As we open Genesis 6 we are carried on to the later centuries of the antediluvian age, when the population had considerably increased and human wickedness began to rise to a climax. Many have understood the term, "sons of God," to refer to men of Seth's line—the line of faith—who fell away and married daughters of Cain's line, but we agree with those who accept the term as meaning beings of an angelic order, as it clearly does in such scriptures as Job 1: 6 and Job 2: 1 and Job 38: 7. How such connection can have been established, resulting in progeny superhuman in size and strength, we do not know, but we believe that Jude 6 and 7 confirm what we are saying. Sodom and Gomorrha went after "strange flesh," committing such enormous evil as is forbidden in Exodus 22: 19, and these sons of God did the same thing in principle, by going after the daughters of men. Thereby they apostatized, leaving their first estate, and lest they should repeat the offence they are held in everlasting chains under darkness until eternal perdition falls upon them. They will be finally judged at the great day of the great white throne.
In Genesis however, we are only told about the terrible effect of this in the world of men. The monstrous men produced were monsters of iniquity, filling the earth with violence and corruption. Yet man in his fallen condition is such that these monsters instead of being considered men of infamy were treated as men of renown. They were the originals doubtless from whom sprang those tales of "gods" and "goddesses" and "Titans," etc., which have come down to us in the writings of antiquity. They are popularly dismissed as fables, but it looks as if they have a larger basis of fact than many care to admit.
How incisive is verse 5! Man's wickedness became great, or abundant, for he was wholly evil in the deepest springs of his being. His heart was evil; the thoughts of his heart were evil, and the imagination, which lay behind and prompted his thoughts, was evil. And all this was only evil — not one trace of good—and that continually. Thus before the flood we have exactly the same verdict as to man as is presented to us in Romans 3: 10-18, by quotations extracted from scriptures, which describe the condition of men after the flood.
In verse 6 we are told how all this affected the Lord, and here for the first time we have human feelings attributed to God. Only thus could we have any understanding of such a matter, and there is nothing incongruous in it, inasmuch as man has been made in the image and likeness of God. Only there must be an intensity and elevation in the Divine thoughts and feelings altogether unknown by man. How great must have been His grief! All good at the outset, and now all so abominable, that nothing could meet the case but the total destruction of mankind, with but few exceptions, and also of the animate creation that had been committed to man's hand.
There was just one man that found grace in the eyes of the Lord. In this connection nothing is said of his wife nor of his three sons and their wives. Noah was a man of faith. Shem may have been the same. Ham, we know was not, and of the others we have no information, but as Hebrews 11 says, "Noah . . . moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house." Faith on his part accepted the Divine warning, which moved him to fear. Fear moved him to act.
How the men of that age viewed the state of things that had developed in their midst we are not told, but to God it had become absolutely intolerable, so that He had to say, "The end of all flesh is come before Me... behold, I will destroy them with the earth." His Spirit should not always strive with man, and so a limit of 120 years was set. God thus condemned the world, and by building the ark Noah "condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."
In his second epistle Peter tells us that Noah was "a preacher of righteousness." It was the period when "the longsuffering of God waited," as he said in his first epistle. Noah showed men what was morally and practically right in the sight of God, but it was without any fruit, for his hearers were disobedient and their spirits are now in prison. Only of Noah could God say, "Thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation" (Gen. 7: 1). Righteousness for men was not fully accomplished until the death and resurrection of Christ, and of that righteousness Noah became an heir. The believer of today is not an heir of righteousness, for he possesses it. He is an heir of the great inheritance, which is vested in Christ.
Noah was the builder but God was the Designer of the ark. The door was in the side to allow easy access by men, but the window was above, to let in light from heaven and shut out any view of the watery waste presently to be. Its dimensions were large. The cubit is computed to have been from 18 to 22 inches in length, and as it was made simply to float and not shaped like a ship to travel, its cubic capacity must have been very great.
Instructions also were given as to all that the ark was to contain; seven of the clean creatures and two of the rest, male and female, with a sufficiency of food for all. Nothing was left to arrangement or imagination; all was ordered by God from first to last. This is worthy of note for here we have the first illustration of salvation that the Bible furnishes. At a later date Jonah declared, "Salvation is of the Lord," and how fully this is so we discover, when coming to the New Testament we find unfolded the "so great salvation" that the Gospel declares. Chapter 6 closes with the statement that Noah was obedient in all particulars, doing just as he was told.
|« Previous chapter||Next chapter »|