Walking with God — Genesis 5

Last week I appreciated the opportunity to visit Jenny and attend Capitol Hill Baptist Church and listen to Pastor Mark Dever.  I happened to receive this week via email an article by him that serves as a good introduction to our study today of Genesis 5.

Article by Mark Dever: How Not to Think About Death Like a Secularist:

Allow me to introduce you to Secular Sam.

Secular Sam is very successful. He has a good job, a nice girlfriend, a beautiful apartment, a new car, and excellent health. He’s humorous, intelligent, and personable. Secular Sam is also a Christian, and actually quite an active one. He has an evangelical background (though he’s chosen to leave behind some of the embarrassing bits of it), is theologically conservative, and believes in the authority of Scripture.

Indeed, he’s even come to see Scripture as the most satisfying explanation for all kinds of phenomena, from the origin of the world to the meaning of life. Sam, being a student of Scripture, can realistically examine humanity’s sinfulness. He can even confute his secular friends with historical evidence for the resurrection. He knows that all of life is under the scrutiny of God’s Word—not just religion, but also business, philosophy, ethics, economics, and law.

What is it, then, that makes Secular Sam so secular? Sam is secular because he expects to wake up in his bed tomorrow morning. He’s never even heard of what his grandparents called the “blessed hope.” Sam’s hopes and concerns, even about his own spiritual life, are all contained in this seculum (the Latin word from which we get “secular”)—that is, this age and this life. Sam assumes tomorrow will be just like today, which has some serious implications for the way he thinks about today.

Christians should have in the front of their thinking “the blessed hope

Titus 2:13  “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus

1 Thess 4:17  “We who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, an so we shall always be with the Lord”

DEATH DOES NOT DOMINATE LIFE FOR THOSE WHO WALK WITH GOD

I.  (:1-8) THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LINE OF SETH –

SIN BRINGS DEATH – IMAGE OF GOD CONTINUES BUT MARRED BY SIN AND DEATH

A.  (:1-5) Tracing the History of Adam (#1) – Through the Line of Seth

  1. (:1a)  Structural marker – defining ten sections in the Book of Genesis

This is the book of the generations of Adam.”   Heb: toledot

Tracing the history of Adam through the line of Seth

Parunak: We now enter the third section of the eleven sections of Genesis, and the second to be introduced by the formula, “The generations of X.”

As we saw at the outset, this expression introduces the family history of the character to whom the previous section led up.

  • 1:1-2:3 was prolog, describing the creation of the heavens and the earth.
  • 2:4-4:26 was “the generations of the heavens and the earth,” the family history of the planet in its earliest years.
  • 5:1-6:8 now describes the family history of Adam, bringing us down to the next major character, Noah, whose own family history then begins in 6:9 with the same heading.

This section in turn has three parts:

  • 5:1-2, a short prologue pointing back to the previous sections (ch. 1-4)

    • 5:3-32, a long genealogy ending in Noah’s sons

    • 6:1-8, the intermarriage of the sons of God and the daughters of men, and God’s decree of judgment, setting the stage for the next section (the flood)

  1. (:1b-3)  Sustained Blessings in Birth of Seth – Despite the Effects of the Fall

In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man                           in the day when they were created.

When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.

A big part of the blessing is enabling their procreation which will be chronicled in the genealogies in this chapter.

Parunak: He named them, a new piece of revelation not made explicit before. Just as Adam demonstrated his rule over the animals by naming them, so God’s naming of Adam indicates his authority.

R. Kent Hughes: Image Bearers of God – unparalleled privilege and potential

– capacity to hear God’s Word

– charged to rule the earth in God’s stead

– possibility of an intimate spiritual relationship as children of God

Why did it take so long for Adam and Eve to bear another son??

  1. (:4-5)  Summary of Adam’s Life Culminating in Death

a.  (:4)  Long Life and Additional Offspring

                                    “Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters.

Remember God’s charge to mankind to be fruitful and to procreate and to fill the earth and seek to have dominion over it

A lot of children born and rapid population growth during this patriarchal period – marked by very significant patriarchs

b.  (:5)  Inevitable Ending

                                    “So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.

