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Genesis 5

From Adam to Noah (5:1–32)

According to the genealogy presented in these verses, there were 1,656 years from Adam to the Flood. Humans during this period lived much longer than they do today. Yet because of mankind’s evil, God determined to shorten the human life span to a hundred and twenty years (Genesis 6:3). Following the Flood, man’s life span began to decrease even further (Genesis 11:10–25).

The words then he died conclude the description of all but one of the men listed here, thus highlighting the fulfillment of God’s judgment on mankind following Adam’s sin. The one exception is Enoch: he didn’t die.27 God merely took him away (verse 24). Why? Because, according to verse 24, Enoch walked with God. To “walk with God ”means to have faith in God, to depend on Him, and to seek to do what is right. Because Enoch did this, he escaped the judgment of death and found eternal life with God (Hebrews 11:5). Thus, in the seventh generation after Adam, Enoch became an example of hope for mankind: life can be found by walking with God.28

Noah also was a righteous man . . . and he walked with God (Genesis 6:9). He too escaped death during the Flood. However, later in life his behavior must have displeased God in some way (Genesis 9:20–22), because the story of Noah ends with the words: and then he died (Genesis 9:29). If we want to find life, we must not only start well, we must also finish well.

32 See Genesis 9:18–19 and comment.

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