Total Depravity – Genesis 6:1-8

Total Depravity
Genesis 6:1-8
To God be praise for giving us His Word and giving us a hunger for His Word.
Job loved and fed on God’s words to him and exclaimed, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12
That’s wonderful! He is saying, “I’d rather miss a meal than an opportunity to feast on God’s words to me!”
May that be our heartbeat. And may we treasure and take God’s soul-satisfying sustenance into our hearts now as His people.
Genesis 6:1–8 “Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. 5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.”
God through this paragraph reveals to us the depth of depravity the world had reached- and that’s within just 10 generations!
Here we see a close-up look not only into the world’s sinfulness but God’s righteousness.
We will see how an altogether holy God deals with an altogether wicked world.
Moses the inspired writer showcases that to us here in our text in 5 areas:
1. Cumulation 1
2. Corruption 2,4
3. Caution 3
4. Condemnation 5-7
5. Consolation 8
How did the preflood world become so filled with sin? Notice with me what took place in verse 1, the
1. Cumulation 1
What is it that is greatly increasing on the earth? We are told, v. 1, that at that time, “men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them.”
This wasn’t just growth by mere addition- it was rapid growth by multiplication!
God, after creating Adam and Eve, told them to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (1:22). And they did.
They enjoyed one of the great God-given blessings of marriage- children.
And their sons and daughters married and had other sons and daughters.
What great joy, satisfaction and a deep sense of fulfillment of Adam and Eve lived to see many generations of descendants.
And with long lifespans reaching past 900 and parents having children when they were well over 100 years old, there would have been a population explosion. Answers in Genesis tells us, “If the growth rate in the pre-Flood world was equal to the growth rate in 2000 (0.012), there could have been about 750 million people at the time of the Flood. However, they add, “given the extremely long lifespans prior to the Flood, the growth rate could have been much higher. Increasing the growth rate by just 0.001 would put the population at close to four billion at the Flood.”
Now, it wasn’t that long ago when the world population was 4 billion- that was in1974.
So, picture a world of expanding towns and sprawling cities with all kinds of innovations and cultural development.
There would have been great technological progress, inventions, and enjoyment of the music and arts.
Yet if God is left out, it’s all so empty.
That was the Achilles heel of it all- living at a distance from God. That’s the heart of sin. Sin that had passed down from Adam and infiltrated every area of the human race.
Therefore, you get millions of sinners who had become very adept at sin, pushing the boundaries and pursuing their godless imaginations.
You see, it was not just some “behavioral sink” that mice experience from overcrowding.
It wasn’t a lack of education, it wasn’t a question of diet or intelligence or environment.
It was the internal problem of the heart- that’s the core problem of the world of that day. And it’s the same in our day.
Christ put it this way to the Pharisees: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immorality, thefts, false witness, slanders.” Mat. 15:19
No, despite modern advances in medicine and technology, mankind has fallen deeper and deeper into sin. There is no moral progress but regress.
From the cumulation of people we now see their
2. Corruption 2,4
Here in the second verse we are given one of the most extreme depictions of wicked man given to us in Scripture.
It’s a passage that has challenged students of God’s Word for millennia.
Follow me as I lead you through this fascinating text and help you grasp its intended meaning.
For our goal is to understand it just like the people to whom Moses first read it would have understood it. And then we will see the powerful lessons that flow to our lives.
We are told, verse 2, “that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.”
Moses is telling us about 2 groups. The first group are called “the sons of God.”
And the second group are called, “daughters of men.”
To understand what’s being described here, we have to rightly identify to whom each of these groups are referring.
There are three major options.
1. The first and oldest view is that the “sons of God” are angelic beings
The earliest Christian writers such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen interpreted this text as fallen angels being those that married women. And the non-canonical commentary found among the Dead Sea Scrolls point to the angel view.
2. Others see the sons of God as descendants of the godly line of Seth that intermarried with the ungodly descendants of Cain.
This view was taught by Luther and Calvin.
