BIG Volume 2, Issue 3: Adam’s Genealogy

BIG (Bible Insights and Gems) In Genesis

We are talking about Adam’s genealogy in this issue. If you read the last issue, my main goal was to get you interested in biblical genealogies because most people skip them when doing devotional reading.

I can understand why. Unless you have time to dig into them and study them up close and personal, there’s not much “devotional” material in them. Hopefully, after reading the last issue and this one you will be more interested when they come up.

I’m not saying all the genealogies of the Bible are intensely interesting. In fact, I have a hard time with the ones in Chronicles. Sometimes they are just a list meant for Israel at that time to keep records and are included by the author.

Let’s dive in to Adam’s genealogy through Seth. Last time we saw Cain’s genealogy. There’s a marked difference between Cain’s genealogy and Adam’s genealogy through Seth. In this family, you will see the amount of time they lived on the earth.

Reviewing Adam’s Life

Genesis 5:1-5: This is the book of the generations of Adam when God created man in God’s likeness He made him. Male and female He created them, and blessed them and called their name “Man” on the day He created them. Now when Adam was 130 years old, he fathered a son in his likeness after his image and he called his name Seth. And Adam’s days after he became Seth’s father where 800 years, and he fathered sons and daughters. And all Adam’s days were 930 years, and he died.

You will see a familiar phrase at each of the major sections of Genesis from here on out. They all start out “book of the generations.” Many commentaries use this as a table of contents to divide Genesis.

We saw with Cain’s genealogy that we can this was increasing through his family. We don’t know how many sons and daughters each generation of the seven generations they had. Some scholars estimate there to be millions of people on the earth before the flood.

If the people in Cain’s family lived as long as the ones in Seth’s family, I could see that as an accurate estimate. If the parents lived for hundreds of years, even if they had a child every year, that is hundreds of people. Then remember that all their sons and daughters are also having children for hundreds of years. That millions number is possible by the flood.

Genesis 5 starts out with a quick recap of what had happened in Genesis 1-2. There are words connecting directly to the accounts of creation. I will point them out as we go. First, the book opens by summarizing Adam’s life by referencing that God created man in His likeness. It almost sounds like poetic parallel lines:

God created man;
In God’s likeness He made him. (Compare Genesis 1:26)
Male and female He created them (Compare Genesis 1:27)
And blessed them and called their name “Man” (Compare Genesis 1:28)

The first line is general while the second line is more specific. The word “create” is used in Genesis 1:1. The word “made” in line two is used in Genesis 2:2-43 times. The word “man” here refers to Adam but his name and the word for man are almost identical. The only way I have translated a difference is when the definite article is in front of adam in Hebrew.

“Likeness” in Genesis 5:1 is used in Genesis 1:26 when God speaks to the divine council and says He will make man in His image and likeness. The same word is used a few verses later when Adam fathers Seth “in his likeness.” The word for “image” is used as well.

It sticks out to me because while God created Adam in His likeness, Seth is born in Adam’s likeness. I don’t think this has anything to do with the image of God. The word in “image of God” is a different word. Likenesses about looking like a person in appearance whereas “image” is like having the same abilities or powers.

When we talk about humanity bearing the image of God, we are talking about the abilities God gave human beings on the earth. The main contextual clue about the image of God is that as God rules His creation, humans rule the earth by subjecting it under themselves and having dominion over it.

The Hebrew poetry on the second line is to expand the first line with more detail. Line 3 has words directly linking to Genesis 1:27. The last line of Genesis 1:27 says almost the same thing. Line 4 references Genesis 1:28 and the blessing of God upon the couple. The reference to “calling them man” is a reference to naming them humanity rather than calling them man in a masculine sense.

After the recap and direct reference to Genesis 1:26-28, the genealogy begins to record each generation of Adam. We will see ten families represented in Adam’s genealogy. We’ll also see a number of similar names between Cain’s genealogy and Seth’s genealogy.

