In this chapter we get another turning point in the story of Abram. Having presumably passed all of God’s tests, Abram gets a little bit added to his name, and little bit taken off of his — well, you’ll see.
Author’s Note: I decided to combine these chapters because they are part of the same story, and otherwise Chapter 7’s post would have been very short.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Genesis 7 shows the first indications of the importance of the number seven. The “clean beasts” and “fowls” are brought into the ark “by sevens,” as instructed by God, and it was “after seven days” that the floodwaters came upon the earth (7:8-10).
The number seven, of course, is already significant because that’s how many days it took for God to create the earth plus one day of rest. This motif of a single number is a classic literary technique, and I’m sure it’s why seven has been and still is an important number in Western culture. (Harry Potter, anyone?)
So Seth, Eve’s son who essentially replaced Abel, seems to be the true inheritor of Adam’s legacy. Seth is first described as “in his [Adam’s] own likeness, in his image.” This, of course, parallels Adam’s relationship to God, making Seth the most God-like of Adam’s sons. This cyclical relationship—and the whole chapter—reinforces the theme of lineage and paternalism, and that passing on one’s likeness is of critical importance. Otherwise, you break the seemingly-infinite chain that eventually leads back to God. So yeah, it’s not just a cliché: according to the Bible, we are all literally children of God (if you go back far enough).
It’s all downhill from here…nah, just kidding. This is where it gets interesting: it’s like viewing a string of landscape photos and then finally getting to one with people in it.