From Adam to the Flood
This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. Genesis 5:1
1656 years from Adam to the flood. We get this number by looking at the genealogy which tells how long each person lived.
These first chapters, especially 4 and 5 contain the only authentic history of the world before the flood.
These chapters reveal to us the age of the earth and the universe. They were all created within the same week.
We have read about Cain's genealogy. We noticed the development of culture, specifically music and musical instruments. Very likely various forms of art came into being. We saw the first desire that people had to live in a setting that would grow to be called a city. We read about the beginning of invention and industry. This came through the line of Cain. Is this bad? Not particularly. 1
But it all relates to what is physically experienced. A rather blunt title is given in scripture … that which pertains to flesh, is flesh … that which pertains to the Spirit is Spirit.
God has 'given us all things richly to enjoy' … but as we noted in a previous study, this is God's Common Grace that is enjoyed by anyone on earth, regardless of their faith or lack of it.
So the things 'of the flesh' can include a whole list of evil things, but things of the flesh can pertain also to things that we are given to enjoy during our stay on earth. This includes the ability to appreciate art and music and scenery and weather etc. But these are all things of the flesh. So I find it very interesting that the 'faith line' of Adam through Seth and on down to Noah, includes no credits to society, according to the flesh. Not one word is mentioned that applies to the physical enjoyment of life. We will read some incredible statements, on the other hand, that speak of a wonderful spiritual connection with God.
We could not help but see sinful, God-rejecting traits and practices that resulted in sin becoming the defining mark of the society.
We were happy to note that Adam produced a son (Seth) that God called the replacement for Abel, and that Seth had a son (Enosh) who seems to have been the reason for numbers of people to come back to 'calling on God'. It was just one short verse that seems to describe a revival of sorts.
In the verses of Chapter 5 we find a second genealogy. Cain's genealogy included a total of seven generations. The Genealogy of Adam contains ten generations.
If we were to give names to these genealogies we could call Cain's the Descendants of Degeneration.
But clearly we are to see in the generations of Adam, The Legacy of Faith.
Looking back, remember that God said that Eve would be the mother of a child that would crush the serpent's head. She hoped for that in Abel, but his life was cut short. It was not until the birth of Seth, some hundred plus years later, that she once again had hope. God made it clear that Seth was the male child to replace Abel.
Abel was to be the forefather of the Messiah. Now Seth will be the one through whom the Messiah, the Saviour, will eventually be born. Eve may have had no way of knowing whether Seth himself would be the Christ child. She likely had not heard that her seed would produce the woman (Mary, the mother) … but God would be the father.
God has said, … without faith it is impossible to please Him, Heb 11:6. Faith in what? The existence of God? Cain believed in the existence of God, right? To get clarity on this we need to include the last part of the verse from Hebrews. Here it is: for he who comes to God must believe that He is (that he exists), and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Cain had the first part right. He believed that God existed. Of course he did. He talked to and was spoken to by God. But the last part … believe that He is a rewarder. God had said to Cain ...if you do what is right, will you not be accepted? That would have been the reward. Cain in his heart said No! He rejected God as His rewarder.
The lineage of Seth would be a line of those who believed God was the rewarder .. the final authority. The one who would be the judge and settle up with his children. This calls for respect and submission to the will of God. That is how we all must come to God.
Seth had a son, Enosh, who was a real man of faith. He is mentioned in connection with a time period in which people began to call on God as their Jehovah. Today we do the same as we recognize that Jesus is Jehovah. The meaning of the name is, I am that I Am, or I am the one who exists. Jesus made this claim in John 8:24"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins."
Here is where the Jehovah's Witnesses make their grave mistake. While they lift up the name of Jehovah, they reject the idea that Jesus is Jehovah. Because of this, (Jesus says) they will all die in their sins.
And so with that background, lets look at Chapter 5.
Why did God include this list of genealogies in the book of Genesis? What is the reason that we, the readers, have been given the list we are going to read in this chapter?
There are several.
For one, it tells the time and date of the flood. The year 1656. The age of the earth. The age of the universe.
For another – we are given this genealogy to show us the increase in the population; how man multiplied and filled the earth. I made a bit of a study on this point. Some of the sources were a bit off the wall and estimated that the population of the earth could have reached 90 billion by the time of the flood. Most of the bible commentators agree to a number between 7 – 10 billion. That is more than the number of people who currently populate the earth. I won't take the time or space here to show you the mathematical formulas that were used to come up with this but you can follow this up on your own and you will be quite impressed with the accuracy.
And thirdly we are given this list to impress upon us the reign of death. You will notice the number of times the phrase ' … and he died' occurs.
A fourth reason we have this list … is the one entry that shows us that there is life after death and that some of us may not die, but simply be raptured into the very presence of God. Enoch … walked with God, had a first born son who is mentioned, then … simply disappeared. He was a middle-aged man of about 350 years of age.
The main reason we are given this list … this is the genealogy through which we can trace the coming of the Messiah, the Saviour.
This is the line of the 'promised Seed', who would come from Eve and eventually crush the head of the serpent.
Verses 1-3. This is the 'book'. Or, This is the record. Very likely this 'record' was kept by one of the forefathers … likely it was Adam himself. The record would have been orally passed down to the descendants. It may have been passed down in hard copy. It reads as though Moses had access to the record. If he has it in hard copy, it would have to have been carried onto the Ark by Noah. What we read from this point on reads like an obituary.
Ge 5:5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.
Ge 5:8 And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.
Ge 5:11 And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.
Ge 5:14 And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.
Ge 5:17 And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.
Ge 5:20 And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.
Ge 5:27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
Ge 5:31 And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.
Ge 9:29 And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.
'And he died.'
They lived a long time, but they all died.
Why did they all die? Verse 3. Adam begat a son … in his own likeness. Adam had been made in God's likeness
(verse 1). Perfect. Sinless. Seth is made in Adam's likeness. In our time a child is born and we marvel at it. We say, She has her mothers tiny nose and cheek bones. Or we say, he has his father's eyes. Made in the likeness of our parents, from our perspective we always take this as a positive spin.
In verse three … this is not particularly positive. Adam was made in God's image. He spoiled that image and became a sinner. Now he begets a child .. in his own image. Imperfect. A sinner.
We learn from this that 'like begets like'. Sinners have little sinners. While it is true they are born 'alive' spiritually, they are still born sinners. They sin in ignorance until 'the law', the knowledge of right and wrong comes into their lives … then they die spiritually.
And so Adam and all the others eventually died.
But even thought they all eventually die, they (all of those who have put their faith in God ) die in faith.
Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Here is a simple observation. Adam lived to be 930 years. His is the first recorded natural death. Abel died, was murdered. Other deaths may have occurred due to accident or while hunting a wild animal. The Bible does not say one way or another. But no one was yet dying from disease. Viruses may not even have begun during this time. So there were no cemeteries. The death of anyone would have been talked about as something very unusual.
So why did these early forefathers of ours live to be so old? For one, there would be no written word of God for quite a while. What they heard from God they would have to pass on to one another. As you may have experienced in a school class room a few years back, your teacher may have introduced you to the game of 'gossip'. She would speak something into the ear of the first student and then have them repeat it to the one behind them in the row. On the message would travel right to the last student .. who then was to say out loud the message they had just been given. Invariably the message changed. Sometimes so much so that it was not the same message at all.
With these early people living so long, there was a great deal of overlap between the generations.
I want to illustrated this in a simple chart.
Notice that Adam could have spoken with , and likely did speak with, Methuselah and Lamech. What happened in the garden of Eden … Lamech heard it first hand from Adam. Adam lived long enough to see the wickedness of the world grow to the extent that God was sorry he had created them. So did his son, Shem. Noah lived a long time after the flood. Abraham no doubt spoke with Noah. He could have asked Shem what is was like to have been on that Ark for a year. And, get this … Abraham died before Shem did.
Shem got to see or hear about his new relatives as they multiplied … and walked away from God, decide to build a tower to heaven.
Shem got to see or hear about the founding of the nation of Israel.
Truth could be passed on almost first hand. This is a very good reason for people to have lived so long on the earth.
Eventually God's truth was written. That is what Moses is doing. Others probably kept records and this may be what Moses is referring to when he says, This is the book of the generations of Adam.
This list is mainly those of first-born sons of the 'line of faith'. These were Godly individuals who passed their faith on down to their children. One that really stands out here is Enoch.
What do we know about him?
In the little book of Jude which is placed at the end of our bibles right before the Book of Revelation we read words that shows how 'fired up' he is against some false prophets who had been creeping into the churches around where he lived. He ripped them up one side and down the other with his scorching words. And then he quotes something that Enoch said. (This was either faithfully passed down … or Enoch wrote it down and Noah had it with him in the Ark). Jude says,
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." Jude 1:14, 15
This is amazing. Enoch walked with God. As he walked with God he heard things about the judgment of God. So Enoch was saying … “You evil prophets! God is going to judge you!” And God did judge them in the flood. But Jude takes this prophecy as including a yet future judgment. Jude had a whole different set of false prophets to contend with. The ones of Enoch's day all drown in the flood. The ones in Jude's day are still to be judged. And the prophecy is for our day … Jesus is coming with ten thousands of his saints to execute judgment on the evil doers presently on this earth.
Another person to take notice of, is Methuselah. He is Enoch's son. Enoch gave him a name with a specific meaning. His name literally means, When he dies, it shall come. The last part refers to a judgment. The flood. And he died the year of the flood. Enoch could give him a name with a meaning … because he walked with God. God told Enoch about the coming flood. While Noah preached for 120 years, calling on people to repent … he had Methuselah there for encouragement. He had his father there for encouragement.
There must have been other Godly people besides just the first-born son in a family. But what we are seeing is that God had them dying off just before the flood. Can you see the wisdom and mercy of God in this?
Isaiah 57:1 ¶ The righteous perish, and no-one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no-one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.
Walking with God
Ge 5:24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
Ge 6:9 This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.
2Ki 2:11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
1Th 4:15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.
18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Are we righteousness? Do we walk with God? Are we prefect? Were these men of whom we have been reading, perfect?
The answers are yes and no.
2Co 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
We are righteous because God dressed us with the righteousness of Christ. Are we perfect ..,. no. Are we walking with God? As we stay in His word and seek to live it out every day … we are.
11Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.