Only one righteous man?

Have you ever given thought to verse 5 in Genesis chapter 6 that states “ …every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time….” referring to the status of the inhabitant’s on the earth during the time right before the Great Flood?

I have to stop there and really ask myself the question, ‘How can EVERY inclination be ONLY evil?’  How could there not be any good thought, at one time or another, in ANY of these people?  What had occurred on the earth to cause such a degeneration of society to this degree?  We know from the genealogy in Chapter 5 that thousands of years had passed since the Creation of man and the Garden of Eden.  So what exactly happened?  Were there no good people on the earth besides Noah?  I pause to ask you to think of our country, America.  Can you imagine within our population there being only ONE good person that God finds favor with enough to spare that person from destruction while pronouncing judgment on all the rest?  It is almost an inconceivable thought.  Yet this is what is written in the Bible.

I am more inclined to believe that the idea here that is being conveyed was that man’s moral compass had degenerated to such a degree and they had no remorse for their sins or the sins of their generation, nor did they consider God in anything they did.  God was a non-existent entity for them at that time.   Very similar to what is happening in our country and countries around the world today.  What exactly do I mean?

Take a simple example when I was in high school during the 80’s.  A pregnant girl was considered shameful and you thought of her with less than good thoughts.  You simply didn’t hang around with her.  In the same way, there was a certain respect that you had for parents and teachers and adults.  To attend church was a common practice and sin was considered exactly that – sin.  You simply didn’t have torture and murder as a commonplace news item.  Today, we accept pregnant teens as “normal” and disrespect to others as “common”.  Most people don’t attend church or attempt to help those less fortunate.  Videotaping torture is something people enjoy posting to social media.  We live in a very morally sick society.  Our moral compass today has degenerated drastically from even what it was even during my own short lifetime.  So it is not difficult to believe that after thousands of years since the Creation, it is more of a moral degeneration of society that is being described here than it is that man sat around and only thought of evil thoughts.  I believe this is the idea behind the “thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” idea.  I can back up this thought process by looking at verse 11, “now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.  God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.”   And, in contrast,  God looked at Noah’s heart and realized he still had a good moral compass, and that out of all the inhabitants on the earth, Noah still had a heart for God and wanted to please God and do right – which is why Noah is written about as a righteous man.  However, even Noah had his faults and he could not have been perfectly good because we know that just shortly after the ark landing his sons find him drunk.  And while drunkenness was not a becoming quality, it was not a disqualifying character quality to condemn him to a watery grave as the others were condemned to. B48F10BA-5CB6-486A-A6EF-F798FCA3C5CB

But more so than any of this, I see in this passage how God hints to us as Noah being a pre-cursive type of savior to the preservation of the human race on the earth, just as Jesus Christ would be, but only Jesus Christ would be the perfect righteous man to save the human race for eternal salvation.

Coincidental Genealogy ?

In continuing my study in Genesis Chapter 4, I stopped to ponder the genealogyE529EA72-830F-41DA-9943-AAD0E2A3305A mentioned at the end of Chapter 4 and the beginning of Chapter 5 of Genesis.  I wonder if I just have a curious mind or if anyone else notices the incredible similarities between the names in the genealogy of Cain and the genealogy of Seth. They were brothers, but we know Cain was sent away for murdering his other brother, Abel.  So they didn’t live near each other.  And in describing the genealogy, the Bible does something very interesting, and I just couldn’t resist writing about it.

So first off, let me give you an initial visual before I show the oddities:

 

Cain’s descendants                                    Seth’s descendants

Enoch.                                                         Enosh

Irad.                                                              Kenan

Mehujael.                                                    Mahalel

Methushael.                                                Jared

Lamech.                                                       Enoch

.                                                                      Methusela

.                                                                       Lamech

.                                                                        Noah

So first I thought it was odd that the writer of Genesis goes into great detail to show how old Seth and his descendants were at the time they had a son, but does not indicated how much time elapsed between Cain and his descendants.  I also noticed the similarities in the names.  We see Cain had Enoch, Seth had Enosh – different by only one letter.  Then in Cain’s line we see Mehujael, while Seth’s line had Mahalel – close isn’t it?  Then we see on Cain’s side Methushael and on Seth’s side Methusela – again very close.  Both sides had a Lamech.  So of course my curious brain kept wondering.

