out to about what we see today. And this is still the norm today.
If this is the correct interpretation, I think an interesting question is, if the Bible got the 120-year lifespans right, why do we think it got the longer lifespans in the previous chapter wrong? Just something for you to think about there!
So, we continue on then, and pick up with V5-8 – 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. 6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 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.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
The first thing I would mention here is the great contrast between Genesis chapter 1, and what we see here in chapter 6. When God created Adam and Eve on the 6th day, remember what he said? ‘And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good”
Contrast that now to what we see in Chapter 6, that 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”
“Every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”. I think it would be difficult for us to imagine a society like this.
When we get to verses 11 & 12, we will see that what this is describing is that the advancement of sin has reached its climax, and has now permeated every corner of society. Again, I think this is more difficult to imagine than we might think at first. Certainly we can bring up examples of more modern atrocities and evils, such as Hitler and the Nazi concentration camps, The Soviet Union’s Stallin, China’s Mao Zedong, etc. Just these three dictators and their regimes alone murdered over 100 million people! That is a staggering and sobering number of human beings who were murdered.
But even these regimes fail to replicate the apex of sin referenced here in chapter 6. In the Bible here, we are not talking about a lone dictator and his cronies or his regime. We are talking about everyone in society.
Adolph Eichmann was a member of the SS in Nazi Germany, and was one of the major organizers of the Holocaust. He was convicted of war crimes in Jerusalem and was executd in 1962. He is someone we would obviously consider a terrible human being.
But listen to his reported last words just prior to his being hanged: “Long live Germany. Long live Argentina. Long live Austria. These are the three countries with which I have been most connected and which I will not forget. I greet my wife, my family and my friends. I am ready. We’ll meet again soon, as is the fate of all men. I die believing in God”
So, this man, who helped organize the slaughter of 6 million Jews, was a family man, he had children, he had friends. The only difference between this man and us was his day job! He came home, kissed his wife, ate dinner with his family, and played with his kids, just like we do. The point is, that everything in him was not only evil thoughts continually as is described here in chapter 6 regarding society at large. So imagine how bad must it have been at this time on earth when, as verse 5 tells us “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”. Only then can you start to understand why God would bring a flood to wipe out the evil on earth, which by that time was totally reprobate.
BTW, did you also note Adolph Eichman’s very last words??? “I die believing in God”. He died believing in God! He helped murder 6 million people, but says he believed in God! Remember a few episodes back when I mentioned that belief in God is not enough?? Remember when I mentioned that even Satan and the demons believe in God? In fact, they do better than just believe, they know full well God exists! So again, the lesson is that belief that is not enough! Believing that God exists is not enough! You must trust in God, and accept the provision He has made for your sin through Jesus Christ. You must accept the pardon God has offered you through Christ. Notice that in his last words, Eichmann made no mention of Christ.
I want to shift gears for a minute and mention a few words about V6 – 6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart
So, it says God regretted creating man, and that it grieved Him. That brings up a slightly theological question; what does the Bible mean when it says God regretted creating man?
You see, that word regret” usually means that you are sorry or repentant about something you did, you are disappointed, like you didn’t know ahead of time what was going to happen. But is the Bible saying God did not know ahead of time that man would rebel and sin? Of course not! God knew all along what wsa going to happen. God knew Adam and Eve would sin, just like he knew that you and I would sin. God is not surprised by anything we do. God exists outside of time, He is the Alpha and the Omega, He knows the end from the beginning.
That is why the plan for Jesus to pay the price for our sin was laid out even before creation. Rev 13:7-8, speaking of the antichrist, says, “7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb” (and here is the important part) slain from the foundation of the world.
Jesus paying the penalty for your sin and mine was part of the plan before the universe was even created. God knew you and I would blow it and go astray. God also knew the people on earth at this time in chapter 6 would reach a level of evil that could not be redeemed. So it did not catch God by surprise. God was not up in heaven stressing out, wringing his hands, trying to figure out what to do next because He didn’t see this one coming!
So if that’s the case, what does it mean when the Bible says God regretted making man?
There seems to be three different ways we can approach this question. One is to rethink our view of God and His omniscience, like was done in the ‘openness of God” movement or in “open theism”, which basically argues that God does not know the future. This isn’t a new movement, or a new view. It doesn’t mean it is correct either, it just means it is not new. The same arguments and beliefs were condemned as far back as the 16th century.
