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The line of descendants from Seth to Noah is often called righteous, in comparison to Cain's descendants who are called evil. This comes up when discussing Methuselah who although he died in the year of the flood supposedly can't have died in the flood because he was righteous, and as an explanation of what it means when the 'sons of God' took the 'daughters of men' in Genesis 6.

But Genesis 6:9 says Noah was the only blameless person alive!

Is there any evidence in the Bible to say that the rest of his ancestors were righteous rather than just being sinful like everyone else? (Excluding Enoch of course.)

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The only clue I know of is: Genesis 4:26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD. I know that doesn't answer your question but it may give someone a starting place to eek out an answer. –  Bye Mar 25 at 23:27

6 Answers 6

The word righteous is used 238 times in the Bible, but never to describe the line of Seth. The word evil is used 613 times in the Bible but never to describe the line of Cain, only to describe Cain's works.

1st John 3:12 KJV Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

Apparently someone has taken:

Genesis 4:26 KJV And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

to mean that the line of Seth was righteous, an conversely that the line of Cain was evil, but that is not said anywhere else in the Bible, according to research I have conducted since you posted the question.

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That's what I thought. –  curiousdannii Mar 26 at 20:26

In Noah's day, the whole world was found to be wicked at such an extreme level that God decided to destroy everything. However, it was Noah who was found to be a righteous man, blameless among the people of his day.

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. Genesis 6:5-9 ESV

Noah's grandfather was Methuselah, whose name means "his death shall bring judgment". According to the time of his death, he died the year of the flood--supposedly not from drowning but from natural causes. His death brought judgment.

Noah's great grandfather--and Methuselah's father--was Enoch, who is noted as having "walked with God". His walk with God was apparently so close that God took Him straight to heaven.

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:21-24 ESV

So, we know that Enoch was a very righteous man. We also know that Noah was a very righteous man. Thus, it seems that this was a righteous lineage, where the righteous fathers passed on to their children a deep reverence for God.

The evidence is not overwhelming, to be sure. In fact, it's largely circumstantial. Still, the conclusion is reasonable.

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What evidence is there that Methuselah died from natural causes rather than the flood? And even if he did, is there any reason to think he was righteous? Remember that when God said Noah was the only blameless person that his father and grandfather were probably still alive... Noah was and Enoch was, but I think the idea the whole line was is misleading. –  curiousdannii May 19 at 20:52
@curiousdannii As I stated, the evidence is circumstantial. It assumes Enoch raised Methuselah to be a godly man and that carried on to Lamech and then Noah. All we know is that Methuselah died the year of the flood, so, yes, he could have been unrighteous. The question, however, asks why Seth's line is considered the righteous line. Having both Enoch and Noah as descendants is probably why. Methuselah and Lamech were possibly righteous men as well. –  Narnian May 19 at 21:56

The line of Seth is referred to as righteous because it is the beginning of the lineage of Jesus Christ. Luke 3;23-38. As we know Cain was of " the wicked one". Remember, Seth is Abel's replacement. Genesis 5;25

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Adam and Eve named him Seth when he was born, but we're not told whether he lived up to his name. Just because they hoped he would live like Able did doesn't mean he did, nor does it mean his descendants all did too. –  curiousdannii May 7 at 5:12
All through the lineage of Jesus Christ are the ungodly. Genesis clearly depicts Cain as "of the wicked one" 1 John 3;12. Jude 11-19, speaks of the ungodly prophesied by Enoch. Decendants of Seth, more than likely, were among the prophecy. –  V. Rollins May 7 at 13:21

This is related to alternate interpretation of Genesis 6:4

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.

The traditional interpretation until relative modernity was that which is found in the apocryphal book of Enoch, which church fathers like Tertullian used in explaining this passage. That explanation is that "sons of God" means "angels" and "daughters of men" means "human women." So angels came down and slept with women.

Entering into modernity, this explanation was seen as unacceptable, and so an alternative was needed. Hence the "sons of God" now becomes the line of Seth, and the "daughters of men" becomes the line of Cain. And viola, the "mythological" interpretation is gotten rid of.

