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Chapter 6

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The Flood (ch. 6:1 - 22)


Genesis 6:1 says, "when men began to increase in number on earth and daughters were born to them."   The first thing to note here is the word "men."  The word is not "man", as in "mankind."   We're talking about men here, not men and women. 


Another thing to note here is the emphases on daughters.  The text does not say that sons and daughters were born.  It just says that daughters were born.  Of course sons were also born, but sons aren't the issue in these first few verses of chapter 6.  The emphases and the point that will be made concerns daughters alone, not sons.


Scholars over the years have tried to estimate how many people might have been alive on earth at the time of the flood.   Many suggest that there could have been billions, possibly five to seven billion people, as many as are alive today.  They say this is a reasonable number from the genealogies that are provided in the Genesis account.  I do believe we need to understand that many sons and daughters were born from the time of Adam and Eve, that reproduced many more sons and daughters.  We're not just talking about a few people here. 


Another thing we need to note is because of the life span of people back then, Adam was alive during much of the pre-Noah days.  Actually, Adam was alive when Noah's father Lamech was alive.    


In verse 2 we learn that "the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful."  The question to be asked here is, "who are the sons of God, and who are the daughters of men?"  This is not as simple of a thing as you might think.  At first glance you might think that the "sons of God" are men, and "the daughters" are women, but that doesn't seem to be the general consensus.


There are two main ways scholars have viewed this.  One is that the sons of God are the descendents of Seth, the godly line of people, and the daughters are the descendents of Cain, the ungodly people.  The other view is that the sons of God are actually fallen angels, and the daughters are simply human women. 


The rest of verse 2 tells us that these sons of God married any of the daughters of men that they chose to marry.  So, either men married these women, or angels married these women.  You might think the idea

That angels would marry women is far-fetched, but there are many prominent scholars who hold to this viewpoint. 


Probably both ways of thinking have their pros and cons.  If you say that the sons of God are the descendents of Cain, and they are evil, that's sort of aligning God with the evil descendents of Cain.  Besides, it is clear that none was righteous, all mankind was evil except for Noah and possibly the rest of his family.  All were killed in the flood, not just the sons of Cain.  The descendents of Seth were just as bad.  Also, the text calls these women the "daughters of men," not just the daughters of Cain. 


In Job 1:6, 2:1, and 38:7, the KJV uses the term "sons of God".  The context clearly suggests that these sons of God are angels, and the NIV actually translates the Hebrew to mean angels.  The NIV doesn't use the term "sons of God" as the KJV does.  Thos who believe that the "sons of God" seen here in Genesis 6 are angels point to Job to confirm their point. 


Jesus clearly states that angels don't marry.  Those who don't believe that the sons of God are angels say that angels don't marry, that is don't have wives, but it might be possible that when appearing as human, they have sexual capabilities.  Most scholars do believe that when angels appear to humans, they appear in some human like form so they are recognizable. 


Jude 6 sheds some light on this topic, at least for those who believe that the sons of men were fallen angels.  Jude writes that the "angels who did not keep their position of authority, but abandoned their own home – these He has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on that great Day."  We need to ask who these angels are.  They can't be demons that are roaming the earth today since these angels are locked up in chains. These angels are another group of angels.  They might well be the sons of God as seen here in Genesis 6.  God removed them from the earth and chained them up.    


One thing we should understand is that the Bible is a book concerning God and his relationship to mankind.  We only have hints and glimpses of the spiritual realm that exists around us.  Therefore much of what we believe about angels and demons is partial. 


In verse 3 we note that God said that His "Spirit will not always contend with man because he is mortal."  This comment by God comes right after the mention that the sons of God married the daughters of men. To me this suggests that these marriages have something to do with God's Spirit noting contending with men any more.  There seems to be something really wrong with these marriages. 


Another rendering of the word "contend" could be remain.  So either God is saying that "my Spirit may not always contend, or struggle with mankind, and that would be an inner struggle," or He is saying, "my Spirit will not always remain within man."   It's either one or the other. 


When God breathed into man the breath of life when He created man, something of God was placed in man.  Now that something seems to be struggling or contending with man, and so that part of God that produced life in man would not remain in man forever.  When that part of God is removed from man, man dies.  This would suggest that all mankind, wicked or righteous has something of God within him, and only when that is removed will man die.


The simple point to verse 3 is that there is a conflict between God and man, and this conflict is getting worse, so bad, that He would bring the flood to the earth.