The Jewish Study Bible lists the similarity in names between the two genealogies: Cain/Kenan, Enoch/Enoch, Irad/Jared, Mehujael/Mehalalel, Methusael/Methuselah, Lamech/Lamech.1 Now for the fun as we look at Adam’s life.

Do you notice what Scripture says and doesn’t say about Adam’s age? According to Genesis 4, Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. Adam’s genealogy begins with his age of 130 years. It does not give us the age Adam was when Cain or Abel were born. It begins Adam’s car knowledge he was Seth.

The theological reason for this is probably that Seth’s genealogical line is the only one that will continue past the Flood. Another reason is that Abel is dead, so there was no genealogical line through him. Cain’s genealogy has already been given at the end of Genesis 4. Seth is the one who will create the godly line of Adam.

This leaves me with a couple of questions. First, how long were adamant leave in the garden of Eden? Since the first number of years is given with Seth’s birth, Adam and Eve could have been living in the garden of Eden for many years, perhaps even thousands, before Cain and Abel were born. We have no timeline for their births.

Since we don’t know when they were born, and the first record of them shows up in Genesis 4 right after Adam and Eve are kicked out of the garden of Eden, we have no way of knowing at what time in Adam’s life this event occurred.

We can leave plenty of room for a long time in the garden before they sinned against God. I don’t think it’s enough time to agree with “scientists” that claim billions of years, but it is something to consider in that argument.

Second, when did Adam and Eve have Cain and Abel? Logically if you consider Genesis 4 to chronologically follow after Genesis 3, Cain, the firstborn, had to have been born within that 130 year span. Adam’s and Cain’s ages are even harder to pin down because Cain’s genealogy doesn’t have any record of years.

Until the birth of Seth there is no way to know how much time has passed between creation, Adam and Eve getting kicked out of the garden, and the births of Cain and Abel. We also don’t know how much time passed between Cain’s birth and Abel’s birth. There’s a huge time gap until we get to Seth’s birth.

I will wait until I get to heaven to find all this interesting information out. The genealogy further tells us Adam lived a total of 930 years. That is an extraordinary amount of time! His lifespan after getting kicked out of the garden of Eden is almost a century.

Just imagine how many children Adam and Eve had in that amount of time. As I mentioned before, if they had one child per year between Cain’s birth and his death, not counting for twins or multiple children per birth, we are talking about at least 803 children! How in the world did they keep everyone’s names straight?

Don’t forget that the genealogies rarely mention women. We don’t how many daughters Adam and Eve had. We don’t know how many sons and daughters they had, and each of those sons and daughters were having massively larger age limits then we have today. There is no way to calculate with any accuracy how many humans would be on the earth when the flood came.

The questions I have are not important to the Bible. The Bible includes the essential data we need to believe in God. It does not answer all our questions. I’m going to be very busy in heaven when I get there. They’re so much more to learn that interests me. What kinds of questions do you have that must be reserved for answers in heaven? Leave a comment and let me know what your questions are.

From Seth to Mahalalel in Adam’s Genealogy (Genesis 5:6-17)

Seth’s Life. Genesis 5:6 Now Seth lived 105 years and he fathered Enosh. And after he became Enosh’s father Seth lived 807 years and fathered sons and daughters. And all Seth’s days were 912 years, and he died.

Seth’s name means “appointed, compensation, substitute, to replace.” Eve named him so because he was the replacement for Abel. He has his first son (we cannot be sure if there were daughters born before the first son) at 105 years old. His is the second generation in Adam’s genealogy.

I have to wonder if it was wisdom that they waited so long to have children or if it was that long until Seth got married. Scripture does not answer these questions. I ask them out of curiosity. Seth does not live as long as his father. This means Adam witnessed Cain’s and Seth’s deaths.

Enosh’s Life: Genesis 5:9 Now Enosh lived 90 years and he fathered Kenan. And after he became Kenan‘s father Enosh lived 815 years and fathered sons and daughters. And all Enosh’s days were 905 years and he died.

Enosh (“man in his frailty,, feeble, mortal”) is next in Adam’s genealogy. His is the third generation. Perhaps Seth named him so because he realized the shortness of Abel’s life. The times between the first song’s birth keep getting shorter.