3. Then some interpret the “sons of God” as great kings or rulers. They are seen as a powerful dynasty of tyrants who marry foreign women and take into their harems. So they are viewed as despotic, polygamous warriors who took advantage of defenseless women.
Rabbinical Judaism embraces such an understanding of the text.
Now which of these 3 views is correct?
Let’s work from the evidence of the text and then from the entire Scriptures.
First, let’s start from what’s most apparent- the daughters of men.
Are these descendants from the ungodly line of Cain?
Are these foreign women who are overtaken by dynastic rulers?
To understand who these “daughters of men” are, we don’t have to look farther than verse 1.
Because the last 5 words tell us, “daughters were born to them.” To whom? It was to the men multiplying on the earth.
Those are daughters of men which simply means, they are women in distinction to men. They aren’t limited to any particular women but include all women in the world in general.
So the “daughters of men” of verse 2 simply refers to females in distinction to males.
These are the ones verse 2 tells us the “sons of God” saw as being beautiful and took to be their wives.
Now the harder part. If the daughters of men refer to women, who are the sons of God?
Well, may I suggest to you. If they were men in general the most natural term to describe them would have been “sons of men.”
But we are told these aggressors were “sons of God.”
Now follow closely. To pinpoint who these culprits are, we must look at how that term “sons of God” is used elsewhere in Scripture.
The first place is in Job 1:6. It’s a heavenly not an earthly scene describing what was happening in the Lord’s presence.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
Then chapter 2:1, nearly identical, shows another day in which these called the sons of God came into God’s presence along with Satan.
Friends, the weight of evidence points to these “sons of God” as angelic beings, creatures directly created by God to worship Him.
We find the third occurrence of Job describing these “sons of God in 38:7.
There he asks, who it was who laid the foundation of the world, “when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
How can we be certain these who are called “son of God” can’t be humans?” Because they are singing to God at the very beginning of creation, before He made man in His own image.
Therefore, if we are going to be consistent, that same term, “sons of God” in Genesis 6 must refer to angelic beings.
And that is confirmed by the Septuagint version of the O.T. which Jesus and the apostles would have used.
It always translates the phrase “sons of God” as being angels of God.
Friends, what we have in Genesis 6 then are sinful and fallen angels we call demons.
These are part of the rebellious ranks of Satan’s followers who Revelation 12 tells us represented a third of the stars of heaven (angels) who were thrown down to the earth with Satan the dragon?
Why? Because of their rebellion against God, a cosmic revolt against God in heaven.
These demonic beings on earth help Satan carry out his diabolical schemes against mankind.
That’s why Paul cautions us saying, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
So it was fallen angels, demons, who defied God, overstepped their boundaries, and cohabited with women.
Now we hear objections at this point. First, some say it sounds far too mythological- spirit beings merging with humans?
And there are many myths that sound like that.
There’s an ancient Ugaritic myth called legend of the Dawn. In it, the chief god, El, seduces two human women. This union of a god with human women produced offspring Šḥr (“Dawn”) and Šlm (“Dusk”) goddesses representing Venus.
One commentator, Hendel, in speaking of the Genesis 6 account asks, “what could be more mythological than the sexual mingling of gods and mortals and the birth of semidivine offspring?” He then adds that this is “an authentic Israelite myth.”
Yet listen carefully: instead of the Bible representing myth as history, mythological stories of antiquity have often borrowed and presented biblical history as myth.
Now here’s what we need to be clear on: all these mythological accounts come long after Moses wrote this Genesis 6 account around 1500 B.C.
And the second objection to the sons of men being fallen angels. You might be thinking. “Well, I thought angels don’t have bodies.”
Did not Christ in Matthew 22:30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”
Yes, yet bear in mind, that refers to the normal state of holy angels in heaven. Yet it does not exclude the possibility of demons on earth possessing human bodies.
That’s how those spiritual beings had physical relationship with women- they inhabited male bodies on earth.
Remember, Satan had already possessed the body of a snake.
And don’t forget what happened in Gen. 18. Who visited Abraham one hot afternoon when he was sitting at the entrance of his tent? 3 messengers who he initially takes as being men.
He even prepares a meal for them which they eat.
