Genesis 6:1–8: Apostasy

by Nov 14, 20160 comments

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The long passage of time in the genealogies of Cain and Seth raise an important question: how long will these lines continue down their respective paths? Will any of the children of Cain experience a revival, breaking from the generational sins of Cain and exemplified by the wicked Lamech? Or, will any of the children of Seth apostatize from the true worship of Yahweh handed down through their generations? How many centuries and generations will pass in each lineage before something dramatic takes place, in one direction or the other? Or, does some permanent, fixed biological feature explain the difference between the offspring of Cain and the offspring of Seth?

In fact, we do not learn the details of what happens in each of the lines. The narrative of Genesis does not give us a zoomed in account of the total corruption of humankind as we saw with the temptation of Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, or with the temptation of Cain to murder his brother. Yet, while we do not know how the corruption of the whole human race came about, we do know that it happened. In Genesis 6:5 we discover “that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” What could have happened? How does Yahweh respond to this depravity? Is there any hope for the human race at this point?

Discussion Questions

1. What do you see that you want to take? Toward what good do you find Satan luring you? By taking that good thing that you see, what deeper need do you think you will satisfy? In what way has God promised to meet that deeper need? Why does this line of temptation seem so alluring to us? Why is it so hard to trust God to do what he has promised to do?

2. What makes the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit such a severe judgment here? What makes the withdrawal of God from the temple before the Babylonian exile (Eze. 10–11) so severe? What makes the restoration of God’s Spirit to the world on the Day of Pentecost such a tremendous blessing? What are we missing apart from the presence of the Holy Spirit?

3. What did God see in his original creation? What does God see in Genesis 6? What does God see today? How do we learn to see the world through God’s eyes? What does he grieve over? What causes him to rejoice? How would seeing the world from God’s perspective change the way we saw ourselves? Our churches? The world?

4. How does Noah find grace before God? How do we find grace before God? Where do we see the lavish grace of God toward us in creation? Where do we see the lavish grace of God toward us in his plan of redemption? Do you gaze at the beauty of the grace of God? Or, do you gaze at the alluring beauty of the things of this world?