Genesis 4:25-26 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.
Apparently, Adam and Eve did not produce a large number of children. We need to recognize that they must have produced at least one daughter before Cain killed Abel because Cain had a wife when he was pushed away from the Garden of Eden. Only after that tragedy was another son produced in the passage of time. His name was Seth. As an aside, the Bible tells us that Cain produced offspring for several generations at the same time God was producing godly offspring through Adam and Eve.
We do not know precisely how many years passed between the tragic death of Abel and the birth of Seth. We are just told the obvious that Adam and Eve produced another son whom Eve considered a replacement for Abel. At that point we can pick up the timeline. Without a doubt there were many changes…
As Seth grew up. Let’s look at Genesis 5:4-5. The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. 5 Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.
Some scholars believe that Moses mixed up the story of creation. Because there are apparent differences between chapters four and five of Genesis. I have never seen any conflict. Genesis chapter five verses one through five is simply a more detailed account of the creation. In that account we can see that as Seth grew up brothers and sisters were born into the world around him.
The first institution established by God was the human family. Adam and Eve were able to see their children marry one another and form families for themselves.
There is no doubt in my mind that the longevity of human life in the first few generations was real. I’ve never seen any other explanation that made sense considering the text in Genesis.
Each generation continuing to produce children over an 800 year span of time with those children after 100 years, or 200 years, beginning to produce offspring the population can grow fairly quickly. Adam and Eve were not only the first people, the first couple, the first parents, they were also…
The first grandparents. Let’s look at Genesis 5:6-8. When Seth had lived 105 years, he fathered Enosh. 7 Seth lived after he fathered Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8 Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died.
In the genealogy of Adam and Eve we see the continuation of a godly line. Somewhere East of Eden Cain and his descendents were developing an ungodly line. The two societies (we can hardly call them races since they came from the same parents) will come into conflict with each other and will produce horrifying results.
With the last two verses in Genesis 4 we see an interesting development. Beginning in the Garden mankind had a one-on-one relationship with God. Easy to do since there was initially only two people. As they added children (not very rapidly in the beginning) they continue in that relationship. Not only did God have conversations with Adam and Eve he also personally confronted Cain about the death of Abel. Then as men began to multiply on earth there needed to be a way of communicating with God.
Cain and Abel brought their sacrifices to God so we can assume that Adam and Eve had recognized some kind of sacrificial system.
In fact, when sin came into the world through Adam and Eve’s rebellion, innocent animals were killed by God to produce clothes for these rebels. There is no mention of further sacrifices or of worship in general so we don’t know if there were regular times of calling upon God. We only know what the Bible tells us and that is when Enosh was born…
Mankind began to worship. Let’s look back at Genesis 4:26. To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.
There seems to be a direct relationship between bearing children and needing God’s presence. As Bill and Gloria Gaither would tell us, “How sweet to hold a newborn baby, and feel the pride, and joy he gives; but greater still the calm assurance, this child can face uncertain days because he lives.”
The demands placed on a serious young couple by the appearance of a baby in their midst is pretty severe. How do we take care of this child? That would be one of the first thoughts to enter their minds.
Adam and Eve did not have a great track record of successful child-rearing. Their first two male children not only fought with each other but Cain killed his brother! During Seth’s early years he would have been able to observe the developing parenting skills of his parents. I can imagine the anxiety he might’ve felt when his firstborn came into the world. So with the birth of Enosh people began to call upon the name of the Lord.
As the two human societies expanded they were destined to collide with each other. Let’s look at…
The sons of God. Genesis 6:1-2. When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.
There have been a lot of speculation about what “sons of God” and “daughters of man” might have meant. One of the most common scenarios is that these were somehow spirit beings like the Greek gods or angels colliding with human society.
I can recall a time when I also believed that that was probably the case. There is no explanation outside of the Bible therefore we have to come to an understanding in the Bible.
The question we have to answer is…
Were they Angels? Let’s turn to the words of Jesus found in Matthew 22:29-30. We find Jesus confronted by a group of Sadducees. They raise a scenario that probably was part of their method of teaching regarding the resurrection. These people say there is no resurrection, nor angels, nor spirit. So they presented Jesus a question. If a woman during her lifetime was married to seven different men which of those men would be her husband in the resurrection? But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Oops! Jesus himself teaches us that the angels neither marry nor are given in marriage. Therefore, it is not very likely that the “sons of God” were angels. So there must be some other explanation.
There is nothing in the context of Genesis 6 that causes us to believe they were angels. Moses referred to the people of Israel in the wilderness as being “sons of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 14:1). The most likely explanation of the phrase is that it refers to those who began to call upon the name of the Lord. These were men who were righteous in their imitation of the character of their heavenly Father. The “daughters of men” would have been ungodly wives from the society of Cain.
Which leads us to the statement…
There were giants in the land. Let’s look at Genesis 6:4. 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.
The word “Nephilim” appears three times in the Bible. Once, here in Genesis, and twice in the book of Numbers. That occurrence might be helpful to our understanding. Moses had sent spies into the land of Canaan and they came back with a very scary report. They said, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (Numbers 13:32-33)
Several generations later this David, the Shepherd boy, encountered one of these giants in the person of Goliath of Gath. This man was over 9 feet tall and would certainly qualify as a giant even in our day. Neither one of these cases could refer to direct descendants of the pre-flood giants. Only Noah and his family lived beyond that event. But the giants found in Canaan by the spies and the one confronted by David would have developed from some of the descendants of Noah. There are reports from many different places on earth of the remains of giants discovered by archaeologists.
As the sons of God continued to intermarry with the daughters of men the human race became more and more corrupt. At some point the promised Messiah may be lost from the human race. God needed to act while there was still one family left that was godly. As God looked on mankind…
Noah found favor in God’s eyes. Let's look at Genesis 6:7-8. 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.
God observed the corruption of the human race. The biblical account assures us that every generation produced sons and daughters in abundance. Adam and Eve had sons and daughters over an 800 year period of time. We are told that Seth, Enoch, Kenan, Mahalalel, and Jared each reproduced 800 years or more. After Jared the longevity seems to shorten somewhat. Yet there was many, many reproductive years in each generation.
As time passed the intermingling of the godly people with the ungodly produced a world that caused God to say, “I am sorry I have made them”! The earth was filled with violence and all flesh was corrupt. It certainly sounds like a commentary on today’s news, doesn’t it?
The one thing that caused Noah to stand out from the rest of mankind was that Noah had faith and in reverent fear he constructed an ark. And the Bible tells us, “By this he condemned the world” (Hebrews 11:7). The meaning of this last phrase seems to be that God would not have brought on the destruction of the flood unless he had a way to deliver the godly remnant.
God had promised that the offspring of the woman would triumph over Satan. This promise had not yet been fulfilled when the corruption of mankind had become complete. Rest assured that God does not break his promises!
The human race was completely infected with sin. There was only one family to carry on in obedience to God. God had promised that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of Satan. When he made this promise God was clearly speaking of Jesus and his death on the cross that defeated sin. Satan had been busy attacking the descendants of the woman. During Noah’s lifetime it seemed that Satan had won, not just the battle, but the war. Soon there would be no godly line through whom God would bring the Messiah. In order to head off the rebellion and destruction God instructed Noah to build an ark. Noah’s faith made possible the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. He took our sin to the cross! We must put our faith in him in order to be saved. Have you confessed him as Lord? Today can be the day of salvation for you.
All scriptures quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.