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 SALVATION

     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.

Mankind Has Been Divided By Accepting or Rejecting Godís Provision of Salvation

     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 world.

     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 6:11.
  • 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 the earth.

     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


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