Establishes the pattern we are going to see for the subsequent generations

Significant phrase that dominates this chapter – at the end of the record of every patriarch’s life – no matter how many years they lived; no matter how many offspring; no matter their accomplishments ….   “and he died

This short solemn note of finality still resonates down through the ages with us today;

No matter what type of summary will be written about our life … from a worldly perspective it will end with the brief capstone: “and he died

Death is inevitable – apart from the return of Jesus Christ

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Look at how Solomon speaks of this in the Book of Ecclesiastes

1:1-4   “Vanity of vanities!  All is vanity.

            What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun?

            A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.”

1:8       “All things are wearisome

2:11     “Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had

            exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under

            the sun.”

2:16     “For there is no lasting remembrance of he wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten.  And how the wise man and the                  fool alike die!”

3:1-2    “There is an appointed time for everything … a time to give birth and a time to die

3:19-21  fate of animal and of man is the same  “As one dies so dies the other

[yet introducing concept of eternity and the reality of accountability and God’s judgment]

6:12     “For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his     futile life?  He will spend them like a shadow.  For who can tell a               man what will be after him under the sun?”

12:6-8  “Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed; the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed;             then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.  ‘Vanity of  vanities,’ says the Preacher, ‘all is vanity.’”

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B.  (:6-8) Tracing the History of Seth (#2) —

And Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh. 7 Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he became the father of                    Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. 8 So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.

Continues the pattern established by his father Adam that we are going to see from generation to generation

Parunak: The question is, are we justified in adding these up to get a strict chronology (as did Bishop Ussher to get creation at 4004 BC)? Or might there be gaps that could yield a much more distant creation, closer to the requirements of modern anthropology?

Problem of Age of Earth – how to treat these genealogies?

Possibility of gaps … but no reference to that here … probably best to treat it as it is presented;

Introducing gaps does not give enough time to alter the conversation over the age of the earth … so what is the advantage of that conjecture??\

Thomas Constable: The careful recording of the age of each man when he fathered the next man in the list strongly suggests that this list is complete

II.  (:9-20) THE DEPRESSING REPETITION OF THE CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH — DEATH IS INEVITABLE

A.  (:9-11) Tracing the History of Enosh (#3)  (fragile, frail)

      “And Enosh lived ninety years, and became the father of Kenan. 10 Then Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after he became the father of Kenan, and        he had other sons and daughters. 11 So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died.

B.  (:12-14) Tracing the History of Kenan (#4)

            And Kenan lived seventy years, and became the father of Mahalalel. 13 Then Kenan lived eight hundred and forty years after he became the father of                             Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. 14 So all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.

C.  (:15-17) Tracing the History of Mahalalel (#5)

 “And Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared. 16 Then Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. 17 So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.

D.  (:18-20) Tracing the History of Jared (#6)  (servant)

 “And Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch. 19     Then Jared lived eight hundred years after he became the father of    Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. 20 So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.

III.   (:21-27)  THE UNIQUE BLESSING FOR THOSE WHO UNIQUELY WALK WITH GOD –

GOD’S GRACE BRINGS LIFE

A.  (:21-24) Tracing the History of Enoch (#7)  (dedication)

 “And Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. 22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. 

Significant break from the repetitive pattern – no death recorded for Enoch –

Cf. Elijah who was taken up to heaven alive by God – 2 Kings 2:1-12

Not a typical designation of an ordinary saint

he “walked with God” – follows after what we learned about the godly line of Seth at the end of chap. 4 where they began to call upon the name of the Lord – builds upon that foundation

Significance of this being the 7th in the line of 10 generations detailed here

365 years – full year of days – representing fullness of privilege

Note that both Enock and Lamech were names that cropped up in the ungodly line of the seed of the serpent recorded in chap. 4:18

Lamech was number 7 in the ungodly line – by way of contrast

Illustration – Earl Weaver: Speaking to an outspoken Christian on the team = Pat Kelly –

“I would rather you walk with the based loaded.”

What does “walking with God” involve?

  1. Faith  = the NT commentary on this phrase

Parunak: Moses writes that Enoch “walked with God,” but Hebrews follows the LXX in replacing “walked with God” with the expression, “pleased God,” not a bad paraphrase.

