Genesis 6

The Corruption of the Earth and Election of Grace
Genesis 6

Jehovah’s Reasons for Judging the Earth (6:1-8)

Jehovah vs. Elohim. In vv.1-8 the name of God is “Jehovah”, except in context with the angels where the angels are sons of Elohim. But in vv.9-22 the name is “Elohim”. It would seem that when moral issues are in question, it is Jehovah, but when creation is in question, it is Elohim. In ch.7:1-16 the language changes back to Jehovah. Therefore when preserving the species of animals in in question (two of each unclean) it is Elohim that commands, but when saving clean animals for a sacrifice (seven of each) it is Jehovah that commands!

The Corruption of Creation (vv.1-4)

2 Peter 2 and Jude reason from this very passage in their warnings of judgment to fall on apostate infiltrators in Christendom.

1 And it came to pass when mankind began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and took themselves wives of all that they chose. vv.1-2 The particular evil that is described in this passage is almost certainly that which is recounted in Jude and 2 Peter 2. Here the angels are called “sons of God”, but “angels” in the New Testament. The term “sons of God” is used in different ways in scripture. The Lord is called The Son of God because of His relationship in the Godhead from all eternity. Christians are also called sons of God, by redemption and association with Christ. Adam is called the son of God in Luke, because he was a direct creation of God. And lastly, angels are called sons of God because they also are direct creations of God (Gen. 6:2; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). Therefore, in Hebrews 1 a difference is made between the sons of God (angels) and the Eternal Son of God. Jude says that angels “kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation”. Fallen angels are the minions of Satan, who is himself an angel (a spiritual being), and is the leader of the fallen. Many of these fallen angels, called demons, are still free to roam the earth, work their evil, possess people, and engage in warfare in the heavenly places (Job 1:6). When Christ appears to judge the world, He will bind Satan and his demons in a temporary confinement, called the Abyss, or Tartarus (Rev. 20:1-2; Isa. 24:21-22). The demons know that Christ will do this eventually, yet still they cling to their temporary freedom (Matt. 8:29; Luke 8:31). A subset of these angels went a step further than they rest during the years leading up to the flood. These ones left their God-given place as sexless beings (Mark 12:25) by taking wives of the daughters of men. Because of this, God expedited their imprisonment, putting them in chains, and casting them into the Abyss (Tartarus, 2 Peter 2:4) where they remain until their final judgment. Ultimately, Satan and all the fallen angels will be cast into the Lake of Fire, which is their permanent prison, created by God for their eternal confinement (Matt. 25:41). The marriage and copulation of angels with humans is something that we cannot reason out with our human intellect. Many have rejected these verses on account of them being hard to understand. But the same logic, if taken to conclusion, would cause us to reject the flood, the axe head that swam, and the resurrection of Christ. We need to accept all of these things by faith, because God said it.
3 And Jehovah said, My Spirit shall not always plead with Man; for he indeed is flesh; but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. v.3 God is love, and He is long-suffering, but His patience is not infinite. Man’s true character had been exposed, and he was shown to be evil to the core; “for he indeed is flesh”. God sets a term to his pleading with man; “his days shall be a hundred and twenty years”. This pleading is what we read of in 1 Pet. 3:19, that Jehovah’s Spirit, through Noah as an instrument, “went and preached unto the spirits in prison”. It isn’t that Noah or the Spirit went to Hades to preach, but that the Spirit pleaded with the men of Noah’s world, which refused to hear, and are now in prison, awaiting the judgment of the dead. The striving of God with man does not persist after death. How gracious of God to plead with man! God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 18:23).
4 In those days were the giants [Nephilim] on the earth, and also afterwards, when the sons of God had come in to the daughters of men, and they had borne children to them; these were the heroes [Gibborim], who of old were men of renown. v.4 This verse appears to show the offspring of the union of the sons of God with the daughters of men. The first part of the verse simply says that there were giants in the earth, called Nephilim. But the children of the mixed union of angels and women produced something different. The Gibborim were “afterwards” meaning they were distinct from the Nephilim, and also “of old” in that they did not persist after the flood. They were different from Goliath and others, who were great in size. These were “men of renown” in that they had special strength or abilities. They were the product of women, and “angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation” (Jude 6). The introduction of demonic powers into the race of men had ripple effects across the whole creation. This seems to be a tipping point, triggering God’s decision to flood the earth (vv.5-7). The original boundaries of creation had been violated. Men were now on the earth with more strength than God ever intended. The whole order of creation had gone “off the rails”, so to speak. These Gibborim are likely the basis for much of Pagan mythology.
How did giants get to be in the earth after the flood? Questions often arise about the existence of giants after the flood, such as in the time of David. How could there be giants then if the Gibborim (product of women and angels) were destroyed in the flood? The Bible doesn't answer every question of our curious mind, and some things we will not know this side of heaven. But Genesis 6:4 does reveal at least one fact that sheds light on this question, that not all giants were the product of “the sons of God” coming in to the daughters of men. The Nephilim actually pre-existed the Gibborim. This doesn't answer how the Nephilim came to be. Perhaps there was a genetic variation in certain humans, but we are not told. The point is simply this, if giants could come to be on the earth apart from the action angels before the flood, it is perfectly reasonable that they could spring up again after the flood.

