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From Cain to Noah: Genesis 4-5

It didn’t take long for the evil that Eve chose to take hold. It starts with Cain killing Abel shortly after they both offered something of their hard work to God:

4-5The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.

“Dejected” is translated variously as “fallen”, “downcast”, depending on which Bible you read. In our family, we might call it a “grumpy face”. It doesn’t suggest anything of the “contrite spirit” David showed in Psalm 51. God even told Cain how to be accepted:

7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?

But Cain seems to give up, or walk off in a tantrum, or something: we are not told quite what his reaction is, other than to kill Abel. God is understandably unhappy, and Cain is sent away. Adam and Eve’s third son, Seth, carries the family line through to Noah, dying only 12 years before Noah is born: he is Noah’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather.

Somewhere between Adam and Noah, there is Enoch. His life is short by the standard of the day, but sweet:

22-24  After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.

Enoch was a rarity. By Noah’s time:

9Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time … 11-12Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt.

This is amazing because Adam was alive for a long time. We can work out from the text when each of Noah’s ancestors was born and died. Adam was still alive until only 126 years before Noah’s birth. Noah’s was the first generation that could not ask Adam what it was like to walk with God and talk face-to-face.

Character Born Died
Adam 0 930
Seth 130 1042
Enosh 235 1140
Kenan 325 1235
Mahalalel 395 1290
Jared 460 1422
Enoch 622 987
Methuselah 687 1656
Lamech 874 1651
Noah 1056 2006
Flood (about 350 years before Noah died)

We don’t know when the clock started (the “0” for Adam in the table) because Adam wasn’t “born”. My guess would be Adam and Eve started counting from the time they left Eden, because time before then could well have been an irrelevant concept. Indeed, the Bible says nothing about how long Adam and Eve were in Eden in what must have been a blissful and (of course) sinless state.

Methuselah, it seems, died in the same year as the flood, but we don’t know if it was of old age beforehand, or if he was caught up in the flood. Either way, he wasn’t singled out like Enoch or Noah for his righteousness.