Another possibility is that we have simply not accurately translated the verse or particular words correctly, and we need to go back and reevaluate how we have translated the original Hebrew. The problem for this particular verse is that the Hebrew word translated here as “regret, grieve, and “to change one’s mind” is translated 10 different ways in scripture. It is normal that Hebrew words have different meanings, and their exact meaning is determined by the context in which it is used. So this many variations of meaning shows just how complex this particular Hebrew word is. But there seems to be no getting around the idea of what is generally being communicated here
The third option is to simply read this verse in an anthropomorphic sense. Meaning, Genesis is simply using language to express God’s feelings in a way in which we can understand and relate to them. For example, the Bible says that God sets His face against evil, and He causes his face to shine upon us. Well God doesn’t have a face. God is also said to have stretched out his hand over the sea, scattered his enemies with His mighty arm, and He keeps His eyes on the land” These verses, if taken literally, would indicate that God literally has hands, arms, and eyes. But God is not a physical being. He is spiritual. So, when the Bible uses these types of phrases, it is doing so in human terms, in a way that humans can more easily understand what is being communicated. That is what we mean by an anthropomorphic sense. This is the way most commentators approach this verse.
V8-10 – 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
I will skip a quick discussion on Noah’s three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth here because we will have an opportunity to do that after the flood
So even though God is going to blot out man from the face of the earth, Noah finds favor with God. It says that Noah was a righteous man. Understand, saying Noah was righteous was not saying he was righteous in comparison to God’s standards, but that he was righteous compared to other people living at that time. And that he was wholly committed to righteousness.
That actually says a lot about Noah though. It is difficult to be a good person when you are surrounded by evil people. There are not a lot of people even today who have the moral couurage to reject their environment. And we have already mentioned how much worse and evil the environment was in the days of Noah.
It also says that Noah “walked with God”. Do you remember the same was said about Enoch. In the last chapter, in chapter 5:22, it says Enoch walked with God. And then what did it say? It said that Enoch walked with God, and then he was not, for God took him”. We discussed that, and talked about it meaning Enoch was snatched up by God, or raptured. And we talked about how Enoch walking with God meant that he enjoyed a special fellowship with God, a real communion with God. As a result, Enoch was taken by God prior to the judgment that is about to take place.
Well, just like Enoch, Noah also walked with God, and he too will be protected during the coming judgment. Enoch was protected by being removed from the earth prior to the judgment, Noah would be protected through the judgment. In either case, we can learn one thing. When we walk with God, have fellowship with Him, trust in Him, we can be sure to be delivered from death. And when I say death here, I am referring to ultimate spiritual death, or separation from God for eternity. Enoch and Noah’s rescue was physical, but it is a beautiful picture of the permanent spiritual rescue that believers can trust in.
Until next time, regardless of how bad you think things are getting these days, and I would agree we seem to be on a trajectory that needs to be reigned in, and really, what we expect when we seem to want to turn our back on so much of what God has instructed, but remember, at least for now, all the thoughts of all people are not evil continually. There is reason for hope. There are still good people out there. There are Christians who walk with God and still hunger for righteousness. Keep heart, and realize that not everyone is going to be a believer. In fact, believers in Christ will be a minority.
Remember, Jesus told us in Matthew 7:13-14 that “the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
So don’t be disheartened and alarmed by what we are witnessing. It is exactly what we should expect as our country and much of the world drifts further from God. But just like Noah did, we should continue to walk with God and remain righteous, knowing that no matter what happens, God will ultimately save us if we accept the sacrafice and the extremes He has gone through for us. So place your trust and faith in Him.
For anyone listening to this episode, as we begin to discuss Noah, and the society in which he lived, I implore you to consider the words of Jesus when he spoke of His return in Matthew 24:37-39, when he said “37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
The point is, you don’t have an unlimited amount of time. And just like the people of Noah’s day, you don’t know when time is up until it is too late. In His mercy, God is patient, but he will not withold His judgement indefinitely.
The story of the flood has as much to do with rescue as it does with judgment. And that is what we will begin to look at over the next couple of episodes. So, in the next episode we will take a look at, and do a deep dive into, Noah’s ark, maybe in a way you never have before. I hope you will join me! God bless.