God’s Plan in the Book of Genesis:
The Destruction of a World


GENESIS 5:1,2  “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.”

Upon the basis of evidence supplied by thousands of tablets unearthed by archaeologists, the expression in this opening verse of chapter five might well be Adam’s signature to the record of the preceding four chapters of Genesis. The Hebrew text would allow a paraphrase, ‘This is the record of Adam and his descendants from the day that God created him in his image and after his likeness’. Inasmuch as there is now abundant evidence to show that the art of writing on clay tablets was practiced before the Flood, it is not unreasonable to suppose that Adam wrote the ‘book’ referred to in this verse. When tablets were used as historical records of families they were carefully kept together, and the last in the series bore the signature of the compiler. Each tablet was as a page in a book.

There is an erroneous theory which has found quite wide acceptance to the effect that the man who was created in the image of God, as recorded in the first chapter of Genesis, was not the man named Adam in the second chapter.

These two verses in chapter 5, however, disprove this theory, for they speak of the man created in the image of God and Adam as the same person. Some fail to see that the first chapter of the book is merely a brief summary of the entire Creative work of God as it pertains to this Earth, and that beginning with the second chapter the Scriptures present in detail, not only the manner of man’s creation, but his fall into sin and death, and his final recovery during the “times of restitution of all things.”—Acts 3:21

‘He called their name Adam’. This statement emphasizes the fact that Eve was in reality a part of Adam, that the separation was made for the propagation of the human race to fulfill God’s purpose concerning the Earth—that it was “formed … to be inhabited.”—Isa. 45:18

VERSES 3-32  “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
“And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:
“And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
“And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:
“And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters:
“And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.
“And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan: And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters:
“And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.
“And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel:
“And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters:
“And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.
“And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared:
“And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters:
“And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.
“And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch:
“And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
“And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.
“And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:
“And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:
“And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters:
“And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
“And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:
“And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.
“And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters:
“And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.
“And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”

The chief purpose served by the remainder of this chapter is to furnish the chronology giving the length of time from Creation to the Flood. This is shown in the table following, which lists the ten generations from Adam to Noah, and the number of years between generations—which gives us precisely the number of years from Noah to Adam:

“Adam lived 130 years, and begat a son and called his name Seth.”—vs. 3130 years
“Seth lived 105 years, and begat Enos.”—vs. 6105 years
“Enos lived 90 years, and begat Cainan.”—vs. 990 years
“Cainan lived 70 years, and begat Mahalaleel.”—vs. 1270 years
“Mahalaleel lived 65 years, and begat Jared.”—vs. 1565 years
“Jared lived 162 years, and he begat Enoch.”—vs. 18162 years
“Enoch lived 65 years, and begat Methuselah.”—vs. 2165 years
“Methuselah lived 187 years, and begat Lamech”—vs. 25187 years
“Lamech lived 182 years, and begat a son: and he called his name Noah.”—vs. 28182 years
“Noah was 600 years old when the Flood of waters was upon the earth.”—Gen. 7:6600 years
TOTAL: From Creation to the drying up of the Flood:1656 years

Enoch and Lamech are the only ones mentioned in this list concerning whom any information is given other than their age and their children. Of Enoch it is written that he ‘walked with God’. (Gen. 5:22) Jude tells us that Enoch prophesied the coming of the Lord with myriads of his saints to execute his judgment. (Jude 14,15) This would indicate that he understood something of the Divine plan of salvation, and that his walking with God was in the fact that he had confidence in God and in his purposes, and was faithful in bearing witness thereto.

Enoch ‘was not; for God took him’, the account states. (Gen. 5:24) In the New Testament we read that Enoch was “translated that he should not see death.” (Heb. 11:5) On the other hand, he is mentioned in the Book of Hebrews along with many other faithful characters of the Old Testament concerning whom the statement is made, “These all died in faith.”—Heb. 11:13,39,40

These various statements leave a measure of uncertainty as to just what is meant by the expression that Enoch ‘was not; for God took him’. An expression similar to this is found in Jeremiah 31:15, and here the reference is to death. Concerning the inhabitants of the wicked city of Sodom, which the Lord destroyed, the Scriptures declare that he “took them away” as he saw good. (Ezek. 16:50) So the fact that Enoch ‘was not’, and that God ‘took him’, could very well refer to death. The New Testament statement that he did not ‘see death’ might well mean that in his experience he had not come in contact with the dying, or perhaps that he did not ‘see death’ in the sense of anticipating it in any way, either by decrepitude or any lasting sickness.

