121 When Violence Fills the Earth Gen. 6
Updated: Mar 26
We usually attribute the destruction of the flood to God as His attempt to deal with the violence that pervaded the world at that time. However, a closer look at the character of God we discover that is virtually impossible because it is so contrary to who He is. Join us as we consider who the real destroyer actually is.
6 Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them. Prior to this there is no record of women being born. The lineage is male only. 2 The sons of God saw the beautiful women (daughters of men)and took any they wanted as their wives.
1. "sons of God" is used to designate the Israelite king (Ps. 2:7; 2 Sam. 7:14); angels (Job 38:7); and heavenly beings, members of the divine council (Job 1:6; 2:1). In a very special way the Israelitesare called sons/children of God (Psalm 29:1; 89:6). Israel is the firstborn son of God (Ex. 4:22, 23).
2. Some ancient sources suggest this appellation refers to fallen angels (1 Enoch 6:1-7:6; Justin Martyr, Apology 2.5). This idea is supposedly supported by 1 Peter 3:19; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6-7. The scriptural evidence is weak when read carefully. Jesus implied that angels are not sexual beings (Matthew 22:30; Luke 20:35-36).
3. Sons of God may refer to the descendants of Seth and the women refer to the descendants of Cain’s line (6:2, 4). The beautiful women are designated “daughters of men” in some translations. The language used does not support this dichotomy but that does not make the idea false. In Genesis 4 and 5 the human race is divided into two main groups: the descendants of Cain (Gen. 4: 17-24) and those of Seth ( verses 25, 26).In Genesis 6:1,2 this division is clearly recognized by referring to those who followed the Lord as "sons of God" and to the rest of humanity as "men." There is nothing in the immediate context to suggest that the "sons of God" are kings, angels, or heavenly beings.
4. Sons of God (god) might refer to tyrannical leaders who took what they wanted by violence, compounding the polygamy of Lamech (4:19). The repetition of “saw, took, and ate/sex,” mirrors what happened to Eve (3:19) and reminds the reader this is rebellion against God. This behaviour causes the flood in the mind of Moses and humans are destroyed not angelic beings thus confirming that the problem is not with non-human beings.
Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”
Compare CEB bible which says my breathe will not always remain in men!
Why does the statement “not putting up” follow verse 2? This statement of “not putting up” does not fit with forgiving 70x7 times (Matthew 18:22).
Older translations because of the ambiguity of the Hebrew concluded that Noah preached for 120 years. Modern translations are clear that it is human lifespan which was reduced to 120 years. This reduction inlife-span was not instant. It took time for this consequence to occur. Shem (1556-2156), for instance, out lived Abraham (1949-2124) by 32 years. Moses lived for 120 years and Joshua lived for 110 years. The psalmist records that the life-span of humans had been reduced to 70 years (Psalm 90:10) when he wrote his psalm.
4 In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of Godhad intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.
The author is explaining the origin of the giants referred to here and in Numbers 13:31-33 and Deuteronomy 2:10-11. We still have giants on earth. Seldom physically but often in terms of artistic skill and scientific prowess. How shall we explain these gifted people? The genetic code can produce these extremes from time to time. In Numbers 13 the Israelites reported that they felt like mere grasshoppers in the sight of the nephilim, which the KJV translates Agiants.@ There is reason to believe that this Hebrew word may come from the root naphal, and that the nephilim were Aviolent@ ones, or terrorists, rather than physical "giants."
Notice the violence implied by using the term “famous warriors.” These were not just large people but perpetrators of violence.
5 The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. 6 So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. 7 And the LORD said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.”
The author is attempting to describe the causation for the flood. He sees the flood as a supernatural event, thus it must be caused by God and God alone since Old Testament writers had no knowledge of a supernatural evil being, whom we call the devil.
Methuselah’s life was, in effect, a symbol of God’s mercy in forestalling the coming flood. God held back the flood as long as possible, compare Revelation 7:1-3.
Using a violent flood to destroy violence or evil on the earth was a futile solution since we know in hindsight that violence soon affected all the earth after the flood. We insult God when we believe that he would use such an ineffective solution to the problem of evil or violence. It is suggested by some that the function of the flood was to prevent the destruction of mankind because Jesus had not yet arrived. Jesus could have come before the flood if this was the situation. The prophecies could have indicated this.
The flood is a reversal of the order created on the second day of the creation story where water on the earth was separated from the water above the sky (1:7). God does not create order to destroy it later. This descent into chaos is the result of evil at work in the same way that the chaos of death is the result of evil or sin (Genesis 2:17). God is constantly at work creating order out of chaos with his energy and love. It is interesting that Moses thought God did work this way (Deuteronomy 32:39-42).
We are now in a position to destroy the earth with pollution, global warming or nuclear weapons. It is believable that the highly intelligent people before the flood had affected God’s creation and the water was about to return to the pre-creation chaos because of their meddling with the balance of nature. God predicted this event to Noah and Noah or Moses, the author of Genesis, attributed the cause to God.
6. If God was wanting to destroy all human beings, he could have used less destructive means. The idea that God is capable of destroying part of his creation means he could have used a virus or bacteria or changed the composition of the atmosphere slightly. That God had to use a mega destructive method is to insult God’s intelligence. He could have used a neutrino bomb which only destroys living organisms.
Prediction does not mean causation.
The attribution of the cause of a prediction to God was common in the Old Testament culture. Moses believes the LORD is a despot, like Pharaoh, who kills and gives life as he wishes (Deuteronomy 32:39-41). Job’s eloquent statement, “the LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away” (Job 1:21) has been quoted innumerable times even though it was the Satan who afflicted Job in the story. 1 Samuel 16:14 attributes the cause of king Saul’s demonic possession to the LORD, and 2 Samuel 24:1 attributes the cause of the plague which killed 70,000 in Israel to the LORD who caused David to take a census. 1 Chronicles 21:1 attributes the same census to Satan. Naomi attributed her husband and sons deaths to the LORD (Ruth 1:21). Hannah had no children because the LORD had not given her any (1 Samuel 1:5). Jesus, who is God, claimed he is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25) which makes it impossible for him to cause death. Jesus revealed the source of death to be the devil (John 10:10; Hebrews 2:14).