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Did Enoch die as Hebrews 11:13 seems to imply or was he taken as stated in Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5? David Wright explains.
Skeptics will look in every nook and cranny of Scripture trying to find a “contradiction.” And in order to do this, logic and simple grammatical comprehension must be thrown out the window. Now let’s look at the passages in question.
And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:24)
By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)
So we see that Enoch did not die, or did he?
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13)
On the surface it would appear we have two contradicting statements only a few sentences apart. But there are a couple of ways of looking at this supposed conundrum.
First, there is a simple theological explanation. In Hebrews 11 there appears to be a division of main ideas presented in verses 1–5 and verses 6–13. Notice that verse 13 states, “
These all died in faith, not having received the promises.” What promises? When we look back on verses 7–11 we see that each person who is mentioned received and believed a promise, so verse 13 only refers to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sarah—not Enoch or Abel. Hebrews does not mention any promises concerning Enoch and Abel in verses 4–5. And the author specifically mentions Abel was dead and Enoch was not.
Second, there is a simple grammatical explanation. Enoch is the exception to the rule. The rule is that everyone listed did not escape death. And then Enoch is the exception since it was stated, “
He did not see death.” Here’s a similar example to help illustrate.
Back in my day we couldn’t get to the stadium without taking the bus. We all lived so far away. Enoch though, had a car, so he could drive himself and didn’t have to take the bus.
However, Noah lived about 10 miles south of the stadium and so he rode the 17 bus to get there.
Abraham, lived about 12 miles east of the stadium in a bad neighborhood that was not his own, and he shared a house with Isaac and Jacob. They had to take the 13 bus.
Sarah lived about 20 miles north of the stadium and actually had to take the train downtown and then take the 15 bus.
These all took buses because they didn’t live near the stadium, but seeing how they could get there by bus, they gladly did. Especially since they loved going to all the football games.
No one would ever claim there is a contradiction here because grammatically there isn’t one. But since so many oppose God and His Word, they will look for contradictions—even if they must twist logic and rules of grammar to find them.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.