Genesis 6:9

I am having some issues understanding and reconciling Genesis 6:9

“This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It is understood that the only truly blameless man was Jesus Christ. So, if Noah was “blameless among the people of his time”, does this mean that his blamelessness is assessed relative to cultural norms in place at the time of Noah? Does this damage the concept of absolute right and wrong?


@Jhousel this is an excellent question. It is my understanding here that Noah was considered righteous and blameless in the same way that David was considered a man after God’s own heart or Paul to be an imitator of Christ.

We see later that Noah gets drunk and passes out, David kills a man to marry his wife, Paul killed Christians. The point is that God sees the heart and potential in those he chooses to use. Noah was no more blameless than you or I. He was, however, a man who worshipped God at a time when the rest of mankind were not.

I hope this has helped to answer your question, does it make sense? You are correct in saying that the only man to live without sin was Jesus.


I am not totally convinced. In this passage, he is being selected to be saved from the flood. The criterion for this selection is twofold: his blamelessness and his faithfulness. The faithfulness is mentioned unconditionally, but blamelessness is relative to others and therefore subjective. At the time of this selection, the drunken incident had not happened yet, and can’t be considered as part of this selection.

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Why can’t his drunkenness be considered? God knew it would happen. He is all knowing.

Therefore he is like Paul, and David. Look at Abraham he believed and it was considered his righteousness and yet he was a liar among other things.


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Hi @Jhousel

Thanks for this wonderful question. Let me dive straight to it.

The short answer is “blameless / perfect” in Gen 6:9 used is not the same as without sin / sinlessness of Jesus.

The Hebrew word for blameless/perfect (depending which version you are reading from) is Tammim, which could also mean complete or sound or sincere or integrity or upright.

Not just Noah, but Job was also called tammim in Job 1:1, 8, 2:3. Not only that, the same word was also used for the adversary himself, Satan as we know him, in Ezk 28:15. In classic Hebrew contrasting couplet: you were blameless/righteous (tammim) from the day you were created, until iniquity/unrighteousness was found in you.

Joshua gave an idea of what our word of the day means or is understood in ancient Israel’s times.

Joshua 24:14 NASB
Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity (tammim) and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.

The pattern in which the Hebrew authors narrate tammim, is always paired with righteousness / upright / truthfully / faithfully / integrity (see also Psalm 37:37 besides the aforementioned verses), except when used for Satan, it was masterfully and, probably, intentionally contrasted with iniquity / unrighteousness.

And finally, it is topped with the coup de grace: fearing God and turning from evil, or serving Him, or walking with God.

One last thing to help us understand a bit more comprehensively. In Gen 25:27, the Bible says Jacob was a “peaceful”(footnoted: complete) man, living in his tents. The word tam of tammim(plural) was used.

The context used here is of course not blameless or perfect, but is about someone who is happy and content (complete) to stay home in his tents.

So, let’s put it all together, the word tam-mim, is therefore a state of completeness with God, where one delights himself in the Lord, and faithful to Him and His ways. Perfectly sound in His walk with God. In today’s term, it is akin to when we see someone who lives a pious and upright lives, we described him as a great “man of God”.

I hope that helps to understand a little Jewish perspective on a tammim man. (Okay, I promised the next point is really the last one) In fact the Jews treat being blameless (tammim) as a command in Deut 18:13you shall be blameless(tammim) before God”, so it is not treated as something unattainable.

Hope that answers your question. Blessings


But why the qualifier: “among the people of his time?”

There is some debate on the meaning of “all knowing.” Is it the ability to know all past, present, and future? Or is it the ability to know all that is knowable? The latter definition leaves more room for free will and would then take Noah’s eventual drunkenness out of consideration.

The most obvious answer, I think, is that while Noah was righteous after a fashion, it’s more comparative than anything. He still looked forward to the same Savior that God had promised his 7th-great grandfather Adam. As Isaiah said (and Paul quoted), there is none righteous. Noah is included in that “none”.

In other words, of all the sinful people that God could’ve chosen to repopulate the Earth post-Flood, Noah was the best of the worst.

What I find fascinating is the company that Noah kept. Both Noah’s father Lamech and his grandfather Methuselah were old enough to have known Adam (the man created perfect by God) and Enoch (the man who walked perfectly with God), and yet Lamech died before the Flood and Methuselah died the same year as the Flood – possibly DURING the Flood – while Noah was chosen to survive it. He had a family structure that could tell him “This is what the world was like when I was younger”, giving him a contrasting view between the world they knew and the world Noah was left with. It’s an incredible dynamic, if you think about it :slight_smile:

The debate you are speaking of based on my study has only come up recently in regards to Gods Omniscience the core doctrine has been he is all knowing, knowing all past, present, and future which makes sense considering that God is the spaceless, timeless, and immaterial creator of the universe. If you are outside time, as God is, a being of that power would have the ability to see and know everything past, present, and future.

In addition I think here that a projection of humanity is being placed on God that he knows things like we do but scripture teaches

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts Isaiah 55:8-9

Plus the Psalmist declared

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; his understanding is Infinite. Psalm 147 verse 5

Plus if God can’t see future events I think that opens up questions on the problem of evil. On William Lane Craigs website when tackling the problem of evil he states that:
“We are not in a good position to assess the probability of whether God has morally sufficient reasons for the evils that occur. As finite persons, we are limited in time, space, intelligence, and insight. But the transcendent and sovereign God sees the end from the beginning and providentially orders history so that His purposes are ultimately achieved through human free decisions. In order to achieve His ends, God may have to put up with certain evils along the way. Evils which appear pointless to us within our limited framework may be seen to have been justly permitted within God’s wider framework.”

Dr. Craig is drawing on Isaiah 46:10 when he says God “knows the end from the beginning”

Essentially if God isn’t able to see the past, present, and future at all times then all of his prophecies were “guesses” since the scope of the Bible is clear that God doesn’t guess, he knows I conclude that he is all knowing, knowing all past, present, and future.

I hope this explanation helps.