Enosh only takes 90 years until his firstborn son. His son, Kenan (“acquired, begotten, possession”) is close to Cain’s name, and is the same name as Canaan. It’s a lackluster name that simply means he was begotten. I suppose after Enosh’s name of feeble, the fact he had a son may be his victory.

Enosh lives a total of 905 years. The number of years is slightly varying between Adam and these first couple of generations. But everyone is living over 900 years. That’s a pretty good track record.

Kenan’s Life: Genesis 5:12 Now Kenan lived 75 years and he fathered Mahalalel. And after he became Mahalalel’s father Kenan lived 840 years and fathered sons and daughters. And all Kenan’s days were 910 years and he died.

Kenan represents the fourth generation in Adam’s genealogy. He beats his father by 15 years in having his first son,Mahalalel (“praise of God, God is splendor”). Even by today’s standards, 75 years old is late in life to start a family. His name resembles Cain’s name.

Kenan still gets beyond the 900-year-old mark at 910 years. I hope you are continuing to notice the same reference that each of these people “fathered sons and daughters.” That means the Earth’s population must have been expanding quickly. I’m no mathematician, but if everyone is having children at any younger ages, the population is now well within the thousands or more.

Mahalalel’s Life: Genesis 5:15 Now Mahalalel lived 65 years and he fathered Jared. And after he became Jared’s father Mahalalel lived 830 years and fathered sons and daughters. And all Mahalalel’s days were 895 years and he died.

Next in Adam’s genealogy is Mahalalel as the fifth generation. He beats Kenan by 10 years to have his first son. Jared (“descent, descending, go down”). His name is related to Irad in Cain’s genealogy.

Mahalalel is the first to dip below the 900 year mark. But only by five years. He fathered sons and daughters after Jared, so the earth’s population continues to grow. Seth’s genealogy is the time that “people began to call on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26).

You might have noticed that some of these names are lackluster, but other names seem to be prophetic. We are fast approaching the Flood. Jared’s name means “to descend or go down.” It is not about the morality of Seth’s family line, but about to go down to the wire of God’s judgment for the wickedness on the earth. We will read about that in Genesis 6 and the next issue.

Three Incredible Generations in Adam’s Genealogy (Genesis 5:18-27)

Jared’s Life: Genesis 5:18-20 Now Jared lived 162 years and he fathered Enoch. 19 And after Jared became Enoch’s father he lived 800 years and fathered sons and daughters. And all Jared’s days were 962 years and he died.

Jared begins the sixth generation in Adam’s genealogy. His is the first of three generations marked by prophecy and extreme godliness. Jared waits a longer time than the last three generations, 162 years, before he fathered Enoch.

You may not recognize too many names in Adam’s genealogy, but almost everyone knows about Enoch. We will get to him next. Jared has sons and daughters after Enoch and lives the longest so far, 962 years.

I believe this is because of his godly lifestyle and the prophetic nature of these three generations. He waits longer than any previous generation to have a son. He lives 32 years longer than Adam. But he will not live the longest of any person who ever lived. He names his son well As we will talk about next. He is a testament to prophecy and teaching. You will see why.

Enoch’s Life: Genesis 5:21-24 Now Enoch lived 65 years and he fathered Methuselah. And Enoch walked with God. After becoming Methuselah’s father he lived 365 years and fathered sons and daughters. And all Enoch’s days were 365 years.  And Enoch walked with God, and then he was not, because God took him.

Enoch is the father of the seventh generation in Adam’s genealogy. His name means “initiated, teacher, dedicated, consecrated, experienced.” He waits only 65 years before he fathers a son, Methuselah. I’m sure you have heard that name before also.

You may not have heard about the prophetic nature of these families. Enoch lives the shortest life of anyone in Adam’s genealogy. He only lives 365 years on this earth. But he doesn’t die. He lives such a holy and connected life to God that God takes him before he dies.

