Summary of Chapter 5: This genealogy, which covers 1556 years after Creation, links Adam to Noah through the line of Seth. It gives the names of the patriarchs with the dates of their births and deaths. It provides means to calculate the year of the flood, which works out to the year 1656 after creation. It is proof of the use of real years and destroys the possibility of dating the age of the world by evolutionary methods.
Enoch, the seventh from Adam (Jude 14), stands tall as the man who walked with God and his testimony shows that it was possible in those times to keep up communion with God through faith and obedience to His revealed will. The grave tone of the record shows a world groaning under the curse due to sin. This is highlighted by the repeated comment, “and he died,” after the history of each patriarch. Adam must have felt the bitter pain of a fallen world as he compared it to his prior perfect life in Eden.
Key Verse: “And Enoch walked with God and he was not; for God took him” (v 24). Enoch’s walking with God is interpreted in Hebrews 11:5, as obedience and faithful witnessing, “…for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Enoch was a faithful messenger for the Lord, warning of God’s judgment upon the wicked, even while he felt the power of sin and apostasy around him (Jude 1:14).
1. The reference to “the book of the generations of Adam” in Genesis 5:1 reveals that the Genesis record was committed to writing. It was not an oral tradition handed down by word of mouth. This is an important fact to remember as many oppose the validity of this record in Genesis.
2. Confirmation is given to God’s work of creation on day six making man in His own image and making them male and female. The word “create” in Genesis 5:1 is the same term used in Genesis 1:1 for the creation of the earth. God took dust from the ground and made the physical body of Adam. God blessed Adam and Eve. They were the apple of His eye and the focus of His love. He breathed His life into their bodies and gave them a soul. The name Adam means red; the term is also used for the red earth. The first man would have had a ruddy, or reddish complexion.
3. The genealogy of Cain ends in chapter 4. The line of Cain includes his ungodly son, Enoch, a builder of a city after his own name (Genesis 4:17) and a very ungodly Lamech, the polygamist and anarchist (Genesis 4:18-24). That line has no part in the promised Savior.
4. The record of the antediluvian patriarchs leading to the time of Noah is taken from the line of Seth. Seth’s name means substitute. So, Seth was God’s replacement given to Adam and Eve in the place of Abel. Enoch the Sethite (Genesis 5:21-24), who walked with God, is to be contrasted with Enoch the Cainite and city builder. Enoch the Sethite has his walk with God recorded twice. It is first stated in Genesis 5:22 when Enoch began to walk with God at 65 years old, which was also the time of Methusaleh’s birth. It is repeated again (Genesis 5:24) as an obituary after his translation from earth. This was Enoch’s clear testimony for God. The New Testament references to this Enoch make him a true witness and a herald to warn the ungodly (Jude 14-15).
It should be noted that while Enoch is the seventh from Adam in the line of Seth, Lamech, the wicked one, was also the seventh from Adam, but in the line of Cain.
The line of Cain in chapter 4: Adam, Cain, Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, Methusael, Lamech (Genesis 4:16-18)
The line of Seth in chapter 5: Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Ma-hal-a-leel, Jared, Enoch (Genesis 5:4,6,9,12,15,19)
5. Noah was the tenth generation after Adam, in the line of Seth. His name means “comfort” (Genesis 5:29). The name given to him at birth by his father, Lamech, speaks to the burden of life due to the Fall and to the spread of wickedness in the world prior to the great Flood. Hear Noah’s distress in his words, “concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed” (Genesis 5:29). Life was hard due to the curse that was upon the ground. It was so deficient and different from life in Eden.
6. Mortality was universally stamped upon all men due to the curse for sin. There is a repeated emphasis after each patriarch’s name upon the certainty of death, with none escaping the final caveat, “and he died.” All the sons of Adam were cursed with the sentence of death. Enoch was an exception. His walk with God was rewarded by a deathless translation. Elijah is another exception. Otherwise, death is universal. It is the last enemy. It is the final lot of each and every son or daughter of Adam. This highlights our great need for a Savior to conquer death and deliver His people from the curse of sin and all of death’s horrors. The good news is that Christ has triumphed over death and is a living Savior who is mighty to save sinners and to bring them to glory.
How does this apply to me?
The record of the antediluvian world, as written by Moses (Genesis 5:1), makes it part of divine inspiration. We are to accept these first chapters of the Bible as we do any other part of inspired Scripture. These are not legends of oral tradition. They are the written Word of God and form part of the canon of Scripture for our learning.
The definite distinction of the sexes sets God’s standard for all people for all time. God’s creative work, making man male and female, is part of our DNA. A person’s sex is determined by biology. Due to man’s fall, into depravity, we cannot allow emotions to control us. There are deviant thoughts, temptations, and practices to be labelled as sin for they are contrary to the will of God, the Creator of man as male and female. Christ confirmed the divine order of man and woman in Creation when He stated: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4).
Rev. Ian Goligher is the pastor of Cloverdale FPC, Vancouver, BC