Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

Life in antediluvian (pre-flood) times

The Bible does not give a detailed history of the time between the Fall and Noah's Flood, but what little information it does give is packed with spiritual lessons and interesting insights.

Genesis 4

Genesis 4 records the story of Cain and Abel. The sacrifices of Cain and Abel provide a contrast.

Cain brought only crops as an offering. In the Biblical sense, plants do not have life (plants do not have blood - see Lev 17:11), and thus Cain's offering did not involve any death. Thus, it was counterfeit. It did not symbolize the fact that death is required for the atonement of sin.

Abel offered animals on his altar. This was an acceptable sacrifice. Why?

  • "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23)
  • What is death? The termination of life. How is life terminated?
  • "The life of the flesh is in the blood" (Lev 17:11a)
  • So?
  • "it is the [shed] blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Lev 17:11f)
  • It is only the shedding of blood [death, the destruction of life] that can atone [provide a covering so that God does not punish] sin!

Thus, here in Genesis, at the start of history, we have a contrast:

Cain is an example of man-made religion. People try to get to God their own way. They're perhaps offended by the gory details of Leviticus, or by the teaching that the Lord Jesus purchased our pardon with his own blood, (but they don't mind killing unborn babies!). Cain eventually killed Abel, who was a man of God. Abel is commended in Heb 11:4 as a hero of faith.

When God confronts Cain about his murder of Abel, he shows no remorse. He asks, "Am I my brother's keeper?" God in effect answers, yes! Cain's wife must have been a sister or close relative. Cain's descendants also seem to have been the first to build cities (Ge 4:17). The term city here does not imply a metropolis, but a settlement with a watch.

While the Bible mentions only three sons of Adam and Eve by name, it does mention that they had many sons and daughters (Ge 5:4). Jewish tradition has it that Adam had 33 sons and 27 daughters. So you can imagine that the population would increase rapidly, and Cain had good reason to be wary.

Cain went away from God's presence, and in whatever little the Bible mentions about his descendants, nothing is mentioned about their having any interest in God. Cain's descendants were quite illustrious, developing music, agriculture, and metallurgy.

The first few generations had certain advantages:-

  • They had lesser mutations, and so they were mentally and physically superior to us.
  • They lived in a very luxuriant world. Earning a living then would have been easier then that now.
  • They lived really long - you can learn a lot in 900 years!

These factors contributed to the great advancement of technology in the ante-diluvian (pre-flood) world. The same factors also contributed to the proliferation of evil. There seems to have been no government then - everyone fended for themselves (see Ge 4:23).

Genesis 5

Genesis 5 tells us about the sons of Adam. It's interesting to check the meanings of their names:-

  • Adam - Man
  • Seth - Appointed
  • Enos - Mortal
  • Cainan - Sorrow
  • Mahalaleel - the blessed God
  • Jared - will come down
  • Enoch - preaching
  • Methuselah - His death will bring
  • Lamech - Sorrowing
  • Noah - Comfort

Thus: "Man is appointed mortal sorrow but the blessed God will come down preaching that His death will bring the sorrowing comfort". There's the gospel!

In this construction, "Methuselah" refers to the death of the Lord Jesus Christ that would be a ransom for us. However, in a more immediate context, Methuselah's name referred to the fact that his death would bring God's judgment. Methuselah died in the year of Noah's flood. Notice also that at 969, Methuselah is the longest living human recorded! Does this not suggest the forbearance of God? He does not want to punish man!! God waits for as long as He can.

"As I live, declares the Lord Jehovah, I take no delight in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!" - Eze 33:11

Enoch (Methuselah's father) probably understood the import of his son's name. He was very godly, he walked with God and God raptured Him. Thus, Enoch is a symbol of the church that will be raptured away before God's wrath is poured on the earth, while Noah is a symbol of Israel, that will be purged even as she passes through the time of God's judgment. Enoch also prophesied about God's judgments that are yet future (Jude/Judas 1:14).

Genesis 6

This chapter begins with verses that have been the subject of much discussion:

"Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were pleasing; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose." - Ge 6:1,2

What exactly is this talking about? There are two interpretations that believers tend to have:-

Position # 1:
The "sons of God" are angels. These are rebellious angels who took on human bodies and, for the sake of pleasure, married women. The Bible mentions "giants" as the result of such unions, suggesting that these angels may have tried some tinkering with the human gene code. If this is so, other departures from the normal human body can also be expected.

