Living the Word of God

The Faithfulness of Noah

Gen 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,

Gen 6:2  That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they [were] fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

A. The wickedness of man in the days of Noah


1. (1-2) Intermarriage between the sons of God and the daughters of men


a. During these days of rapid population expansion (especially because of long life spans in the pre-flood world), there was a problem with ungodly intermarriage between the sons of God and the daughters of men

b. Many people have understood that the sons of God were those from the line of Seth, and the daughters of men were from the line of Cain, and this describes an intermarriage between the godly and the ungodly – something God specifically prohibits (Deuteronomy 7:1-4; 2 Corinthians 6:14)


i. But this approach leaves many unanswered questions: Why did this make God angry enough to wipe out almost all the earth’s population? Why was there something “unnatural” about the offspring of these unions?

c. It is more accurate to see the sons of God as either demons (angels in rebellion against God) or uniquely demon possessed men, and the daughters of men as human women


i. The phrase sons of God clearly refers to angelic creatures when it is used the three other times in the Old Testament (Job 1:6, 2:1, and 38:7). The translators of the Septuagint translated sons of God as “angels”; they clearly thought it referred to angelic beings, not the line of Seth

ii. Jude 6 tells us of the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own habitation; Jude goes on (7) to tell us that they sinned in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh – here in Genesis 6, as in Sodom and Gomorrah, there was an unnatural sexual union

iii. It is useless to speculate on the nature of this union. Whether it was brought about by something like demon possession, or whether angels have power permanently to assume the form of men is not revealed. But we should understand that the occult is filled with sexual associations with the demonic, and there are those today who actively pursue such associations

iv. Jude 6 also makes it clear what God did with these wicked angels: they are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness from the judgment of the great day. By not keeping their proper place, they are now kept in chains – their sinful pursuit of freedom has put them in bondage

v. 1 Peter 3:19-20 tells us that Jesus went to these disobedient spirits in their prison and proclaimed His victory on the cross over them

vi. An objection offered to this understanding is found in Matthew 22:30, where Jesus said that angels neither marry nor are given in marriage; but Jesus never said that angels were sexless, and He was also speaking about faithful angels (angels of God in heaven), not rebellious ones

vii. From the book of 1 Enoch, which is not inspired scripture, but may still contain some accurate accounts: “And it came to pass that the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children . . . [They] took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments . . . And they became pregnant, and they bare great giants . . . And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways.”

d. Why? Why would Satan send his angels to intermarry (either directly or indirectly) with human women? Satan was trying to pollute the genetic “pool” of mankind with a satanic corruption; to put a genetic “virus” that would make the human race unfit for bringing forth the Seed of the woman – the Messiah – promised in Genesis 3:15


i. “The Savior could not be born of a demon-possessed mother. So if Satan could succeed in infecting the entire race, the deliverer could not come.” (Boice)

ii. And, Satan almost succeeded; the race was so polluted that God found it necessary to start again with Noah and his sons, and imprison the demons who did this, so they could never do so again

Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also [is] flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

God promised us to have a life span between 70-80 years all the way up to 120 years see: Psa 90:10 The days of our years [are] threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength [they be] fourscore years, yet [is] their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare [children] to them, the same [became] mighty men which [were] of old, men of renown.

2. (3-4) God’s response to this great wickedness


a. God first promises that His Spirit shall not strive with man forever; this means that there is a “point of no return” in our rejection of God. God will not woo us forever, there a point where He will say “no more”


i. All the more reason for us to say that today is the day we will respond to Jesus, instead of waiting for another day. We have no promise that God will draw us then!

b. God also promises that his days will be one hundred and twenty years; not that this is the outside life span of man, but that this is the time left until the flood

c. Verse four refers to the unnatural offspring of the union between the sons of God and the daughters of men; though there were people of unusual size on the earth both before and after the flood (and also afterward), these before the flood were unique because of the demonic element of their parentage – they were the mighty men of old, men of renown

( 1.) Heb. nephilim, meaning “violent” or “causing to fall” ( Gen 6:4). These were the violent tyrants of those days, those who fell upon others. The word may also be derived from a root signifying “wonder,” and hence “monsters” or “prodigies.” In Num 13:33 this name is given to a Canaanitish tribe, a race of large stature, “the sons of Anak.” The Revised Version, in these passages, simply transliterates the original, and reads “Nephilim

Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually. Contrast this scripture with Pro 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent [tend] only to plenteousness; but of every one [that is] hasty only to want.  I believe that because man’s thoughts of his hears was only evil, that was the reason why God told us to Walk in the Spirit (Gal 5) Phl 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things. because whatever thoughts you harbor in your imagination your actions produce those things.