Yet it turns out, one of them Abraham recognizes as the LORD, and the other two Genesis 19:1 confirms to be angels.
What’s the point? Angels, good and evil, can take male bodies that look like and can function as any man would.
So that confirms for us, what’s going on in Genesis 6:2 is a bunch of demons that have infiltrated the human race as never before by intermarrying with women.
Why would they do such a thing?
Satan’s goal ever since being catapulted from heaven was to steal God’s glory, and thwart God’s plan.
That’s why he attacked in the garden. To deceive Adam and Eve and as a murderer, to kill their relationship with God.
In fact, Satan thought he had succeeded when He got Adam and Eve to take a bite of the forbidden fruit.
Yet then God told the serpent to his face, who would bruise his head? The seed of the woman. Yes, one who would come through Eve’s line would destroy him.
Satan hears that and knows that spells his doom.
So he hatches a plan to thwart God’s promised plan of redemption: corrupt the human race through demonic invasion so mankind is irredeemable.
Now you need to really grasp that God did not make angels and people in the same category. Not at all.
– Man is made in God’s image, angels are not.
– Man receives life by being born, angels were a direct creation of God and they can’t give birth to more angels. There are no maternity wards for angels, no baby angels!
– We inhabit the material world. Angels, good and evil inhabit the invisible unseen world.
So the sons of God, fallen angels cross the established barrier and form bizarre physical unions with women.
Our text suggests this practice was widespread. For there in the center of verse 4, the original text shows the sons of God were continuing to come in to the daughters of men. It was rampant and profuse perversity.
Many women were drawn into this. Why? Perhaps they thought they could escape the death sentence that took all of their predecessors.
Now this is key. The sense of our text is that there’s full cooperation, women freely giving themselves to such wickedness in their bodies.
The demon possessed men may well have flattered the beautiful women and displayed amazing supernatural strength and prowess.
Because look what resulted from their gross cohabitation. Verse 4: “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”
Nephilim means a bully, a tyrant, a giant.-
The result of the intermarriage of the demonic beings with women produce a type of supermen. For them being called = “mighty men” (giborim) indicates that they were great in size and superior in power.
There’s one other place we come across those called Nephilim. It’s in Numbers 13:33 when the 10 spies return from Canaan with their “no go” report. Don’t forget, it was because the Israelites feared these mighty warriors that they had to wander in the wilderness 40 years.
Numbers 13:32–33 So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are
men of great size. 33 “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
Strangely, these who are called Nephilim here in Numbers are around after the flood which destroyed all but Noah, his wife, 3 sons and their wives.
That may have been from further sin of perpetuating evil unions.
For they just like the Anakim and Rephaim were a powerful and tall people. It may be that the Philistine giants David encountered (II Sam. 21) including Goliath were from this strange race of giants.
Somehow that was connected to the demonic influence we see in Genesis 6.
Now what happened to those rebel angels that took women as wives? What was their outcome?
Severe and sudden sentencing. The N.T. in Jude 6 explains what God did to them.
“And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.
How do we know that punishment doesn’t apply to all evil angels? Because most evil angels, just like Satan, have not yet been bound. They still freely roam the earth until like Satan they are thrown to the lake of fire (Rev. 20).
Continuing on, Jude shows us why these particular angels are kept in “eternal bonds.”
Verse 7: “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh….”
The strange flesh are the sons of women with whom they had relations. It was so perverted that, and in violation to God’s plan for marriage that Jude compares it to the homosexuality of Sodom. That’s because it was gross, revolting perversion.
Very fascinating, 2 Peter 2:4 tells us that “God did not spare angels when they sinned (that’s these in Gen. 6), but cast them into hell and
committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.”
And we read something most amazing about what Christ later did in connection to this. It’s in I Peter 3:18–20
At the end of verse 18, we are told that Christ was “put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”
And we are told this is what Christ did immediately following His death which spelled His victory over Satan.
Verse 19: “…He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.”
Friends, those spirits in prison- they are the evil angels who formed unthinkable sinful unions with women of Noah’s day.
