This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;…
1. Now, here is a lesson in human experience which one would think would silence forever the advocates of the theory of human perfectibility. The race of antediluvians were blessed with all possible capacities and facilities for indefinite improvement in knowledge and happiness. They were not called to die when they had just began to live, nor to quit their investigations forever when they had just learned how to study. Men's minds might have been formed and disciplined in the revolution of nine hundred years under an accumulation of influences and circumstances in the highest degree powerful and favourable. A ladder was let down to them from heaven; but instead of rising thither, they employed every endowment of being, and every capability of life, for growth in unkindness, and corrupted themselves to such a height before God, that their sufferance on earth was no longer possible. So much for human perfectibility.
2. Only one event is recorded alike of them all, no matter what may have been their situation in life — whether princes of the earth or beggars in rags. Their life is reduced down to the bald, unvaried epitaph — "He died"! The only thing of absolute value is that which connects us with God. Crowns are playthings; dukedoms and dominions of no more importance than the grains of sand that go to make up an ant-hill.
3. The consideration of the great age of the antediluvians, and its effect upon their state on earth, might lead to some faint conception of what an apostle calls the "power of an endless life."
(1) The power of such a life for the increase of holiness.
(2) In the progressive accumulation of depravity.
4. We are all naturally as wicked as the race of mankind destroyed by the deluge. And doubtless it will be less tolerable for us than the antediluvians in the Day of Judgment.
5. The mere duration of years does not constitute a long life, but the fulfilment of life's purposes.
6. There was a time in the life of every ungodly antediluvian in which his wickedness had reached such a point, his long habits of sin had gained such strength, that all hope of his salvation departed. At such a moment, though long before the close of his mortal career, it might have been said with awful emphasis — "He died"!
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;