Bible Discussion: Genesis 5-9

March 14, 2007, 9:00 am; posted by
Filed under Bible, Job, Josh J, Steve, Tom  | 12 Comments

This week, looks at the next five chapters of the Bible, Genesis 5-9.

Read our take on Genesis 1-4 here!

We start with a genealogy where thousands of years pass and countless sons and daughters are born, live, and die without being introduced to us. And then we see, perhaps, the reason why: wickedness has expanded upon the earth, and God can no longer suffer such a perverse world to continue. In a way, these five chapters are a microcosm of the entirety of human history. So many wasted lives, so much gone wrong, yet always abiding, the hope of redemption. Here, an ark. Soon, a cross.

They say most cultures have a flood narrative as part of their cultural tapestry — Greek, Germanic, Asian, Incan, etc., all have Great Flood stories as part of their heritage. While most of these stories explain the Earth was flooded because of an angry deity, they fail to explain why that Deity was upset with the detail and character development of this passage.

The covenant God made never again to flood the Earth was also one he made with the animals.

Josh J:
There’s been much discussion about exactly what God meant when he said mankind was created “in our image, in our likeness.” I find it interesting that the exact same language is used to describe Adam having a son “in his own likeness, in his own image.” I don’t believe this is meant to imply Adam (or man) was as much like God as a boy is like his father. Rather, I think it’s meant to convey that the special quality of creation in God’s own image applies to all mankind, across generations, and was not limited strictly to the initial creation.

I’ve noticed it before, but pretty recently — if you do the math, you’ll see Methuselah died the same year the Great Flood came. This suggests two possibilities: either God delayed the Flood until Methuselah’s death because he too had found grace in God’s eyes — or even Methuselah died in the Flood.

Either the raven was aloft at least a week, or the dove didn’t look hard enough the first time out.

Josh J: Young Methuselah
Job, Tom: Every Creeping Thing
Steve, Tom: The End of All Flesh
Tom: The Waters Prevailed, Mahalalel
Steve: Gopherwood, Two of Every Sort

Josh J:
When I was younger, during the Nintendo era, we had a game called Bible Adventures. My favorite levels were the ones you played as Noah. You had to run around picking up cows and snakes to throw into the ark. You had to climb trees and chase down birds. Some animals couldn’t be caught unless you tricked them by putting down food, or knocked them out with a bale of hay. Maybe the best part was the fact that you could stack three or four large animals on your head and still sprint back with them. The real Noah may disagree, but I always thought that stocking the ark was an entertaining way to pass an afternoon.

I had the top off my Jeep one summer day when suddenly “the floodgates opened” and the greatest sudden deluge I’d ever seen engulfed me. I tore my way to a bridge to park underneath it and wait it out. My own little graffiti-covered ark.

We stray from Him completely, but He provides a way to return.

Josh J:
When trying to explain the nature of sin to a child, we might say that “sin hurts God.” As basic as this may sound this is exactly the way Scripture describes it.

Really, more than anger, our corruption saddens God. Our sin makes Him troubled and I see this in His sweeping, epic and utterly thorough manner of doing away with it with the Flood. I see the same tactic used in the comprehensiveness of Christ’s deluge of grace.

Josh J:
When God makes and keeps his promise of protection to Noah, we first see the word covenant. The concept of covenant is a recurring and evolving one in the Old Testament, but all of these are a precursor to the coming of Christ. His coming was not only a fulfillment of earlier covenant, but a final definition of God’s covenant with man and the ultimate providence of salvation from God’s wrath.

Here, there is a repetition of the command to “be fruitful and multiply on the earth” seen before. We get a second chance for mankind to populate the earth while serving G-d, after failing spectacularly the first time. In the same way, we all fail spectacularly, yet are each given a second chance at redemption through Christ.

In the rainbow covenant, a promise kept, pointing to even better to come.

Job, Josh J:
8:22 – “While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat,
And summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”

9:16 — “The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between G-d and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”

9:3 – “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.”

The Nephilim — who or what are they? What did they do and how? What do they mean? And why are they in the Bible?

Also, what’s the deal with the extended lifetimes? Are they exact or estimated, and if the first, how?

I need to have the whole “lions living a few stalls down from the gazelles” thing explained to me.

Josh J:
Hands down: the Nephilim. More than men living hundreds of years, more than what exactly happened to Enoch, more than the scope of the flood, I want to know exactly who the sons of God were and what was so special about their offspring. I’ve heard theories ranging from the righteous intermarrying with the unrighteous to angels mating with humans. I can accept that the purpose of this reference is simply to establish the distortion of the natural and proper order before the flood, but this is one passage where the shroud of mystery genuinely intrigues me.

6:2 — “That the sons of G-d saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.”

Josh J:
I think, more than anything, I admire Noah’s perseverance. Certainly there was the incentive of avoiding annihilation, but the sheer size of the task set before him, with the effort and time it must have required, must have worn on him at times. It’s an excellent lesson to us now, especially when we go through times when we can’t see the end, or we feel our efforts aren’t worth it. God is faithful to keep his word, and if we are faithful and obedient, we will be rewarded.

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and his sons and their families alone were spared destruction in the Great Flood. Yet they were not immune, post-Flood, to wickedness, to drunkenness, to immorality. God wasn’t surprised by this; the Flood was not the answer to the curse of sin. But there came a time when “every intent of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually,” and at that point, ultimate punishment was required. Reminds me of something.

Josh J:
This passage certainly establishes consequences of sin, but I think it also really drives home humanity’s fallen nature. Leaving aside how bad things had gotten before the flood, even amongst the chosen remnant, there were problems shortly after disembarking. Ham’s misstep shows the flood didn’t rid the world of sin. As long as we remain on Earth, so does sin, as does our need for redemption.


12 Comments to “Bible Discussion: Genesis 5-9”

  1. Brian on March 14th, 2007 1:10 pm

    Methuselah’s name means “when he dies, it shall be sent.” His death was a prophecy of the coming flood.

    Also, here is a chart and website explaining how the genealogies fit together accurately:

  2. Steve on March 14th, 2007 1:17 pm

    Indeed, that makes a lot of sense for him to be the longest-living person then, showing how God delayed the Flood judgment.

  3. Michael Jordan on March 14th, 2007 2:08 pm

    Hey guys–love the site (and love all of you). The enduring question I have in this passage is about God’s sorrow at having made humanity. Any wisdom on that?

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