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So the idea that Noah's line were all righteous only came when the idea that the sons of God were angels was rejected? Do you have any references for that? –  curiousdannii Mar 26 at 3:40
The idea of treating Seth's line as all righteous comes from this so far as I can tell. I couldn't prove it in a court of law exactly when the idea arose. But I can say I haven't seen the interpretation that Seth's line was all righteous in any of the pre-Augustine church fathers nor Augustine himself. –  david brainerd Mar 26 at 3:44
It could well be! I would have thought it came first and lead to the other interpretation of Gen 6, but maybe you're right and it was the other way round. Maybe some other people can add some extra historical information. –  curiousdannii Mar 26 at 3:46

In reference to your initial question danii...yes it is quite possible that the righteous became unrighteous towards the time of the flood. If any of seths descendants..including the righteous forefathers of noah were still alive at the time of the flood then they wouldve been wiped out too. Because the bible does not mention it...does not mean that these men remained perfect. Remember also that most people consider Solomon son of Daivid as being righteous throughout his life...and he was blessed by God with both riches and wisdom....yet the bible says that towards his later life he turned away from God and started worshipping idols and hethen Gods...he had 1000 women wives and concubines combined...and the bible says that he loved foreign woman and they turned him away from God. So wow...heaven may be without the famous King Solomon (this is just an example) yet we may never know...on his deathbed Solomon may have turned back to God almighty and repented...but because it is not recorded it does not mean it didnt happen. Yes its quite possible that all of seths descendants turned evil except for noah..for every1 was destroyed...and its also possible that some of cains descendants were righteous while they lived... But at the time of the flood..every1 was seen as unrighteous to God except for Noah. I hope this helped a bit..and that i havent totally strayed from your question... Solomons story is found in samuel, and kings and in chronicles again.

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I don't think you've really answered the question... yes I agree that the people other than Noah weren't righteous, so why do so many people say they are? Also you have a lot of typos. Please edit it to improve the spelling and grammar. –  curiousdannii May 19 at 1:52
Welcome to the site! This next is just standard to help new visitors avoid misunderstanding the site (as I did at first.) As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": the help page and How we are different than other sites?, and What makes a good supported answer? –  David Stratton May 19 at 4:53

Sons of God used in Gen 6 is the same Sons of God today. Proof of that is located in the NT where Jesus quotes David. Galatians 3:26 Galatians 4:6 Psalm 82:6 John 10:34

The difference today is, they were waiting for what happened at Pentecost. today, we're waiting for satan to be completely cast out of this world, which is a battle going on right now (John 12:31)

So to understand Gen 6, you have to understand the difference between the giants, descendants of giants, nephilim, and the nephilim that are on the earth after the flood. You also have to understand that the angels that left their place in heaven (Jude 1:6, 2 Peter 2:4) are not Sons of God.

in my experience the only way you'll get answers to the above is to ask God.

I suppose its possible one of the strains of nephilim was the Neanderthal race, which is known to have inter married with homosapiens long time ago.

As this relates to today, it was the same in the Pre-flood era as it is now. You don't have the authority to take a wife, unless she is a believing wife according to Paul(NT). Daughters of men have not been born of God. not today, not before the flood, not after the flood.

second Edit. there truly are few righteous men in the Bible. surprisingly, Lot was one of them ( 2 Peter 2:7) Sodom wouldn't have been destroyed for 10 Righteous, yet Jesus says it will be better for sodom on the day of judgment than for some towns today (Matthew 10:15) concerning Righteousness.. read Acts 17:30, and the last verse in Matthew chapter 5

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Can you explain more what you mean that they were waiting for Pentecost, and give the bible verse you refer to in your first paragraph. –  curiousdannii May 20 at 4:01
This might have the start of a good answer somewhere, but as written, this isn't helpful. How about instead of "go look it up" you provide the book, chapter and verse so we don't have to guess which verses you're talking about. I recommend checking out the help page and How we are different than other sites?, and What makes a good supported answer? –  David Stratton May 20 at 4:14
Nearly the entirety of the old testament points to Christ and today we argue about a rapture. Peter declares part of Joel fulfilled at Pentecost, even Abraham figured out that God would provide a sacrifice for sin. It is interesting to note that there was a resurrection of the righteous near the time of the death of Christ but i really can't find where that was foretold in the OT. the OT saints had nothing revealed to them in scripture that wasn't fulfilled at Pentecost. if I'm not mistaken that is. –  eldon May 20 at 4:58
for more information, I have reason to believe Isaiah 24 hasn't been fulfilled yet, and there are a host of other scriptures that talk about the end of the world, which Jesus addressed in person. the rest of the revelation was given to the disciples. today we're waiting for events to happen that did not concern OT saints. and what happens after the 1000 years is likewise, not given to man publically at this time, but we find individuals do indeed get revelation of that which cannot be uttered on earth, such as Paul's friend who was taken to the third heaven –  eldon May 20 at 5:09
Eldon, Paul was talking in third person when he said he knew a guy who was taken to paradise. He was responding humbly and for the visions he saw their was sent a messenger of Sat an from God to be a thorn in his flesh to keep him from being prideful. i feel this messenger nagged at Paul and annoyed him through speach. –  Joseph Sep 21 at 1:53

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