That satanic attack against God’s plan of redemption was so audacious that God bound them in chains in Tartarus.
Now, those incarcerated spirits must have been having a heyday celebrating when Christ died on the cross thinking that Satan had defeated His foe.
Imagine the shock as Christ appears in that unseen world of bound evil spirits and proclaims His victory over sin, Satan and all evil spirits.
For Christ the seed of the woman, on the cross, only His heel had been bruised.
Yet in reality, it was in Christ’s death that Satan’s head was dealt a fatal blow.
Now back to the corruption of humanity in Genesis 6. While the angels were consigned to pits of darkness, how did God deal with men and women that were up to their ears in sin?
We see in verse 3, the
3. Caution “Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
God’s Spirit here is the Holy Spirit. He loves holiness and hates sin.
And the focus of God’s concern in our text is not on demons but on man. He is concerned most for those He has made in His very image- that’s you and me!
Hebrews 2:16 shows the great privilege we have, in spite of our sin, over angels. “For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.”
Had God so desired, He could have sent Christ to die for the angels and wiped out humanity with no hope of salvation.
But His concern is for sinful humanity.
That’s why he waited over 1500 years after Adam fell into sin.
Yet it reached a whole new low when He saw the degradation of sin with evil spirits merging with humans.
It’s then God declares He could not let this gross sin continue.
Even so, God gives mankind a final opportunity through an undeserved warning.
While many see the 120 years as a shortening of man’s lifespan, the original wording better reflects the length of time God promises to delay before He sends the flood.
So there’s a respite for the purpose of repentance granted the human race.
It was during these 120 years that Noah the preacher of righteousness would have preached to his degenerate race. That would have led up to when the flood waters came on the earth which coincided with Noah being 600 years old (Gen. 7:6).
You also must bear in mind that a number of those who lived after the flood surpassed 120 years (Noah lived to be 950, Shem to 600, Abraham to 175, and his father Terah to 205).
Here we see the patience and kindness of God.
He delays His judgment longing for men and women to turn from their sin and find compassion.
The apostle Peter describes the earth being one day in the future burned up. Yet first he explains why, in spite of all the sin, God withholds His judgment:
2 Peter 3:8–10 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
God cautioned men and women in Noah’s day before the cataclysmic judgment. And He warns all people in our day to flee from the wrath to come.
God’s judgment is being delayed. But it will not be delayed much longer.
So, we must ask. What happens if one who is not right with God does not run to Him for mercy?
Listen to these chilling words from God Himself:
Psalm 50:22 “Now consider this, you who forget God, Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver.”
Psalm 7:12–13 “If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready. 13 He has also prepared for Himself deadly weapons; He makes His arrows fiery shafts.”
Whether a person likes it or not, believes it or not, there is a coming day of judgment. And the only safe time to prepare for that is now!
Spurgeon was in his cabin on a ship one day talking with a pastor who did not believe in the eternality of future punishment.
The Captain of the ship then entered and said, “What are you discussing down here? The scenery is beautiful; come up on deck, and admire it.” Spurgeon explained, “This is the question in dispute, whether the punishment of sin is eternal, or not.”
“Well,” said the Captain, “We cannot have any theological discussion right now.”
But, turning to Spurgeon’s opponent, the captain said, “Don’t you go on deck, and talk to my sailors about any of your rubbish. They are bad enough as they are; [and] if you tell them what I heard you just say, they will swear and drink worse than ever.”
Then, turning to Spurgeon, he said, “You may talk to the men as much as you like; you will do them good and not harm by telling them that God will certainly punish their sin.”
Yes to hear of eternal punishment for one’s sin is a gracious opportunity, while there is still time, to get right with God!
I often plead with others and you- Don’t presume on the kindness of God. Don’t think there will always be a tomorrow when you can find mercy from the Lord.
Flee from the coming wrath of God by taking hold of the hope offered to you today in Christ.
For the Caution leads to
4. Condemnation 5-7
Would you look at God’s assessment of what He saw there in the world? It’s how He sees our world now.
Verse 5: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Here before us is one of the strongest statements in the Bible about man’s wickedness.