The Corruption of Man: Decision to Judge the World (vv.5-7)

5 And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of Man was great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil continually. 6 And Jehovah repented that he had made Man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart. vv.5-6 We turn from the corruption of creation to the corruption of the heart of man. We read in Matthew that the days of Noah were characterized by complete indifference to God and to preaching; “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark” (Matt. 24:37-38). Read Luke 17:26-30. There is a striking parallel to that condition in our day. Not only were man’s deeds wicked, but “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil continually”. Man cannot act right, and he cannot even think right. And this is serious, considering that God delights to reward even the hidden counsels of the heart (1 Cor. 4:5). God was no longer pleased with mankind (c.p. Gen. 1:31). It wasn’t until the Lord Jesus entered this world that the divine complacency in man was restored: the dove finally found a place to rest. Does God change His mind?1 In scripture, when we read of God changing, it is His ways that change, not His purpose (1 Sam. 15:11; Jer. 18:8, 10; Jonah 3:9). God’s purpose never changes, nor does His moral character, but His ways do change. This is part of what we call “dispensational teaching”. Reformed theology says Christianity will fill the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. But the scripture says “as the days of Noah were, so also shall the coming of the Son of man be”. It is evil, not the gospel, that will unite the earth.
7 And Jehovah said, I will destroy Man, whom I have created, from the earth — from man to cattle, to creeping things, and to fowl of the heavens; for I repent that I have made them. v.7 God, as the creator of all things, has the sovereign prerogative to destroy His own creation. God is sovereign, and therefore He can do as He sees fit. Also, we see that the sin of man has implicated the creation. The creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but through man (Rom. 8:19-23). Creation would suffer on account of man.

Noah: A Remnant According to God’s Sovereignty (v.8)

8 But Noah found favour in the eyes of Jehovah. v.8 Noah Finds Grace. God always has a remnant. Was Noah’s goodness (v.9) the reason or merits for his finding grace in the eyes of the Lord? No. Grace is the unmerited favor of God (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 11:6). Accordingly, v.8 comes before v.9. Noah’s righteousness was a consequence of God’s grace, not the other way around (1 Cor. 15:10). Noah is actually a type of the Jewish remnant who will pass through the flood of God’s judgments in the tribulation. This is a contrast to Enoch who was taken out (caught up) before the judgment fell. Enoch is a type of the Church, Noah is a type of the faithful Jews. 

