“Then the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years."” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭6:3‬ ‭ESV‬

Is there a direct connection between the presence of His Spirit and length of life? Or is it saying that because He is removing His Spirit He is also reducing the length of life?



The “sons of God” were men who had the Spirit of God within them as compared to the rest of the world which didn’t (the natural man).

There were 2 types of people in the world (as today also): those that have the Spirit of God dwelling within them and those natural men of the world who do not have this.

The fleshly mind of those of the world are not subject to the law of God (because they do not have His Spirit dwelling within them). They cannot be subject to it without His Spirit within them. They do not delight in His commands and cannot as it is the Spirit within us that gives us the willingness and ability to do them. We delight in His commands while the world (the natural men) does not.

Romans 8:6-9 KJV (6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

The Spirit of God strived within those sons of God as these men did not always live according to His Spirit but instead continuously lived after the flesh: “he is also flesh”…that is, these men continuously lived after the flesh and not after His Spirit.

Genesis 6:3 KJV (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.

There was an internal struggle of God’s Spirit within the sons of God who were living after the flesh as every imagination of the thoughts of their heart was only evil….continually evil (even though they could have lived after the Spirit and did good).

Genesis 6:5-6 KJV (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.

They grieved His Spirit.

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

But not so with “Noah” which means “rest/quiet” . The Spirit of God found “rest” within Noah as His Spirit did not struggle within him. Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Genesis 6:8 KJV (8) But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Today, people can still “grieve” the Spirit of God by continuously living after the flesh (living in bitterness, wrath, evil speaking, etc) rather than being led with the Spirit that dwells within them.

Ephesians 4:29-32 KJV (29) Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (30) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

His Spirit will not always strive with those who live after the flesh (he is also flesh) just as He did not back then for if we continue to live after the flesh, we shall die.

Romans 8:12-14 KJV (12) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

We must (through His Spirit) mortify the deeds of the body so that we may live. His Spirit will not always strive within us....in those who continue to live after the flesh and not after His Spirit.

(13) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

The “sons of God” must put to death the deeds of the body and live after His Spirit as He will not always strive with those who do not.

(14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

The Spirit strives within us if we continue to live after the flesh. There is no “rest” for His Spirit within those who continue to live after the flesh. The Spirit and flesh are contrary to one another. There is an internal struggle within between the Spirit of God and the lusts of the flesh in those who do not crucify (in Christ) the flesh with its affections and lusts.

Galatians 5:16-26 KJV (16) This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (17) For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (18) But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. (19) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (24) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (26) Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

We cannot become a "friend of the world" in these things. Friendship of this world is enmity....hostility/opposition...with God. There is an internal struggle with those who have a friendship with this world.

James 4:4 KJV (4) Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

That is what the "sons of God" did. They became "friends of the world" by marrying the "daughters of men"....daughters of the natural men of the world. Then there was "enmity with God" as there was a struggle of His Spirit within the sons of God who continually lived after the flesh.

Genesis 6:1-4 KJV (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. (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. (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.

Men "marry" doctrines and commandments of men today and fight each other over them. They become friends of the world in their envy and strife as they war and fight over them in their quarreling over who is "accounted the greatest" among them. They behave just like the world who also fights and wars over their laws, constitutions, governments, etc (laws made by natural men who do not have the Spirit). The handwriting of "ordinances" (various church dogmas) are contrary to us getting along with one another as many fight over their respective "handwritings" which are patterned after the world. They are against us. Fortunately, the Lord forgives us as those handwritings are nailed to His cross.

Colossians 2:13-15 KJV (13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (15) And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

  • I’m sorry but I don’t subscribe to the Augustinian sons of G d being men that doesn’t fit with Scripture unless you think men were able to fly in the sky psalm 89 – Autodidact Dec 29 '18 at 16:19
  • Were men able to fly עוף : Jud 4:21 , 1 Sa 14:28, 1 Sa 14:31, 2 Sa 21:15... ? No, But actually the word is used to be faint almost to death. So before rejecting it because you misinterpret it hyper-literally, there is room for the Sons of God being men. – Bob Jones Dec 31 '18 at 5:29
  • There is room but I don’t ascribe to it, also due to a number of other passages including but not limited to Deu 32:8 LXX and DDS version. Also Jeremiah Micaiah Elijah and Elisha were about to stand in the council of Elohim, this goes more to your argument but then Psalm 82 says they will die like men, which if they were men, were they immortal prior or were they not men? – Autodidact Jan 12 at 18:05

The most sensible way to understand this, I think, is that the 'natural' (arguably focusing on the root sense 'physical') man is the animal component of the human nature. That is to say, man minus spiritual guidance, help, grace. As such, if the natural man cannot understand the spiritual things, and heretics and reprobate people cannot understand spiritual things, he is implying they have no spiritual guidance, development, or grace. They are just the bare animal human, without the higher faculty of the spirit (not that they don't have a spirit, since a spirit is what means the difference between a human and a cadaver).

From the context of Genesis 6:3 it is clear that 'my Spirit contending in Man' refers to the keeping-alive of human beings. It is the same ruah—spirit, or breath—spoken of when Adam is 'breathed into' with the breath of life—that is, a metaphor meanning 'was made alive by the power of God.' And that 'not forever ... his days shall be a hundred and twenty years' is answers to 'my Spirit will not contend forever in.' It is not about the loss of a Golden Era before which God's Spirit strove in man.


לעלם (l'olam) does not necessarily mean for eternity, but multiple ages or 'eons.' It comes from the primitive idea of 'horizon.' Hence, God simply means 'my Spirit won't strive in man for a great number of centuries, as with Adam etc., from henceforth his days shall be at most one hundred and twenty years.'

  • So you are saying that it’s not the Spirit that indwelt the Genesis 6 man and prior, it was merely the spirit or the ruach, hence why you associate this ruach with life. – Autodidact Dec 29 '18 at 16:17
  • No, I'm not saying that. Ruah is simply the Hebrew word for spirit. As such, it's not evident whether it is the Holy Spirit that makes a man live, or the general life-giving force. In any case, Nicene Christianity professes belief in "the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life." – Sola Gratia Dec 29 '18 at 16:23
  • Because if it’s the Spirit then how do you receive Acts 2 what you already have? – Autodidact Dec 29 '18 at 16:23
  • Interesting that the Father is equated to giver of life yet all things were made and sustained by Jesus. And the Holy Spirit is also referenced as being the Spirit of Christ. Furthermore in my other thread it complicates the issue when Ezekiel claims we receive a new spirit but some claim that it’s merely the quickening of the existing spirit by the Holy Spirit. Or as you would have it, receive guidance for spiritual discernment of the things of G d. – Autodidact Dec 29 '18 at 16:26
  • Also the reason I don’t fully accept that it was merely the spirit that related to life itself that is being referenced is because if I take your reasoning that one needs the Holy Spirit to discern the things of G d then how did Cain speak to G d? How did Noah discern what to do and how did Enoch walk with G d? This would imply they interacted with G d on a non spiritual level but physical because if it were at the soul level it would be indiscernible. I think it was the Spirit that G d took away because G d reverts back to His initial design in Acts 2. G d doesn’t change it was good already. – Autodidact Dec 29 '18 at 16:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.