This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;…
A single chapter contains ten biographies. Such is God's estimate of man, and man's importance! How unlike man's estimate of himself! How unlike are the biographies contained in this chapter to those volumes of biography over which are spread the story of a single life! Is not this man worship, hero worship? And was it not to prevent this that God has hid from us the details of primitive history — everything that would magnify man and man's doings? Just as He has taken pains to prevent the grosser idolatries of sun worship and star worship by exhibiting these orbs in the first chapter as His own handiwork, so in this fifth chapter He has sought to anticipate and prevent the more refined idolatry, not only of past ages, when man openly and grossly deified man, but of these last days, when man is worshipping man in the most subtle of all ways, and multiplying the stories of man's wisdom, or prowess, or goodness, so as to hide God from our eyes, and give to man an independent position and importance, from which God has been so careful to exclude him. We might say, too, that this chapter is God's protest against that special development of hero worship which is to be exhibited in the last Antichrist, when God shall be set aside and man be set up as all. The importance attached to these recorded names is just this, that they belong to the line of the woman's seed. It was this that made them worthy of memory. The chain to which some precious jewel is attached is chiefly noticeable because of the gem that it suspends. The steps which led up to the temple were mainly important because of the temple to which they led. So it was the connection of these ten worthies of the world's first age with the great Coming One that gave them their importance. Standing where we now do, far down the ages, and looking back on the men of early days, we are like one tracing some great river back to its distant source amid the lonely hills. The varied beauties of its banks, however great, yet derive their chief attraction and interest from the mighty city reared upon its margin, at some turn of its far downward course, and from the mighty ones which that city has given birth to. It is Bethlehem that gives all its interest to the river whose beginnings this chapter traces; or rather, it is He who was there born of a woman — Jesus the son of Abraham, the son of Adam. Save in their bearing upon Him, how unmeaning do these names appear!
(H. Bonar, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;