Welcome back to the read-through and study of the Book of Genesis. You can see prior posts in the series if you click on the menu in the upper right, find “books” and then look for Genesis.
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Here we have verses that continue on from the story of the nephilim to start the chapter. With an understanding that outside forces are now interacting with mankind, in a negative way, we now have a wicked mankind whose heart is now evil.
The Lord (that is, Yahweh) thus regrets even creating mankind. Much as God had to cast out Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden because He cannot abide sin, now that the world itself is filled with sin, God must also cast *that* out.
However, Adam and Eve were spared somewhat in that life was permitted to continue through them and Yahweh foretold that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the nagash (serpent.) God provided some hope in the midst of punishment. Here, we see the same thing play out again, on a much more dramatic scale, through Noah. Yahweh did not give punishment without also leaving hope for a time beyond the punishment.
From David Guzik’s Commentary:
3. (Gen 6:5-8) The great wickedness of man in Noah’s day.
Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
a. Every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually: This says a lot. It means there was no aspect of man’s nature not corrupted by sin.
i. “A more emphatic statement of the wickedness of the human heart is hardly conceivable.” (Vriezen, quoted in Kidner)
ii. Jesus said, “as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37). In other words, the conditions of the world before the coming of Jesus will be like the conditions of the world before the flood:· Exploding population (Genesis 6:1)· Sexual perversion (Genesis 6:2)· Demonic activity (Genesis 6:2)· Constant evil in the heart of man (Genesis 6:5)· Widespread corruption and violence (Genesis 6:11)
b. The Lord was sorry that He had made man … He was grieved in His heart: God’s sorrow at man, and the grief in His heart, are striking. This does not mean that creation was out of control, nor does it mean that God hoped for something better but was unable to achieve it. God knew all along that this was how things would turn out, but our text tells us loud and clear that as God sees His plan for the ages unfold, it affects Him. God is not unfeeling in the face of human sin and rebellion.
c. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord: While God commanded all the earth to be cleansed of this pollution, He found one man with whom to begin again: Noah, who found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah didn’t earn grace; he found it. No one earns grace, but we can all find it.
i. It was true then, and it is true today: But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more (Romans 5:20).
Was it really necessary to “blot out” mankind? For many people of faith, the fact that God says it is necessary is and should be enough. However, there may have been a period in our earlier history where we were given more information to understand Genesis 6:1-8, and through that additional information, to better understand the necessity. In the first four verses of this chapter, we are told that something seemingly supernatural and malevolent happened to humanity in a general sense. The humans are being, for lack of a better term, bred out of existence.
During the Second Temple period, Jews were familiar with the Books of Enoch – which were attributed to Noah’s ancestor directly. The Dead Sea Scrolls verified that some of the books were written and taught centuries prior to the birth of Jesus Christ. As mentioned in the previous post, there is some evidence that the books were read and taught by the Apostles themselves, too. Scholars cannot prove – or even come close – that the writings date back to before the Flood. If there is a tradition among Jews and / or early Christians that the Book of Enoch or its companion books were kept alive by oral tradition, from the time of that early epoch, I am unaware of that tradition. If there is a belief that it was written down prior to the Flood, I am unaware of any evidence to support that assertion.
The skepticism for these Books has merit.
Nevertheless, we are confronted with the texts. Why were some Second Temple Jews reading them? Why were early Christian Church fathers familiar enough with them to quote them? Jesus himself seems to make reference to them in His ministry. Why is the text still considered canonical in Ethiopia today? Why Ethiopia? (As some of you may know, Ethiopia is also long connected in rumors and history with the lost Ark of the Covenant.)
Obviously there are a lot of questions. I want to emphasize that I am not telling you to believe *any* of this. I just think education requires awareness.
The Enochian texts have been a greater focus of discussion in the Christian Church in recent years.
In 2015 a group of scholars from Ethiopia and other countries held meetings in Ethiopia and the UK to explore the significance of Enoch for contemporary theology. The initial outcome was a collection of essays published in 2017 on various theological topics, including justice, political theology, the environment, the identity of the Son of Man, suffering and evil. Philip F. Esler (ed) (2017), The Blessing of Enoch: 1 Enoch and Contemporary Theology(Eugene, OR: Cascade).
I mention these texts, again, because they are the historical argument – whether truly inspired and canonical or not – for why the Flood (i.e. the “blotting out”) was not only just, but necessary.
Here you can find a summary of The Book of the Watchers:
The Book of the Watchers
This first section of the Book of Enoch describes the fall of the Watchers, the angels who fathered the Nephilim (cf. the bene Elohim, Genesis 6:1–2) and narrates the travels of Enoch in the heavens. This section is said to have been composed in the 4th or 3rd century BC according to Western scholars.
- 1-5. Parable of Enoch on the Future Lot of the Wicked and the Righteous.
- 6-11. The Fall of the Angels: the Demoralization of Mankind: the Intercession of the Angels on behalf of Mankind. The Dooms pronounced by God on the Angels of the Messianic Kingdom.
- 12-16. Dream-Vision of Enoch: his Intercession for Azazel and the fallen angels: and his Announcement of their first and final Doom.
- 17-36. Enoch’s Journeys through the Earth and Sheol: Enoch also traveled through a portal shaped as a triangle to heaven.
- 17-19. The First Journey.
- 20. Names and Functions of the Seven Archangels.
- 21. Preliminary and final Place of Punishment of the fallen Angels (stars).
- 22. Sheol or the Underworld.
- 23. The fire that deals with the Luminaries of Heaven.
- 24-25. The Seven Mountains in the North-West and the Tree of Life.
- 26. Jerusalem and the Mountains, Ravines, and Streams.
- 27. The Purpose of the Accursed Valley.
- 28-33. Further Journey to the East.
- 34-35. Enoch’s Journey to the North.
- 36. The Journey to the South.
I think it worth noting that though there is a long-standing “traditional” Christian point of view that the line of Seth are the ben ‘elohiym (the sons of God) described in Genesis 6:2, the understanding of some or many Second Temple Period Jews, as well as early Christians, was that celestial beings “The Watchers” were responsible for fathering the nephilim.
I will be honest. This topic is… strange. Multiple books with a detailed history of Fallen Angels? Books that were once read and believed, shelved for centuries, but are now coming back into modern day libraries as focuses of theological study? Ummm… triangle shaped portals?
The more I read through early Genesis, the more I empathize with Nicodemus (or at least the version of him that appears on “The Chosen.”)