Saturday, April 3, 2010

Genesis Chapter Five

5:1 the book of the generations of AdamThere are proponents who suggest that Genesis was transcribed by numerous ancient authors, beginning here with Adam. Though Moses wrote the book of Genesis, this theory suggests that he merely compiled the books of the various genealogies, having received them from his kinsmen, the Jews. The outcome then was the complete book of Genesis as recorded by its various authors as they lived through the passages described. Accordingly, proponents for this theory point out that Moses is never directly attributed as the author of Genesis in the New Testament. The second theory is divine revelation; that God on Mount Sinai revealed to His servant Moses not only the four books of the Law, but the foundation those books rested on with this book of beginnings. While the idea of numerous genealogies passed down from antiquity is possible, the passages that state, “the generations of” may merely draw the reader’s attention to the fact that the people spoken of in Genesis’s narrative are transitioning.

5:1 God created man, in the likeness of God
We are the image bearers of God. We were made moral, intelligent, rational beings. We possess the capacity to love, hate, express joy and anger, and to create marvels. The capacities which God holds in perfection, we hold as well to far lesser degrees. In Romans 1:20 we read, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” The mere fact that we can think, reason, enjoy beauty, feel love and create non-material things such as music, art or literature are strong proofs that mankind’s origin delves far beyond a self-caused universe encapsulated in a closed system. Nature cannot spawn these non-physical ideas, morals, and ethics. No, a simple look at what is created (namely us) should give us serious pause to consider. God left His indelible mark on mankind, and every time we think, reason or feel, we are exercising and expressing a quality of being unknown in the natural order. We are spiritual beings housed in bodies, which is another reason we are told we’re made in God’s image. God is Spirit, and the soul of man is likewise spirit. When we look about at the marvel of our bodily structure, and the natural world and worship Evolution or Mother Earth, we spurn our Creator. No effect can be its own cause. If we are an effect, what caused us to exist? The universe? Unthinking, inorganic mass and distant, lifeless stars? No, they too must have had a beginning, which is silent testimony they were likewise created. We are blind and foolish to look to objects of less dignity than that which we see in mankind. Earth can’t answer us; outer space does not hold the answers. If we wanted our television repaired, we would consult someone who is skilled in maintenance for the job. Better, would be the company that first made the television. How much better an idea then to find the cure for the sickness in our souls in the One who made us, that we may be, “renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created [us],” Colossians 3:10. Because there will come a time when it will be too late. “Then the dust (of our bodies) will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it,” Ecclesiastes 12:7.

5:2 and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
From the beginning God viewed husband and wife as one flesh. The plural indicates that God addresses both Adam and Eve as “Adam”. We still carry the tradition when a woman leaves her maiden name and assumes her husband’s last name. This implies a great responsibility to us, husbands. We are the head of the family, as Christ is head of the church, Ephesians 5:23. In light of this responsibility we must conduct ourselves in a worthy manner, for we shall be judged for how we run our households, Matthew 25:29; 1st Timothy 3:4-5; Ephesians 6:4.

5:3 Adam…begat a son in his own likeness, after his image
Adam was a son of God by direct creation, Genesis 1:27; Luke 3:38. Seth was Adam’s son because he was begotten. Seth was born in Adam’s image, after his likeness. The sin nature inherent in Adam was passed on to Seth and through Seth to his children. There is an old saying that “like begets like”. While there are clear statements that God created Adam, as well as the angels, no such Scripture exists to describe our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is true that His human body prepared for Him was created (Hebrews 10:5-7), but the Son existed in eternity past, prior to His incarnation as a man. Jesus is described as the only begotten Son of God, John 1:18. “Only begotten” denotes His singular nature; and if like only begets like, then what God has begotten can only be God. The Word was God, John 1:1. All things were made through Him and by Him; He was the agency and energy by which the universe sprang into being, John 1:3; Colossians 1:16. In His name, by His authority, He gave the children of men the right to become sons of God by faith in Him, John 1:12. This necessitated the new birth, so that the Spirit of Christ could come and abide in us, John 1:13. The God who formed heaven and earth took on flesh, John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14. By His appearance He revealed God in a personal, relational way. He was the express image of God, the brightness of God’s glory, Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3. The Son came forth, begotten of the Father, to declare the nature and purpose of God, John 1:18. Since He was the image of God, and the representation of God’s glory, it is clear that God the Son entered our world as a man, partaking of humanity to give the complete revelation of God, Hebrews 1:2. Christ was the only begotten of the Father because He partook of the divine nature, Colossians 2:9; John 10:30. In His humanity He suffered and died; in His deity He will reign eternally. Paul calls our Lord the second and the last Adam, 1st Corinthians 15:45, 47. In His humanity Christ remedied the curse of sin and death which the first Adam enacted through his rebellion. He is the second man made in perfection, as Adam was. He is also the last, Paul tells us; there will be no others. Adam, because he was only a man, had to die for his own sins. Christ, because He was the unique and preeminent God-man, chose to die for the sins of the world. The wrong Adam wrought by choice, our Lord likewise chose to reconcile, even at the great cost of suffering our punishment for sin on the cross, Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 12:2. Such sacrifice, such immense love for a sinner like me, is too lofty to adequately describe. It may be beyond words, but it is not beyond our reach, when it is Christ we are reaching for. Thank God!

