Reading Genesis 6 requires self-control, to keep from getting lost in the weeds, distracted from the author’s main intent.
Who are the “sons of God” (v. 2)? The Nephilim (v. 4)? Were they fallen angels? Or just really big humans, that have since died out? Did the Nephilim have kids? These questions can dazzle us with the possibilities . . .
Yet the writer of Genesis often places more mundane “markers” in the text, to point to his main idea. Repetition is one of those markers. Here, one phrase is repeated, at the beginning of the chapter, and at the end: “came in to the daughters of man”, v. 4, and “shall come in to you”, v. 20. The first phrase is of course describing immoral sexual intercourse. But the second is curious: instead of saying, “into the ark”, it’s said the animals shall “come into” Moses. It’s of course not talking about bestiality. So why the phrase that clearly echoes the first part of the chapter?
We can start with what’s obvious. The chapter clearly breaks humanity down into two groups: those who perish, and those who are saved. The first group pursues life by becoming less human, more like animals – through sexual immorality, of an animalistic, indiscriminate sort. Much like online pornography offers the world today. Some things don’t go away with time.
But the animals act less like animals, and more like humans. Because God calls them, and they follow His call, and enter the ark, and experience salvation – to be His means of populating the new world. And the way they are saved is by “coming into” Noah.
We keep reading, and about the Exodus, Paul will say that the nation of Israel, passing through the Red Sea, was “baptized from Pharaoh, into Moses” (1 Cor. 10:1-4).
And again Paul would break the world down into two groups, between those who are “in” Adam, and those who are “in” Christ (Rom. 5:12-21).
Noah is prefiguring a theme that will run the length of Scripture. And his post-flood drunken failure will only emphasize the point: We are born in bondage to our own desires, which only cause us to become less human, more like animals. We need one who is truly “blameless in his generation”, who can deliver us from ourselves. We need God to call us, and draw us, so that we would come “into” His “Noah”.
This is the only way we escape God’s wrath for immorality (Eph. 5:6). And it is the only way we become truly human again – by living “in” the human, Jesus.