As I continued to look, I couldn’t help but wonder if the writer of Genesis got it correct.  The spellings are so incredibly close that it is either a huge coincidence, error, or God wants us to see something.   But the oddities didn’t stop there.

If I take off the first four names on Seth’s side and start with Enoch and match up both sides like that, it gets even weirder.  You have this:

Cain’s side                    Seth’s side

Enoch                         Enoch

Irad                            Methusela

Methushael              Lamech

Lamech

If I eliminate Irad from Cain’s side then we have:

Enoch.                        Enoch

Methushael.             Methusela

Lamech.                     Lamech

Furthermore, in Cain’s geneology after Lamech it states Lamech had three sons and one daughter.  Odd, isn’t it that they list the daughter?  Her name was Naamah and guess what the name of the descendant on Seth’s side from Lamech was?  Noah.  So here we have:

Enoch.                       Enoch

Methushael.             Methusela

Lamech.                    Lamech

Naamah.                  Noah

So, since the writer did not mention the time lapse on Cain’s side, we have no idea if the time lines match up or not, but the oddity is too much for me to overlook.   Why are the names on both sides so similar?  Why did the writer include a time line for one and not the other? Why did they mention the daughter?  What was her importance? They did not consider women as heirs,  so why list her?  She obviously was well known for something or she would not have made it to the Bible. But, we do know that Noah, the last in our list here for Seth’s descendants, would go on to save the animals and a few human beings from the flood.

So in conclusion, this could all be coincidence or it could have a greater importance that God wants us to examine.  I just know one thing, the Bible is amazing and every time I think that there is nothing new there, I see something like this!

Lamech’s arrogance

Lamech, a fifth generation of Cain’s dependents, (if I have counted correctly) follows the same pattern of ungodliness as Cain did.  There is so much to discover about Lamech that the six verses he is mentioned in the Bible almost make him seem like a “passover reading”, so to speak. But his fifteen minutes of fame have a lot to show us.

Genesis chapter 4 verse 19 begins with the phrase, “Lamech married two women…”. Okay, let’s start there because it caused me to wonder when did the marrying of multiple women come into existence?  It wasn’t as though one of his wives had died and the other was the second wife – verse 23 disputes that fact.  So it is stated as if the marrying of more than one woman had been a practice for a while because the writer of Genesis never comments on it other than to say “Lamech married two women” – sort of nonchalantly.   So logically,  somewhere between Cain “laying with his wife (singular)” in verse 17 and Lamech being married to two women in verse 19, life on the earth had changed quite drastically from God’s original plan of one man and one woman, as in Adam and Eve.  Now this “marrying of more than one woman” might not have been the practice every where on earth at the time, but it was certainly the practice in the Cainite civilization and the city of Enoch, which Cain had built.

And so we see that Lamech called his wives together in verse 23 and explains to them that he, like his ancestor Cain, is also a murderer.  He states, “I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me.”  The Bible doesn’t tell us what type of “wound” it was.  Maybe it was a territorial argument and a physical fight.  Maybe it was a financial wound in that the “young man” stole a piece of property owned by Lamech, like a sheep or something.  The two important things here are that the man was “young” and Lamech had a foul temper – a temper so foul that instead of dealing with a situation as an adult, he resorted to murder and hatred for another human being – very similar to Cain.  And was the young man a teenager?  The writer made special note that it was a young man not an adult man.  Was the penalty for killing a “young man” different during those times?  I don’t know.

It is also important to make you aware that he told his wives about it.  Doesn’t it make you wonder why?  Men during those days did not value a woman’s opinion, nor were women treated like anything other than property and baby machines.  So isn’t it curious that he tells his wives about his crime? It is almost as if he is running or hiding in a way, like, “Quick come here, I have to tell you this before anyone else shows up or finds out.”  Was he expecting his wives to cover for him in some way?  Was he going to run away and he needed to tell them before he left?  We can only wonder.

