Gen. 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
Gen. 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
Gen. 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
Gen. 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
The beginning of this chapter raises a lot of questions. The “sons of God” are not defined, yet it seems to imply they are not regular men since the women are defined as the “daughters of men.” Nephilim (from the Hebrew for giants) appears to be the term for the children produced by the marriages of the “sons of God” and “daughters of men.” These children became many of the heroes of that time. (1/11) These “men” probably form the basis for Greek and Roman mythology.
Meredith brought home some insight from her Genesis class:
Sons of God = fallen angels (cf Jude 6-7ą”angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation….giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh”
Unger’s commentary describes how the offspring of the union between angel and human (the nephilim, “fallen ones”) was what necessitated the flood.
(10/05) Many commentators believe the “sons of God” is a reference to men; some specify that they descended from Seth. Why would the union of regular men and women (be they godly or not) produce such mighty men of renown—giants? Why would obedience to God’s command to men and women to multiply and fill the earth bring about a decision by God to limit man’s existence on planet earth? It makes much more sense that these “sons of God” are fallen angels meant to pollute the line of the Messiah as seems to be indicated in verse 9 below.
I think you can find support for the “sons of God” being angels in the first chapter of Job.
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
It would seem that there is a time of discussion in heaven between God and His angels as they interact with man. The writer of Hebrews tells us that they were created as “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” (Hebrews 1:14) Satan evidently continues to present himself on these occasions to “accuse the brethren,” as stated by John in Revelation 12:10 and as the story of Job so vividly pictures. Not until the New Testament is the phrase “sons of God” applied to men in reference to those who believe on Jesus for their salvation.
(2/10) I think it was Chuck Missler that I heard give a reasonable explanation regarding the term “sons of God” referencing direct creations of God. It wasn’t until New Testament times that men could become a “new creation” in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
God decides to limit a man’s days to 120 years. This 120-year figure seems to be the time that would elapse before the flood. (10/05) We can’t tell from the scripture how long these fallen angels were reproducing with women before God made His decision to establish this 120-year timeframe. We are told that it was “when men began to multiply…and daughters were born unto them.” It had to be long enough for God to decide to intervene before there was no unpolluted line of descent for the Messiah.
(1/11) The Greek Septuagint translates “sons of God” as angels.
Gen. 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
“imagination” – a form, conception (i.e., purpose)
Sin has become so widespread that God describes man as a creature whose “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil” all the time.
Gen. 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Gen. 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
God is grieved; His heart feels pain. He decides to wipe out/eliminate not only man, but also all the other living creatures on the earth and in the air.
Again, I think we have to remember that this is being written years down the road. God is giving man a perspective to understand His actions. God knew what was going to happen before He ever began creation. Still, He wants us to understand that our response to Him is important to Him. He so desires fellowship with us that He is sorrowful when we choose not to cultivate our relationship with Him. Our choice to love and obey Him is precious to Him.
Gen. 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Gen. 6:9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
Then God turns His focus to Noah, and He describes Noah as just and perfect (without blemish, without spot). I think the word perfect is talking about his heritage as having not been tainted by the sons of God. It is also stated that he “walked with God,” as did Enoch, his great-grandfather (Genesis 5:22-24). Walking indicates action and forward progress. His relationship with God was growing and maturing. (11/07) Walking “with God” indicates in fellowship with and in the same direction as. Walking with “God” indicates that he is recognizing God as Lord, the authority figure in his life.
Gen. 6:10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Shem – name, renown
Ham – hot, heat, brown
Japheth – enlarged, fair, persuading
From these three men and their wives would come the whole human race.
(Note: See the Doorway Papers, by Arthur Custance for some truly interesting reading on these brothers and their descendants.)
Gen. 6:11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
Gen. 6:12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
Gen. 6:13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
In v7 God had decided to destroy most of His creation, but now in v13 He decides to destroy the earth as well. This implies to me that the flood had a major destructive impact on the earth itself—other than just the destruction of most of its creatures.
(10/05) It is important to note that God did not act in a fit of anger. He patiently waited until man had filled the earth with violence (injustice, unrighteousness, cruelty, wrongdoing); it had become totally corrupt. This was a far cry from the condition in which it was created. When God looked around, Noah was the only man who found favor in His eyes.
Gen. 6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
Gen. 6:15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
Gen. 6:16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
God gives Noah specific instructions for the construction of the ark. (He will always give us specific instructions and guidance in doing His will.)
(10/05) David Guzik expressed the dimensions in terms more easily understood.
The ark would be as long as a 30-story building is high (450 feet), it would be 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high)…. The average size of a land animal is smaller than a sheep. The ark could carry 136,560 sheep in half of its capacity, leaving plenty of room for people, food, water, and whatever other provisions were needed.
Gen. 6:17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
Gen. 6:18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
Gen. 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
Gen. 6:20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
Gen. 6:21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
Gen. 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
Note: Noah isn’t surprised to be conversing with God. He does everything that God commands him to do. When God establishes His covenant, it’s a sure happening. God is very specific about keeping a male and female of every kind. Even in the animal kingdom God’s design is for male and female.
This is also a beautiful illustration of how important each of us as an individual is to the Father. It reminds me of the story in the New Testament of the lost sheep and how the shepherd searches so diligently until he finds that sheep and then is so full of rejoicing over finding it. God ensured that the one man on the face of the earth who loved Him was protected from the destruction to come. I often have to remind myself that I am important to God and that He is aware of everything concerning me---one in billions. He even knows the number of hairs on my head.
Matt. 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
(10/05) Evidently, while Noah was building, he was preaching God’s truth. 2Peter 2:5 tells us “he was a preacher of righteousness.”