Humans stink up the world
God: "I'm sick of this"1 Humans had sex a lot. Earth’s population exploded. Some of the daughters born to the families 2 grew into gorgeous women. Sons of God took notice, and then took the women—any women they wanted. 3 The LORD said, “I’m not going to let my Spirit stay in these people for such a long time anymore. They’re only human. Flesh and bone. From now on I’m going to cut their lifespan to no more than 120 years.” 4 A race of giants called the Nephilim lived on earth at the time, when sons of God married whatever women they wanted. Their children grew up to become heroes—legendary warriors. 5 The LORD saw that the human race was stinking up the planet with wickedness. Nasty, rotten thoughts and desires controlled them. 6 It hurt the LORD to see what humans had become. He was sorry he ever made them. 7 The LORD said, “I’m sick of this. I’m going to wipe humans off the face of my good Earth. I’m going to destroy all the people and every animal that crawls, walks, or flies because I am sorry I made them.” 8 Noah was the exception. God liked what he saw in Noah.
Noah, Earth’s one good soul9 This is the story of Noah and his family. He was a good man who obeyed God. No one had reason to criticize him. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 God saw that violence had corrupted the earth. 12 God saw all of this for himself. Everyone had gone bad. The whole world was polluted with evil. 13 God told Noah, “I have had it with humans. They have poisoned my world with violence. So I’m going to destroy all life on earth. 14 Build a big boathouse with good wood. Build decks, cabins, and stalls inside. Waterproof the whole thing with tar, inside and out. 15 Here are the measurements for the boat: 150 yards long, 25 yards wide, and 15 yards high. 16 Build a roof on the boat. Just under the roof, build an opening 18 inches high all the way around the boat. Build three decks inside the boat, and put a door on the side. 17 Look, this is for real. I’m going to send a flood that will kill everything under the sky that breathes. Everything will die. 18 But I’m going to make a deal with you. When the boat is finished, go inside the boat and take your wife along with your sons and their wives. 19 Also take one pair of every kind of animal, one male and one female of each. I want you to keep them alive during the flood. 20 Bring birds, land animals, and every crawling critter that creeps along the ground—two of every kind, one male and one female. This will keep their kind alive. 21 Stock up on food for you and the animals.” 22 Noah did everything God told him to do.
Possibly human leaders or celestial beings such as angels.
The Hebrew phrasing is awkward, and it’s not clear exactly what God is going to do. But it is clear that God isn’t happy about what’s going on, and he’s not going to put up with it anymore.
During the Exodus out of Egypt, Moses sent scouts into what is now Israel. The scouts reported, “We saw the Nephilim people there….and we looked like grasshoppers to them” (Numbers 13:33 NCV). Prophet Ezekiel used a similar Hebrew word to describe “the terror of the mighty men was in the land” (Ezekiel 32:27 ESV).
Literally “gopher” wood. This is the only known reference to this kind of wood. One guess is cyprus, popular among ancient boat builders.
138 x 23 x 14 meters.
Covenant, which is a contract.
This chapter starts with one of the weirdest stories in the Bible—a story so odd that some Christians say it sounds like something you would expect to read in Greek mythology, but not in the Bible. Some mysterious “sons of God” (6:2) marry gorgeous human women. These couples produce super-sized kids, “a race of giants called the Nephilim” (6:4). The Nephilim (NEFF uh lim) kids “grew up to become heroes—legendary warriors” (6:4). It seems they somehow survived the Flood because scouts Moses sent into what is now Israel reported seeing them: “We saw the Nephilim….we looked like grasshoppers to them” (Numbers 13:33 NCV). Bible experts can only guess who the “sons of God” were. What do you think of these two guesses:
- Celestial spirits, possibly fallen angels
- Kings, heroes, or other leaders
Do you think the Bible is better off with this story about mysterious “sons of God” taking human women and producing a race of giants? Or does the story create more problems than it’s worth?
It takes only 10 generations for humanity to thoroughly pollute God’s creation, morally and spiritually. God decides on a do-over. When God says he’s sorry he made people, what do you think he sounds most like?
- A parent yelling, “I’m sorry I ever had kids,” but saying this only as an exaggerated way of expressing deep disappointment.
- A fickle God not at all like the one that Jewish tradition says Moses wrote about: “God is not a man….he does not change his mind” (Numbers 23:19 New Living Translation).
- A mythical God written into the story that attempts to explain a devastating ancient flood.
Two boats like the one God told Noah to build would fit on a football field, side by side, both extending a little beyond the end zones. They would reach about as high as the top of the goal post upright poles. That’s about half the size of a typical cruise ship today. How do you think that tracks with the report that God told Noah that the boat needed to hold “one pair of every kind of animal” (6:19)? The boat also needed to hold the supplies to feed Noah’s family and the animals for the year they would be cooped up in the boat while the water subsided.
LIFE APPLICATION. The Genesis writer said God was going to destroy the world for several reasons. In what ways do you think the following reasons reported in Genesis sound like our world today? “The LORD saw that the human race was stinking up the planet with wickedness. Nasty, rotten thoughts and desires controlled them….I have had it with humans. They have poisoned my world with violence” (6:5, 13).
LIFE APPLICATION. If you were the creator of this world, what do you think would be your greatest disappointment with your creation? And what would you most want the humans you created to do about it?