One last point to verse  3 is that God said the life span of man would be 120 years.  That's greatly reduced from the life span of many that had existed.  Psalm 90:10 suggest that our life span is 70 years, or if we are in good health, maybe even 80.  It would seem to be that sometime between Genesis 6 and Psalm  90, man's life span got reduced by another 40 years.  It is interesting to note that God Himself said that the life span of man would be reduced after the flood.  Did He reduce the number of years, or was it because the umbrella of water above our sky that protected us from the sun's harmful rays was gone due to the flood?   


Verse 4 says that the "Nephilim" lived on earth in those days, as well as after those days.  These Nephilim were the ones who had married the daughters of men that we saw in verse 2.  This may or may not help us answer the question, "who are the sons of God?"   The KJV translated the Hebrew as "giants."   The word "Nephilim" is a transliteration form the Hebrew.  It's not a translation.  It's pretty well how you say the Hebrew word.  The KJV doesn't transliterate.  It translated  the Hebrew into the English word "giants."  So the KJV understands the Hebrew word here to mean giants, as in those who are large in bodily structure. Yet there are some who say that the Hebrew word doesn't mean large, but noble, skillful, or excellent.  That might be why they are called "men of renown" in this chapter.    


These Nephilim seem to be a strange being, maybe giants, and maybe some kind of superior being, who knows for sure.  Some link the Hebrew word to it's root, meaning "to fall."  Therefore they suggest that the Nephilim are fallen angels.  These fallen angels had sex with women and their offspring were giants, or so those who hold to this position say.  These Giants were clearly seen before the flood, but also were seen after the flood, as seen in the giant the David killed.  See also Numbers 13:22 and 33 where it also mentions Nephilim.  It appears that these Nephilim were wiped out at the flood, but also appeared again in history.


Verse 4 might support that the "sons of God" are in fact fallen angels, and these fallen angels married human women and produced a different kind of human offspring that as this verse says, were heroes and men of renown.  They would have been heroes and men of renown because they were giants and mighty warriors.  If all this is true, you can see why God is so upset with everything that is taking place on the earth.  Jesus compared the days at the end of this age to the days prior to the flood.  You can see how evil the days before the flood were.  They appear to be  more evil than our days at present, although things can change very quickly in our day.  The whole world of demonic activity and demon worship is increasing these days, and it would not surprise me that soon we will be like those in Noah's day, and fallen angels might well be having sex with women.


Verse 5 tells us God's perspective concerning how evil man had become.  He said, that "every inclination of the thoughts of men's hearts were only evil all the time."  Notice that God isn't talking about evil actions here.  He's talking about "inclinations of the thoughts of man's heart."  He's not even talking about man's thoughts, but the inclination of our thoughts.  This means that man's thoughts are inclined towards evil before they even think the thoughts, and before these thoughts can be put into action.  And this inclination towards evil isn't spasmodic.  This tendency towards evil is with us all of the time.  We can't get rid of evil inclinations.  They are part of our nature.


If the "sons of God" mentioned in this passage are fallen angels, then you can certainly see how bad things got.  Jesus compared the days at the end of our present age to these days.  Both in Noah's day, and in the days leading to the end of this age, there is no concept of the God of the Bible.  Everything is distorted.


Notice also that man's wickedness "had become" more wicked as time went on.  Such is sin.  One sin leads to another.  Unless wickedness is kept in check, it will spread like a cancer.  God told Cain that "sin is crouching at your door."  If you let sin passed your door, it will want to take over completely.


In verse 6 we note that God was grieved, and His heart was full of pain.  From this we know that God does experience negative emotions such as grief and pain.  Since we are created in God's likeness and image, that is why we experience such emotions as well.


The KJV puts these words as "it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth."   The JKV might seem a bit different in their translation from the NIV.  The KJV suggests that God wished that He had never made man, and that He was ready to change His mind concerning man.  I don't see this as being a good interpretation of these words.  I believe God knew well in advance what would happen to man.  I also believe, as discussed earlier, that God anticipated man's wickedness, and that it was all part of His plan against the battle He had with satan.  Yet even though God knew this would happen, and it was part of His plan, it still grieved Him.  That shows the love of God.


In verse 7 we see the conclusion that God came to.  He would "wipe mankind whom He had created from the face of the earth."  I've always said that God is very secure in Himself.  He is not afraid to destroy what He has created, unlike you and I who for the most part have trouble wiping out what we have created.  This was a very drastic measure for God to take, but it shows us that He takes sin very seriously, and so should we.


The second part of verse 7 states that God wasn't only going to wipe out man, but birds and animals as well.  There is no mention of fish being wiped out.  Maybe they were or maybe they weren’t.  My guess is that the fish weren't wiped out.


