The beginning of this chapter can be confusing. It begins with references to “the sons of God”, “the daughters of men”, and their children the “Nephilim”. Use of these names, without any further explanation, suggests an existing knowledge of whom they refer.
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.Genesis 6:1-2
This is where the Book of Enoch may be used as a supplemental resource in understanding the context of scripture. The Book of Enoch, discloses that the “sons of God” were divine beings or angels. This seems to be in agreeance with the Book of Job which uses the same name to refer to Satan and his companions (Job 2:1-2). The movement of angels between heaven and earth was also revealed to Jacob in Bethel. (Genesis 28:12-16).
God enables human beings to reproduce because we are mortal and our lifespan is limited (Genesis 6:3). Angels, however, as immortal beings were not created to marry or reproduce like humans (Matthew 22:30). Therefore, these angels created an unnatural union by taking human women for wives. Clearly, these disobedient angels were among the fallen with Satan. Unable to create life themselves, they envied this gift which was bestowed on mankind and desired offspring of their own.
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.Genesis 6:4
The Book of Enoch describes the Nephilim at giants. This is supported by scripture in Numbers 13:32-33, when the Israelite spies describe a people of “great height”. When compared to “the Nephilim” the Israelites seemed “like grasshoppers”. The stories of these giant warriors were well known, like Gilgamesh in Ancient Babylon.
This background knowledge helps to paint a picture of what the world looked like before the flood. Fallen angels were living among humans and reproducing a cross breed with them. The humans likely regarded these fallen angels as gods to be worshipped. In exchange for “serving the gods”, humans learned things from these fallen angels. This knowledge only increased their corruption allowing evil to consume the sinful human heart.
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.Genesis 6:5-6
Since sin came into the world mankind has repeatedly disappointed God by choosing ourselves over Him. Over1600 years, mankind had only grown progressively more corrupt until they had become consumed by evil. God shows mankind enduring patience, but judgment comes when we remain willfully sinful and unrepentant.
So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.Genesis 6:7-8
Mankind had become unredeemable, with the exception of one who remained faithful to God. Noah, as the great grandson of Enoch, remained a faithful follower of God. Although a time of judgment comes for evildoers, God always spares those who remain faithful. We see this protection of God’s people in other stories as well. As the only person found to be righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot and his family were warned to leave prior to its destruction. Although prophets were sent to Israel to warn them of their impending judgment, their warnings went unheeded. Yet, at the time of Israel’s destruction, a faithful remanent was spared. They were taken into captivity in Babylon where they were treated well, accumulated wealth, and were even placed in prominent positions in the city. Daniel was among these faithful Jews.
In the following verses, we learn about God’s warning to Noah. Being warned of the impending flood, he was instructed to build the ark and was given precise measurements. It seems impossible that one man could build such a large vessel, even with the help of his three sons. All those around him were consumed by evil and likely mocked his efforts. The Book of Enoch informs that God sent angels to help accomplish the task.
I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.Genesis 6:17-18
God allowed Noah to bring his family onto the ark, which was necessary for mankind to repopulate. However, we know nothing of the backgrounds of his family. Noah had found favor with the LORD, but his children and their wives had grown up in a sinful world. They had knowledge of the things that were to be wiped from the earth, and there was no telling how it had effected their hearts. God had plans for the recovery of all his creation, and as a good and faithful servant Noah did all he was commanded.
You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” Noah did everything just as God commanded him.Genesis 6:19-21
What does this have to do with us today? Quite a lot when you think about the current state of the world. First, we know that there are evil forces at work. Satan and his followers remain active in our world today, although less visibly. Their influences heighten our curiosity about occult practices and it influences our media to make us discontented. Everyday more of God’s people are led astray by false teachers or fall away to the desires of the world. Though the young are most vulnerable to these influences, we each must be careful to guard our hearts and remain faithful. God is patient and forgiving, but judgement is always certain. However, God will protect those who remain faithful and hold onto the truth. Just as Noah was saved to begin the world anew, God promises us life in a new world to come. It’s difficult to stand firm against a world who doesn’t share your beliefs. You may even be mocked and belittled for your faith, but for those who persevere God will rescue you. Listen to God, and do all that he commands of you.