Lamech, in naming his son Noah, observed, ‘This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed’. (Gen. 5:29) This statement indicates that the people of Lamech’s day were familiar with the account of Creation, and the fact that for man’s sake the Earth had been cursed.—Gen. 3:17


VERSES 1,2  “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.”

Adam, when created, is spoken of in the Scriptures as a “son of God.” (Luke 3:38) Through sin, however, he lost this standing, and so did his entire progeny. (Rom. 5:12) At the time referred to by this record there were no human beings having a standing as sons of God. Who, then, is referred to by the expression in verse two as the ‘sons of God?’ In Job 1:6, 2:1, and 38:7 we have references to “sons of God” who evidently were spirit or angelic beings, and when we consider the testimony of I Peter 3:19,20; II Peter 2:4,5; and Jude 6, we are led to the conclusion that it was some of these angelic sons of God who, materializing, intermarried with the human race.

Jude tells us that these angels “kept not their first estate,” and Peter relates that they “were disobedient.” God had commanded human beings to marry and bring forth children, but for the angels to leave their natural habitation to do this was an act of disobedience, yet it was within their power if unhindered by Divine providence.

In Genesis 18:2-8, and Hebrews 13:1, the account is given of three angels who materialized and appeared to Abraham, and while visiting with him partook of the meal which he provided. If a materialized angel could partake of food, there is no reason to suppose that other functions of the human body would not be possible.

Peter and Jude explain that the punishment of these angels who thus sinned was that of being restrained in ‘chains of darkness’. These are the spirits responsible for the deception of so many concerning the matter of talking with the dead.

VERSE 3  “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”

The wording of this text is very peculiar. In the sense that this expression would ordinarily be understood, God’s Spirit was not ‘striving’ with man during that antediluvian world. It seems reasonable to conclude that this period was included in Paul’s statement on Mars’ Hill: “The times of this ignorance God winked at.” He did not undertake at that time to bring about the repentance of the world. (Acts 17:30) When our first parents were cast off from Divine favor, God ceased dealing with the human race, with the exception of the few whom he selected to be his special representatives to carry forward his plan for a future recovery of the race.

What, then, is meant by the expression, ‘My Spirit shall not always strive with man’? The Hebrew word here translated ‘Spirit’ is the same one translated ‘spirits’ in Psalm 104:4, which reads, “Who maketh his angels spirits.” The root meaning of the Hebrew word translated ‘strive’ is ‘rule’, or ‘execute’. It is quite possible, therefore, that the verse is a reference to the fact that God had given his angels the opportunity to rule over that antediluvian world, and that he is here saying he would not permit them to continue for more than 120 years longer. The expression, ‘for that he also is flesh’, or had become flesh, may be a reference to the fact that the angels overstepped their bounds in materializing. This suggestion would be in harmony with the general testimony of the Scriptures concerning God’s arrangements for that world.

VERSE 4  “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

The offspring of the illicit union between the fallen angels and the daughters of men were evidently outstanding personalities, both from the standpoint of physical strength and mentality.

VERSE 5  “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

High mentality did not lead to righteousness, but under the influence of the great Adversary these superior beings used their abilities to lead the people into greater depths of sin.

VERSES 6,7  “And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
“And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”

Many have wondered how God could ‘repent’. Webster’s Dictionary defines repentance to mean a ‘change of mind or course of conduct, on account of regret or dissatisfaction’.

The thought emphasized is that God changed his method of dealing with the human race because he was dissatisfied with the conduct of the people. He brought to an end the rulership of the angels. It does not mean that God suddenly discovered that he had made a mistake. In the Scriptures, two viewpoints of God are presented. One is that of his omniscience, his ability to know all things, even before they happen. Thus we read that “known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”—Acts 15:18

On the other hand, the Lord often speaks to us through his Word as though he were one of us, coming down to our level of understanding when explaining the outworking of his plans and purposes. We have a good example of this in the text under consideration. God became grieved over the sinful conduct of the human race, and took steps toward destroying the world that then was; this in no sense means he did not know in advance how that world would end. God knows the course of events in advance without the necessity of exercising arbitrary control over them.

VERSES 8-13  “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
“And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
“And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

From among that wicked generation, Noah was chosen by God to represent him as a witness and to do what was necessary in order to save a nucleus of the race from the coming Flood. Even in the darkest periods of the world’s downward course into sin and death, God has not been without his witnesses in the earth; and happy are they—and highly honored—who are selected by him to serve in this manner.

