A few years ago, before covid, a few of us got the chance to go to Belfast, Northern Ireland and visit our good friend and church planter David Varney. It was a good visit to say the least. Foundation Church Belfast welcomed us eagerly, showed us around the city happily, and fed us abundantly. Pastor David drove us all around Northern Ireland that week as we got to know him and some of the church. And among all we got the great privilege of seeing we got to visit the church, as legend has it, St. Patrick planted around the year 432 AD.

But among all the scenic landscapes, rare historic sites, and wonderful people we got to meet, there was one thing we got to see that stood out ominously. In downtown Belfast, on almost every corner, there’s a massive, beautiful, old, and yet empty, church building. I don’t mean church buildings like you see here in our country. I mean old stone churches, gothic in style, with large towers, arched walkways, and many stained glass windows. It really did seem like these old churches were everywhere. And even though many of them were very old, they still retained some of their former beauty. Yet, despite the clear beauty that once was, it was clear that these buildings had been neglected for a long time.

It was like a visible sermon to me. The buildings once stood out in the city as a visible display of what these people used to love and cherish and center their lives around. But now these big empty buildings visibly display what they no longer love and cherish, and to me, the heights of glory they have fallen from.

In a similarly sobering way, Genesis 5 reminds us of the same thing. In this chapter we find the genealogy of Adam through his son Seth. The view of man we get here is, on one hand, man still retaining the image of God, clearly and wonderfully. But on the other hand the view of man we get is the marring of the image of God in man, so much so that one wonders if vestiges of it remain. As those church buildings in Belfast symbolically show forth both the glory once enjoyed as well as the heights they have fallen from, so too is man…as presented to us in Genesis 5.

Yet even here, as continues to be something of the pattern for Genesis after chapter 3, hope and great expectation remain!

The Generations of Adam (v1-5)

“This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. Male and female He created them, and He blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.”

See right away how v1 begins. It mentions the “book of the generations of Adam.” This word generations is important because it marks to second division of the whole book of Genesis. I mentioned this back in 2:4 as we came to the phrase “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth…” Ten times in the 50 chapters of Genesis this word generations (toledoth) shows up to mark off the various 10 divisions of the whole book. That this word is present in 5:1 is the signal to us that we’ve now entered a new section in Genesis.

And, not only is this word our cue that we’ve entered into a new section, v1-5 show us this as well as the content now turns to a new genealogy. But wait, a new genealogy? Didn’t we just go through one in the end of chapter 4? We did. But see the great contrast between the two. The genealogy in chapter 4 is the line of Cain, that is marked by great civilization building. 4:20-22 shows how these descendants of Cain built culture. There’s agriculture, there’s music, and there’s industry. But don’t miss it, there’s no mention of God at all. Then as chapter 4 ends in v25-26 we see a different line. The line of Seth, who seems to be a replacement for Abel, and the last phrase in v26 stands out brightly, “At that time people began to call on the name of the LORD.” See the difference? The chief mark for the line of Cain was a kind of atheistic culture building, while the chief mark for the line of Seth was the worship of God. What are two make of that massive difference at this point in the book of Genesis? Remember 3:15, two seeds will dominate the story from here on out till the end. The seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. I believe this is exactly what we’re seeing in these two genealogies. Chapter 4 and the line of Cain is portrayed as being the seed of the serpent, while the end of chapter 4 and all of 5 are portrayed as being the seed of the woman.

We’ll see more of this as we keep on. For now just tuck that away.

In the rest of these opening 5 verses, the topic of image and likeness are central. In v2 there is a hearkening back to Genesis 1, how God made man. God made them in His own likeness, God made them male and female, and once God made them He named them Man. Notice how it shifts in v3? Adam was made in the image and likeness of God, now he has a son in his own likeness and image. This is not saying that because of the fall man is no longer made in the image of God, no. Seth is made in the image of Adam, but in who’s image is Adam made? In God’s. So Seth is made in God’s image, but…that Seth is born in a fallen world, a post Genesis 3 world, the image of God in man is now marred by sin.[1]So man is simultaneously a high and lofty creature being made in God’s very image, as well as a low and dreadful creature plagued by sin’s corruption. This is clearly seen in Adam’s descendants.

