And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26)
The one who was appointed had a son whose name, Enosh, meant “man” or “mortal.” It is during his lifetime that Judaism believes that idolatry began to spread throughout the world. The basis of this belief is the Hebrew word that is translated as “began.” In reality the Hebrew term, החל huchal, indicates something that is “polluted or profane.” In other words, the text could be rendered, “Then men profaned the name (more literally, “authority”) of the LORD.” Put simply, mankind began to ignore and defy the authority of the Creator. You could say that this is when man began to do what was right in his own eyes.
The Jewish sage, Maimonides, claims that it was during this time that men began to worship heavenly bodies as God’s emissaries. The historian Josephus contends that Cain’s descendants played a vital role in this corruption. Much later, Paul alluded to this issue saying:
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:20-23)
So in just the first four chapters of the Bible, mankind went from being in the perfection of the Garden to being engaged in unbridled idolatry and unrestrained violence. This eventually led to a breaking point — the flood of Noah.
The lesson that you and I should take away from this is to understand that mankind hasn’t changed that much at all. Men continue to profane the name of the LORD in that they defy His sovereignty. Therefore we must emulate the attributes of those who remain faithful to His Word and authority. As it was said of the congregation of Philadelphia, let it be said of us:
“You … have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” (Revelation 3:8)
Blessings and Shalom,