The Seed of Promise

In this section of Genesis the author identifies and traces the lineage of those people who will eventually deliver the Seed of Promise to mankind.
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The information in Genesis is given to us at different levels. Like a camera taking pictures from different vantage points:

  1. Close-up - An intimate look at the situation that features dialogue, thoughts and feelings experienced by the individuals.
  2. Social - A wide view of society at large as it begins to disintegrate due to the sin of Adam, Eve and then Cain.
  3. Seed of promise - A long view of God's work in preparing the world for the coming of Christ, like a thread or storyline that the book comes back to over again.
  4. War of the seeds - An ongoing view of the continual battle between the seed of Satan (those who opposed God, unbelievers) and the seed of the woman (those who were part of the line that would ultimately bring Jesus to earth).

In our last lesson we went from a close up of Cain and his punishment, to a wide view of the result of his wickedness in society. Now we begin with a final close up view of Adam and Eve, and then a long view of the seed of promise.

The Seed of Promise – 4:25-26

The story now changes its focus from the description of the seed of Satan to the natural development of society.

The emphasis is not on human boasting and accomplishment (how man is coping in the world with God). Man can and has done great things without faith in God. God permits and even provides for these, which is a demonstration of His love and patience.

The Scriptures now describe another kind of man, one who calls upon the name of the Lord. This will be the beginning of the development of the "seed of woman," "seed of promise." The view will shift from society at large and focus on the line of people through whom God will fulfill His promise.

The world is going on and discoveries are being made, kings and nations will rise and fall (all documented by archaeologists and historians), and the Bible will mention these but mostly it will follow the story of the development of the "seed of woman" and the eventual coming of Christ.

25Adam 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."

The word Seth means "appointed" or "substituted" and this indicates what Adam and Eve believed this son represented in their lives. A replacement for Abel, another person through whom the promise would be fulfilled.

Note that this time Eve names the child and not Adam.

26To 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.

The Bible does not say what Seth did, who his wife was, etc., only that he had a son (one of many) but one particular son during whose life an important change was to take place.

Enosh means "mortal frailty". This could suggest that during his time he began to recognize the fragility of life and the certainly of death.

  • The story of the Garden
  • The diminished abilities
  • The death of Abel
  • The growing hostility in society.

It is during his time that men begin to call upon the Lord. They are aware of a spiritual need, and the absence of God among them drives men to begin to offer worship and prayers to God.

This is a close-up view of Adam and Eve as they continue faithfully following after the Lord. Their faith is rewarded with a child who not only replaced Abel but one who would help them maintain their hope of salvation.

The Generations of Adam

I said Genesis could be divided in various ways:

  1. Overview division
    • Creation – 1-11
    • Chosen people – 12-50
  2. Generational division

9 Generations of people who actually wrote the book. This is a much more natural division.

  • Generations of heaven and earth – 1:1-2:4
  • Generation of Adam – 2:4-5:1
  • Generation of Noah – 5:1-6:9
  • Generations of the sons of Noah – 6:9-10:1
  • Generations of the sons of Shem – 10:1-11:10

Note that the story turns to follow the line of the seed and ignores the other two genealogies (Ham and Japheth):

  • Generations of Terah – 11:10-11:27
  • Generations of Isaac – 11:27-25:29
  • Generations of Jacob – 25:29-37:2
  • Generations of the sons of Jacob – 37:2-Exodus 1:1

In Genesis 5:1 we see the end of the writings provided by Adam concerning his times and the development of the seed of woman.

1aThis is the book of the generations of Adam.

Note that the verse says, "…the book…" suggesting that there were not just oral traditions but that Adam wrote his information and left it for his sons. They were recording God's dealings with them from the very beginning and preserving them for future generations.

It is a summary of Adam's life from his beginning and as the verse says, the book describing the "generations" or origins of Adam.

1bIn the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. 2He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.

This passage begins the section prepared by another writer (Noah). He summarizes the life of Adam from his creation in the Garden.

This provides a direct "link" between what has happened in the past and what the present writer will be recording.

3When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. 4Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. 5So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.

After summarizing his life and establishing the link between what has been written and the present story, the writer pronounces Adam's obituary statement.

Having Seth at 130 years does not mean they had no other children before this. It simply means that the one through whom the "promise" would come (because that is what the Bible is tracking) was born when Adam was 130 years of age.

