Descent of Man
F. B. Meyer was one of Christianityís greatest
devotional writers. He wrote concerning the descent of man:
"Man was placed in the world like a king in a
palace stored with all to please him, monarch and sovereign of all
the lower orders of creation. The sun to labor for him like a very
Hercules; the moon to light his nights, or lead the waters around
the earth in tides, cleansing its shores; elements of nature to be
his slaves and messengers; flowers to scent his pathway; fruit to
please his taste; birds to sing for him; beasts to toil for him and
carry him; and man himself, amid all this luxury, Godís
representative, his vice-regent. This is man as God made him.
We see him now as sin has made him. His crown is
rolled in the dust and tarnished. His sovereignty is strongly
disputed by the lower orders of creation. The earth supplies him
with food only after arduous toil. The beasts serve him only after
they have been laboriously tamed and trained, while vast numbers
roam the forests, setting him at defiance. So degraded has man
become through sin, that he has bowed before the objects that he was
to command, and has prostrated his royal form at shrines dedicated
to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things."
God Provided For Manís
Even as God was pronouncing a curse on Satan,
Eve, Adam and the earth, He gave promise of the coming Redeemer. To
Satan, who had possessed the serpent, God said, "And I will put
enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her
Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." Genesis 3:15. This promise spoke of a virgin
born son descended from Adam and Eve Who would defeat Satan on
behalf of fallen mankind at great cost to Himself. To us it has been
revealed that the "seed of the woman" is Jesus Christ and He
paid the redemption price by receiving the punishment for mankindís
sin as their Substitute.
Although Adam and Eve did not understand all that
was included in Godís promise they believed God. They received the
animalís skins from God as proper clothing to replace the leaves of
their efforts. Those skins intimated that being restored to
fellowship with God required the death of an innocent substitute by
the shedding of blood.
Has Been Divided By Accepting or Rejecting Godís Provision of
Cain, the oldest son of Adam and Eve is an
example of those who reject Godís provision of salvation. Abel, the
second son, is an example of those who accept God'í plan.
Cain Believed In Natural Religion
The New Testament book of Jude gives us helpful
insight into Cainís religion. As Jude talks about the behavior of
religious humanists he writes, "But these speak evil of
whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like
brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of CainÖ"
Jude 10, 11a, In commenting on these verses the Scofield
Reference Bible comments, "Cain (cf. Genesis 4:1), type of
the religious natural man, who believes in a God, and in Ďreligioní,
but after his own will, and who rejects redemption by bloodÖ"
"Cain brought an offering of the
fruit of the ground to the LORD." That was the natural thing to do. His
father, Adam, had cultivated the earth and grew crops. Cain had
followed in his footsteps. Cain may have thought that his offering
reflected the blessing of God upon his efforts or perhaps "This
shows what I have been able to accomplish in spite of Godís curse on
the earth." It matters not for we read, "But He (the LORD)
did not respect Cain and his offering." Genesis 4:5a.
Cain felt that if he presented to God a nice
offering from what he had produced by his own efforts that this
should make him acceptable to God. Cain had no sense of sin and need
of forgiveness and no sense of a need of the promised Redeemer Who
would pay the redemption price to redeem him from the curse of sin.
And so, Cain, who believed he was good enough for God by his own
efforts, became a man who was angry with God; murdered his brother;
fell under Godís curse and was forever separated from God. The first
child who ever entered the human family by natural birth surely
broke the heart of his parents. He also revealed the power of the
sin nature passed on to all descendants of Adam and Eve.
Abel Believed In Salvation By Redemption
"Abel also brought of the
firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD had
respect for Abel and his offering." Genesis 4:4. It was not
until after Jesus came that God revealed the extent of Abelís faith,
knowledge, righteousness and ministry.
Jesus spoke of Abel as "righteous" and the first
of the prophets whose blood would be required of the generation that
rejected and crucified Him. Matthew 23:35 and Luke 11:50, 51. As a
prophet Abel received revelation from God.
We are informed in Godís honor roll of Old
Testament heroes of the faith that "By faith Abel offered to God
a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the
witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his giftsÖ"
Hebrews 11:4. We must remember that "ÖFaith comes from hearing
and hearing by the word of (or concerning) Christ."
Romans 10:17. From his parents Abel heard of how the coming Christ
would bruise the head of Satan. From his parents Abel also learned
that all efforts by sinful man to provide a covering that would make
them acceptable in the eyes of God was futile. Only a covering
provided by the sacrifice of an innocent substitute could give a
standing of righteousness in the eyes of an all holy God. An d so,
Abel offered to God a lamb. We believe that lamb was his expression
of faith in the coming "Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the
world!" John 1:29.
Cain and Abel still stand as examples of those
who practice a bloodless religion of good works and those who place
faith in Christ Who died for the sins of the world.
Civilization Before The Worldwide Flood.
