The Flood narrative is another section that is widely disputed by many. And, again, it is foundational to an understanding of the Bible. It needs to be kept in mind that every biblical author who referred to anything to do with the creation or flood accounts, as well as Jesus Himself, referred to them as historically accurate events as told in Scripture. Chapter 6 starts with some very controversial material: the sons of God saw the daughters of men, and that they were beautiful, and married them. There is a widespread belief that this refers to fallen angels marrying and having sexual union with human women. Biologically, I have a hard time with this. Where did the other half of the DNA come from for the fertilized egg? Only humans are human! Does it mean demonically possessed men marrying women? I doubt that, too. If we look at the rest of the Bible we will see that one of the designations of 'sons of God' is believers. For instance, in John 1:12 we are told that all who believe in Jesus are given the right to become sons of God -- and that this is a matter of God's decision, not man's. In other words, a man cannot declare himself a 'son of God' -- only God can change a man so that he becomes that. In Hosea 1:10 we see another reference to people being called "sons of the Living God," in reference to the Israelites in the future. In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:9, Jesus says the peacemakers will be called sons of God. And a little further on, in verse 45, Jesus says "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." In Romans 8:14, Paul says that all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God, and five verses later, we see that creation itself waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. There are more references, but I think this gives us a biblical idea of what Genesis 6 might be referring to: those who followed and obeyed God were called sons of God. One of the other major themes in the Bible is purity of faith. The Israelites were not to mix with the other people in the Promised Land lest they be led away from the faith. They did and they were. In the New Testament Paul gives a strict warning about light not pairing up with darkness. If this theme, along with the biblical references to sons of God, is kept in mind when one reads the opening of Genesis 6, then there is a very good chance that the meaning is no different than what happened with the Israelites later: those who followed God saw the daughters of 'pagan' families, and that they were beautiful, and married them, and downhill the civilization went! This meaning is also given support by the mention later that of all the people alive, only Noah was found to be righteous in his generation. Verse three of this chapter gives the Lord's limit on how long His Spirit will strive with men. This can be taken one or both of two ways. 120 years is the limit the Lord gives. It was about 120 years from the Flood at that point, and we have also noticed in our time that 120 years is just about the top limit on how long even the oldest man or woman can live. Then we get to the Nephilim, or the giants. They were simultaneous with the intermarriages of the sons of God and the daughters of men and NOT the result of those unions. A simple reading of the text a bit carefully will make that very clear. The Nephilim were said to be heroes of old, men of renown. The Hebrew word itself means 'fallen ones.' Thus, they were those heros who made themselves great among men, but not where God was concerned. If we cross-reference these people with Numbers 13:31-33 we find out they were people of great size and strength as well. This genetic trait obviously came down through the Flood, possibly through one of Noah's sons' wives. And we know that people are always impressed with great physical size and strength, and that these people can become heros in warfare or in hunting, perhaps, simply because of these physical attributes. Man looks on the outside, and God looks on the inside. And guess who the final Judge is??? And then, when the evil on earth is overwhelming, the King James says God 'repented' of men and the NIV says God was grieved that He had made man, and neither word gives the full meaning of what the Hebrew is saying. The word is "naham" or "nacham". It is a primary root meaning "to sigh". The word encompasses meanings involving pity, comforting oneself, being sorry for, woing compassion, feeling grieved, relenting -- all these things are tied up in this word. So it is not as though something unexpected happened that surprised God. He know what was going to happen. He knew the world was going to become intolerably evil. He knew what He would do. \ And so He looked at men with pity, with grief, with compassion, and He consoled Himself with the knowledge of what would be. All of this can be included in that one word! If the Tablet Hypothesis of Genesis is correct, then Noah is the author of this part of Genesis (from 5:1b on to a little past this part), and he would have known how God felt, because God told him. And so Noah records that God declares He will wipe the face of the earth clean of man and land moving animals and birds of the air. I try to thik how this made Noah feel. I am sure there were cousins and nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles that he loved dearly, evil as they had become. And so he ends his account here with "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. This is the account of Noah." If the Tablet Hypothesis is correct, the next part of the narrative is taken up by Noah's sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The first thing they say in their part of the narrative was that their father was a righteous man, blameless, and that he walked with God. The last time we heard this about someone, it was about Noah's great-grandfather, Enoch, who was taken up by the Lord long before Noah was born. And just as Enoch was miraculously taken by the Lord, Noah and his family would be miraculously preserved by the Lord. Verse 11 says the earth was corrupt in God's sight and full of violence. I heard a sermon once where the pastor mentioned that these two things go together -- political, economic, and sexual corruption all lead to violence in the end. And so God gives Noah directions for building one giant boat. Noah is already five hundred years old! Of course, at that time, I guess that was in his prime, as he could easily look forward to several hundred more to go! But God's instructions are quite specific as to type of wood and measurement. A word about the type of wood. The Bible says 'gopher' wood, which the NIV incorrectly, I believe, translates as cypress wood. The word "gopher" may be based on a misunderstanding which led to that spelling. "Gopher" wood may have been a type of laminated or ply wood. The following is from some research my husband did several years ago: And remember the end of Genesis 4? Tubal-Cain was a skilled metal-worker. Working with metals was known then. So Noah was given specific directions, and God told him that not only would he have to build the Ark, but that he would have to collect food to keep two of all earth-moving creatures (those living, or with 'nephesh', the breath of life) alive and healthy for them and for his own family. Chapter 6 ends with "Noah did everything just as God commanded him." What an incredible thing to say about a man!