After God completed His creation, He saw all He had made was “very good.”
Now, He looks at all that man had done and sees is very evil.
O friends, God saw it all with absolute clarity, laser vision.
Remember, “the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth” II Chron. 16:9
God declared of His sinful people through the prophet Jeremiah:
“For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.” Jeremiah 16:17
God saw the expressions of wickedness were pervasive- it could be seen everywhere.
And He saw the root of wickedness was invasive- sin’s tentacles were tied to ever plan of man.
Moment after moment, day after day, the fixation of the heart of man was bent to sin.
Friends, that is total depravity. Sin saturating a soul from inside and out.
That tells us, man is not basically good but through and through evil in the sight of God.
That makes him beyond self-help. For he is a slave to sin, rebel to God, and incorrigibly wicked.
And there’s no possibility of moral reform to fix sin stained hearts.
God asks through His prophet, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil.” Jeremiah 13:23
Would you look at the pain mankind brought to God’s heart? Verse 6: “The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”
This shows us God’s heartache over the sin of His creatures. He hurts over our sins.
Beloved, God is not some dispassionate, unfeeling accountant who oversees the books of human endeavor.
No, He feels great sorrow and loss to see and have to judge the wicked world.
It was like the world was putting a knife into God’s back and turning it back and forth with every vile sin.
For these gross sins of deviant sexual immorality were an affront to His character.
His blessing had been despised, His love ignored, and His grace scorned.
In light of man’s blatant rejection of God, God had no choice left. He had to judge world. Verse 7: The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”
What a catastrophic statement God makes. He could no longer show patience to hardhearted sinners.
So He declares His divine decree: destruction. Mass destruction. This shows the intensity of God’s abhorrence against sin and how He must wipe it out. It’s what you do with all the worthless food scraps on your plate after a meal. You wipe it all off and down the drain.
Remember, God had made it all. And now that they had despised and rejected Him, He has every right to obliterate the world.
His justice demands that sin must be punished.
“For the soul that sins must die.” Ezek. 18:20 Remember the scoundrel named Shimei. He yelled cursed, threw stones, and flung dust at King David? David didn’t do anything to him then. Yet he left a command that was later fulfilled in Shimei being executed.
Beloved, never forget the terrible wrath of God against sin:
“For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:30–31
God gives no idle threats. He says what He means. And He means what He says.
Yet in spite of doom, there’s hope.
1. Cumulation 1
2. Corruption 2,4
3. Caution 3
4. Condemnation 5-7
5. Consolation 8
So brief, yet so encouraging:
“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.”
In that world abandoned to sin, God finds one man He chooses to favor. In the coming weeks we are going to see how God’s grace shown in and through Noah.
Church, God always has his man or woman: Enoch, Abraham, Elijah, Moses, Deborah and Esther. Those He has in each generation chosen and raised up for His purposes.
Regardless of how given over to sin our society has come, Christian, you can be that man or woman, boy or girl through whom God will show forth His great grace.
And beloved, that calls for humility. Don’t dare look down your nose at those in sin… And that calls for rejoicing. Rejoice, your redeemed that God, all of grace, rescued you from your life of sin. And commit yourself to walking in careful obedience, far from the way of sin.
For we are told, “and He (Christ) died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”
Let’s pray.
Total Depravity
Genesis 6:1-8
Hope In Christ Bible Church 9/30/18
Mat. 4:4
Job 23:12
1. Cumulation 1
Mat. 15:19
2. Corruption 2,4
Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7
Eph. 6:12
Mat. 22:30
Gen. 18, 19:1
Num. 13:32–33
Jude 6-7
I Peter 2:4
I Peter 3:18–20
3. Caution 3
Heb. 2:16
Gen. 7:6
II Peter 3:8–10
Psalm 50:22
Psalm 7:12–13
4. Condemnation 5-7
II Chron. 16:9
Jer. 16:17
Jer. 13:23
Ezek. 18:20
Heb. 10:30–31
5. Consolation 8
How would God have me be a blessed doer of this God’s Word?