The Age of the Conscience
Title: THE AGE OF THE CONSCIENCE – Lesson 3
Text: Gen. 3 - 8
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your (the Serpent) seed and her (Eve) seed (Christ); He (Christ) shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him (Christ) on the heel.” Gen. 3:15
This promise gave mankind the hope of a personal redeemer who would battle with Satan and overcome him. It also implies that there will be a continual enmity between the opposing seeds in the world...the offspring of Satan against the offspring of the deliverer. Ever since the Garden we have been in continual conflict. As history proved itself, the serpent bruised the heal of his opponent, Christ, by the crucifixion. But the other half of the prophesy is yet to be fulfilled when Christ will bruise the head of the serpent, that is, destroy his usurped “headship”, or authority in the world, and overthrow his kingdom. A reference to the offspring of the serpent is referred to later in the New Testament when Christ was in a heated debate with the Pharisees when He said to them, “You are of your father, the devil.” In other words, they were of the seed of the serpent.
It didn’t take long for these opposing forces to appear in human history. Cain and Abel, the first sons born to Adam and Eve are representatives of the opposing seeds. Abel was righteous, while Cain was of the wicked one. The Bible is full of their enmity. The Cain-spirit never ends until “the seed of the woman” returns to set up His kingdom on earth, and His adversary, “that wicked one”, is cast into the lake of fire.
As the Bible records it, Cain and Abel brought their respective offerings to the Lord. Cain offered the fruit of the ground, while Abel brought of the animals of his flock. Cain’s offering of the earth was no more than an acknowledgment offered to the Creator. But Abel brought an offering of atonement, made in faith. Heb. 11:4; 12:22-24 These passages indicate the faith Abel had in the promise of a redeemer. There is no doubt that Adam had told them the story of the fall, and its tragic consequences, and of the sacrificial covering that God had provided for them in their guilt. But Cain, with an indifferent heart, came up with his own offering, with the fruit of the field, the products of a cursed earth, and without faith. “The way of Cain” displeased God and He had no respect for his offering, but Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable unto the Lord. This evidence of God’s favor fanned the fires of enmity in Cain’s heart, and he arose and slew his righteous brother. 1 Jn. 3:12 Thus Adam and Eve were doomed to reap the first-fruits of the fall, to see their first son a murderer, and their second son the murdered victim of enmity that started with their fall.
God gave Adam and Eve another son, and renewed the righteous seed in Seth. In the birth of Seth, Abel had a like-minded successor who walked by faith and pleased the heart of God. From here the Bible speaks little as the opposing seeds begin to populate the world. For several generations there was a group that followed the ways of Cain and went out from the presence of the Lord, and the seed of Seth, in whom “men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” Gen. 4:26
The corruption which had become so great in the line of Cain, by its influence, spread over the whole earth. The wickedness of man was almost inconceivable; every wicked imagination of the heart was practiced. Deeds of violence everywhere, life no longer held sacred, until God, decided that the way He had been dealing with man was insufficient for the magnitude of the corruption, so He resolved to destroy the world by a flood. Gen. 6:1-12
It’s interesting to note that the Bible records longer lifespans of man prior to the flood than afterwards. Adam lived 930 years, Seth lived 912 years, Enos lived 905 years, Cainan lived 910 years, Mahalaleel lived 895 years, Jared lived 962 years, Enoch lived 365 years before he was translated, Methuselah lived 969 years, Lamech lived 777 years, and Noah lived 950 years.
After the flood the lifespan of man decreases rapidly. Noah lived 950 years, Shem lived 600 years, Arphaxad lived 438 years, Salah lived 433 years, Eber lived 464 years, Peleg lived 239 years, Reu lived 239 years, Serug lived 230 years, Nahor lived 148 years, Terah lived 205 years, Abram lived 175 years, Isaac lived 180 years, Jacob lived 147 years, Joseph lived 110 years, and Moses lived 120 years.
Among the universal wickedness, one faithful man was found uncontaminated by the corruption of the world. To this righteous man, Noah, God announced His purpose to destroy the world. Gen. 6:8-10; 7:1 God commanded him to build an ark for the preservation of his family, and through him the righteous seed. During the building of the ark Noah called men to repentance, but in vain. When all was ready, Noah with his wife, his three sons and their wives, the animals for the perpetuation of the species, and for sacrifice, all were gathered into the ark, and the door was shut by the hand of God. The flood waters then swept the earth destroying all the wickedness, while the eight souls of the seed of Noah were saved within the ark. Thus the age of conscience ended in judgment.
The Apostle Peter draws a parallel with the story of Noah and the destruction of evil with what occurs with Christian baptism. 1 Pet. 3:18-22
1. What would it be like to build the ark in Noah’s day?
2. Would you call the ridicule Noah must have gone through during the building of the ark, a test of faith? What did Noah do as the ridicule came his way?
3. How do you think the animals were gathered together?
4. What would you do when the rains came and those who once ridiculed were now repenting and banging on the door as the floods rose?
5. How do you think Noah kept his family righteous among a sea of corruption that surrounded him?