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Genesis 6:3

Victor M. Eskew


            The Holy Spirit is a major subject of the New Testament.  However, in the Old Testament, this third member of the Godhead is not mentioned nearly as often.  The Bible opens with the Spirit’s involvement in the Creation in Genesis 1:2.  Then, we do not read of the Holy Spirit again until the days of Noah.  In this article, let’s take a look at what is revealed about the Holy Spirit in Genesis 6:3.

            The days of Noah occurred hundreds of years after the Creation (See Gen. 5).  The population had increased greatly upon the face of the earth.  The opening verses of Genesis 6 reveal that spiritually there were two classes of men upon the earth.  One group is referred to as “the sons of God.”  These individuals were righteous.  They followed the ways of God.  The other group is called “the daughters of men.”  The daughters of men were the offspring of men who were wicked and ungodly.  Unfortunately, those who were evil prevailed over those who were righteous.  “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of  God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives of all which they chose” (Gen. 6:1-2).

            Good men were tempted by appearance of evil women.  The Biblical text describes them as being “fair.”  The word “fair” is defined as “good, pleasant, and agreeable.”  These women were attractive.  They had charming personalities.  They had pleasant dispositions.  Even though their hearts were far from God, they appeared to be woman who would make wonderful mates.  Thus, the sons of God “took them wives of all which they chose.”  There have been many Christian men who have chosen a wife based solely upon her looks, her charm, and her personality.  Sadly, they failed to consider the spirituality of the woman.  This one factor can have a profound impact upon the spouse and upon the home.  It is not surprising that Genesis 6:5 contains these words:  “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  Once’s choice of a spouse is of vital importance.  Who a person marries can alter one’s spiritual life either positively or negatively.  Solomon is another example of a godly man whose evil wives took his heart away from God (See I Kings 11:1-8).

            In the midst of the troubling times that were developing on the earth in the age of Noah, God said:  “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh…”  God has never left man to himself.  God has always revealed His will to mankind in some way.  At this time, God spoke directly to the fathers.  Thus, the time period is called “The Age of Patriarchy.”  Noah was one of the fathers to whom God revealed His will.  God words were revealed to the noble patriarch by means of the Spirit of God.  “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:  but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost’ (II Pet. 1:21).  The revelation that Noah received was communicated to the world in which he lived.  How can we be assured of this?  In II Peter 2:5, Peter tells us that Noah was “a preacher of righteousness.”  Noah proclaimed the Word of God to those living in his generation.  Unfortunately, the population of the earth did not give heed to his message.  It was in this manner that God’s Spirit was stiving with men.  The Spirit exhorted men to live one way.  Man, however rejected the message and lived in a manner that opposed God. 

            The word “strive” means “judge, contend, and plead.”  God loves man.  God wants man to be holy.  God wants man to remain in fellowship with him.  God will extend grace and mercy to man for a long time.  He is willing to forgive their transgressions and iniquities.  God will cry out for a long time for man to turn and come back to Him, but God will not strive with man forever.  This is exactly what is revealed in Genesis 6:3.  God said:  “My spirit shall not always strive with man.”  There comes a time when God ceases to plead with sinful man.  Instead of pleading, God punishes.  Instead of correction, God gives consequences.  Instead of words, God brings forth His wrath.  Solomon describes the time when God quits reaching out to man by His Spirit in Proverbs 1:20-27.


                        “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:  she crieth                                                 in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates:  in the city                                                   she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love                                                          simplicity?  And the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate                                                 knowledge?  Turn you at my reproof:  behold, I will pour out my spirit                                                          unto you, I will make known my words unto you.  Because I have called,                                                      and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but                                                      ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof.  I                                                            also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;                                                        when your fear cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish                                                   cometh upon you.”


In the days of Noah, calamity eventually came upon the rebellious world in the form of a global flood.  “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.  Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.  And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man” (Gen. 7:19-21).

            All men today need to learn the lesson that God’s Spirit will not always strive with them.  In the pages of the New Testament, the Spirit of God is crying out to men to repent, convert, and live for God.  As a whole, most chose to rebel against God’s Spirit.  This period of longsuffering will not last forever.  There will come a day when God Spirit will cease to cry out.  When the Spirit’s mouth is shut, the wrath of God will be poured out upon sinful humanity.  All those who have refused to give heed to God’s Spirit

will wish they would have listened, but it will be too late.  Peter describes that day to us in II Peter 3:10.  “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”  In the next two verses of his epistle, he asks his readers a question.  It is the question with which we will end this article.  All need to seriously contemplate the answer to the apostle’s question.  “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of person ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening to the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (II Pet. 3:11-12).