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The World of the Ungodly

22 Mar
Genesis 6

from Google Images

In 2Peter 2:4-9 Peter wrote of three examples of God’s judgment in the book of Genesis, which he likened to the judgment God would bring upon the false teachers and those who trusted in them in the first century AD. In a previous blogpost I discussed the first example, the angels (2Peter 2:4), saying they were not spirit beings, but men. They were messengers, whom God intended to lead the world in the antediluvian period and teach the people about God. Nevertheless, most of them seemed to have rebelled, so God darkened their minds (cf. Romans 1:21), which is the sense of the Greek word tartarus (G5020). This darkening of the mind keeps one from seeing his tragic fate brought on by his sins. The only remedy for this darkness is to repent and come into the council of God—submitting to the Gospel.

Peter’s second example, as it pertains to God’s judgment (2Peter 2:5) concerns the world. The sons of God in Genesis 6:2 point to the false teachers in 2Peter 2:1-3. Notice that the writer of Genesis 6 seems to differentiate between the God (yehovah) who judges (Genesis 6:3, 5-8) and the sons of god (elohiym – gods) who took as many wives as they wished from the daughters of men (Genesis 6:2) and were responsible for the violence implied in Genesis 6:4. Psalm 82 tells us that any human ruler is a god in the technical sense. Therefore, the patriarchs, being men of authority would have been gods, according to Scripture (viz. Psalm 82). If this is the sense of Genesis 6:2 & 4, then the sons of the god(s) would refer to their being the sons of the patriarchs. In Noah’s day, it would mean the sons of Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather and the sons of Lamech, Noah’s father, plus whatever other patriarchs were living at that time and were descended from the line of Cain.

A literal rendering of Genesis 6:1-3 would imply God became angry over men’s polygamous nature and multiplying his descendants. However, polygamy, per se, was not forbidden at this time. This doesn’t mean God was pleased with men who took more than one wife, but it doesn’t seem that this particular sin was enough to bring down God’s wrath upon mankind and destroy them with the Flood. After all, David had more than one wife, as did Abraham, Jacob and many of the kings of Israel, but God never made a point of judging anyone for polygamy. Moreover, since God commanded mankind to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28), marrying and having children could not be something that made God angry. On the face, there is no reason in Genesis 6:1-2 that should have given rise to God’s judgment in Genesis 6:3. Things don’t make sense as the Scripture is translated. Moreover, it is impossible for men to multiply upon the earth without women also multiplying. Saying “daughters were born unto them” doesn’t seem to help us know what made God angry.

The Hebrew word for daughters in Genesis 6:1 is bath (H1323) and is translated into towns and villages in over 30 other verses of the Old Testament. If we said: “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and towns arose unto them, that the sons of god saw the towns of men were good (wealthy) and took of them (the towns) wives, as many as they desired” (Genesis 6:1-2), that seems to make better sense. Likewise, lusting after the wealth of the towns of men and taking as many wives as they wished implies violence. Not only did the women suffer violence but also the towns, because the reason for the sons of god taking the wives was to acquire the wealth of the towns. Such a thing would have increased their power and wealth and that of anyone who may have sent them. Much violence and war is implied in Genesis 6:1-2, and this is borne out in Genesis 6:4. Strong’s concordance defines the word giants (nephilim – H5303) as giant, bully and tyrant. If the offspring of the sons of god were tyrants and mighty men of great fame, it indicates they used their might to oppress others. Genesis 6:5 indicates that the earth was filled with their violence, which bred only more violence and evil behavior from others. God has always judged this sort of behavior.

In conclusion, there is a definite parallel in the behavior of the sons of God of Genesis 6 and the false teachers of 2Peter 2. First of all, there is the wealth of the towns in Genesis 6, which would correspond to the wealth of the churches in the Diaspora that the false teachers wished to acquire (2Peter 2:3). Secondly, the sons of the gods were no doubt sent by the gods or the patriarchs in an effort to acquire wealth and power for themselves. While that wealth and power was shared with those who were sent, the authority was dispensed by the patriarchs, and there seems to have been a plan or strategy executed to accomplish what was desired. The same was true of the false teachers of Peter’s day. The fact that all five Roman provinces seemed to have been engulfed in a common trial at the same time indicates a plan or strategy was executed by a single authority. The only authority that could have done such a thing in the first century AD points to the high priests in Jerusalem. Since every persecution of Messianic believers before Nero’s reign was initiated when one of the sons of Annas was officiating as high priest in Jerusalem, it is reasonable to assume that Annas was behind the persecution that spread throughout Asia Minor.[1] So, this was the condition of the world during the first decades of the Church. Why wouldn’t God judge the world for their behavior against his people, beginning at Jerusalem?

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[1] If Peter’s second epistle was written sometime before the war of 66-70 AD, as I believe it was, it is reasonable to assume Annas’ grandson, Matthias, the son of Theophilus of Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1 was the officiating high priest at Jerusalem.

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2 Comments

Posted by on March 22, 2017 in Epistles of Peter

 

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2 responses to “The World of the Ungodly

  1. librarygeek

    March 25, 2017 at 20:59

    The behavior of the sons of the patriarchs of Genesis 6 sounds somewhat like the behavior of Levi and Simeon when they sought vengeance for Shechem violating Dinah in Gen.34, although their motivation wasn’t greed, the results were the same. It certainly wasn’t something Jacob condoned and their “blessing” years later from Jacob was more of a curse for their violence.

     
    • Eddie

      March 25, 2017 at 21:27

      Greetings Shari, and welcome back, it has been awhile.

      I never thought of that take on Levi’s and Simeon’s behavior. Certainly, their behavior was ruthless. They lied to and betrayed Shechem, and their act dishonored and embarrassed Jacob, but, still, it is difficult to place them in the same category as the “sons of the gods” (of the patriarchs) of Genesis 6. Do you have something to add? Perhaps I’m missing something.

       

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