Of Noah it is written that he was ‘perfect in his generations’, and that he ‘walked with God’. Undoubtedly nearly all of the human race at that time had become corrupted through intermarrying with the disobedient ‘sons of God’. But Noah was one of the exceptions. As the Marginal Translation states, he was “upright” before God, having ordered his life in keeping with the Divine principles of righteousness.

Not only was the earth corrupt before God, but it ‘was filled with violence’—a general breakdown of law and order. This condition existed just prior to the Flood, and during the time referred to by Jesus as the “days of Noah.” (Matt. 24:37-39; Luke 17:26) It is interesting to note that Jesus used this condition as illustrative of the present time the—time of his second presence—when it is due time for the “present evil world” to come to an end.—Gal. 1:4

The violence of Noah’s day was evidently caused somewhat by the ‘giants’ which lived at that time—the offspring of the fallen angels. It has been suggested that we also have ‘giants’ in our day who are filling the earth with violence—giant corporations of both capital and labor—and that these, because of their conflicting ideologies, are helping to destroy the present order of things, the present world.

VERSES 14-16  “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
“And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
“A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.”

Here, briefly stated, we have the specifications for building the ark. It is generally agreed that the cubit here mentioned was about eighteen inches in length. If this be correct, it would mean that the ark was approximately 450 feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. It had three decks, or ‘stories’. As no space was needed for a power plant or fuel supply, there would seem to be all the room that was needed.

VERSES 17-22  “And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
“But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
“And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
“Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
“And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
“Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”

An important point to notice in this passage is the emphasized statement by the Lord that he was taking the responsibility for destroying that world. God may permit evil to continue for a time, but when, in keeping with his plans and purposes, it is time to intervene, he does so; and he wants us to realize that this is true regardless of the agency he might use.

The covenant which the Lord promised to establish with Noah was actually made after the Flood and after Noah had fully obeyed the Lord’s instructions with respect to building the ark, and the manner in which it was to be used. No more eloquent testimony could be given concerning a man than the one recorded in this passage: ‘Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he’. It was this full obedience on the part of Noah that constituted his walk with God.


VERSES 1-6  “And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
“Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
“Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
“For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
“And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.
“And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.”

Noah’s faith must have been under test during the entire time he was building the ark, but it was a victorious faith which enabled him to continue the task and to keep separated from the unrighteousness of the world around him. God took notice of this, and when the time came for Noah to enter the ark, encouraged him by a reference to his righteousness. The way of the righteous in a wicked world is always a difficult one, but the Lord never leaves them without encouragement and strength.

In the previous chapter, the reference to two of each of the animals being taken into the ark apparently applies only to those which were ‘not clean’, for in this chapter Noah is told to take seven males and seven females of all the ‘clean’ animals. The reason for this may be that they were to be used for food.

In Jesus’ reference to the conditions which prevailed in the “days of Noah,” he tells us that the people were ignorant of the coming flood, and that they knew not “until the day that Noah entered into the ark.” (Matt. 24:39; Luke 17:27) But this was not true of Noah, the servant of God. He knew many years in advance that the Flood was coming, and now that it was near he was told the exact day: ‘It is yet seven days’, the Lord said, when telling him that it was time to enter the ark. This was enough time to assemble the animals and to get them into the ark.

‘Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him’. Not only did the Lord let Noah know that he appreciated his faithfulness, but caused this fact to be recorded in order that all of the Lord’s people might later be encouraged by his example. God does not hesitate to speak of the faithfulness of his people. He wants them to know that he appreciates their loyalty, and he wants others to be blessed by their example.

The statement of Noah’s age, in verse six, might seem unimportant, but actually it is found to be a material aid in computing the time measurement of the world before the Flood, hence the total length of time from Creation to the present.

VERSES 7-24  “And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
“Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
“There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
“And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
“And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
“In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
“They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
“And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.
“And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.
“And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.
“And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
“Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
“And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
“All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
“And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
“And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.”

Here we have the story of the Flood itself, which was caused, the account states, by the fact that the ‘fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened’. The ‘great deep’ was apparently a vast canopy, or ring of vapor that continuously surrounded the earth prior to the Flood. The fact that the rainbow did not appear until after the Flood would indicate that this ring of vapor, or ‘fountain of the great deep’, was thick enough and dense enough to prevent the direct rays of the sun from reaching the earth. The breaking up of this ring would, of necessity, cause a flood of waters—a flood so ample that it would easily prevail for twelve months.—Gen. 7:11; Gen. 8:13,14

Click here to go to Part 4
Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |