We looked at man’s family tree from Adam to Noah the last time we were together. Now we look at their spiritual condition. From the moment they started filling up the earth, as they were commanded to do, they went on a downward spiral away from God.
I’m going to confess right now that I don’t have ANY special insight into what we are studying today. I have as many questions as anyone when it comes to “the sons of God” and “the daughters of man.” Who were they? I wish I could give an expert answer. I wish I knew! I also want to know what God meant when He said His spirit would “not abide in man forever” (verse 3a) and what the 120 years applied to. Let’s jump in and see where the Holy Spirit takes us today.
In Genesis 4:1 Eve names her son Cain, which means acquired. She said, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” I have often wondered about this statement. Did she say this because she had previously had daughters? Was this her first child ever? Or was this her first child outside the Garden? If it was the latter, were the children born in the Garden the “sons of God?” Would these be the ones being referenced in our reading today? That would make the “daughters of man” the female children born after Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden.
Judging by the behavior of the “sons of God”, they weren’t immune to sin either. They lusted after the “daughters of man” and took any they pleased. They didn’t belong in the Garden with God either. Were they driven out with Adam and Eve or did they have to leave based on their own choices?
Some have postulated that the “sons of God” were fallen angels. If so, did they have to inhabit a human form to create children with the “daughters of man?” Many bible stories have stated that angels can appear to man. Abraham even fed two of them when they came to visit him before going on to destroy Sodom. These two were also seen by the wicked men of Sodom and lusted after. But angels don’t normally stay in human form. Nowhere else is any insinuation that humans and angels, fallen or otherwise, engaged in activities that resulted in children being created from those activities. If it were fallen angels wouldn’t it be a problem that could crop up again throughout history? I’m more inclined to believe that the “sons of God” were swept away with the flood water along with the rest of humanity.
Whatever and whoever these inhabitants were, they, along with the rest of humanity, were getting deeper and deeper into sin. Nothing was beyond the exploration and exploitation of man. He was on a downward spiral since leaving the Garden. One sin leads to another and Another and ANOTHER.
But not everyone was corrupt. Enoch, from Seth’s line not Cain’s, was so close to God that they walked on into Heaven together. But by the time Noah came along the rest of mankind was a SERIOUS disappointment to God. God knows beginning to end but I believe experiencing that first hand is different than empirical knowledge.
We know that God “was” before time began. We also know that He is omniscient; He knows everything. NOTHING is hidden from Him. But there is a difference in knowing something and experiencing it. Jesus knew that the cross lay in His future and He walked towards that future every day of His life. But when the final night fell, He asked for another way. He knew it was time to “experience” the cross instead of just know about it.
There are several times in our bible that God expresses pain over the choices He made. This is the first one. A second is when He saw what the newly liberated Israelites were doing while He was hanging out on the mountain top with Moses. He “regretted” His choices both of these times. He knew the path man would take before He created him, but when He had to experience it in “real time” it was PAINFUL! It caused His heart to “grieve.”
But instead of giving up on man and trashing His whole creation plan, God looked deeply for one godly man. I wonder if Noah was the ONLY righteous man or the MOST righteous man. Were his father and grandfather righteous? Did God hold off on the flood until these last two ancestors of Noah died? We know that sin didn’t end at the flood. Even Noah made mistakes afterwards. But God had a good heart to start rebuilding with.
Were Shem, Ham and Japheth born before God called Noah? Was His promise to him including a promise of sons? Or was His promise to Noah also a promise to redeem his sons from the life they were living? Again, another question I’m going to have to wait for the answer to.
Father God, THANK YOU for not giving up on us. THANK YOU for not giving up on ME too! I know I have earned it. I wonder where I would stack up against Noah. Would I have been found “faithful” or righteous? Probably not. Especially if You were judging by the whole lifetime. What was it that brought Noah close to You when the rest of the world was walking away? Bet You wish You could instill that same “thing” in the heart of every person. But even that relationship didn’t prevent Noah from having issues later on. We are an imperfect people. Thank You for loving us in spite of that!