Although this second genealogy, (the first is Gen. 4:17-34), doesn’t appear inspiring at first glance, there are some cool findings here.
Genealogies show that people as individuals, not just nations, are important to God.
This fifth chapter in Genesis lists the ten descendants of Adam to Noah and spans at least 1,600 years—the longest period in world history. The development of the human race and showing the time lapse between these two major individuals seem to be the primary purpose for this genealogy. Of the ten people listed, the average age is about 900.
I would love to see that many candles on a birthday cake.
Come to think of it, I would love to visit with a 900 year-old!
How did our ancestors live so long?
The NIV Life Application Study Bible offers three explanations:
- The human race was more genetically pure in this early time period, so there was less disease to shorten life spans.
- No rain had yet fallen on the earth, and the expanse of water “above” (1:7) kept out harmful cosmic rays and shielded people from environmental factors that hasten aging.
- God gave people longer lives so they would have time to “fill the earth” (1:28).
Although the death theme rings loud in this chapter as a reminder of the consequence of sin, God’s grace trumps. References to fertility (sons and daughters), life, and other blessings illustrate God as a loving parent who provides an inherited blessing and insures the future well-being of His children, (Seth down to Noah’s family).
I find Enoch’s story mysterious and intriguing. Interestingly, Enoch and Lamech (Cain’s descendant) were both the seventh generation from Adam. They exemplified the contrasting positions toward God.
Only two men have been recorded as “walked with God” (NEV): Enoch and Noah (5:22; 6:9). Walk describes the closest communion with God—as if walking by His side—representing fellowship and obedience. Divine blessing are the results.
Enoch never experienced death. He was just 365 years when God took him to be with Him.