This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. (Genesis 5:1)
The first reference in the Bible to writing is found in Genesis. The start of this book sets out what for some is scientific poetry; for others is poetic science. This article is not the place to debate the literal qualities, imagery and intent of Genesis. It is enough to be reminded that Genesis sets out the origins of the world and shows us that God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) always was, always is and always will be. It sets out that we are created in love and are created to love.
In Genesis, God has called us to remember our origins – both in the big picture of the beginning of life and also in the story of us: the human race. God is timeless, but we are bound by time, and so God wants to impress on us that this is important to Him and that it matters to us – we should not forget.
The whole of Genesis 5 connects that origin with our development. In linking the time of Adam with the time of Noah, it provides genealogical details: this is not just a narrative of history. It is our history; these are our ancestors. The fifth chapter of Genesis notes some interesting details – if they had not been written down, would they have been overlooked? As it is, are they set out so that we can aspire to them or so that we can simply note what it was like for humanity at that time? Human beings lived a long time and had many children. Surely the march of humanity was inexorable? But sin was among them, and they died as a result of that human sin. There is such a vital warning in there that we must see it; must respond; must return to God. And that warning is not just doom and gloom without the glory of being lifted from that fate. For it tells of what happened to Enoch – he walked with God, lived long and was taken away by God before his actual physical death (fun trivia time: because Enoch is not recorded as having died it means he, rather than Methuselah, can claim to be the oldest mortal human who ever lived. Methuselah was 969 years when he died. Enoch, having lived 365 years, did not die but was taken straight to heaven to live eternally in God’s presence and in His temple.)
Genesis 5, having set out the bridge from Adam to Noah, thus provides a record of not just what happened but who happened. And it prepares the story for God’s response to the sins committed by humanity.
And the point here is that it is important. It is important to know where we have come from, because without that we may not know where we are headed. And we can know for sure that we come from God, created by God. We can know for sure that we are important to God; loved by God. We can know for sure that we need God; His love, mercy and forgiveness. And as we read on, we can know for sure that we are redeemed by God; paid for in Jesus. Do you accept Jesus, depend on the Holy Spirit, and – like Enoch – walk with God? It’s all about Jesus … but it’s all about Jesus precisely because from the very beginning, God has loved us so much. Write that on your heart.
[from Timothy Pitt]