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Gen. 5:1-32 - Walkin’ with God - Part One
In Genesis 5, we come to the first of many genealogies of Scripture. And these have pretty much been a stumbling block to many of us who seek to read through the Bible. We start well, but as soon as we get to these “boring” genealogies, (Or books like Leviticus) we give up our reading altogether or just skip over them!
Here is a great reason not to: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16).
Think about this: Have you ever looked over the fine-print when purchasing a house or car, or lists of football players and their averages? Have you ever studied recipe books or interior design magazines? If so, you have to admit that details can be interesting and important. This is equally true in the Scriptures. Believe it or not, genealogies make significant theological points.
First, genealogies show us that God is at work throughout human history.
Second, genealogies show that God has preserved His faithful promises to create and bless through the family of Adam to Abraham to David and ultimately, through the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Obviously, these are not trivial or boring matters. Our faith rests on these types of issues. So let’s launch into this chapter of genealogy and see what the Lord has for us to learn.
1. We were created and blessed by God (5:1-2). Moses writes, “This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, He made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And He named them “mankind” when they were created.”
These first two verses tell us that Moses is starting a new section (“book”) that will define a significant portion of Adam’s family tree. As we read this genealogy, we will see that, IN SPITE of man’s disobedience, God’s plan won’t be thwarted. God’s plan will proceed through His chosen seed.
Genesis begins the process of identifying the seed that will rule the earth (1:26-28) and crush the serpent (3:15). So, here again Moses shares the story of God’s creation of Adam and Eve. These verses reiterate that Adam and Eve were made “in the likeness of God.” This is what gives us value, worth, and dignity.
In 5:2, Moses returns to the theme of God’s “blessing” man. This point needed to be reemphasized after their sin and subsequent loss of Paradise. Much has been forfeited. But much is still possible because Adam and Eve still bear the privilege of relating to God. (On a side note, did ya know that God blesses man over 80 times in the book of Genesis)! This is equally true for us: Even though we live in the wake of the curse, we can live a blessed life. We ought to ooze joy and pleasure as we go through life.
Throughout the remainder of the book of Genesis, a recurring theme is that of the Father blessing his children (9:26-27; 27:27; 48:15; 49:1-28). Seen as a whole, the picture that we see here is that of a loving Father insuring the future well-being of His children through the provision of an inherited blessing. In this way, the author has laid a theological foundation for the rest of Scripture: God’s original plan of blessing for all humanity, though thwarted by human folly, will nevertheless be restored through the seed of the woman (3:15), the seed of Abraham (12:3), and the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (49:8- 12; cf. Rev 5:5-13).
[While we are created and blessed by God, the Bible also teaches...] 2. We will die because of Adam’s sin (5:3-20, 25-32).
This fifth chapter is a list of the ten descendants of Adam down to Noah. In the description of each generation, the same literary structure is followed:
- the age of the father at the birth of the firstborn;
- the name of the firstborn;
- how many years the father lived after the birth of this son;
- a reference to the fathering of other children;
- the father’s total lifespan. This genealogy covers at least 1,600 years. So, we might ask the question: Why does God include this genealogy?
God is more interested in people than we are!! If we were writing Genesis, we would have left all of these names out. But God genuinely cares about people. The world may not pay much attention to you; in fact, the more like Christ you are, the less the world will be interested in you. But know this: God knows you and He cares about you. Psalm 139: 17-18 - How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand.”
One of the pretty cool facts we see in this genealogy is that the average age of the 10 people listed in this genealogy is about 900. This longevity, plus the fact that each man “had sons and daughters,” argues for a pretty good size population by the time of Noah and the flood (cf. 6:9ff). If we assume that the sons and daughters of these men also had children and that these ten men were able to have additional children throughout their lifetime, there would have been millions of people by the time of the flood.
After the flood, the expected life span dropped drastically. The Bible does not tell us why or how men lived so long before the flood. It is interesting to research all of the different speculations in regards to this.
One of the most important elements of this genealogy is the phrase “and he died,” which occurs eight times in this chapter (5:5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 27, and 31) and serves as a reminder of the consequences of Adam and Eve’s fall. It reveals that God’s plan also includes the death of humanity. Death is the consequence of Adam’s sin (2:17; 3:19; Rom 6:23). Romans 5:12 tells us, “through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
This chapter teaches the great truth that no matter how long you live you are going to die.
This chapter also teaches the truth that no matter how long you live you will be in eternity a lot longer than you were here in time. “Only one life will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” This ought to stir us to put first things first. Genesis 5 can be a reminder to live with the awareness of the end, and to take the calling of God seriously.
If you fear death and are not sure where you will spend eternity, it is of key importance that you hear these words from Jesus:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24).
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25-26a).
If you believe in Christ, when you close your eyes in death, your new life will begin. Amen! We will pick this up next week. Blessings to you all!