Genesis 5

Introduction: The Patriarchs
"While it is clear from the scriptures that many people in those ancient days were extremely evil, the sacred records also tell us that at the same time there were people who were extremely righteous. The same generations that produced humanity at its lowest also produced men and women whose disposition to obey and serve God is unparalleled in human history. It was between the days of Adam and Abraham that two entire societies, those of Enoch and Melchizedek, were found worthy as groups to be taken from the earth to escape its corruptions and enjoy the blessings of a more sublime sphere.
"Genesis 5 lists the genealogy of the lineage through whom the priesthood and the covenants of the gospel continued, beginning with Adam and ending with the sons of Noah. Little is given outside of the genealogical information. One can imagine that great things were manifest in the lives of those people whom we call the Patriarchs, yet the Lord has seen fit to withhold their histories from us. Concerning the ministry of the great patriarch Enoch, the biblical account offers only hints." (Kent P. Jackson, "An Age of Contrasts: From Adam to Abraham," Ensign, Feb. 1986, 30)
Gen 5:1 the book of the generations of Adam
Adam kept his own record, his own family history. Enoch kept his own record and included Adams genealogy (D&C 107:57). Versions of Adam's record may have survived even to the meridian of time.
Hugh Nibley
We begin with Enoch keeping the books of Adam, recalling that the words and prophecies of Adam were "all written in the book of Enoch" (D&C 107:57), who reminded his people, "the first of all we know, even Adam. For a book of remembrance we have written among us ..." (Moses 6:45-46). Now according to the Zohar, "Enoch also had a book which came from the same place as the book of the Generations of Adam." Rabbi Eleaser said that Adam hid the book that the angel Raziel, the purveyor of the heavenly secrets, gave to him, and that Enoch later found it, and that it was next delivered to Noah by Rafael and so passed on to Shem and hence from one generation to the next. It is implied in Genesis 5:1-2 that the human race was fully launched when the Book of the Generations of Adam was inaugurated, since Adam and Eve were set apart (bara), and given a name and a blessing... The early Christians were fond of the Book of Adam, according to Epiphanius, and A. Vaillant, the authority on the Slavonic Enoch, maintained that the Christian Enoch book was not taken from Jewish sources but from an old lost Book of Adam and Seth. ("A Strange Thing in the Land: The Return of the Book of Enoch, Part 5," Ensign, Apr. 1976, 61)
Gen 5:2 male and female created the them... and called their name Adam
George F. Richards
That is a rather peculiar expression "called their name Adam." The author of the Compendium, commenting on that expression, says that man in his fulness is a two-fold organization, male and female; either being incapable of filling the measure of their creation, alone. It requires a union of the two to complete man in the image of God. (Conference Report, April 1924, Afternoon Session 32.)
Bruce R. McConkie
Thus the name of Adam and Eve as a united partnership is Adam. They, the two of them together, are named Adam. This is more than the man Adam as a son of God or the woman Eve as a daughter of the same Holy Being. Adam and Eve taken together are named Adam, and the fall of Adam is the fall of them both, for they are one. How aptly did Paul say: "Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Cor. 11:11). The fall of Adam is the fall of the man Adam and the woman Eve.
Gen 5:3 Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image
This seemingly innocuous statement has incredible implications. The Doctrine and Covenants expands on this idea, "(Seth) was a perfect man, and his likeness was the express likeness of his father, insomuch that he seemed to be like unto his father in all things, and could be distinguished from him only by his age." (D&C 107:43) The only way one could tell Adam and Seth apart was by age, Adam being 130 years older. They were like identical twins born 130 years apart.
Who cares? The significance is that these scriptures tell us what it means for God to create man in his own image and likeness. It does not have some abstract, ethereal, figurative meaning. It means that man is in the shape and form of God, and God is in the shape and form of man.
Delbert L. Stapley
Moses used the same language in stating that God created man in his own image and after his likeness when recording Adam begat Seth in his own likeness and image. The interpretation for both teachings, therefore, must be the same. If Seth, the son of Adam, was in his likeness and image, and Adam was in the image and likeness of his Father, then Seth also would not only be in the likeness of his father, Adam, but in the likeness of his God. (January 10, 1962, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1962 2 - 3.)
Bruce R. McConkie
Two different churches, teaching conflicting doctrines, cannot both be true. If one group of religionists affirms that God is a personal being in whose image man is created, and that he has a body of flesh and bones which is as tangible as man's; and if another assembly of so-called believers professes to think that Deity is a spirit essence which fills the immensity of space, an immaterial nothingness that is everywhere and nowhere in particular present, a spirit that is incorporeal, uncreated, immaterial and unknowable (all of which is found in the false creeds of Christendom)-then both of these concepts cannot be true. (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 388.)
Marion G. Romney
I believe in [God] as a personal being. I do not think he is an immaterial substance. I do not think that, as a person he fills the immensity of space and at the same time is so small that he can dwell in my heart. I believe that his spirit can be in my heart, but I believe that God is my Father, a person. (Conference Report, April 1948, Second Day-Morning Meeting 76 - 77.)