There was one exception to God wiping out all mankind from the face of the earth, and that was Noah.  Somehow, God found favour with Noah.  We learn why Noah found favour in God's sight in Hebrew 11:7. It reads, "by faith, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.  By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." 


We learn much from Hebrews 11:7. First of all we learn that Noah had faith.  Faith means trust.  That means that He trusted God.  When he began to trust God we don't know, but it is certain that he did trust God.  The writer of Hebrews says that "Noah, by faith when warned…"   God's warning to Noah was a test of trust.   Could he trust God to bring about a flood and keep him through the flood?  Well, he did trust God and was saved.  The writer of Hebrews is telling us that Noah's salvation, like ours, was built on trust.  


Another thing we learn about Noah from this verse is that he had a "holy fear" of God.  Having a "holy fear" of God is part of being a righteous person.  You might say that to the degree we fear God will be the degree we live a righteous life.  Much of the problems we face in Christian circles today is a direct result of not fearing God as Noah did.  I do distinguish between fear and reverence.  Fear is stronger than reverence.  Fear is being afraid.  Noah was afraid not to trust God, and so should we be afraid not to trust Him.  We often minimize fear to reverence, but we shouldn't.  


Another thing we learn here in Hebrews is that Noah was warned about something that had never happened before.  Prior to this point in time, it had never rained.  Remember, above the sky prior to the flood was a canopy of water.  The flood was a combination of this water falling to the ground and springs of underground rivers exploding to the surface of the earth.  Mankind had never experienced rain before.  That would mean that Noah would really have to trust God.  If God told Noah it would rain, and Noah had never seen rain, it might not have been an easy thing to trust God. 


Another thing we learn here and in the Genesis account is that because Noah was righteous, his whole family was saved.  There seems to be hints of family salvation throughout scripture.  I don't think that a son or a daughter is saved because of his or her parents faith, because salvation is on a personal level.  Each and every person needs to trust Jesus for themselves.  Yet at the same time, if the man is the head of the home as he should be, it appears to me that all family members under his care will be protected from evil as long as these family members are at home.  Once they go out on their own, this protection from God is determined by their own personal faith.  This also might suggest that God will certainly speak to the hearts of our children, and even more so than others who are not from a godly family.  Our prayers for our family members will be heard.  This tells me how important it is for each and every Christian family to have a godly father.


One last thing we learn from Hebrews 11:7 is that Noah's faith condemned the world.  What does that mean.  Well, it seems to me that Noah's faith and his subsequent actions help God condemn the world.  It was God's judgment call that brought the rain.  It was His idea in the first place, but Noah's faith and trust in God connected Noah to the plan of God. This is true for us today as well.  God has certain plans.  He has certain plans concerning the end of the age, and part of His plan is to include us in the implementation of this plan.  We can only participate in God's plans when we trust Him with our lives.  Noah's obedience to God in building the ark was in effect a demonstration of the condemnation and judgment of God.


Genesis 6:9 says that Noah was both righteous and blameless, and that he walked with God.  What walking with God means might be debatable.  We know that Adam walked with God.  We know that Cain and Abel talked with God.  I think it might be that prior to the flood God spoke to those to whom He wanted to speak in real time so to speak.  Whatever the case, Noah walked with God, suggesting he had an ongoing relationship with God, and that is what living a godly life is all about. 


Verse 10 tells us that Noah had 3 sons.  They were Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  Genesis 7:6 tells us that Noah was 600 years old when the floods came.  To me this presents and interesting question.  In all of Noah's 600 years, why did he only have 3 sons, and apparently no daughters.  I don't think we can answer this question.  We can only guess.  It might well be that God knew that Noah's family would be the family that His salvation for mankind would flow through and only so many sons and sons family could fit into the ark.  On the other hand, Noah might well have had many more sons and daughters that we know about, but only three were chosen to enter the ark.  Three might be an important number here.  Three is often seen as the number of completion.   


The name Shem means, a name or a mark, or some distinguishing mark.  It is said that Shem's line of ancestry ended up in western Asia – Persians, Assyrians, Aramaeans, and part of the Arab population.


The name Ham means hot.  Ham's ancestry includes the Canaanites, and those who lived in the south, including Egypt.


Japheth means opened.  His ancestry spread northwards and settled in the coast of the Mediterranean and north into Europe .       


Verse 11 says that the "earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence."   The Hebrew word for "corrupt" means wicked, but it also has the idea of destruction.  It appears that man's wickedness and violence had destroyed many things on the earth.  The word "corrupt" is more of a general word for wickedness, but the word "violence" is more specific.  Man had become quite violent, and it only took ten generations. 