After Abelís death God gave Adam another son by
the name of Seth. From the lines of Cain and Seth came the two lines
that made up civilization before the flood. The line of Cain
rejected being restored to God and the line of Seth "began to call
upon the name of the Lord." Genesis 4:26. Genesis 4 is the record of
the line of Cain and Genesis 5 is the record of the line of Seth.
The Line of Cain
"Where did Cain get his wife?" has been an often
asked question. The fact is that there was no shortage in population
growth. God had commanded Adam and Eve "Be fruitful and multiply
and fill the earthÖ" Genesis 1:26. In their restored
relationship with God we can assume they fulfilled this command.
Adam lived to be 930 years old which was a common age at that time.
Man still possessed very pure genes and bloodstream. There was a
very pure environment and near perfect atmosphere. Men could marry a
sister or niece without fear of damage to the genes of their
descendants. "AdamÖhad other sons and daughters." Genesis
5:4. Cain married a sister.
We are given a glimpse of the civilization that
developed under Cain:
- Urban life by man "Cain. . .built a city." 4:17
- Nomadic life by others "JabalÖwas the father of those who
dwell in tents and have livestock." 4:20
- Musical instruments for song "Jubal...was the father of all
those who play the lyre and pipe." 4:21
- Metallurgy industry to produce instruments of brass and iron "Tubal-cain,
the forger of all implements of bronze and ironÖ" 4:22
- Polygamy. "And Lamech took to himself two wives." 4:19
- A proud and arrogant attitude in life and song. See Lamechís
poem in 4:23, 24.
The Line of Seth
With the murder of Abel by Cain, Seth became the
father of the line that would bring the promised Christ into the
There is a tremendous contrast in the record of
Sethís descendants from that of Cainís. Instead of accomplishments
that satisfied manís physical desires accompanied by violence and
boasting we read of:
- Men "Calling upon the name of the Lord" 4:26
- Enoch "walking with the Lord" 5:24 Jude would record
that Enoch prophesied of Christís second coming Ė Jude 14, 15.
- Lamech prophesying that his son, Noah would bring rest (or
comfort) from the curse. 5:28
We must remember that the descendants of Seth
had the same fallen, sinful nature as the descendants of Cain.
However, a significant number of them looked to God for salvation
and divine enablement to live a life pleasing to God.
These different cultures existed separately in
the pre-flood civilization for hundreds of years.
The Breakdown of the Pre-Flood Civilization
Dr. Henry Morris, the renowned scientist and
staunch proponent of a young earth gave the following insight:
"The first age of human history was brought to
its climax and culmination in the days of Noah. The sin-disease
which began so innocuously when Eve was tempted to doubt the Word of
God, which began to show the true ugliness of itís character in the
life of Cain and then came to maturity in the godless civilization
developed by his descendants, finally descended into such a terrible
morass of wickedness and corruption that only a global bath of water
from the windows of Heaven could purge and cleanse the fevered
earth. The characteristics of those awful and tragic days, strange
as they may seem to out enlightened culture, are nevertheless to be
repeated in the last days of the present age."
(Dr. Henry Morris, "Science, Scripture and
Salvation" Pg 54, Baptist Publications)
The reasons the pre-flood civilization was
destroyed is given to us in Genesis 6.
- Marriage between believers and unbelievers ". . .The sons
of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took
wives for themselves, of all whom they chose." Genesis 6:2 The
descendants of Seth abandoned the principle of marrying in the
will of God and sought wives based solely one erotic desire.
- The human race was permeated with wickedness. "Then the
Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and
that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil
continually." Genesis 6:5
- The earth was filled with corruption and violence. Geneses
- The godly line that would bring Christ into the world was in
danger of being annihilated. "Then the Lord said to Noah,
ĎCome into the ark, you and all your household; because I have
seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation." Genesis 7:1.
And so, the scripture record tells how man was
created innocent, sinless, and in the image of God. In that
condition man walked with God and possessed authority to rule over
all Godís creation. Yet, in disobedience to God, man experienced
spiritual death and received a nature inclined toward sin. With that
nature left uncontrolled by the individual or society man became so
wicked that God had no choice but to destroy man from the face of
At this same time God provided the ark for manís
salvation. The door remained open for seven days after the family of
Noah entered. No one else possessed faith to believe Godís word. God
shut the door and the flood came.
We recall that Jesus prophesied, "And as
it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of
the Son of Man" Luke 17:26. Those who know scripture and are
alert to the times testify that if we are not there we are close. As
believers we should ask ourselves, "Am I adopting the ways of
unbelievers as believers did in the days of Noah, or am I holding
true to the ways of God? Am I being the witness I need to be to a
world that is rushing to Godís judgment?
Unbelievers should ask themselves, "Do I really
want to face the wrath of God or do I want to come to terms with God
through the salvation He has made available to me in Jesus Christ.
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from the NKJV unless otherwise noted
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.