This first section ends mentioning that after Seth Adam had other sons and daughters we don’t hear about, and that he lived to be 930 years old. Do you find that hard to believe? Some do. Some simply doubt this can be true at all. Others try to come up with theories of how they could live so long during this time saying the world was just different before the flood. That could be a possibility, but it’s never mentioned anywhere in these early chapters of Genesis. I’d encourage you to take God at His Word here. Man was originally made to live forever, and yet if you see all the ages of men and women after sin comes into the world you’ll notice they do slowly but surely reduce and get much closer to our own. This itself is a result of sin.

The closing statement in v5 is sobering. “…and he died.” Adam died. Adam died. He wasn’t supposed to die. But he did. Sure, he lived 930 years, but his end was death. It’s sobering to read this here in v5, and more so, it’s sobering to see this phrase repeated after each member of this genealogy. That is, except one, who we’re about meet.[2] Church, see in this the consequences of sin. Death once was not, but now death is. This would remain to be the final word over all mankind, until, of course, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who died, and who rose again, bringing high noon into the valley of the shadow of death!

We’ll see more of this, for now move on with me to…

From Seth to Enoch (v6-24)

“When Seth had lived 105 years, he fathered Enosh. Seth lived after he fathered Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died. When Enosh had lived 90 years, he fathered Kenan. Enosh lived after he fathered Kenan 815 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enosh were 905 years, and he died. When Kenan had lived 70 years, he fathered Mahalalel. Kenan lived after he fathered Mahalalel 840 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Kenan were 910 years, and he died. When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he fathered Jared. Mahalalel lived after he fathered Jared 830 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Mahalalel were 895 years, and he died. When Jared had lived 162 years, he fathered Enoch. Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died. When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”

Often genealogies in the Bible come to us in sevens and in tens. For example, in this one before us today there are ten generations given, from Adam to Noah. In Genesis 11 there will be ten generations given, from Noah to Abram. And in Ruth 4 there are ten generations given, from Perez to David. And what do you know, in Genesis 4 it’s Lamech, the chest pumping prideful singer, who is the seventh name in that list, while here in Genesis 5 the seventh name listed in Enoch. And while each name in this list matters, certainly, I’d like to focus on Enoch.

The first matter to see concerning Enoch is that this isn’t the first Enoch we’ve come across in Genesis. In the genealogy of chapter 4 we met an Enoch. The son of Cain in 4:17 whom Cain named a city after. Nothing more is mentioned about that Enoch, but this Enoch in chapter 5, he blows us away. Why?

This brings us to second matter concerning Enoch, he walked with God. ‘Walked with God’ is a phrase we first hear of Adam and Eve, who had a pattern of walking with God in the cool of the day in Genesis 2. It will become the Old Testament’s preferred way of describing the godly lives of many, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jeremiah.[3]We’re meant to notice this small detail added here to Enoch’s description. It’s not present with any other name here in this list, and it’s repeated twice with Enoch. This doesn’t mean the rest were godless men, this is the seed of the woman after all, it just means Enoch was exemplary in this regard.[4] In this we learn about who Enoch was, and what Enoch was all about. Walking with God is how Enoch walked through all of life. He didn’t walk on his own or by walk himself. He didn’t live distant from the Lord, he lived near the Lord. He was used to being with the Lord. This Enoch never had an entire city named after him, not at all. But he did have the Lord, which is far greater.