Verse 12 says that "all people on the earth had corrupted his ways."   When the text says "all people" we should accept these words and understand that "all people" were corrupted, that is, except for Noah.  As said earlier, many scholars feel that there could well have been 5 to 7 billion people on the earth at this time.  Even if there were only millions of people on the earth, all these people could do major damage to the earth, to each other, and to what they had built. 


Verse 13 tells us that God spoke to Noah and told him that He would put an end "to all people " on the earth.  All people were wicked, therefore all people would die.  Once again the word "violence" is used to denote what kind of wickedness was taking place.  I'd suggest that there were probably other forms of wickedness, but violence seems to be the predominant one.  If indeed evil angels came down and had sex with women, that would surely be another form of wickedness. 


Also in verse 13 God said that He would destroy both "men and the earth."  So once again, all creation went down with man.  Adam brought all of creation down when he sinned, and we see the same taking place now. 


When God said that He would destroy the earth, that means the whole earth.  That tells me that the idea that some hold to that the flood was local and did not cover the whole earth is not correct.


God destroyed the earth in the flood.  This tells us how much damage was done to the earth.  If God said He would destroy something, then you can be assured that it got destroyed.  That is what happened to our earth. So much of what modern science says took place over billions of years could have easily taken place because of the flood.  


In verse 14 God begins to tell Noah his plans for him.  He told Noah to make an ark from cypress wood, or   gopher wood as the KJV puts it.  The origin of this word and this wood is unknown. 


The ark would have rooms in it and it was to be covered in pitch.  The word "pitch" itself in the Hebrew means "to cover", and is used many times in the Old Testament in terms of covering of one's sin in atonement.  Note that the pitch was to be put on this ark from in outside and the inside.  Normally pitch is only put on the outside of a boat, but not here.  This had to be sealed completely.  The flood that would take place would be very damaging.  


Verse 15 tells us that the ark was to be built 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high.  For those who are ship builders, you will realize that these dimensions are the proper dimensions for a ship, or an ark this case.  When building boats the dimension must be in proportion for the boat to float without tipping.  One thing we should note is that the ark isn't meant to be a ship.  It's meant to be more like a raft that has been  covered.   


Verse 16 says that the ark should have a roof and finished within 18 inches.  This means that all around the roof of the ark, about 18 inches from the top there'd be an opening for air to get in.  Also verse 16 says that the ark must have a door and three floors to it.


Verse 17 tells us that God will destroy the earth, and "everything under the heavens will be destroyed."  This presents a question. Did the fish get destroyed because they are under the heavens?  You might think that the rushing water from the underground streams that exploded onto the earth might have killed the fish. This is a debatable question. We know that Noah did not put fish in the ark, and we have fish today, so if God killed the fish, how could we have fish today if none survived the flood?  Most scholars feel that fish weren't killed in the flood.


In verse 18 God spoke to Noah and said that He would make His covenant with Noah.  This is the first time we see the word "covenant" in the Bible.  What God promises Noah is normally called the "Noahic Covenant."   God simply covenanted, or agreed with Himself at this point.  God didn't really enter into an agreement with Noah.  A covenant is simply an agreement between two people, or in the case of God, He often makes a covenant with Himself to either bless or curse man.  You might say what God told Adam, Eve, and the serpent in Genesis 3 concerning their punishment was a covenant.  At that point God agreed with Himself to do certain things because of Adam and Eve's sin.  And in one sense of the word, what God told Adam, Eve, and the serpent was a covenant. 


The covenant God is making here is that He will allow Adam, his wife, and his three sons and wives and family to enter the ark to save them from the flood that would soon cover the earth.   God stated the covenant.  Noah simply had to obey it in order to be saved.  This covenant is expanded on after the flood.


Verse 19 states more of the covenant.  Noah was to bring in two of every kind of animal into the ark, male and female.  This is so that when the flood was over these animals could reproduce and repopulate the earth.


Verse 20 specifies that all animals would be included, even birds.  There is no mention of fish.  The verse says that the animals "would come" to Noah.  Some suggest that God led them to Noah.  This might well be the case.  Yet once they got to Noah, as verse 19 says, Noah would actually "bring" the animals into the ark.  So the animals entering the ark appear to be a combination of both God and Noah assisting them.     


The covenant continues in verse 21 where God tells Noah that he  has to bring in food for both the animals and his family.   


Verse 22  says that "Noah did everything that God had commanded."  This tells us that Noah was indeed a righteous man.  He did everything asked of him by God.


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