Gen 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Gen 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Gen 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

3. (5-8) The incredible wickedness of man in Noah’s day


a. To say every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually is to say a lot; it means that there was no aspect of man’s nature that was not corrupted by sin


i. “A more emphatic statement of the wickedness of the human heart is hardly conceivable.” (Vriezen, quoted in Kidner)

ii. Jesus told us that as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:37); in other words, the conditions of the world before the coming of Jesus will be like the conditions of the world before the flood: exploding population (Genesis 6:1), sexual perversion (6:2), demonic activity (6:2), constant evil in the heart of man (6:5), and widespread corruption and violence (6:11)

b. God’s sorrow at man, and the grief in His heart, are striking. Is creation out of control? Was God hoping for something better, but unable to achieve it? No; God knew all along that this was how things would turn out. But our text tells us loud and clear that as God saw His plan for the ages unfold, it affects Him. God is not unfeeling in the face of human sin and rebellion

c. While God commanded that all the earth be cleansed of this pollution, He found one man to begin again with: Noah, who found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah didn’t earn grace; he found it. No one earns it, but we can all find

i. It was true then, it is true now:

But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more


Romans 5:20


Gen 6:9 These [are] the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man [and] perfect in his generations, [and] Noah walked with God.

Gen 6:10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

B. God calls Noah to build the Ark


1. (9-10) Noah and his sons


a. When we are told that Noah was a man perfect in his generations (a term unique to Noah), it not only refers to the righteous life of Noah, but also to the fact that he was yet uncorrupted by Satan’s attempt to sow a “virus” among the genetic pool of mankind. We could translate, “Noah was pure in his genetic profile”

b. Noah’s three sons will figure into the account in a significant way; God will use them as a foundation for the rest of the human race

Gen 6:11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

Gen 6:12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

Gen 6:13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

2. (11-13) The corruption of the earth and the grace of God


a. Because of the corruption and violence on the earth, and the extent of that corruption, God tells Noah that He will judge the wicked with the earth

b. Is this judgment too harsh? Is God cruel or a monster for this? We already have a death sentence on us; the timing and method of that is completely in the hands of God


i. “On what grounds would God be told that He can bring death to millions of people at the end of a ‘normal’ life span, but that He may not do it in any other way?” (Barnhouse)

c. In the midst of such corruption, there is also grace; instead of wiping out the entire race, God preserves a remnant

Gen 6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

Gen 6:15 And this [is the fashion] which thou shalt make it [of]: The length of the ark [shall be] three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

Gen 6:16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; [with] lower, second, and third [stories] shalt thou make it.

3. (14-16) God tells Noah to build an ark


a. Make yourself means that this was Noah’s project; he was not to simply contract it out to someone else

b. The ark would be as long as a 30 story building is high (450 feet); it would be 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high). What is described is not really a boat, but a well ventilated barge, meant only to float, not to sail anywhere. After all, an ark is a chest, not a ship; this refers to the shoe-box shape of the vessel


i. The ark, roughly the shape of a shoe box, would be plenty large enough (about the size of the Titanic), and would have a cubit-wide (18 inches) opening all the way around the ark

ii. It was not until 1858 that a boat bigger than the ark was built. The ark was certainly big enough to do the job; if the ark carried two of every family of animal, there would be around 700 pairs of animals. But if the ark carried two of every species of animals, there would be around 35,000 pairs of animals.

iii. The average size of a land animal is smaller than a sheep. The ark could carry 136,560 sheep in half of its capacity, leaving plenty of room for people, food, water, and whatever other provisions were needed.

c. God hasn’t told Noah why he should build an ark; at this time, all Noah knows is that God will judge the earth, and that he is supposed to build a big barge. Since it had not rained yet on the earth, it is reasonable to suppose that Noah didn’t know what God was talking about yet!