The Ark: God’s Provision for Salvation (6:8-13)

The History of Noah (vv.9-13)

9 This is the history of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect amongst his generations: Noah walked with God. v.9 Uprightness with God and Man. This is one of ten generations mentioned in Genesis, all beginning with the words “the generations of”, etc. Read more… What characterized Noah was that he was righteous, both before men (“his generations”) and before God. We find in 2 Pet. 2:5 that Noah was “a preacher of righteousness”. His preaching was accompanied by a righteous life. The word “perfect” has the sense of blameless (Job 1:1). The same words are said of Noah as of Enoch: he “walked with God”. This is a mark of faith, to walk through this evil world in fellowship with God.
10 And Noah begot three sons, Shem [‘name’], Ham [‘hot’], and Japheth [‘spreading’]. v.10 Noah’s Sons. The details of Noah’s sons are unfolded in ch.9-10.

The order here is not their birth order. In Gen. 11:10 we learn that Shem was a hundred years old when he begat Arphaxad, which was two years after the flood. Yet we read that Noah was five hundred years old when he began to have children, and the flood took place in his six-hundredth year. Therefore, Noah's oldest son must have been a hundred years old at the time of the flood, while Shem was only ninety-eight. Japheth therefore must have been the elder, as he is called in Gen. 10:21, "Japheth the elder". Ham is explicitly called Noah's "youngest son" (Gen. 9:24). The birth order is thereby fixed: Japheth, Shem, and Ham. However, Shem is usually listed first because Israel and the Messiah came through the line of Shem.

11 And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was full of violence. v.11 Two Characters of Evil. Here we have the two characters of evil; “the earth was corrupt before God”, and “the earth was full of violence”. All through scripture we have these two forms of evil. For instance, in Proverbs we read of the violent man and the corrupt woman. We see these two forms again in the great apostasy; first the ecclesiastical apostasy (the Great Whore) and then the civil apostasy (the Beast).
12 And God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is full of violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with [or ‘from’] the earth. vv.12-13 God’s Reason for Judging. God states His reason for judging the earth: it was corrupt and full of violence. The reason for judgment is evil. What does it mean that “all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth”? It would appear that “all flesh” includes the animal creation. The earth became full of violence “through them”. We can certainly understand man’s contribution to this poor state; “by one man sin entered the world” (Rom. 5:12). But as a result the animal creation had fallen into a state of corruption. We must remember that, before the flood, animals were not afraid of people (Gen. 9:2). As a result of man’s sin, the whole creation fell into a state of confusion. Perhaps animals would attack humans before the flood. The provision of Gen. 9:2 was a relief from this danger. We know that, in the Tribulation, animals will attack people once again (Rev. 6:8). The corruption of the animal species was certainly a factor in God;s decision to destroy them. It doesn’t say God promised to destroy the earth, but to destroy all flesh from off the earth. In a sense the Adamic world did perish in the flood (2 Pet. 3:6), but it is important to see that the flood was primarily a judgment on man in the flesh, because of sin.

The Ark Constructed: Preparations for Salvation (vv.14-16)

