Genesis Chapter four gives us the line of Cain. His descendants did some great things with the domestication of livestock, music, and metallurgy, which produced weapons of war. The advancement of Cain’s line will be picked up again in Chapter six, but Chapter five goes back to Adam and gives us his lineage through his younger son Seth. Verse 1 says, “This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.” The Hebrew word for “book” was used to refer to any written record. There has been some controversy over the idea that Moses had some documents that served as sources from which he wrote Genesis. This verse seems to mention the view. It’s not heretical to think that there could have been earlier documents from which Moses took much of his information. I’m sure some oral traditions were passed on, but only things of fundamental importance would have been written down. If Moses had a written source, as is implied in this verse, Boice is right when he says, “This is the oldest written document in all history.”[1]

The importance of this document is that it lists people by name. We get bored with the genealogies in the Bible, but they were important enough for God to have them inscribed in a book. The names that Chapter five of Genesis lists are the names of the godly descendants of Adam. God never forgets those who love and fear Him. He knows them all by name. At the end of the Old Testament in Malachi 3:16, the prophet writes, “Those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name.” Then near the end of the New Testament in Revelation 20, there is another book called “The Lamb’s Book of Life.” In that book is recorded the names of all believers! I’m in that book!

I remember studying the list of names that the Navy published in 1974 of those to be advanced to Chief in the coming year. I was very interested in that list of names! Having my name on that list meant a lot at the time, but very little now. What matters now is that it’s written in the “Lamb’s book of life.” In Philippians 4:3, Paul assures his fellow workers and all Christians, “…whose names are in the book of life.” When Jesus’ disciples returned from the journey to surrounding towns, they were rejoicing over the power they had over demons. In Luke 10:20, Jesus told them, “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

[1] Boice, James Montgomery. 1998. Genesis: An Expositional Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.