When God created men and women, He blessed them with the whole earth and said “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
Men and women didn’t have any trouble fulfilling at least one part of that commandment; at some point they did “multiply” and start filling the earth:
When men began to multiply on the surface of the ground, and daughters were born to them… (Genesis 6:1)
However, as for the rest of that original blessing, man didn’t uphold his end of the bargain. God may have granted men the whole earth and its fullness, but mankind didn’t tame (or subdue) it. ‘Having dominion over every creature’ is a far cry from what God told Noah after the Great Flood: “The fear of you and the dread of you will be on every animal of the earth… (Genesis 8:2)” Somewhere along man’s timeline, we veered off course. From this I deduce that at some point, mankind quit his expansion into the Earth and stopped coming into contact with her wildlife, which is why the beasts had lost their natural instinct to fear man.
The rest of Genesis 6 explains what went wrong.
God’s sons saw that men’s daughters were beautiful, and they took any that they wanted for themselves as wives. (Genesis 6:2)
So instead of Man branching out and subduing the Wild – making the earth work for him – it seems that men stopped looking outward. Rather, they looked inward and began to subdue not the Earth, but each other.
A woman was meant to become one flesh with her man by supporting him and at times even opposing him toward their mutual destiny, while at the same time being the anchor of the family unit. However, it seems by the time of Noah, women were being treated by the dominant sex as a commodity and being auditioned, selected and/or traded among men. To this point even Messiah Yeshua said, “as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ship, and they didn’t know until the flood came, and took them all away…” (Matthew 24:38-39).
I can argue that at some point such men became oblivious to the rest of the earth, and focused only on establishing themselves. However, the text emphasizes that the chief industry of those days not appear to be crops, flocks or anything related to ‘taming the earth’. Instead the text points to the chief industry being the trafficking of women.
If this is the case, then this new female identity as a “commodity” to one day join a harem as her highest level of achievement would’ve completely altered the family structure forever. As opposed to having a voice within her family, she would now live to be preferred by the “sons of God” (more to follow on them). The consequences of that restructuring would also negatively affect the nurturing and raising of children.
When men expand their influence and tame the earth, he needs a Living God. By definition, this is called “adventure” and “pilgrimage”. All of the great men of old encountered God when they sojourned to places like Beersheva (Avraham), Bethel (Yaakov), or even Horev (Moses).
However, when a men turns inward and enslaves himself, he kills that sense of pilgrimage. He alters the need for God to be in control, because he becomes that control. He also kills the need to commune with a Living God.
Simply put, these new controls put in place by man in those days proved to be incompatible with the Spirit of YAH, even as God strove with us to bring us back to His will for us:
“The LORD said, “My Spirit will not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; so his days will be one hundred twenty years”” (Genesis 6:3).
There is still much to be said about the particulars of those days – i.e. who the Nephilim were and so forth, and that will definitely be my next topic. For now, the main point is to show how the Earth’s destruction came about mainly due man altering the creation of God. They killed the family structure by making women commodities. They stopped up their spirit of pilgrimage which consequently led to God striving with them.
If we think about it, a lot of men were destroyed when they lost their ability to expand and sought to control men. King Saul lost it when he feared the people. Solomon also lost communion with God when he stopped expanding the kingdom and built himself a harem. In short, it’s a pattern that will repeat itself over and over again.
I suppose this is a warning not to lose my sense of pilgrimage. It’s true that when I feel comfortable, I want to keep a comfortable lifestyle. I might even be controlling those around me to keep what I have.
And this is exactly what I’m reading in Genesis 6, just on a larger scale. That’s exactly the point I’ll make when I tackle the identities of the Nephilim and their contribution to the fall of the ancient world, as well as the rest of humanity.