Gen 5:3-31 The Great Patriarchs
The following table is given as a numerical representation of Gen. 5:3-31. If the Fall of Adam occurred at 4000 BC (a common supposition based on very little evidence), then the chronology of these patriarchs can be calculated. Section 107 of the D&C also gives this same chronology but focuses not on the son's age at birth but rather his age at ordination to the priesthood. Often referred to as the Patriarchal priesthood, the name of the priesthood was changed to Melchizedek after the Flood.
While we might assume that the priesthood was administered strictly in a father to son fashion, this is not the case. Adam was still alive even when Lamech was born. Section 107 explains that Adam ordained Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah at various ages and places (DC 107:41-52). Lamech was not ordained by his father but by Seth.
Age at heir's birth
Years after heir's birth
Age at ordination (DC 107)
Age at death
Estimated birth/death dates
4000-3070 BC
3870-2958 BC
3765-2860 BC
3675-2765 BC
3605-2710 BC
3540-2578 BC
365 (translated)
3378-3013 BC (city taken up)
3313-2344 BC
3126-2349 BC
"The Melchizedek and the Patriarchal Priesthoods are essentially the same Priesthood, but they differ in their organization and in the rights and prerogatives they possess. The Patriarchal Priesthood is the Melchizedek Priesthood organized according to a family order. Hence it is called the Patriarchal Priesthood. By contrast, the Melchizedek Priesthood is organized according to a system of quorums and presiding offices. Though the rights and privileges of the Melchizedek Priesthood are not appointed by promise to a given lineage within the chosen family, those of the Patriarchal Priesthood belong by right to a chosen lineage which God has appointed." (Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1967], 357.)
Gen 5:5 all the days that Adam lived were 930 years and he died
N. Eldon Tanner
Adam lived for nine hundred and thirty years, during which time he could give personal testimony to eight generations of his descendants, down to Lamech, the father of Noah. (See Gen. 5:5-31.) Through Noah and his family, a knowledge of God by direct tradition was carried beyond the Flood. ("A Basis for Faith in the Living God," Ensign, Nov. 1978, 47)
Joseph Smith
We can see from this that Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah, all lived on the earth at the same time; and that Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Methuselah, and Lamech, were all acquainted with both Adam and Noah. (Lectures on Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 2:43.)
Gen 5:21-25 Enoch and his city
The book of Genesis is an abbreviated work taken from other available works and written by scribes after 1000 BC. It is by no means comprehensive. Contrary to tradition, it was not written by Moses firsthand (Compare the spirit of the book of Genesis to the Book of Moses). What we have is different from what the apostles had in the meridian of time. Hence, Paul knew more about Enoch than our version of Genesis records (Heb. 11:5). The great wealth of information we have about Enoch, of course, comes from the Prophet Joseph Smith.
"There are many verses of scripture in JST Genesis not found in the King James Version... when we get to Genesis 5:21... instead of five or ten or even twenty-five additional verses in the JST, there are over one hundred and ten consecutive verses with no counterpart in the common edition of Genesis." (George A. Horton Jr., "A Prophet Looks at Genesis," Ensign, Jan. 1986, 40)
"The Prophet Joseph Smith began work on the Bible in June 1830 in the vicinity of Harmony, Pennsylvania, and Fayette, New York. In December 1830 he was living near Fayette, and the translation had reached KJV Genesis 5:22, only a few verses after Enoch is first mentioned. The KJV has very little to say about Enoch, but near the middle of December, with the appointment of Sidney Rigdon as scribe for the translation (D&C 35:20), an extensive revelation was received restoring a vast amount of information relative to Enoch. If placed chronologically, the portion of the JST that deals with Enoch would occur just after Doctrine and Covenants section 35 was received and before section 37.
"This revelation speaks of a city called Zion in which the inhabitants were 'of one heart and of one mind, and dwelt in righteousnes[s]; and there were no poor among them.' (JST Gen. 7:23; Moses 7:18.) Subsequently, this city was taken from the earth. Later, the same chapter declares that in the last days Enoch's Zion will come back to earth and be joined with a new Zion, the New Jerusalem, which the people of God will have built upon the earth. (JST Gen. 7:70-72; Moses 7:62-64.) None of this is in any other known Bible. (Robert J. Matthews, "Plain and Precious Things Restored," Ensign, July 1982, 18)
Hugh Nibley
If one lightly assumes that Joseph Smith got these ideas from the Bible, where they are indeed implicit but by no means obvious, let us bear in mind that his contemporaries shrieked in derision when they heard him; and what scandalized them most of all was the idea of a second or third witness to place beside the Bible, in spite of "the divine law of witnesses." But the young prophet, far from simply running on about ancient plates and parchments, angels and seer-stones ("the jibberings of a crazy boy," writes one Harvard don), actually went ahead and produced the wonderful volumes of which he spoke-full-length texts, broad fabrics of immense detail, enough rope to hang any imposter twenty times over. If the hypothetical house of books is a wonderful creation, with what astonishment must we view the real and solid structure erected single-handed by the youthful prophet in the midst of countless distractions and afflictions? ("A Strange Thing in the Land: The Return of the Book of Enoch, Part 5," Ensign, Apr. 1976, 61)
Gen 5:23 All the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty and five years
D&C 107 clarifies that Enoch was actually 430 years old when he and his city were translated (D&C 107:48-49). Genesis says he lived 365 years; D&C says he walked with God 365 years, having already lived 65 years before that. Other than this difference, the Genesis chronology and the D&C account agree.