  1. 2. Friendship/Fellowship – there is an intimacy here; takes us back to the pre-Fall garden experience where the Lord walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening

John 15:14  “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”

  1. Faithfulness – for Jesus – this meant completing the mission and the work the Father had given Him to do

1 Cor. 4:2  “It is required in stewards that one be found faithful … or trustworthy

Cf. Jude 14; Enoch was frustrated by the ungodliness all about him.  Prophecied about the return of Christ and the coming judgment

Importance of serving as a preacher of righteousness to his generation – which was wicked and ungodly as we will see in chap. 6

The rest of the world was living like Secular Sam – remember in the days of Noah people expected their life of debauchery to just continue on so that they could party the next day like they had the previous day – sort of like the infield at the Preakness Stakes yesterday

Timing: God took Enoch about halfway between Adam and the flood

Brian Borgman: In this man’s life, life itself was the last word; not death; no grave stone

DEATH DOES NOT DOMINATE LIFE FOR THOSE WHO WALK WITH GOD

B.  (:25-27) Tracing the History of Methuselah (#8) – Unique Old Age (the man of the spear)

And Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech. 26 Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. 27 So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.

Youngest antediluvian had the son who lived the longest

Lamech died before Methuselah died – very interesting

Died in the year of the Flood

Parunak: Individual Lives.—Why would people live so long in these early years?

Two answers.

  1. After the flood, ages decrease dramatically. This suggests that the efficient cause of the long lives lies in antediluvian climate and environment; perhaps the waters stored up in the heavens, released at the flood (the so-called “vapor barrier” theory), reduced UV and cosmic radiation reaching the earth, thus retarding aging processes.

  2. The telic cause is no doubt God’s merciful desire that Adam be able to communicate widely to his posterity the history of the garden, his sin, and God’s promise. He could personally have taught all of his descendants down through Lamech (see chart on the handout). The knowledge of God in these first two millennia was not handed down through countless generations, but known at first or second hand from those who actually experienced the foundational events.

[plus you have depletion of gene pool over the years – mankind not getting stronger but weaker; Impact of the curse of sin took some time to fully pervade every aspect of man’s nature]

IV.  (:28-32) THE HOPE ANTICIPATED IN THE LINE OF NOAH –

GOD’S PROMISE BRINGS HOPE

A.  (:28-31) Tracing the History of Lamech (#9)

And Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. 29   Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one shall give us rest from our work and   from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the LORD has cursed.” 30 Then Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. 31 So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died.

Adds a significant editorial comment in vs. 29    —   name Noah means rest

Man looking for rest from his work (relief from the curse, comfort) – understanding the curse that the Lord put upon the ground and its impact on the difficulty of providing for the physical needs of our family

Expression of messianic hope

Bob Deffinbaugh: The contrast spiritually between the two lines is obvious. It can easily be illustrated by the two ‘Lamechs’ of chapters 4 and 5. Lamech (the son of Methushael, 4:18) of Cain’s lineage was the initiator of polygamy (4:19). Worse than this he was a murderer who boasted of his crime (4:23) and made light of God’s words to Cain (4:24).

The Lamech of chapter 5 (the son of Methuselah and the father of Noah) was a godly man. The naming of his son revealed his understanding of the fall of man and the curse of God upon the ground (cf. 5:29). It also indicated his faith that God would deliver man from the curse through the seed of Eve. I believe Lamech understood that this deliverance would specifically come through the son God had given him.

777 – attracts notice to evil Lamech’s vengeful claim uttered in chap. 4

B.  (:32) Tracing the History of Noah (#10)

And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Borgman: Not the ultimate seed of the woman

Will be used to bring salvation to the line of Seth – it gets down to just 8 people

Shem – name, reputation

Ham – disgraced son, father of many of the enemies; synonymous with Egypt

Japheth – to extend, to enlarge

CONCLUSION:

Is our life today no different than that of Secular Sam?  Do we get up every day expecting just to live out one more day like yesterday until we are inevitably confronted with death …

Or is our life characterized by the phrase “walking with God”

  • Walking in faith
  • Walking in friendship/fellowship – involving an intimacy
  • Walking in faithfulness

The ungodly actually walk in fear of death – whether they acknowledge it or not … it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment (Heb. 9:27)

Heb. 2:15  “and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives

DEATH DOES NOT DOMINATE LIFE FOR THOSE WHO WALK WITH GOD