But it is his arrogance in the next verse, verse 24, that I find incredible.  He states, “If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”  So first off, we are aware that God had placed a mark on Cain after Cain had killed Abel and God was sending him away so that if anyone attempted to kill Cain, then they would suffer vengeance seven times over – a vengeance decreed from Almighty God.  But at this point in the Bible when Lamech makes his statement, we are unaware of anyone who attempted to harm Cain, and furthermore, the knowledge of this “vengeance” had been passed down through multiple generations because Lamech knew of it.  Maybe the noticeable mark on Cain was a physical marking that somehow set him apart from the others and so when people talked about why Cain was different it became known what he had done to his brother Abel and the vengeance decreed against anyone who tried to “avenge” Abel’s blood.   Again, we do not know.  All we know is that Lamech knows about the vengeance if anyone were to harm Cain because Lamech mentions it in his statement to his wives. B124624A-3D36-45A7-9CE8-43E4CE051902

But here Lamech thinks that his own sin of murder isn’t possibly as bad as Cain’s and therefore he (Lamech) should have more vengeance if someone tries to harm him because of his sin.  Basically, he is saying, “Listen my wives.  While it is true I did something bad, it wasn’t nearly as bad as what Cain did.  I was JUSTIFIED because that man injured me, whereas Cain killed Abel when Abel did nothing to him to deserve it.  The man I killed deserved it.”  Doesn’t it amaze you how he tries to justify his sin of murder and make himself out to be the victim in the situation? And doesn’t it amaze you how he feels that he is worthy to pass judgement on anyone who tries to harm him because of his sin?

It is of further curiosity to see how the writer of Genesis leaves the story there.  He mentions it and then nothing further is noted.  Why even mention it?  It had to have some importance if it were to be mentioned and included in the Bible.  I think the lessons here are to show us that civilization had continued to degrade into a downward sinful spiral.  That only five generations removed from the first-born child of Adam and Eve,  man had continued to disregard God and HIS laws.  It also shows us that man had no reverence for God in that man thought he could place himself into the righteous seat of God and invoke a binding punishment on his fellow man.

We never hear from Lamech again, nor do we know what happened to him.  I do know this, however.  Lamech eventually died, whether by the hands of another or by natural causes.  Lamech’s sin will be judged and he will be held to account by the only One who can pronounce judgement – God – and this God sees all and saw the truth to what Lamech had done – just as He does with us.

 

The Human-Like Presence of God

Most people tend to think of God as some “Father Time” being that is portrayed on television – kind of like an old man with a long white beard, a long white robe, and a staff.   Or sometimes they think of Him as a Spirit type being that is incomprehensible to the human mind.  Regardless of how you picture God, did you know God was very active and physically present in a human type of way in the book of Genesis?

From the very beginning of the book, we see God speaking when He says, “Let there be light.”  And God spoke again when He gave a direct command to Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  His speaking was an audible sound.  Audible enough for Adam to hear it and, in some form of language, to communicate His purpose.  What language did He speak?  Only God knows.  But God had to also physically show the tree to Adam.  How would Adam have known one tree from another?  The Bible says the trees were “pleasing to the eye and desirable for food”, so God had to point out the “bad” tree to Adam in order to help him to understand which one he should stay away from.  God couldn’t hold Adam accountable for something he would not have known.  So I fully believe that there was a taking to and a showing of the tree, which indicates an intimate human type of interaction.

Later in Chapter One and then in Chapter 2, we see God creating and “operating”, so to speak,  on Adam when he takes a rib from him to create Eve.  How did he cause a deep sleep to come upon Adam?  Was it induced by some type of medicinal plant?  Was it supernatural?  The Bible doesn’t tell us.  But it does say, “and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.”  So it is a physical type of surgery.  And it is a surgery that Adam knew about.  He didnt’ just wake up and there was the woman and he went on with his day.  Adam is noted as saying, “she is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.”  Indicating that he knew full well what had occurred.  So either God told Adam ahead of time what He was doing, or after Adam awoke and saw the woman, God must have told him what had occurred.  Either way, God is the “surgeon and creator” here, another intimate type of human- like interaction with His creation.

Then, in Chapter 3, we see God walking in the garden.  We know He was physically walking because the Bible states “the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking.”  In order to hear something, two surfaces must come into contact.  So maybe it was God walking against the brush, or stepping on a twig.  Again the Bible is not clear on how they heard Him, it just says, they “heard him walking in the Garden in the cool of the evening.”  So God was in a physical type of form walking to find Adam to have a personal conversation with him.