5:3-5 Adam lived an hundred and thirty years…the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years…all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years
The ancient patriarchs lived amazingly long lives. Before the Flood men lived an average of more than 900 years, with the sole exception of Enoch, who never died. Notice how each name in the list of Adam’s genealogy is carefully linked with ages. For anyone proposing a gap between these ages, it would be extremely difficult to accomplish. Every member of the pre-Flood earth who was possibly a family head (patriarch) has their age when they beget their firstborn son, how many years they live afterward, and then their age at death. Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. Seth was 105 years old when Enosh was born, Genesis 5:6. Enosh was 90 years old when Cainan was born, Genesis 5:9. The genealogy is so numerically ordered as to make adding anyone between two successive patriarchs destructive to the entire list. Rather, the close linking of names and ages gives the reader a fascinating in-depth look at the world before the Flood, which existed more than 1650 years before the Flood came.

5:24 Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
Enoch was a remarkable man. It is said in verse 22 that he walked with God 300 years. Here is a singular sense of devotion and love for the Lord testified about a man long, long since gone from the world stage. We know as a fact that Enoch was a prophet, which might be alluded to with the wording that he walked with God. Jude records one of his prophecies, which actually refers to the Day of the Lord: “Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (the Lord),” Jude 1:14-15. The name of Enoch’s son, Methuselah, is said to mean, “When he is gone it will come”. The name of the prophet’s son foretold of the Flood, and that Methuselah would be dead shortly before its inception. Finally, Enoch was a vivid picture of the forthcoming Rapture of the saints. Enoch was removed from the world before the judgment of the Flood struck. God took him. We know that God does everything for a purpose. Enoch was a primeval sign that as there was a man who did not see death because God took him, so there will be a generation of Christians that Christ will call from the earth prior to judgment, 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17. While the Raptured saints will be in Heaven rejoicing and worshiping God, judgment will begin to break forth over the whole world; judgment on a world that has rejected God and the gospel of Jesus Christ, Revelation 4-6; 2nd Thessalonians 1:6-10.

5:27 the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years
It is probable that Enoch’s son lived until the very year (or close to it) that the Flood struck the earth. Methuselah was the oldest of the ancient patriarchs, who all possessed astoundingly long lives. All of this came to an abrupt end after the deluge. Noah lived 950 years, but 600 of those years were prior to the Flood. He was the last of the patriarchs to breach 900 years of age. His son Shem lived 600 years. Shem’s son Arphaxad lived 438 years. Salah, Arphaxad’s son, lived 433 years. In two more generations Peleg would only live 239 years. The lives of the Patriarchs were rapidly diminishing. Some suggest that the earth’s nutrients were badly eroded by the Flood, and longevity dropped due to harsher living environment coupled with a lack of abundantly nutritious food; I believe the mandate to eat meat was also a component in the shortening of man’s lifespan. While this may have contributed, or been something of a secondary cause, I am drawn to the very words of God, which He spoke shortly before bringing in the Flood on the world of the ungodly. “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh,” Genesis 6:3. While this also was a portent for the coming judgment, and the 120 year window God gave Noah to construct the ark and preach righteousness, I believe there is a longer judgment in view. When Christ reigns during the Thousand Years men will have astoundingly long lives again, Isaiah 65:20-22. It was man’s worldwide apostasy that brought such judgment on mankind prior to the Flood. It will be the world united under one Head, which is our Lord Jesus Christ, that will restore longevity and health back to our race, and our world. Perhaps there will be men and women alive in that time that will rival Methuselah’s age. God knows; and one day, fellow believers, so will we.

5:32 Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
It seems possible that Noah had children before the three sons listed in this record. Every other patriarch begat sons and daughters before they reached 200 years of age, so it seems peculiar that Noah would not have any sons or daughters before he was 500. The sons in question are not listed according to age. Shem is the middle child of the three, but since he is the ancestor of Eber and Abraham he received the preeminence; since both are the ancestors of the Jews. Ham was the youngest of the three (Genesis 9:24), while Japheth was the eldest (Genesis 10:21). Noah is in a sense another Adam, since from him came all of the nations and peoples. Shem is the ancestor of all Semitic people (Jews, Arabs, etc); Japheth is ancestor of the Greeks, Europeans, etc; Ham is the ancestor of all the Canaanite tribes, and the forefather of Nimrod who founded the empires of primeval Babylon and Assyria. He also was the father of the Egyptians (Mizraim), as well as the Philistines. Every ethnicity of mankind walking on the face of the earth can trace their lineage back to one of these three sons of Noah, to Noah himself, and ultimately to Adam.

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