Series on Genesis, II God's Family, A The Preservation of the Family, Text: 4:1-6:8. Title: A Family Formed


The first three chapters of Genesis which we have now completed are among the most important in the Bible. They provide the foundation for everything else in the doctrine of creation and the fall of man. They are presupposed in everything else that is written. With chapter 4 we move fully to the subject of redemption. Here we have the beginning of God's family. The most fundamental truth in Scripture is that God says, I will be your God and you will be my people. God's purpose in forming a family goes back before creation into His plan for the world, and this part of Genesis is important because it teaches us about the beginning of God's family. We start with the world before the flood, what we call the ante-diluvian world, from Adam to Noah. It would perhaps be helpful at the outset to make a few observations about that world. First the world then was physically different. II Peter 3:3-7 says, First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. Upon this great alteration we can speculate, but we need to realize that it is speculation. This is important because the fact is that scientific observations and calculations based on the present world do not apply to the pre-flood world. Likewise, anthropology cannot base its conclusions on the premise that the world was the same. Men lived an average of 881 years. even on a straight line calculation the world lasted over 1500 years before the flood. this was enough time, given their ages, for men to populate the whole known world. There is evidence from Scripture that they advanced rapidly in culture, civilization, inventiveness and art. Anthropologists seem to always assume that the earliest record is the most primitive. The fact is that Sumerian culture, for example, 2400 years before Christ, appears full blown and very advanced without the slightest inkling as to where it came from. All the stories of cave men are more likely aberrations than an accurate account of man's origin. Notwithstanding all of this information which is interesting, the bottom line is that the pre-flood world was wicked and in need of God's grace. how did that grace come to expression? It came to expression in separation and division. This is exactly what we should expect because God had said to the serpent that there would be hatred and war between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.

I The First Division – 4:1-16

This section records the first murder, and it happened in a family,  Genesis 4:4-8, The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.  Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. It begins in the family. Carl Zimmerman, in his 1947 book “Family and Civilization,” compared the disintegration of various cultures with the parallel decline of family life in those cultures.  Eight patterns of domestic behavior typified the downward spiral of each culture Zimmerman studied. They were: marriage loses its sacredness; is frequently broken by divorce; traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony is lost; feminist movements abound; increased public disrespect for parents and authority in general; acceleration of juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion; refusal of people with traditional marriages to accept family  responsibilities; growing desire for and acceptance of adultery; increasing interest in and spread of sexual perversions and sex- related crimes. And so, the delight of Eve over the birth of Cain is turned to pain and sorrow. In I John 3:12 the Apostle wrote, Do not be like Cain who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother, and why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s righteous. Parents do fail. Christina Onassis said, “Happiness is not based on money and the greatest proof of that is our family!” She died tragically at 38 and her step sister said, “She had houses all over the world, but she never really had a home.” Long ago Socrates said,  “Could I climb the highest place in Athens, I would lift my voice and proclaim: ‘fellow citizens, why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth, and take so little care of your children, to whom one day you must relinquish it all?’" However, whatever blame parents must bear for wayward children, ultimately it is the heart that determines the outcome. As the Apostle makes clear, Cain’s heart belonged to the devil and so does the heart of every child ever born, except Jesus. Only the grace of God can make a difference. The best thing a parent can do for a child is to pray that God will regenerate them, raise them from the death of sin, and deliver them from the devil’s bondage.

II The Following Division 4:17-5:32

The separation that began in Adam’s family between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman continues in the succeeding generations. We look first at the seed of the serpent in 4:17-24, Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech. Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute.  Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah. Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

A The Seed of the Serpent

Though it has little to do with our theme, we should pause a moment and comment on Cain’s wife. Skeptics have long enjoyed asking, “Where did Cain get his wife?” The text does not say he found her in the land of Nod. It says he lived there. Obviously Cain married a sister because there was nobody else. What was later forbidden was permitted at that time because the genetic make-up of humanity at its inception made that possible. Later it would result in serious damage to the offspring. So Cain took her with him to the land of Nod and began a family and a society. I was going to call it a civilization, but it was anything but civilized in its morality. We can observe two things about the seed of the serpent. first of all, they excelled in technology. Nothing is said about the technical or artistic achievements of the seed of the woman. It reminds us how our society today is technologically advanced, but morally bankrupt and brutal to boot. And, look how men hold out the hope that technology will solve all our problems. At the end of the nineteenth century John Jacob Astor wrote “A Journey to Other Worlds”, a book about the year 2000 when technology would have saved humanity. “Steam boilers powered by the sun provided abundant power. The ocean tides generated electricity. Battery powered airplanes flew through the sky.” Astor envisioned a “terrestrial axis straightening company” whose task was to reposition the globe so that the earth’s climate would be universally spring. He described this period of earth history as “the most wonderful the world has yet seen.” Spaceships were off to colonize Jupiter. In 1912 John Jacob Astor died on the Titanic, too soon to be saved by technology. In the second place, they continued the aggressive, bloodthirsty, inhuman legacy of Cain. We have an extended note about Lamech in verses 23 and 24. He is boasting of murdering a man, and boldly challenges God’s judgment. You think Cain was bad? Look at me! And he was only five generations removed from Cain. Was the world getting better? Were it not for the existence of a godly seed, the seed of the woman, mankind would have destroyed itself and saved God the trouble. God’s verdict is in Genesis 6:5, The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. Do you think God remembered Lamech?