14 Make thyself an ark of gopher wood: with cells shalt thou make the ark; and pitch it inside and outside with pitch. v.14 Shelter and Security. The ark speaks of God’s provision for salvation, and it therefore is a type of Christ. Salvation from judgment could only be had by remaining in the ark. In the same way, a believer is delivered from judgment by being “in Christ”. The ark was made from wood, which often represents humanity. The Son had to become man, in order to die, so that we could be saved. There we many “cells” or “nests” within the ark, showing that there was provision for all who would respond to Noah’s preaching. Sadly, only eight souls were saved. The ark was sealed with pitch or bitumen, which is literally translated “sheltering coat”. It is the same word used for the coats of skin given to Adam and Eve. It speaks of our covering before God, and the security we have in Christ. Notice that there were two layers of pitch. One was on the outside, for God to see. The other was on the inside, for Noah and his family to see. Only one layer would have been sufficient, but there was a double security. We read of this double security in John 10, that we are in the Son’s hand and also in the Father’s hand! We get pictures of this double security all throughout the Old Testament. We see it with Noah’s ark, and also with the tabernacle. Each board in the tabernacle rested on two sockets of silver (Exodus 26:19). The names of the tribes of Israel engraved in onyx stones rested on two shoulders of the high priest (Exodus 28:9). This double security is given to us for our own assurance of salvation, just as Abraham was given two immutable things, God’s word and God’s oath; that we might have “strong consolation” (Heb. 6:18). 
15 And thus shalt thou make it: let the length of the ark be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. v.15 Dimensions. The dimensions of the ark show that is was a vast structure, roughly half the size of the RMS Titanic. It has been claimed that some modern ships are built to the same proportions as the ark. Perhaps the point is that God’s heart was big enough for all mankind, and His provision was equally big, such that “whosoever will” may come.
16 A light shalt thou make to the ark; and to a cubit high shalt thou finish it above. And the door of the ark shalt thou set in its side: with a lower, second, and third story shalt thou make it. v.16 Openings. God desired there to be light in the ark, and therefore instructed Noah to make a “light” or “transparency” in the upper section of the ark. Windows in scripture often speak of communion with God. Daniel’s windows were opened toward Jerusalem, whence he prayed three times a day. In the other direction, we read of the windows of heaven opened up, to pour out a blessing (Mal. 3:10). The door speaks of access. The way of salvation is by faith. It was a step of faith to walk through the door of the ark, and it is likewise a step of faith to believe the gospel of our salvation. There were three levels within the ark, perhaps a picture of spiritual growth that is normal to Christianity.
DATE: Approximately 2468 B.C.

The Ark as the means of Preserving All Flesh (vv.17-22)

17 For I, behold, I bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy all flesh under the heavens in which is the breath of life: everything that is on the earth shall expire. 18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt go into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons` wives with thee. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee: they shall be male and female. 20 Of fowl after their kind, and of the cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of each shall go in to thee, to keep them alive. 21 And take thou of all food that is eaten, and gather it to thee, that it may be for food for thee and for them. vv.17-21 God’s Covenant with Noah. The judgment would take the form of a flood of waters which would cover the earth. Often in scripture, submersion in water speaks of death (the Read Sea, the Jordan, baptism, etc.). It is interesting that the very same medium that would destroy all flesh and judge the world is what also lifted the ark above the tide. It is the judgment of God on proud sinners that we need to be saved from, but it is the judgment of God upon His Son that saves us! Peter refers to this in 1 Pet. 3:21, explaining that baptism works the same way. Baptism saves us in an outward sense, by separating us from the world which is coming under judgment. It is in this sense that Noah’s ark “condemned the world” (Heb. 11:7). It was a sweeping judgment, destroying “all flesh under the heavens in which is the breath of life”, which includes man and animals. God’s covenant with Noah was a covenant of protection. Here was a provision that all who entered the ark would be saved. The covenant is fully given after the flood, in the last part of ch.8 and ch.9. There was abundant food on the ark, and a wide variety. In Christ, every need of the soul is met. Growth, sustenance, and even companionship is provided. Each animal would have a mate. Note: Noah was told that only his family would be saved, but that did not hinder him from preaching to the lost!
22 And Noah did it; according to all that God had commanded him, so did he. v.22 Obedience. The way of salvation is through faith and obedience. “Noah did it”. Noah is credited for his remarkable faith in this in Hebrews 11:7, “By faith, Noah, oracularly warned concerning things not yet seen, moved with fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his house; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith”. The flood was a judgment at that time totally foreign to human experience, but Noah believed God anyway. The problem with many sinners today is that they know the way of salvation, but they have refused or delayed to obey the gospel.
  1. “It is not the change of mind in God, but when the thing changes, God does not like it; not because God changes, but because He Himself does not change.” — Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible. G. Morrish, 1940.