He is a true teacher, dedicated and consecrated to God. His experience must’ve been richer than any of us will ever know. He becomes an invaluable teacher to his first son. I’m sure Jared taught Enoch all about God’s ways. I would venture that his short life was because Jared also taught him how to connect with God and dwell with him.

Some scholars have mentioned that the Bible says “Enoch walked with God” that may be a reference the whole way back to Adam and Eve walking with God in the garden of Eden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). His walk was so close with God that God decided He would enjoy Enoch in heaven more than the world deserved him. Let that be said of us.

What was it like for Adam and Enoch to walk with God? It must have been an incredible life. Enoch walked so closely with God that God took him. People talk about Christians who are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. But if we live a life like Enoch, we will be so heavenly minded that we are of incredible worth to this world.

We will be concerned with every person not going to heaven. We will be the witness in their ear until they turn to God or just get sick of hearing from us. We put people’s best ahead of friendships. What good is a friendship that cannot help a person enter eternity on the right side of God?

The extreme difference in these few verses dedicated to Enoch and his life in Adam’s genealogy is that it does not end with “and he died.” Instead, the genealogy gives us this summation of his total lifespan on earth (365 years).

We get the most scintillating words that “then he was not, for God took him.” The genealogical record repeats twice that Enoch walked with God but the second time is the reason he disappears from the books of history.

For most of us humans that is not enough information. We want to know more – a lot more. We’re not the only ones. There is one book that bears his name in the Pseudepigrapha. Scholars believe this book was partially written by Enoch, carried into the ark by Noah, and preserved in history.

I contend that not all the book was written by Enoch. Perhaps the beginning of the book was. I cautioned that while the books of the Pseudepigrapha can be useful to us in helping us to understand some things that happened in biblical history, they are not Scripture. They are not inspired by the Holy Spirit. We need to keep that in mind when we read them.

If scholars are right that Enoch wrote at least the beginning of the book that bears his name, a book quoted by Peter and Jude, we can gather more understanding of what happens in Genesis 6. I will be looking at this book more closely as we talk about that passage.

What we need to realize in Adams genealogy is that Enoch is an incredibly important person. God taking him just like that piques our interest and we want to know more. This short entry does not give us all we want to know, as we have already found. Enoch is one of two people in the Old Testament sure did not die a physical death on earth.

It’s possible that Enoch is one of the two witnesses that come back during the Great Tribulation to be witnesses of God to the people living in those perilous times (Revelation 11:1-14). Those two witnesses are murdered by the wicked people of that time. For now, we must understand that Enoch is with God in heaven as a human being with his body. As you guessed, he is on my list of people to talk to.

Methuselah’s Life: Genesis 5:25-27 Now Methuselah lived 187 years and he fathered selective on the head Lamech. And after Methuselah became Lamech’s father he lived 782 years and fathered sons and daughters. And all Methuselah’s days were 969 years and he died.

The eighth generation in Adam’s genealogy has Methuselah as its head. Methuselah’s name is very prophetic, meaning “when he is dead it shall be sent.” The reference of what it will be is the Flood. Jared prophetically named his son as the last person in the genealogy who will be alive before the Flood.

When Methuselah dies God brings the Flood to the earth. His judgment will be swift and final. We will get there soon. Methuselah lived the longest of any human ever living – 969 years. He waits the longest for the birth of his first son, 187 years.

He fathers Lamech (“powerful, destroyer, one who overthrows, a strong young man, reduced”). Methuselah lives 782 years and fathered sons and daughters. We can just imagine how many children Methuselah fathered. But at the end of 969 years, Methuselah will die, and the Flood begins.

How can we account for his living so long? I challenge you to think about the holy life his father Enoch lived. If Jared taught Enoch about how to walk with God, Enoch shortly passed this on not just as information or head knowledge but as a practice. Many are the blessings and benefits God gives to godly people.

The Beginning of the End of Adam’s Genealogy (Genesis 5:28-32)

Lamech’s Hope: Genesis 5:28-31 Now Lamech lived 182 years and he fathered a son. And he called his name Noah for he said, “This one will give us comfort from our work and from the toil of our hands from the earth which the Lord cursed.” And after Lamech became Noah’s father he lived 595 years and he fathered sons and daughters. And all Lamech’s days were 777 years and he died.

