Genesis 6 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Genesis 6 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,

2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

(6:2, 4) "The sons of God came in unto the daughters of men."
How many sons does God have?
Do angels have sex?
Who were the sons of God?
The phrase “sons of God” means here those of the seed of Sem who followed God. But even they left their former ways. So they were not angels, and angels do not have a body, and can therefore not have sex.
The author of the SAB claims that “There seems to be no good answer to [who the sons of God were].” Which is utter nonsense. If he had just consulted a single commentary, he would have found it. Let me just quote John Gill, which I use most often in my rebuttal as it is already hundreds of years old, freely available, and considered to be among the most eminent commentaries:

those "sons of God" were not angels either good or bad, as many have thought, since they are incorporeal beings, and cannot be affected with fleshly lusts, or marry and be given in marriage, or generate and be generated; ...; but rather this is to be understood of the posterity of Seth, who from the times of Enos, when then began to be called by the name of the Lord, chapter 4:25 had the title of the sons of God, in distinction from the children of men; these claimed the privilege of divine adoption, and professed to be born of God, and partakers of his grace, and pretended to worship him according to his will, so far as revealed to them, and to fear and serve and glorify him.

3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

(6:3) "The LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh."
God shortened the human lifespan to 120 years because humans are "flesh" and he was tired of fighting with them.
(6:3) "His days shall be an hundred and twenty years."
How long is the human life span?
BOM: 2 Nephi 26:11
The author of the SAB misunderstood this verse. It's not about shortening life spans, that was probably the result of the genetic bottleneck humans went through after The Flood and when longevity genes were lost. The 120 years here refer to the total time remaining before The Flood.
On how long the human life span is, see Psalm 90:10.

4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

(6:4) "There were giants in the earth in those days."
What the Bible says about giants.
In this verse giants could refer to stature, but more probably it refers to their great wickedness, cruelty and tyrannic oppression.

5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

(6:5) "Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
God decides to kill all living things because the human imagination is evil. Later (8:21), after he kills everything, he promises never to do it again because the human imagination is evil. Go figure.
As the whole earth was filled with man's evil, God destroyed it to show what sin deserved, to show his might and his righteous punishment that will come upon evil. It was a singular warning for those who came after. But also, as man's heart was evil, God showed his mercy in not destroying it a second time. God's mercy and righteous punishment are not opposing attributes, both glorify him, and both will be seen so very clearly on the Last Day, the Day of Judgement.

6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

(6:7) "It repented the Lord that he had made man."
Does God repent?
The phrase “God repented” is used in the Bible when God changes his actions. The meaning of it is explained very well by John Calvin:

The repentance which is here ascribed to God does not properly belong to him, but has reference to our understanding of him. For since we cannot comprehend him as he is, it is necessary that, for our sakes he should, in a certain sense, transform himself. That repentance cannot take place in God, easily appears from this single considerations that nothing happens which is by him unexpected or unforeseen. The same reasoning, and remark, applies to what follows, that God was affected with grief. Certainly God is not sorrowful or sad; but remains forever like himself in his celestial and happy repose: yet, because it could not otherwise be known how great is God's hatred and detestation of sin, therefore the Spirit accommodates himself to our capacity. Wherefore, there is no need for us to involve ourselves in thorny and difficult questions, when it is obvious to what end these words of repentance and grief are applied; namely, to teach us, that from the time when man was so greatly corrupted, God would not reckon him among his creatures; as if he would say, 'This is not my workmanship; this is not that man who was formed in my image, and whom I had adorned with such excellent gifts: I do not deign now to acknowledge this degenerate and defiled creature as mine.' Similar to this is what he says, in the second place, concerning grief; that God was so offended by the atrocious wickedness of men, as if they had wounded his heart with mortal grief: There is here, therefore, an unexpressed antithesis between that upright nature which had been created by God, and that corruption which sprung from sin. Meanwhile, unless we wish to provoke God, and to put him to grief, let us learn to abhor and to flee from sin.

7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

(6:7, 17) "I will destroy ... both man and beast."
God is the judge of all mankind. And his judgements are righteous.

8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

(6:9) "Noah was a just man and perfect."
He didn't seem so just and perfect when he was drunk and naked in front of his sons (9:20-21).
Has there ever been a just person?
Why did the author of the SAB display a thumbs up (Titus 3:1) for “speak evil of no man,” but here he wastes no time to slander Noah?
First of all, Noah wasn't drunk in front of his sons. He was in his own tent, and undressed and went to sleep. Secondly, it's unknown if he knew of the effects of wine in this manner or not.
On the meaning of perfect, see Matthew 1:19.

10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

(6:11-13) "Behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
God was angry because "the earth was filled with violence." So he killed every living thing to make the world less violent.
So every judge who orders punishment for someone found guilty is now committing violence?

12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

(6:14-15) "The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits."
Noah's ark is 450 feet long. [more]  
(6:16) "A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it."
God tells Noah to make one small window (18 inches square) for ventilation.
The author of the SAB makes various claims about the Ark:
  1. It's length was indeed 450 feet (about 135 metres).
  2. The ark was too big to be seaworthy. That is false. See the stress analysis results.
  3. Their are many accounts of ships, build from wood, that were at least this big, carrying 3,000 people for example.
  4. The author of the SAB has found some weird info on the creationwiki site. Something about a 5:3 ratio. That information is no longer there, but this creationwiki site contains an incredible amount of faith in hoaxes, and should be avoided by anyone interested in the truth, so it could well have been there.
    On the dimensions, it may be interesting to note that the dimensions of the ark are optimal for its purpose, see section Ark Shape. Due to its dimension the ark could withstand waves over 30 metre! In contrast the ark described in the Gilgamesh flood story is not seaworthy.
  5. On ventilation and other scientific questions, see Noah's Ark: a feasibility study.

17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

(6:17) "Every thing that is in the earth shall die."
The author of the SAB thinks it is unjust that all on the earth had to die. But God is the judge of all. Somehow the earth had become so filthy and so corrupted, that all men had to die. The beasts of the field had to die to in this process. But God was their creator, he gave them life, could he not take it again? We grant our creators full control over their creations. But the blame was upon mankind as those innocent beasts suffer because of sin brought into this world by man.

18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.

19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

(6:19-20) "Of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark."
How many of each kind did Noah take into the ark?
This verse contains a short summary and indicated to Noah approximately how many partitions he had to make. Of every species, at least two would enter. It is unsure if this summary simply leaves out the distinction between clean and unclean or if God refined his commandment later. I suspect the former, but in any case if in chapter 7:2 God refines the commandment, there is still no contradiction. As LookingUntoJesus perceived, there is also no contradiction with chapter 7:9 as that verse simply describes the manner in which the beasts went into the Ark: in orderly fashion, two by two. That verse isn't about the distinction or how many of each species went into the Ark.

20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

(6:21) "And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten ... for thee, and for them."
The author of the SAB scoffs. Is that because Noah could not take enough food? That is quite unlikely. For example, if Noah had to take reptiles, he could have taken either the eggs or the very young, and so for the other species. Also, it's a mistake to believe that supposed predators need to eat flesh. Eating flesh came only after The Fall. For example lions (if they already existed at that time) can eat hay perfectly fine. Besides hay, milk producing animals could have provided food for others. Some animals can hibernate. Again, see Noah's Ark: a feasibility study for more details.

22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.