Culture Begins

Culture Expands Apart From God

Adam and Eve lived 930 years and had many children who began to multiply upon the earth (Gen. 5:3-5).

“Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.” (Gen. 4:16-17)

Cain married within his own family! People in the early years of history obviously had to do this. Evidently, before the flood the genetic structure of man was still pure. Cain’s family grew and spread out on the earth.

Many willing students of the Bible have crashed and burned within the minefields of the Bible’s genealogical names. The names are too long to pronounce and impossible to understand. But remember that names in the Bible have meaning. Names reveal the character of the person named. If we can determine the meaning of some of the names mentioned, we can begin to piece together the picture of the early development of culture.

The word “Nod” means “wanderer.” Cain became a fugitive in the world.  He settled in the land of wandering.  Man moved away from God and began to walk in darkness. This is a picture of the spiritual state of man apart from God. Man could no longer make a living as a farmer, but he had to survive somehow.  So he began what is now known as “commerce!” Man decided that “stuff” had value.  Then man began to trade his stuff for other stuff.  “Things” took on value!

The cycle of culture began with the Hebrew name “Enoch,” which means dedication.  The name reveals that man is now dedicated to a life without God.  Cain had gone out from the presence of the Lord. Here was Cain’s new son and here was a new beginning without God.  Cain built a city and named it after his son. But there is something else going on here. Notice how John and Jude viewed Cain’s life.

“Not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.” (1 Jn. 3:12)

“Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” (Jude 11)

The sin-cursed world became Satan’s domain (Job. 6:1-6: Job. 2:3; 2 Cor. 4:4).  He evidently began, through Cain, to erect an enormous world of culture designed to appeal to man’s flesh. Man, apart from God, would seek by power and materialism to find peace and fulfillment (1 Jn 3:12).

“Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.” (Gen. 4:17)

“Enoch” means beginning or initiation. Man now begins his life without God.

“Now to Enoch was born Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael became the father of Methushael, and Methushael became the father of Lamech” (Gen. 4:18).

“Irad” means townsman or sophistication. His name could indicate that culture began to prosper. The name, “Mehujael” means smitten of God.  God breaks into history, destroying nations and governments and causing national disasters to let man know that He is still in control.

“Methushael” means seeking or becoming inquisitive.

“Lamech” becomes a picture of the human race without God.  Because of the power of the Adamic nature, man’s kingdom will always go to the strongest. The human race is now taking charge and creating a culture to their liking. Man is becoming the captain of his own destiny and charts his own course without the restraints of God.

Lamech exhibited that he was now in control of his life by taking two wives. God’s written will is for man to have one wife.

“Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah.” (Gen. 4:19)

“Adah” is the Hebrew word for trinket, or that which catches the eye.  The human race begins to place inordinate emphasis upon the outward human appearance. Man draws attention to himself.  Attractiveness comes to the forefront.

“Zillah” means seductive or erotic. One would have to be extremely insensitive not to see this being played out upon our cultural stage today.

“Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock” (Gen. 4:20).

“Jabal” may have been the first cattle baron. Livestock would remind one of commercial transactions.  It does not mean the family cow or the family sheep. Commercialism is not wrong, but it can become a substitute for a relationship with God. Materialism obviously becomes a substitute for a relationship with God.  “Follow the money to find the corruption” may have started right here.

“His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.” (Gen. 4:21)

Jubal is the original father of music. Is there anything wrong with music?  No!  It can and should shed light upon God.  The psalms are hymns that glorify God.  But here, music and the arts become a substitute for a relationship with God. Music reveals the thinking of a generation. If you want to characterize a generation of people, listen to their music.  Not only can we follow the money trail to find out what direction man is going, we can also follow the music.

“As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.” (Gen. 4:22)

“Tubal-cain” may carry the idea of “metal.”  This may have marked the beginning of metal weapons.  These weapons would bring man to the edge of extermination. Culture has given the Adamic sin nature a tremendous vehicle through which to express itself.  Because of the Adamic nature, the human race left alone without God’s restraints would exterminate itself. This is why God will ultimately change the language so that the race will spread out.

“Naamah” may be translated from “Naem,” – “delightful, or pleasurable.”  She could reveal that pleasure is now becoming a substitute for a relationship with God.  We live in a world of “Naamah” today. “Naamah,” is approaching the height of the Cainite civilization.

Now we come to pinnacle of that civilization.

“Lamech said to his wives, ‘Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me.’” (Gen. 4:23)

This is a poem that characterizes the essence of man apart from God. A man that is in defiance of God is also in defiance of man. Ego is in complete control. “Look at me, I killed a man for wounding me. I killed a boy for merely hitting me. I am extremely powerful and power is the stuff of life.  If you touch me I’ll kill you.”

Man has now created a culture to his liking. This is culture without God! Man’s ego and power is in control.

