Today’s reading (I’m certainly going to try and get ahead so these are up earlier in the morning!) comes from Genesis. We’ve already noted how the world has gone from good to bad to worse.
Now we come to the first part of Genesis that tends to bog down. Keep in mind that we’re dealing with a story of beginnings, of origins. So you’re going to encounter a genealogy or two along the way. The story of Genesis focuses in, starting with all of creation, then narrowing down to humanity, then it narrows further—by Genesis 12, it’s the story of the family of Abraham and by the end of the book, it’s the Israelite people.
So, that’s Genesis 5. Take the long lifespans as they are: it’s possible that these are meant to show extended families, but the simplest reading suggests long life. I think this is illustrative of the effects of sin: it’s like a growing crack or a spreading mold. At first, there’s just one bad spot, but then, over time, it gets worse and worse.
Same thing here with the effects of the fall on humanity’s lifespan. Initially, you still have long life, just like the genetic corruption permits marriage/reproduction relationships with close kinfolk. (The Garden of Eden may have been in Ala….wait, no Alabama jokes, sorry. Roll on.)
There are also some evidences that the environment was significantly different in the antediluvian (pre-Flood) era. That may account for some things as well.
Genesis 6 sets the stage for the Flood. We see that humanity had turned against God and His ways, and so God purposes to destroy mankind. Noah finds “favor” in the eyes of the Lord…a word that could also be translated as “Grace.”
Remember that: Noah was not righteous enough to merit salvation, but his commitment to God in faith was enough to be met with God’s grace.
For further reading: