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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Genesis 6

 

 

Verses 1-22

MAN'S DEGRADATION TO CORRUPTION AND VIOLENCE

It was not long before mankind multiplied greatly on earth, and the dreadful effects of sin multiplied with them. this is emphasized in the corrupt mixture of "the sons of God" with "the daughters of men." We have seen in Chapter 5 that the line of Seth maintained "the likeness of God" in some measure at least, therefore they are called "the sons of God:" they were separate from the evils of the line of Cain. so today in the coming out from among the ungodly and being separate, believers take a place where God says of them, "ye shall be my sons and daughters" (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).

Sadly, those of the line of Seth were seduced by the attractiveness of the women of Cain's line, and took wives just as they chose. It is the same today if a believer marries an unbeliever: there will be sad results, for God has plainly forbidden it.

Some have supposed that "the sons of God" were fallen angels, connecting this with Job 1:6 where angels are clearly spoken of as "sons of God." But men are more often in scripture called "sons of God" than angels are. Besides, angels are sexless (Matthew 22:30), and they do not have bodies: they are spirits (Hebrews 1:14) It is unthinkable that God would create special bodies for fallen angels in order that they might take ungodly advantage of women.

But this matter is plainly settle by God's word in verse 3: "The Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh." It is clear that "the sons of God" were the responsible parties here: it was they who took wives, not the wives who took them. So God calls the sons of God men, insisting also that they are "flesh," not spirit, as angels are. So early in history this event stands as a solemn warning to believers against yoking themselves with unbelievers. Such mixtures are often strongly censured in the Old Testament as well as in the New. Compare Ezra 9:1-4 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

God had by His Spirit been striving with men against their willful sin, but His patience would come to an end, though He would evidently allow them another 120 years before He would destroy civilization. Chapter 5:32 speaks of Noah being 500 years old, so that it seems that God spoke as He did in verse 3 twenty years before Noah became 500. Before the sons of God took the daughters of men as wives, there were giants in the earth. There is no indication as to why men became giants (v.4), but generally in scripture giants are connected with unbelief. The spiritual lesson from this is that unbelievers aspire to be great and outstanding, but a giant is an abnormal monstrosity.

After that we read of the offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of men, becoming "mighty men, -- men of renown." Notice, they are still "men," not angels. If a believer marries an unbeliever, the believer is responsible for the wrong, not the unbeliever. But the believer is thus using his many privileges and advantages in an unfaithful way. The unbelieving partner gets the advantage of these without being born again, and the result is that their children become prominent and influential in the world. In fact, a believer himself, if he uses his Christian capabilities for the world, may become great in the world, but is not true to his Lord. Thus, this mixture benefits the world in a material way, but the Lord is robbed of the honor that belongs to Him.

This is great wickedness in the eyes of the Lord, for it is the basis of every other kind of evil. People want what they want now: they see opportunities for material prosperity and God is calmly ignored. "Every intent" of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. The line of Seth had become just as independent and callous as the line of Cain. Seth himself was no doubt a believer, but by this time his seed had become faithless.

Certainly God knew from eternity past that man would so greatly corrupt himself, yet we are told in verse 6 that He repented that He had made man on the earth. This surely indicates the depth of sorrow that God feels in contemplating the sin of mankind. On the one hand God's great wisdom and power is seen in His creation and also in His marvelous work of recovery after man's ruin; but on the other hand we see the reality of the feelings of His heart in reference to His creatures willingly choosing to rebel against Him. Though God is absolutely sovereign, yet man is seriously responsible and must be made to feel the results of his willful sin. Thus, God decreed that He would "blot out man -- from the face of the land." Yet animals, creeping things and birds are included in this awesome destruction, for man's sin has involved the rest of the earthly creation. People may say that when they sin it is only themselves they have damaged, but man's sin always affects others too, even unreasoning creatures.

HOPE FOUND IN ONE MAN

One man alone found favor in the eyes of the Lord (v.8). Noah was righteous as regards his human relationships and blameless in his personal character, because "he walked with God." When the population of the earth had increased so tremendously, it is tragically sad to consider that only one man walked with God. In this he is typical of the Lord Jesus. Yet he does illustrate the fact that it is possible for a believer to walk in true, godly separation from an evil world, even when he has no fellowship of others in so doing. Sometimes a believer may find himself in such circumstances, though this is exceptional, for 2 Timothy 2:22 tells us, "pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." But in any case, a lonely path with God is infinitely better than having many friends without God's presence.

Noah's three sons are again mentioned in verse 10, though evidently born after he was 500 years of age (ch.5:32). The most serious evil of man is then emphasized -- his corruption before God -- which led to an earth filled with violence (v.11). Violence is of course against others, and people consider this the worst thing; but their corruption is against God, though they think lightly of it. If there were no corruption there would be no violence. But at this time "all flesh" had corrupted itself. God tells Noah that the end of all flesh was imminent because the earth was filled with violence, for violence was the glaring proof of man's corruption (v.13). God would destroy the inhabitants with the earth.

Yet a refuge was to be provided by the grace of God for those who realized their need of His grace. God instructed Noah to make a large ark of gopher wood, six times as long as it was wide, and with three decks, built with rooms, not only for people, but for animals also, covered with pitch inside and out (v.14). One door is mentioned, which may seem inadequate for so large a ship, but it is typical of the fact that Christ alone is the door of salvation for mankind. It may be that the window "finished -- to a cubit from the top" was an opening that encircled the whole ark, thus giving full ventilation, but capable of being closed. Of course there may have been other ventilation also, for we are not told the full details of the construction of this great vessel.

God gave warning of the flood well in advance, and there was no doubt of its coming. All animate life on earth would be destroyed (v.17). Similarly, God has given advance warning that He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world by that Man whom He has ordained, the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 17:31). Men may mock at this, but it will come just as surely as the flood came. It is not simply that God allowed it to come, but He insists, "I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth."

However, if judgment was ordained by God, salvation was just as absolutely ordained. God established a covenant with Noah to this effect, to preserve him and his family by means of the ark, the only exception to the awesome destruction of man's civilization. Animals were also included in this preservation, for a pair of every species was to be brought into the ark, and of birds also and creeping things. In the case of clean animals and birds we shall learn in Chapter 7:2-3 that this was expanded to seven of each.

As to food, Noah was to bring in some of all kinds A variety is of real value for the health of mankind. Noah was not to be a food faddist, demanding one kind of food and rejecting all others. God had made all. Of course if one is allergic to a certain food. It is only sensible to avoid this. The supply would have to be very large for the great number of animals as well as eight people. Though it is possible that God would cause many of the animals to lapse into a state of hibernation during the 10 ½ months in the ark. We may be sure that Noah was not ignorant of methods of food preservation, but nothing is said of this. The important matter is that he did as God told him (v.22).

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Genesis 6:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/genesis-6.html. 1897-1910.

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