“If Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” (Gen. 3:24)

Lamech realized that God was the avenger for Cain.  He felt that if anyone attacked him, he would be avenged seventy times seven. In other words, he felt that he was more powerful than any God!  Man is now a fugitive from the justice of God. Power, materialism, arts, music, pleasure – all became a substitute for a relationship with God. Cain’s line reveals all of this!

God’s Preserves a People

Alongside of the Cainite civilization was a people of God. God, throughout history has always kept a people for Himself (Rom. 11:4-6).

“Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, ‘God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.’” (Gen. 4:25)

Here is a glimpse into God’s extended grace!  “Seth” means appointed one.  God appointed this son to take Abel’s place. This is the beginning of God’s spiritual line that will continue through the line of Shem and to Israel and to Christ, the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15).

“To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.” (Gen. 4:26)

“Enosh” may mean “weak, helpless, and frail.” This is a line that began to call upon God. Enosh makes known that there is no power within man. Here is a stark contrast to Lamech!  If man has nothing within himself to bring peace, he must then turn to God. Out of a sense of extreme weakness comes the desire for grace.

“Religion” says that there is some good within man and that basic good can be built upon. But the Bible says that man is born spiritually dead. There is nothing in man that is pleasing to God, not one thing.

Reformation is not the answer, religion is not the answer, humanism is not the answer, entertainment is not the answer, and education is not the answer. Man has no power within himself to reproduce what he lost in the garden.

“Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.  Enosh lived ninety years, and became the father of Kenan.” (Gen. 5:7-9)

“Kenan” means deplorable.  The works of man are deplorable in God’s sight.

“Then Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after he became the father of Kenan, So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died. Kenan lived seventy years, and became the father of Mahalalel” (Gen. 5:10-12).

“Mahalalel” means praise of God.  Here is the height of a generation with a heart for God.

“Then Kenan lived eight hundred and forty years after he became the father of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters.  So all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died. Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared.” (Gen. 5:13-15)

“Jared” means descent. No matter how dark any generation may become spiritually, God will always have a remnant, a line of grace. God will never be without a seed.

“Then Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died. Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch.” (Gen. 5:16-18)

This “Enoch,” like the one in Cain’s genealogical line, means a beginning. But here, because of the context, it means to begin with God. Enoch began with God!

“Then Jared lived eight hundred years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died. Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters.” (Gen. 5:19-22)

The passage is clear! Enoch’s walk with God is an expression that reveals fellowship. This fellowship came as a result of a relationship. The same word is found in Genesis 17:1, “Walk before me,” which implies direction and guidance. Hosea 11:10 used the word in this context, “Walk after me.”  Walking after is to live by example and obedience.  Walk does not focus on the variable but on the constant.  It means to live life a certain way.

“So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.  Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” (Gen. 5:23-24)

What a tremendous picture of the translation (Rapture) of the church (1 Thess. 4:16-18).   God took Enoch! Enoch was translated into the heavens.  Jude had something to add about Enoch’s life.

“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 14)

Cain had walked out of the presence of the Lord. On the other hand, Enoch walked into the presence of God.

“By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Heb. 11:5)

“Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech.” (Gen. 5:25)

“Methuselah” means something like “it will be sent.” What will be sent? The flood will be sent.  Methuselah must have been the picture of grace before judgment.

“Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters.” (Gen. 5:26)

“So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.” (Gen. 5:27)

Methuselah is the oldest man (recorded) in the Bible.  This is a biblical reason for the old saying, “Old as Methuselah.”

“Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. Now he called his name Noah, saying, ‘This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the LORD has cursed.’ Then Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters.  So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died. Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Gen. 5:28-32).

Throughout the ages, Satan has attempted to thwart the plan of God.  He attacked the line of man in order to prevent the “Seed of the woman” from coming into the world.  He knew from Genesis 3:15 that God was going to send “One” who would destroy him forever. Satan was relentless in dedicating himself to keeping this seed from coming.

  1. Cain killed Abel (Gen. 4:8; Jn 8:44).
  2. Abraham’s line was attacked in Egypt and Sarah ended up in Pharaoh’s harem (Gen. 12:15).
  3. Pharaoh attempted to destroy all the male children. Moses was hidden (Ex. 1:22).
  4. The children of Israel faced a roadblock at the Red Sea (Ex. 14:19-26).
  5. David’s line was attacked (I Chron. 18:1).
  6. Jehosophat’s son arranged a marriage between Jehoram and Athaliah, Jezebel’s daughter. She attempted to kill all of the sons, but they saved little Joash.  He was hidden. He was the only male in the line of David (2 Chron. 22:11).
  7. Haman attempted to annihilate Esther and all Jews (Esther 7:7).
  8. Herod attempted to annihilate all male children at Christ’s birth (Matt. 2:16).

Could Satan so corrupt the human race so as to prevent the seed of man from coming into the world?  (See “Noah Found Grace.”)

New American Standard Bible

Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew Definitions

Robert B. Thieme, Jr.

Chafer’s Systematic Theology

MacAuthur’s Study Bible

New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance