His first feeble cry conquered me. I remember holding my newborn son in my arms, as I wept, bursting with joy. As I sat holding him later that evening, I could not take my eyes off of him. I had fathered a son, in my own likeness, after my own image.
A newborn son is a picture of new hope, of a new start—a reminder of God’s good gifts. When Eve bore Cain, she and Adam must also have been full of hope. They’d had a son with the help of the Lord, perhaps even the promised seed (Genesis 4:1, 3:15)! But over time their hopes were shattered, when sin bred jealousy, and jealousy, murder.
This is the story of Genesis 4-5. It is the story of two lines of descent, of fathers and their sons. Cain’s line began and ended in murder. From the first shameful fratricide, to Cain’s unrepentant flight from the presence of the Lord, to Lamech’s shameless song of violence—death laid waste to generation after generation. Even the line of Seth, though they “began to call upon the name of the Lord,” was marked by the steady refrain: “…and he died” (Genesis 4:26, 5:4-31).
Every father who looked at his son, hoping, had already begun to feel the weight of death. The ground itself yielded up thorns and thistles as daily reminders of the curse (Genesis 3:17-19). Cain, who had compounded his guilt with murder, found the very soil opposed him. He became a fugitive, and the earth itself bore witness against the sin and violence he had committed (Genesis 4:10-12).
It was this impending death from which every man desires relief.
When Lamech, the son of Methuselah, held his newborn son in his arms, surrounded by a world of death, he expressed his deep hope in God’s promised goodness: “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands” (Genesis 5:29).
In God’s good providence, Noah would indeed bring relief. But the true answer to Lamech’s prayer would not come for many more generations. Paul’s epistle to the Colossians declares to us the preeminence of Christ, the Son who truly was the hope of the world.
He was the very image of the invisible God, not just another fallen man. He was the firstborn from the dead, undoing the long reign of death. He reconciled to Himself all things, undoing the power of the curse. He makes peace for us by His blood, which cries out to God, not for judgment but for our salvation (Colossians 1:1-15).
The story of these early generations is a reminder of God’s covenant faithfulness across the ages, which has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. In Christ, we are grafted into a new genealogy, born again, and transformed into His very likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Thanks be to God for His Son, the Hope of the world!
Written by Caleb Faires