Position # 2:
The "sons of God" refers to the people of the godly line of Seth - they intermarried with the daughters of men - the ungodly women of Cainite descent.

Arguments in favor of position # 1 (or against position # 2):

  1. All other references to sons of God in the Old Testament refer to angels. For instance, Job 1:6 mentions the "sons of God", with Satan "also among them". Now Satan is not a man but a (fallen) angel. It is true that verses such as John 1:12 use the term "sons of God" for believers, but all such verses are in the New Testament. It is only when the Son of God has come down and become one of us that it is appropriate to refer to God as "Our Father", or to ourselves individually as the "sons of God". In the OT, "angels" seems to be the more appropriate meaning of "sons of God".
  2. The Bible mentions 9 descendants of Adam starting with Seth. While it is plausible that Cain's descendants were ungodly, there is virtually no evidence that Seth's line as a whole was godly. We're only given 10 names, and the Bible does not testify even about each of them, that they were godly. So it is unlikely that the term "sons of God" refers to the (thousands of) descendants of Seth.
  3. The term "daughters of men" is a general term emphasizing the humanity of the women involved - nowhere is there a hint in this term that these were wicked women.
  4. There's no reason that wicked Cainite women would be prettier than godly women.
  5. If a godly guy marries an ungodly woman, there's no reason for the offspring to be a giant or a mighty man of renown. (So this couldn't be Seth's descendants marrying Cain's). The Hebrew word Nephel (used in Gen 6:4 for giants) literally means "fellers". These are people so imposing, they make you fall. Even today, erring believers marry unbelievers, but no such offspring arise. Why should it have arisen then?!
  6. In Jude (Judas) 1:6 we read of angels, "which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation". It doesn't say that they simply rebelled against God, but leaving their "first estate" does suggest that they left their realm and adopted another place and type of existence, viz cohabitation with humans. These angels are mentioned as being imprisoned (Jude 1:6b). In 1 Pe 3: 19, 20, we're told that the Lord Jesus went and preached to these spirits, and they are mentioned as being disobedient specifically at Noah's time.
  7. If the mythologies of various cultures have any basis in truth, it does seem like the demons came to cohabit with men and tried out some genetic tinkering. Mythologies are full of the stories of giants and powerful characters, some of them half animal-half human. According to Greek mythology, the gods came down to stay with men, and this displeased Zeus, the chief god, and so he imprisoned them in a place called Tarturus. Interesting!

Arguments in support of Position # 2

  1. Immediately after verse 2 of Gen 6 (which is the subject of controversy), God says in v3, "My spirit shall not always strive with man". God seems to be expressing unhappiness over the conduct of man, not angels. If this is the case, it must have been men in v2 that were sinning, not angels. However, note that angels are also referred to as men when they appear like men (Mark 16:5, Ac 1:10, etc)
  2. Angels are spirits, so they don't have human bodies. To suggest that bad angels took on bodies against God's will implies that they were intelligent and powerful enough to make a human body. That's a tall order!  

The following arguments are used to support position # 2, but I don't consider them valid.

Argument # 1: "In Mk 12:25, the Lord Jesus says that angels do not marry."

But wait a minute. He's talking about the "angels of God in heaven" at the time of the resurrection. These are the "good guys" who have not rebelled against God and taken human bodies for themselves. That it is -possible- for an angel to take on a human body is made evident in Genesis 18 and 19. Abraham and Lot get angelic visitors who appeared just like men. They ate and drank with Abraham and Lot, and the Sodomites thought they could have a sex orgy with them.

Argument # 2: "The proliferation of evil that followed these marriages suggests that it was a case of God's people marrying the people of the world, the unequal yoke that God forbids in 2 Cor 6:14"

It is true that unequal yokes (marriages between believers and unbelievers) don't make for good families, and the children of such marriages are likely to go astray. However, this does not constitute proof for position # 2, since it is equally possible that marriages between rebellious angels and ordinary (unbelieving) women would result in delinquent children.

Believers should not behave like evolutionists, offering one interpretation of the known facts as evidence for a position, when there are interpretations for the same facts that support the opposite position!

Whatever be the case, God was displeased with all the evil and decided to destroy the earth with Noah's Flood.