Genesis 6: God Must Cleanse the World

The wickedness of man culminates in the union of the sons of God with the daughters of men. Only Noah represents hope in the face of God's wrath.

Reader Thoughts and Questions

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Chapter Notes

  • This chapter gives the great wickedness of the world and how it provoked the wrath of God resulting in the flood.

  • But it also gives to us the testimony of Noah and his faithful obedience to God.


  • We are introduced to a notable controversy in this chapter. Who are the sons of God? a) the godly line of Seth (joining with the ungodly line) b) Or angels with bodies entering a relationship with human women?

  • I used to be strong on with the first view because God’s controversy in Genesis 6 appears to be with man, not angels. However, there is credibility to the second view. The term “sons of God” in other passages (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Daniel 3:25) seem to refer to angelic/angelic-like beings. Also, in 2 Peter 2 and Jude, both address the dangers of corrupt influences and how God delivers His people from them. Both give two examples; angels and Noah, as well as Sodom and Lot. One argument against that in Christ’s teaching in Mark 12 concerning resurrected humanity being as the angels in heaven which do not marry. But that refers to the angels in heaven, not the angels which Jude says “kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation.” This grievous perversion is further reason for the destruction of the world. 

  • The other issue surrounds whether the giants of v. 4 result from the relations between angels and men. The answer to that is no. Read it like this: There were giants in the earth in those days (and also after the time when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men), and they bare children, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

  • Moses is recording that these giants/nephilim, i.e. heroic figures of the past, existed before and after the corrupted union between angels and men. Moses is saying that the legends come from the giants, not the offspring of angelic/human relations. 

  • The result of the wickedness of the world is that God must cleanse the earth, but in His mercy, preserves Noah (v. 8). This is crucial for the plan of redemption.

  • Not only does God preserve Noah, He informs him (v. 13).

  • Not only does God preserve and inform Noah, He gives the plan of salvation (v. 14ff), and establishes His covenant (v. 18), and Noah faithfully obeys (v. 22). It is fascinating to note that the word for “pitch” (v. 14) is also translated atonement. The idea is that God brings us into union with Himself by providing a covering for our sin.

  • The ark had no mast, sails, or rudder. This typifies the fact that God’s way of salvation should have no involvement from us or outside forces. God alone saves, without the instrumentality of anything or anyone else. In addition, there was just one door, because there is only one way of salvation.


  1. Whether you take this passage to reveal the relations between angels and women, or the mix of Cain’s line with Seth’s line, the warning expresses God’s hatred against unequal yokes. Young people, learn it well, marry in the Lord if you desire to serve God fruitfully and with His blessing. What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness?

  2. Few other passages of Scripture highlight God’s hatred for sin as much as this one. God hates sin, and will destroy the world the cleanse His creation from it. Perhaps the only historical event that shows God’s hatred for sin more is the cross, when God’s hatred is such that He cannot circumvent judgment, even though it is being judged on Christ.

  3. Just as Noah stood faithful, so he points to Christ, the only truly faithful man that has ever lived. Learn it well; your acceptance before God is not established by your own righteousness. You need the imputation of Christ’s righteousness received by faith alone.

  4. The plans of the ark remind us of the plan of salvation. Men may have sought to establish another means of survival, but only God’s plan worked in the face of divine judgment. If you ignore Christ and the cross, no matter what your plan is, it will fail you. 

  5. The covenant could only be established by God with Noah because it was founded upon the covenant made between the Father and the Son. Had not the Son of God been willing to condescend and live according to all that was commanded of Him (v. 22), there would be no grounds for God to make provision for Noah and his posterity.

Armen Thomassian