Genesis 6 is one of those chapters so full of “food for thought” that its hard to pull out one line or verse for it. Consider the world it describes, for example. Blessed with an average lifespan of 700-900 years, mankind thrived in the prediluvian world. Who knows what they achieved? Imagine if men like Einstein and Edison had lived that long. We tend to think of the ancient world as simpler and more primitive than ours, but was it always?
But this world was so corrupted by sin that it was rapidly declining into chaos. Human life had no value. Men did as they pleased, without regard for others. Satan’s corruption of mankind was succeeding. Evil was spreading over the Earth like a shadow, a spiritual darkness that blinded men to the truth about the Creator God and His love. I imagine a place like Mordor (my fellow LOTR fans will understand that image), a war-zone ruled by cruel men and maybe even demons under one dark lord. But maybe it was a lot like our world, hiding the darkness with a lot of makeup and money. I’m letting my imagination run here so I’ll get back to the passage at hand.
Another intriguing thought, who were these “sons of God” and Nephilim? Answers in Genesis has an interesting article on this question that’s worth reading. I lean toward theory that the “sons of God” refers to descendants of Seth, who fathered a lineage of men who worshipped God (as opposed to Cain’s lineage who seemed to rebel against God); these men intermarried with the daughters of Cain and gradually fell away from God, that is, they turned from worshipping Him and embraced the way of the world around them. Nephilim is an interesting word; it’s related to the verb series “to fall” in Hebrew. Some think that they were giants, others that they were just mighty men. I’ll let you read the article and decide for yourself.
Probably the most important part of this account is the description of Noah and God’s call upon him. In the midst of a thoroughly corrupt world filled with violence, Noah “walked faithfully with God” just like his ancestor Enoch. But God didn’t remove Noah from this world, He gave him a critical mission, to preserve mankind and life on Earth. I love that phrase, “but Noah found grace (or favor) in the eyes of the Lord.” I think that as believers we can all relate to that. Surrounded by an evil world so corrupt that it calls sin entertainment and evil good, we have found grace in eyes of God, who has called us out of darkness and made us His children. Like Noah, we’ve been given the opportunity, no the “divine mission,” to rescue others from the coming destruction, beginning with our own children and extending to our neighbors near and far, by pointing them to the safety of the Ark, Jesus Christ.
Reading: Genesis 6