Neal A. Maxwell
Enoch walked with God 365 years, and he was 430 years old when he was translated. (Of One Heart/Look Back at Sodom [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 63.)
Gen 5:24 Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him
Joseph Smith
Now this Enoch God reserved unto himself, that he should not die at that time, and appointed unto him a ministry unto terrestrial bodies, of whom there has been but little revealed. He is reserved also unto the presidency of a dispensation, and more shall be said of him and terrestrial bodies in another treatise. He is a ministering angel, to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, and appeared unto Jude as Abel did unto Paul; therefore Jude spoke of him. (Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Alma P. Burton [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 54 - 55.)
Bruce R. McConkie
From the accounts in the 6th and 7th chapters of Moses we learn his life was one of miracles, preaching, visions, and revelations, perhaps without parallel in all history. He and his whole city were translated and taken up into heaven, from whence they shall return when the earth is cleansed and becomes again a fit abode for Him who dwelt personally with his saints in Enoch's ancient Zion. From revelations given to Joseph Smith we know that the Book of Enoch will come forth in due course (D. & C. 107:53-57), and that Enoch personally ministered to Jude and quoted the statement recorded in this epistle. (Teachings, p. 170.) (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 426.)
George Q. Cannon
Enoch walked with God three hundred and sixty-five years (DC 107:49), and the Bible says he was not for God took him. If he walked with God that length of time, he must have known something about Him, and about the heavens, and about the organization of the earth, and something about what is called science now, geological as well as astronomical. Our revelations tell us that not only he but his city was translated. They were all taken, with the exception of Methuselah, who was left on the earth, because the promise had been made to him that through him one should arise who should be the progenitor of a new world. This proved to be Noah, his grandson. (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 10.)
John Taylor
Let me ask, what did the Lord do before He sent the flood? He sent Noah among them as a preacher of righteousness; He sent Enoch; He sent many Elders among the people, and they prophesied to them that unless they repented, judgment would overtake them... We are also told that Enoch walked with God, and that he had a city which they called Zion, and people gathered to Zion then, as we gather the people to Zion in this day. Enoch walked with God, and was instructed by Him, and he instructed the people of Zion. There is a very short account of it in the Bible. There we are simply told that "Enoch walked with God and was not; for God took him." It was not thought necessary to say more upon this subject; but the facts were that Enoch and the people of his city, having been taught for upwards of 300 years in the principles of the Gospel before the judgment overtook the world, were translated. Thus the people in that day, had had fair warning, but only a very few paid any attention to it. We are told concerning the Book of Enoch that it is to be testified of in due time, and then we shall know more about these things than we do now. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 24: 292.)
Gen 5:27 all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty and nine years
Methuselah is famous for his longevity. No other human on record has lived longer than 969 years. Most modern thinkers would reject the notion that any human could live so long. The scriptures, however, give us a reason for the longevity of the patriarchs:
And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents. (2 Ne. 2:21)
Did men really live that long? You have it out of the mouth of three witnesses: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants (DC 107:41-52).
Hugh Nibley
The reason that our lives are extended as they are beyond the age of reproduction is to allow us the fullest possible opportunity to repent. Therefore, when men have lost the capacity to repent they forfeit any right to sojourn further upon the earth; the very purpose of this extended span of life being to practice repentance, when men announce that they have no intention of repenting there is no reason why God should let them stay around any longer to corrupt the rising generation. (Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless [Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1978], 294.)
Gen 5:29 he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil
B. H. Roberts
Noah's father, Lamech, assigns as a reason for giving him the name Noah-"This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed." (Gen. 5:29.) This is usually made to refer to the general curse put upon the land because of the fall of Adam (see Art. "Noah" Smith's Bible Dictionary); but the Book of Moses explains that "there came a great famine into the land, and the Lord cursed the earth with a sore curse, and many of the inhabitants thereof died." (Moses 8:4). This was doubtless the cause of Lamech naming his son Noah, which signifies "rest," in the hope that there would be a "rest," or relief from the famine which had so long distressed them. (Seventy's Course in Theology [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1907-1912], 2: 79.)
Mark E. Petersen
Nothing is known of the childhood of Noah except that when he was ten years old he was ordained to the priesthood under the hands of Methuselah, indicating that he was a faithful child. (D&C 107:52D&C 107:52.) (Noah and the Flood [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 23.)