Summary: A messed up world, the grieving heart of God, and a man who dared to be different...
It makes such a wonderful children’s story. Can you see lovely old uncle Noah with a white beard? There he is with a saw and hammer and nails, making his cosy little boat. And there are all the lovely animals walking 2 by 2 into the ark with smiles on their faces. A cloud appears, it starts to rain. But inside it’s all OK. And outside there is a lovely, colourful rainbow. In the middle of the rainbow, on the horizon, bobbing up and down on the floodwaters is the ark. Ah! How nice!
But if you were living near the beach in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, or India on December 24th 2004, then you’d realise that floodwaters aren’t very romantic. Some say up to 350,000 men women and children were killed by the Tsunami that day. Well, the story of Noah is anything but nice. It is not lovely, it is not cosy, and most definitely is not a children’s story. It’s the story about a messed up world, the heart of God, and a man who dared to be different.
1. A Messed Up World, vv1-4
And this is one of the Bible’s most mysterious of passages. Who are these sons of God in verse 2? And why was God so angry with what they did? Well there are two main answers to that question. The first answer is that the sons of God were angels. Job 1:6 uses the same Hebrew word, and it means angel. And in the NT, Jude 1:6 talks of angels who rebelled against God and abandoned their own home. So sons of God here in Genesis 6, they argue, means fallen angels. These rebellious angels came down and had sexual intercourse with human women – daughters of men. And this is why God was angry. Further proof for this point is seen in the type of children produced by this angelic-human hybrid. Verse 4, they were called Nephilim – men who liked to make a name for themselves. Moses says in Numbers 13:33 that the Nephilim were abnormally tall people. What we would call today ‘giants’.
On the other hand, there are those who believe that sons of God were the descendants of Seth. They say there were two types of people. Those who followed God and those who didn’t. Adam and Eve’s third child Seth followed God and so did his descendants. But Cain and his descendants didn’t follow God. And so, the sons of God were Seth’s descendants, who sinned by having mixed marriages with those who didn’t follow God – i.e. with the daughters of men.
To be honest with you, I don’t know which of these two theories is right. But I do know a few things: I know that whatever it was, it made God angry. I know that whatever had happened, mankind had again crossed boundaries that God had set in place. That is, they had obviously done things God had forbidden. And I know that when humans crossed those boundaries it produced giants! It caused problems.
Man had got to the point, v5, where “every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” How amazing that man has gone from very good in Genesis 1, to only evil in chapter 6. And I’d like to leave this verse right where it is. But the truth is, it’s a verse that describes my own heart, and yours. The NT confirms ‘there is no one who does good, not even one. And Jesus says there is no hope for any of us to believe in him “unless the Father... draws him.” (John 6:44).