B The Seed of the Woman

The seed of the woman are all descendants of Adam and Eve’s son Seth at whose birth Eve proclaimed that he was God’s replacement for righteous Abel, 4:25 and 26 Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.  In contrast to the seed of Cain, the seed of the serpent, we do not read of all their gifts and accomplishments in their genealogy. Instead, the single declaration that begins their enumeration is At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord, and we know that whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. There are some other unique things in the description of the sons of Seth. For one thing, the length of their lives is mentioned while there is no notice of the length of life of the seed of the serpent. The length of life is an expression of God’s blessing upon this line. For another thing, the names in the two lists are curiously similar. It’s as if Moses is saying that the only difference is God’s mercy, The only thing that separates these two lines is the grace of God. This is brought to a head in 5:28 and 29, the father of Noah is a godly man named Lamech, When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed.” And so we have two Lamech’s. One is a proud and defiant murderer and the other a humble and faithful believer. I repeat what I said before that the only difference is grace. Note Genesis 6:8 which says that Noah, the son of Lamech, found grace or favor in the eyes of the lord. The Hebrew means to take pity upon someone. Hebrews 11:7 says, By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. And so it was with each and every person listed as the seed of the woman, from Seth to Enoch to Methuselah to Lamech the father of Noah. Out of a lost and dying race God made a family. In one line families are destroyed, but in the other line families are blessed.

III The Final Division

But the flood came and only one family was saved. You can probably assume that godly seed as well as ungodly were destroyed in the temporal judgment of the flood. This was not the final judgment. The straw that broke the camel’s back was that the godly seed mixed with the ungodly and thus endangered its survival as we read in 6:1-3, When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.” Mixed marriages are warned against in the New Testament by Paul in I Corinthians 7. Christians are to marry only in the Lord. To ignore this is to dilute and dissipate the holy seed. And then we read something strange in 6:4, The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. The Hebrew word nephilim can mean giants, but it also means “heroes”, or men of the name, or as Luther translates it, “tyrants”, as is made clear in the New International translation. The text most likely is saying that these men of the name were the offspring of the ungodly unions, or simply that their existence was concurrent with the intermarriage. The Hebrew does not indicate proper marriage. The offspring of these ungodly unions between the seed of the woman and the seed of satan were men like Lamech who were vicious and tyrannical and filled the earth with violence as we are told in verse 11. God was fed up. And so as Julia Ward Howe wrote in the Battle Hymn of the Republic, “He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat. He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat.” If this is how God responded to the pre-diluvian sinners, how do you think he will respond to the crucifixion of His Son? Pilate and Herod five times declared Christ innocent of the charges brought against him and seemed determined to release Jesus. Then Pilate, afraid of being accused before Caesar and fearful of inciting the Jews to riot, gave into them and sought to absolve himself. He heard their cry, “Crucify him.” He washed his hands in front of the crowd saying that he was innocent of this man's blood, but he was not. The rulers, the priests, and the people accepted responsibility for the death of Christ, saying, "Let his blood be on us and on our children" Does this sound like the seed of the serpent? Is this Lamech’s song? The tragic reply came back like an echo of a groan from future suffering generations, "His blood be on us and on our children." Judas committed suicide, the house of Annas was destroyed some years later, Caiaphas was deposed a year after the crucifixion, and Pilate was soon after banished to Gaul and there died in suicide.  When Jerusalem fell in 70 A.D., her wretched citizens were crucified around her walls until, in the historian's grim language, "space was wanting for the crosses, and crosses for the bodies."  The horrors of the siege of Jerusalem are unparalleled in history. Two seeds, two ways, two futures. Jesus said, John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life.