Genesis 6


Sometimes when people are reading the Bible and they come to a passage like the first four verses of this chapter, they get stuck, discouraged, and eventually quit. Their reasoning often goes like this: “I don’t like what I just read. It’s weird and I can’t explain it. I can’t move on with big question marks like this hanging around. So I’ll just forget about reading Scripture altogether.”

And that is a tragic, unnecessary conclusion to reach. So here is how I’m going to deal with it…

This may be the first difficult, mysterious passage we will encounter this year, but it will not be the last. You need to know that my purpose for this blog is not to explain all the great mysteries of the Bible, but to understand what we can, focus on the big picture, and trust God with the rest. So today we are going to focus on the story of Noah. But for those who just can’t move on without at least an attempt at understanding it, I’ve provided some supplemental thoughts at the end of this blog that you might want to read. You’re welcome. 🙂


Like untreated cancer, sin has a tendency to grow and spread if we don’t deal with it. By the time we reach this chapter (1,656 years after creation, if my math is right) sin had grown so much and spread so extensively from that original sin in Eden that v.5 uses very broad language to describe it: “great…every…only…continually.”

For emphasis, these facts are repeated two more times, in v.11-12 and again in the opening words of God’s statement to Noah in v.13. The situation was bad, very bad.

Sin grieves the heart of God (v.6). Let’s never forget that when we sin, God is grieved. God takes our sin very seriously, and so should we.

Verses 7-8 provide a compact description of God’s character: two statements that seem contradictory and incompatible, but together they reveal who He is. First, God hates sin and is committed to judging it; His judgment is severe and thorough. But second, He is a God of grace who delights in salvation. “Noah found favor (grace) in the eyes of the Lord.” That grace to continue the human race was expressed in a covenant with Noah (v.18).

Noah is a breath of fresh air, isn’t he? He was righteous and blameless. He walked with God. He listened to God without interruption and without argument. After he received his instructions, Noah “did all that God had commanded him” (v.22).

How did Noah manage to be so good in a world that was so bad? By doing what you are doing right now: listening to God. And by doing what you can do: for 500 years (see Genesis 5:32) Noah spent time with God, walking with God through the details and issues of marriage, parenting, and work.

It is good to remember that while Noah was an important person, he was an imperfect person. For all his goodness, he could not save himself from judgment. He needed a Savior, a plan of salvation, and divine grace.


Supplemental comments on Genesis 6:1-4:

The identity of “sons of God” in v.2 is a good place to start. These were distinctly different beings than those who were born to human parents. They were created by God apart from human processes. The only other kind of being we know about in Scripture is angelic beings. Therefore, my personal conviction is that these “sons of God” are demons, part of the group of angels who followed Satan’s rebellion and were expelled from heaven some time before Creation. In Luke 10:18, Jesus refers to an event in which Satan “fell like lightning.” (You may refer to Isaiah 14:12-15 and Revelation 12:3-4, 7-12 for further study.)

Throughout the Bible we find Satan and his demons attacking humanity. Demons were especially vicious and active during the ministry of Jesus. He was constantly exorcising them. Demons will be forcefully active at the end of human history (the Great Tribulation). But their first recorded invasion came just before the great Flood of Genesis chapter 6.

These demons had a perverted, unnatural attraction to human women (v.2) and had sexual relations with them. Now, that could only happen one way: these demons possessed the bodies of human men (we know from the Bible that demons can do this; one example: Mark 5:1-20).

The (likely consensual) unions of these demon-possessed men and their female partners were demon-dominated marriages that produced demon-oriented children. Like the man in Mark chapter 5, these demonized descendants could have displayed super-human strength that could have given them the reputation of “mighty men” (Genesis 6:4).

I believe that a person’s will is always involved when they open the door for Satanic/demonic activity in their lives. If that is so, then why would the men and women involved in these unholy relationships willingly participate with demons?

I can only guess that the demons of v.2 would repeat the lies of their leader from Genesis 3:1-4 — the false promise of meaningful, eternal life without trusting and obeying their Creator. When they bought that lie, the results were tragic and devastating.

I could be wrong, but that’s the way I see it.