NB: Questions for group discussion are in italics. There are copious notes for leaders – please decide which if any you will share with your group.
Questions to open up discussion:
“With the right education we could get rid of most of the evil in the world” – what do you think?
We might wonder why the writer of Genesis would choose to include genealogies at regular points in the story from creation through to the call of Abram in Genesis 12:1-3. Chapter 4 includes the first of these, and chapter 5 the second.
What are the unique aspects of the family tree of Cain in ch 4 ? (cities 4:17), music (21), metalworking (22).
Because these are seen as central activities of the line of Cain who “belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother”(1 John 3:12) does this make them evil in themselves? Why? Why not?
What are the unique features of the genealogy of Seth? (4:25 – 32)
Why is verse 2 included? See also verse 3
Note for leaders: this summary is a help: “One effect of reading these genealogies is that we realize we are not reading ﬁction. Whether or not we decide that parts of the Genesis story are strictly literal, we don’t have the option of dismissing the stories as myth. Another thing we realize as we read is that there is a ‘Good news, bad news’ aspect to these lists of individuals and their children. The good news is that babies continue to be born and humanity continues to fulﬁl God’s plan that they be fruitful and multiply, and ﬁll the earth and subdue it.(5:1) The bad news is that the curse of death is always apparent. Even though the life spans recorded in Genesis 5 are incredibly long, the refrain “and then he died” is repeated time and again. Long life doesn’t cure the reality of death. One reason for recording these long life spans may be to invite us to compare these life spans with the genealogies of Genesis 11:10-32. By the time we reach the last member of the family tree—Abram—life spans are coming close to what we would normally expect, and we realize that the curse of God is having its intended effect”. ( GordonCheng: Beginning with God;p28)
And this: We encounter the Sethite genealogy again in Luke’s genealogy of Jesus. Luke is intent to show that he is not only a descendant of David (so Matthew’s genealogy), but that he is a part of all humanity (by virtue of his descent from Adam). As Luke looks back from Jesus, the ten generations (Noah, Lamech, Methuselah, Enoch, Jared, Mahalalel, Kenan, Enosh, Seth, and Adam) are named at the end. From the vantage point of Luke 3, we can see that we are on the way to Jesus, who descends from the godly line of Seth, not the ungodly line of Cain.( Longman III, Tremper. Genesis (The Story of God Bible Commentary) (pp. 105-106). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition).
What evidence of God’s grace is here in chap 4:25 to 5:32? ( Leaders: note 5:29)
How bad have things become in vv 1-8 of chapter 6?
What is the most striking and shocking statement in 6:1-8? Why?
Notes for leaders: The opening verses of Genesis 6 indicate that God had much to be angry about. In Genesis 1, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31), but now he sees a very different picture: “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5). NB Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4 see the “sons of God” here as angels who rebelled against Gods by marrying the “daughters of men” (i.e. humans) and producing children, probably the “Nephilim”. Though we do not know all the details, this is obviously extremely wicked in God’s sight and leads to the flood. (v5 and following) The situation had deteriorated. Mankind was a blot on the landscape, and God was grieved by it. He cared about his world—he loved his world. And when he looked at it and saw it inhabited with evil, his heart was filled with pain (see Gen 6:5-6). God determines to wipe out mankind. This is not done in a fit of rage or pique; it is his slow and deliberate response to the evil he sees. As we might expect from God, he does not confront evil with indifference or half-measures; his response is judgement mixed with salvation.
Do you feel embarrassed about telling your friends about a God who is a judge?
There are numbers of Christians who think of the Covid19 pandemic as the judgement of God. Do you agree? Why? Why not?
What effect do you think a knowledge of the judgement of God might have on our lives?
How might we tell people of Jesus from Genesis 5 and 6:1-8?