Adam dies at 930 years of age.

6Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh. 7Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. 8So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.
9Enosh lived ninety years, and became the father of Kenan. 10Then Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after he became the father of Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters. 11So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died.
12Kenan lived seventy years, and became the father of Mahalalel. 13Then Kenan lived eight hundred and forty years after he became the father of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. 14So all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.
15Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared. 16Then Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. 17So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.
18Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch. 19Then Jared lived eight hundred years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. 20So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.
21Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. 22Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. 23So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
25Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech. 26Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. 27So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.
28Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. 29Now 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." 30Then Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. 31So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died.
32Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Here Noah lists the nine other antediluvian (or before the flood) patriarchs through whom the seed of woman would come. There are ten of these in all.

Seth"Appointed one"1301042
Enosh"Mortal frailty"2351140
Mahalaleel"God be praised"3951290
Methuselah"When he dies, judgement"6871656

Some interesting information about these men:

  1. These are the patriarchs that carried the seed of woman, not the only people that existed.
  2. Adam lived until the time of Lamech who was Noah's father. Only one generation separated Noah from Adam. The story and information still fresh.
  3. Enoch – Jude 14-15 actually quotes some of the prophecies made by this patriarch who prophesied of not only the judgment against the world that was coming in Noah's time but also of the second coming of Christ. These are the oldest of such prophecies, before the flood.

He "walked with God" in that he was a faithful one during a wicked time (Lamech was 7th generation and so was Enoch). He was taken to heaven without seeing death. Hebrews 11:5 gives more details.

The antediluvian prophet not only warned the present generation of judgment but encouraged those who believed before the flood of two things:

  1. The promise would be fulfilled.
  2. The nature of the promise was freedom from death since he did not die.

He was a "type" that previewed the eternal nature of the promise before the flood. Elijah was this "type" during the Old Testament (II Kings 2:11) for he did not see death either. Christ is the "anti-type" or fulfillment in the New Testament.

Before the flood
Did not see death
After the flood
Did not see death
New Testament Fulfillment
Raised from the dead

3. Examples of God's power over death.

4. Vs. 25-27 – Methuselah - His name implies that God will act at the end of his life. He dies in the year of the flood, as his name suggests.

5. Vs. 28-32 – Lamech and Noah - Lamech was a prophet because he spoke concerning the future in regards to his son. Of all the children he bore, only Noah survived. Through Noah the promised seed would come. Noah does not only have three sons but again these three are mentioned because only these would come aboard the ark, through these three the world would be repopulated and through one (Shem) the seed of woman would continue.

Now we have established with a broad stroke the millennium between Adam and Noah while tracing the seed of woman through each of the 10 patriarchs from Adam to Noah.


We often read through or skip the genealogy sections thinking of them as boring and irrelevant but there are a couple of important lessons to draw from these.

1. God is patient

In six days He makes the world and all it contains, but He waits a thousand years to allow man to go to the end of his rope. He waits patiently to see who will respond to Him before judging.

When we are impatient with ourselves because we have not reached a certain point or totally overcome a certain sin in six days or six weeks or even six years, we need to take comfort in the fact that God is patient with us, "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." – II Peter 3:9

God does not want any to be lost. He wants us to repent, not to accomplish perfection (which is not possible). There is a difference.

2. God's plan will win

Despite the sinfulness and schemes of Satan and his seed, the seed of woman survived. God's plan is that those who are the seed of woman (Christians) will have the experience of Enoch, Elijah and Christ, to overcome death.

God accomplished it then and this is an encouragement to us that He can and will accomplish it now.

It was not any easier, in fact more difficult, to believe then than it is now. Those who believed and lived righteously then (the 10 Patriarchs) received the promise. Those who believe and live righteously now (the disciples of Jesus) will also receive the promise.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the relationship between God's promise in Genesis 3:15 and the birth of Seth in Genesis 4:25-26?
  2. What is meant by the statement in Genesis 4:26, "Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord"?
  3. Why would Genesis record in detail the lineage from Adam forward?
  4. What is meant by the description of Enoch of, "He walked with God"? What is the implication for us?
  5. What is the meaning of "type" as used to describe Enoch and Elijah?
  6. What was the major result of Noah's salvation from the flood?
  7. How can you use this lesson to grow spiritually and help others come into a relationship with Jesus?
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