Later in Chapter three, we see God making garments for Adam and Eve, which means he had to put to death an animal or two in order to use their skins for clothing.  How did he do that?  Did he physically kill the animal, or simply cause it’s heart to stop beating?  The Bible, again, doesn’t tell us. But God had to kill the animal, skin the animal, dry the skins, in order to use the skins.  He didn’t simply wrap Adam and Eve in the bloody hide of the animal He had just killed.  This was a process.  So here we see God in a laborer type of role.

So, you are probably asking yourself, what is the purpose of these examples?  The examples are here to show the intimate type of relationship that man once had with God, to show that God walked and talked with man.  To also show that God created man for His pleasure, and He desired to be with His creation.  But because of man’s sin, God could no longer physically dwell with him because God cannot be a party to sin.  And so, He sent them away from His perfect creation and put cherubim to guard the entrance so they could not return.  But this was not the original plan of God.  Man had altered that plan and had changed the perfect to the imperfect.  Never again would this type of relationship occur.  But God was not done with man.  God had created another way for man to have an intimate relationship with him.  And that was thru the birth, death, and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ.

 

Let the Punishment Fit the Crime.

As a young child, I remember misbehaving and having my mother pronounce punishment for whatever “crime” I had committed against childhood humanity.  I used to think, at times, that her punishment was unjust and didn’t fit my offense.  And along those same lines, the punishment given to Adam and Eve certainly didn’t fit their offense.

After they had eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Bible states that the eyes of both of them were opened – opened to the realities that there were dark forces in the world to counter the goodness they had only known from God.  Opened to their human condition and the world in which they lived.  And opened to the fact that they had disobeyed God, and He would find out. It almost paints a picture of  a childlike existence in the Garden until they had eaten the fruit and their eyes were opened, doesn’t it?

0E047C61-A822-4738-91B6-F07AF6D5AAFCBut because of their disobedience, God pronounces judgement.  He could have simply destroyed them and started over with the creation of human beings.  But God does not do that, even though their disobedience certainly warranted death.  Do you notice that He does not start with the woman who was the first one to disobey Him?  He starts with the serpent.  And the words He uses are, “Because you have done this”, done what you might ask?  The serpent had tempted Eve in her naïveté.  When Satan entered the serpent, he did not go and tempt the man.  The man had the direct command of God and knew exactly what God had told him. However, the woman did not.  She had heard the command from man and when the serpent played on the words, she didn’t know the exact truth.  Therefore, since the serpent went against God’s command for established humanity, God not only changes the physical appearance of the serpent, but He adds to the punishment of the serpent the eternal damnation that would be coming to him in the future.  And the very woman that he tricked would produce generations of people from which Jesus Christ would come.  Notice God says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush you head and you will strike his heel.”  So the descendent of the woman, Jesus Christ, would deal a death blow to Satan and that best that Satan would do would be to organize events to culminate with Christ’s death upon the cross.  But little did he know that very act would bring about salvation for all of mankind whom the serpent had desired to see fall short of God’s grace and enter into eternal damnation with his trickery.

And to the woman, God adds no scolding at the beginning, as He did for the serpent, and as He would do to the man.  He simply pronounces judgement on her and  woman’s punishment speaks of her very function – childbirth.  God increased the pains that she was going to experience and gave her an internal struggle that would always cause her to want to rule over her husband, kind of like she did in the garden.  However, God would never allow woman to rule man again, although there would always be an internal desire to do so.

But for Adam God offers an additional scolding, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it’…God is telling Adam that he should have known better because he had received the direct command from God Himself.  And that no matter what the woman said, Adam should not have listened to her.  So God curses the very function of man – which was labor.  And then He introduced the death factor, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Up to this point there had been no death.  And the very thing which God had told Adam at the beginning was now going to come to pass – “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” And it wasn’t just man who would die.  Animals were also affected.  The animals that had done nothing wrong were now under the curse because of man’s sin.  And the first to animals to die would be used for their skin to cover the nakedness of the man and the woman.

And so, as in many sins, there were innocent victims. Victims who had done nothing to deserve their punishment and had committed no crime.