Church, do you know this kind of walk? Do you walk on your own or do you walk with God? Do you live distant from the Lord or do you live near the Lord? This past weekend I was invited to play in a two day golf tournament in Orlando at a very nice course. As soon as we got into the country club it was very obvious who lives near the game of golf and who doesn’t. I usually only play golf once or twice a year so it’s fairly obvious I live far from the game. And my lack of skill was so clear, at one point the guy I got partnered up with made the remark after seeing me shank my fifth ball into the water, ‘Hey, at least you’re a good pastor.’ HA! Psalm 73 says God’s nearness is our good. Living near to Him will show in our lives, just as living far from Him will show too. Church, do you live near the Lord? Do you live near His voice in the Word? Do you live near His ear in prayer? And do you live near His people, the Church? Hearing His voice, having His ear, belonging to His people is how we live near the Lord.[5] Or are you just trying to be famous like the first Enoch? Which Enoch ought we to emulate here?

Which of course, leads us to the third matter concerning Enoch, of course, the thing that stands out above the rest, is that he didn’t die. That common refrain “and he died” isn’t repeated here. It simply says, “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” Twice in the Old Testament the grave did not prevail over man, Enoch and Elijah.[6]Hebrews 11 even mentions Enoch saying in v5, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.” What a life! As rare as Enoch’s and Elijah’s are, of course the grave would be robbed a third time at the resurrection of Jesus. And, wonderfully so, the grave is robbed again each and every time a sinner believes in Jesus. For if the Lord doesn’t return first we all will die one day, but for us, it is not death to die, for the Lord will take us to Himself!

From Methuselah to Noah (v25-32)

“When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech. Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died. When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died. After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”

See right away in this last section of chapter 5, once we see the ages in view, we learn the youngest man in this list, Enoch, fathers the oldest man in the list, Methuselah. 969 years old is a long time to live, and he’s famous for it. He fathered sons and daughters, chief among them for us to know is Lamech. Perhaps, as before, you remember this isn’t the first Lamech we’ve met in Genesis. In the genealogy of chapter 4 we met a Lamech, who gave us the chest pumping pride filled ballad of vengeance in 4:23-24. There he sought to one up Cain. He said Cain’s revenge was sevenfold, but said his own revenge would be 77 fold. God seems to one up the chapter 4 Lamech in the chapter 5 Lamech by telling us he lived 777 years old. With the additional seven added onto the age of this Lamech, and that three sevens are given, we’re clearly being told this Lamech is far greater than the first.

Anywho, see what Lamech says about his own son in v28-29, “When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” Lamech clearly feels the pain of God’s curse on the ground as well as God’s curse on man. So what does he do? He names his son Noah (who’s name sounds like the Hebrew word for rest), expressing the hope that this son might just be the one who would give them relief, or rest, from the curse. Why did he do this? Remember Church, chapter 5 is the seed of the woman, and the woman was promised that one day one of her seed would come and crush the snake and break the curse. That promise was given in Gen. 3:15. Eve isn’t the only one who hopes for this. All of her true descendants have this hope as well. That’s what we’re seeing here! Lamech fathers Noah, and hopes, maybe this is the one! Maybe this is the snake crusher, the curse breaker![7] Indeed, all the seed of the woman, all the descendants of chapter 5, even far beyond this chapter far into the Old Testament, they’re always expectantly looking for Him to arrive. Church, one day He did arrive. And He did crush the snake in His life, death, and resurrection. And as they we’re expectantly looking for Him to come, so too we who have trusted in Him, are expectantly looking for Him to come back, and bring us to Himself forever.


That’s where we leave off for today. With the longing expectation of the return of Christ the King. I’ll just say this. Lamech hoped Noah would be the one to give them rest and relief from the curse, his hopes were disappointed in the end. But, and praise God for this, none who have trusted in Christ, and none who are longing for His return will be disappointed in the end. For He is the One we have waited for, and He will bring us rest in the end.

[1] Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, WBC (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1987), 127.

[2] Kenneth A. Matthews, Genesis 1-11:26, NAC (Nashville, Tennessee: B&H, 1996), 311.

[3] Derek Kidner, Genesis (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2008) 86.

[4] Wenham, Genesis 1-15, 127.

[5] David Mathis, Habits of Grace (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2016).

[6] Kidner, Genesis, 87.

[7] John D. Currid, Genesis 1:1-25:18, EP Study Commentary (Holywell, UK: Evangelical Press, 2015), 169.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: