July 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
Abel’s death and Cain’s rebellion shattered Adam’s hope if only for a little while. He witnessed the full impact of sin and the intensity of its consequences. And aren’t we the same way? When we hear of atrocities either from next door or from the other side of the world, we lose hope. We wonder, “Is God really there and caring for us? Is He still watching over us?” It is true that sin is in this world and until Christ comes again, there will still be sin in this world. But God does still have followers and there are still people who reflect His love and mercy even in an evil world.
This is the case with Seth and Enoch; both were followers of God in an evil world, and both brought some kind of hope. Seth was the son born to Adam and Eve after Cain and Abel. Eve named this son Seth, “For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” (Genesis 4:25 KJV). Seth means “compensation” or “appointed”, and he brought hope to his parents. Unlike Cain but like Abel, Seth feared God and obeyed Him. Adam and Eve taught Seth directly about God and about their sin. What an awesome experience that must have been to follow God at that time! For almost a millennium, Adam and Eve could impart wisdom of how to live godly and could be a witness, telling seven generations of people of how he walked in the presence of God. The many inhabitants of Earth could go to Eden and see the flaming swords and cherubim guarding the tree of life. At that time, “Skepticism could not deny the existence of Eden while it stood just in sight, its entrance barred by watching angels. The order of creation, the object of the garden, the history of its two trees so closely connected with man’s destiny, were undisputed facts. And the existence and supreme authority of God, the obligation of His law, were truths which men were slow to question while Adam was among them.” When the evidence is right in front of you, it’s hard to dispute its authenticity and existence.
After Seth had his first son Enos, “then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26 KJV). See, with Cain and his family in his land and Adam’s family in their land, there was a clear division line between those who followed God and those who didn’t. They had worshipped God before of course, but now the distinction was clearer. Cain went on to found a city, but his descendants had a different purpose for themselves. Instead of seeking to be in the presence of God, they remained content with the Earth’s material possessions and with their own selfish desires. They were different from those descended from Seth who sought to do God’s will.
But they did not remain separate; “the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” (Genesis 6:2 KJV). When truth mixes with error, only error comes out. Therefore, wickedness increased and humans sought to please themselves instead of God. Now, I’ve always imagined the world at that time as a time of extreme wickedness, a time of glorification of sin, and a time of general ignorance. And this was true to some degree; evil was prevalent, and with humans living and increasing their knowledge for centuries one can only imagine what was going on. But not only was it a time of darkness, it was also a time of light. Man’s intellect and strength at that time is unparalleled. If we marvel today at the discoveries and intelligence and physical prowess of man who live for 70-80 years, imagine how we might wonder at the discoveries from mankind who lived for more than 8 or 9 centuries. Yes they may not have had the plethora of technological and scientific discoveries that we have today, but surely they were close. They developed in stature and mental capacity quickly just as we do. The difference is that they had much more time to improve and build in their knowledge. It was also a good time for the Word of God to be spread. Adam and Eve were able to tell of their time with God and about what they learned from Him. Everyone could see the garden of Eden and could share in our first parents’ sorrow in going against God. There were fewer degrees of separation between Adam and the other inhabitants of the Earth. Their mental capacities also worked for them. I’m sure that they had intelligent conversations and discussions on God’s Word and that they were able to spread their findings across generations. It’s really quite amazing when you think of the spiritual, intellectual, and physical accomplishments of those first people.
As an example of a follower of God, enter Enoch, son of Jared. The Bible doesn’t say much about his life. His biography spans only 4 verses: “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:21-24 KJV). Ellen White adds a bit more to his story and gives some context to his life. Enoch lived for 365 years on a sin-filled Earth, yet he remained faithful to God and desired to be closer to Him. He didn’t become a hermit, he lived and worked all the while doing God’s will. He embodied the command to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2 KJV). He was a vessel for God at that time and he shared God’s Word to the believers and to the skeptics. Shouldn’t we be the same? We live in a sinful world just as Enoch did. And we have the same capacity to reflect who God is in our character and to live as God wants us to live. To be in constant communication with God must have been amazing. To have such a close relationship with Him that God wouldn’t want to break the communication through death must have been the best experience known to man. I know I strive to have that kind of relationship with God. But in order to do so, we need to be in the world but not of the world. Not conforming to the ways of the world helps us to be in and to improve upon a relationship with God.
Through Seth and Enoch, we see hope for the newly sin-filled world. There were many other unnamed people who followed God of course. Though evil is here, there will always be good.