Lamech heads the ninth generation of Adam’s genealogy and has the shortest lifespan. Which interpretation of his name should we accept? It is hard to know because the genealogy expands on him as the father of Noah. It focuses more on Noah than Lamech. I think the best we can do for his name is “reduced” because he has the shortest lifespan.

Lamech also takes a long time to father his first son at 182 years, just five years earlier than his father. He is also prophetic in naming his son Noah, which means “rest, comfort, comforter.” You can see it in the quote. He looks forward to the day when Noah will bring comfort from toiling in the soil.

Noah will be a shipbuilder. He will see the end of the “old world” of extreme wickedness. Lamech knew the prophecy of his grandfather Enoch who prophetically named Methuselah “when he dies it will come.” No matter how long people will live up to the Flood, only Noah and his family will survive the Flood and begin anew in a renewed creation.

The Pregnant Pause: Genesis 5:32 Now Noah was 500 years old and Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Noah will see the end of the old world and the beginning of the new one. His place in Adam’s genealogy produces a “pregnant pause.” The genealogy abruptly ends with Noah as the last generation before the Flood.

He takes the longest before he has three sons. Imagine waiting 500 years to have children. Adam’s genealogy mentions Noah had 500 years before he had his sons is important. It helps us to know how long Noah would wait for the Flood and some significant takeaways for us when we talk about the Flood

let us look at the names of Noah’s sons. Shem’s name means “celebrated, distinguished, renowned name.” Ham means “, hot, wax hot, to inflame.” This is an interesting name for the second son, as we will see in the new world. Lastly, Japheth’s name means “correct him be enlarged, he who persuades.” We will look more closely at these names when we come to the new world at the end of the Flood.

Adam’s genealogy gives us no more information about these ten generations fortunately for us, a narrative ensues after this genealogy and tells us all about Noah and the perilous, wicked times he faced. He is the next person on our journey through the beginning of Genesis.

Putting It All Together

Someone asked me about Adam’s genealogy and what it looked like before the Flood. I’m a visual person, or at least I like to see data placed a different way so I can understand what things look like. In a post on Methuselah and the Flood, I took the time to crunch some numbers.

I wanted to know who died when and how many generation each person saw before he died. I was also interested in seeing how many people in the genealogy lived up to the Flood. Here’s my best estimation with the numbers we are given of the ages and Adam’s genealogy.

To understand my table and figures, I list the name of each person in the genealogy as it comes up. Then I record the age the person was when he fathered his first son. I give the lifespan of the individual in the fourth column.

The third column is my best guess based on Noah being 600 years old when the flood begins. I do not know how accurate I am on the rest of the information. I tried to mark the generation that each of the people would have died before the Flood.

After looking at my table today, I am not sure the rest of the table is accurate. I will someday, perhaps during this series, refigure these numbers to see if I can make them more accurate. Until then, enjoy what I figured out so far.

Table of Adam’s Genealogy in Genesis

NameFatheredBorn pre-floodLifespanDifferenceDiedYears pre-flood
Adam13016569300 726
Seth105152691218 614
Lamech182782777192 5
Noah500600   0
 The FloodNoah: 600-601 
Noah350 950   
Shem, Ham, Japheth    Flood – 100, 101 

I give this table here so that you can see some interesting facts based on Adams genealogy. If the table is too complicated or mixes up what we have learned about Adam’s genealogy, that would be my fault. I hope you can see something that interests you in Adam’s genealogy from this table. Perhaps it answers questions I have not as I’ve covered Genesis 5.

The Saga Continues…

We are finished with Adam’s genealogy, but one of the most enigmatic and complicated passages in Genesis is next. That’s right. We’re talking about the fallen angels, the Nephilim, and all the consequences of wicked chaos. It’s coming up in the next issue.


  1. Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler, and Michael Fishbane, eds., The Jewish Study Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 20.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.