4. Is the ark a fantasy or just an ancient myth?


a. In 275 BC, Berosus, a Babylonian historian, wrote: “But of this ship that grounded in Armenia some part still remains in the mountains . . . and some get pitch from the ship by scraping it off”

b. Around 75 AD, Josephus said that the locals collected relics from the ark and showed them off to his very day. He also said that all the ancient historians he knew of wrote about the ark.

c. In 180 AD, Theophilus of Antioch wrote: “the remains [of the ark] are to this day to be seen . . . in the mountains.”

d. An elderly Armenian man in America said that as a boy, he visited the ark with his father in 1856 and three atheistic scientists. Their goal was to disprove the ark’s existence, but found it, and became so enraged that they tried to destroy it, but could not because it was too big and had petrified. In 1918, one of the atheistic scientists (an Englishman) admitted on his deathbed that the whole story was true.

e. In 1876, a distinguished British statesman and author, Viscount James Bryce, climbed Ararat and reported finding a four-foot long piece of hand-tooled timber at a height of more than 13,000 feet.

f. Six Turkish soldiers claimed to have seen the ark in 1916

g. In the early part of this century, a Russian aviator named Vladimire Rokovitsky claimed to have discovered Noah’s ark. He was stationed in southern Russia near the Turkish border and Mount Ararat. He was testing a plane and he and his co-pilot flew over Ararat and discovered, on the edge of a glacier, what he described as a boat the size of a battleship. He said that it was partially submerged in a lake, and that he could see a there was an opening for a door nearly twenty feet square, but that the door was missing. Rokovitsky told his commanding officer, and an expedition was dispatched to find the ark and photograph

it. The report was forwarded to the Czar, who was soon overthrown and the photos and the report perished.

h. In 1936 a young British archaeologist named Hardwicke Knight was hiking across Ararat when he discovered interlocking hand-tooled timbers at a height of 14,000 feet.


i. During World War II, two pilots saw and photographed something they believed to be the ark on Mount Ararat.

j. There have been many more recent attempts to find and document the ark, but they have been hindered by politics and surrounded in controversy. It is possible that God has a purpose for the ark, to use it to remind the world of a past judgment shortly before a future judgment


i. Peter, in 2 Peter 3:1-7 relates the future judgment to the judgment of the flood, saying that unbelievers willfully forget . . . the world that then existed perished being flooded with water. Perhaps, before Jesus returns, God will make it even more necessary for people to willfully forget these things

ii. Why else would God instruct Noah to cover the ark inside and outside with pitch (6:14); the pitch would waterproof the ark on the outside, but the pitch on the inside would be helpful for preservation.

iii. Because this verse mentions pitch (a petroleum product) in what most people think is the middle east, John D. Rockefeller looked for (and found) oil in that region based on this verse

Gen 6:17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die.

Gen 6:18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.

Gen 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every [sort] shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep [them] alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

Gen 6:20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every [sort] shall come unto thee, to keep [them] alive.

Gen 6:21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather [it] to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

5. (17-21) God tells Noah why, and tells him what to do


a. Imagine how Noah’s blood must have run cold when he heard God say what He was going to do; Noah would have a critical part in the greatest judgment – and greatest salvation – the world had seen

b. But God will make a covenant with Noah; and he and his family would be saved. God will also use Noah to save a remnant of each animal, so the earth could be populated with people and animals after the flood


i. God also commanded Noah to take all the food he could; it would be a huge undertaking for both himself and all the animals

Gen 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

6. (22) Noah’s obedience


a. When given this staggering job to do, Noah did it. We don’t hear of him complaining or rebelling; he simply obeyed


i. The so he did covers an awful lot of material and years; yet Noah did not shrink from what God had for him

b. The Bible presents Noah as a great hero of God; he was an outstanding example of righteousness (Ezekiel 14:14), a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5), and Noah condemned the world by offering salvation in the ark that the whole world rejected (Hebrews 11:7)

c. Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5); yet in his 120 year ministry, no one was saved


i. “The work of building the ark was laborious, costly, tedious, dangerous, and seemingly foolish and ridiculous; especially when all things continued in the same posture and safety for so many scores of years together; whereby Noah, without doubt, was all that while the song of the drunkards, and the sport of the wits of that age. So it is not strange that this is mentioned as an heroic act of faith” (Poole)

Used With Permission

© Enduring Word Media. We thank David Guzik and Enduring Word Media for their permission to utilize this work. 


Cite This Page: (explanation of citations) Guzik, David. “Study Guide for Genesis Chapter 6.” Blue Letter Bible. 1 Mar 1996.  27 Dec 2005. <;.


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