1When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. 3Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years." 4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
It is my belief that the error regarding the nephilim and the sons of God begins with a misreading of this passage.The nephilim and the sons of God are two different groups, and not only that, neither the nephilim, nor the sons of God are spirit beings, i.e. angels, demons..
Verses 1-3 deal with the daughters of men and the sons of God. Verse four deals with the nephilim. The word nephilim in the Hebrew is translated as giants, i.e. a bully or tyrant. The words nephillim and giants are used interchangeably in different translations. The Scripture reveals that these nephilim were of larger than average size, giants.
This verse says that the nephilim lived on the earth at the same time, and even beyond the time, that the sons of God began to marry and procreate with the daughters of men. It then concludes with this:
“These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.”
The nephilim were men, not half human, half angel.
So who are the sons of God?
Genesis chapter four relates the story of Adam’s first two sons Cain and Abel, with which we are very familiar. After Cain murders Abel, God banishes him from his current dwelling place and Cain settles in the land of Nod, i.e. the land of wandering. 4:16
Cain begins a family, and a people group is established through him.
Chapter 4 ends with Adam and Eve conceiving a third son, Seth.
Seth later has a son of his own, Enosh.
“25And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, "God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him." 26To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.”
Note carefully, only after Seth was born did people begin to call on the name of the Lord.
Genesis five is a listing of Adam‘s descendants through Seth.
1This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. 3When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. 4 The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. 5Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.
Adam made from the earth in the image and likeness of God, conceived a son in his own likeness through Eve. Chapter five finishes with:
“28When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son 29and called his name Noah, saying, "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." 30Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died.
32After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”
Now go forward all the way to Luke’s gospel, and the listing of the lineage of Jesus through Joseph, His “step-father”
The genealogy ends with this:
the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
So based on the facts that;
- Adam is called the son of God;
- That after he fathered Seth who fathered Enos, then men began to call on the Lord’s name,
- That the lineage of the Messiah came through Seth……………
I believe that the sons of God of Genesis 6:2 are all who are of the lineage of Adam, though Seth. They intermarried with the daughters of men, such as Cain’s descendants from Genesis 4.
We can see also, that up to the days of Noah and the flood. It was common for men to live an extremely long time. However, God announces in Genesis 6:3 that He is about to shorten mankind’s life span. This is a consequence of how bad things had gotten. Genesis 6:5-8
It is quite possible that before the flood, not only did men live incredibly long lives, but they (Adam and his direct descendants) may have been of extraordinary size also.
So, the nephilim were roaming the earth, as the sons of God were intermarrying with the daughters of men, not with their own kind. (God later prohibited Israel from intermarrying with unbelievers. Exodus 34:15-16)
Let’s look at the story of the flood very carefully.
The remainder of Genesis 6, as well as chapters 7-8-9, tell the story of the building of the ark and the ensuing flood. Only Noah and his wife, along with his three sons and their wives, survived from all of mankind. This would then mean then the descendants of Cain, and all of the peoples born from the intermarriage perished in the flood. Did the nephilim perish in the flood also?
Recall the story of Moses sending the spies into the promised land. Only Joshua and Caleb brought a favorable report, the rest were negative;
32So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, "The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. 33And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them."
Because of this Israel spent forty years wandering in the wilderness until that whole generation died off. Only Joshua and Caleb lived to enter and inherit their portion of the land.
Joshua led Israel into the land, and through the many battles fought to take possession of it.
21And Joshua came at that time and cut off( the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua devoted them to destruction with their cities. 22There was none of the Anakim left in the land of the people of Israel. Only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod did some remain.
23So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war
Joshua completed the conquest by driving the Anakim, and the descendants of Anak, i.e. the nephilim, from the land, except for some who remained in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod.
Now we move ahead once more to the time of Saul and the rise of David:
1 Sam 17:
1Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. And they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines.
3And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
Goliath was a “giant”. He stood over nine feet tall. More importantly he was from Gath, one of the regions where the nephilim managed to remain after Joshua defeated them. Goliath was descended from the nephilim.
How then did the nephilim survive the flood ?
6The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. 7The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. 8Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man 9He was a mighty hunter before the LORD. Therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD." 10The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and 12Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. 13 Egypt fathered Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, 14Pathrusim, Casluhim (from whom the Philistines came), and Caphtorim.
The Philistines are descendants of Ham, Noah’s son. The nephilim continued on, through the lineage of Ham.
What is the point of all this? Just to say that the teachings that the sons of God were angels or fallen angels, and that they were either the same as the nephilim, or that the nephilim were the offspring of the union between mortals and spirit beings/angels, are not scripturally based.
Jesus answered the Pharisees in Matthew 22:23-33 with this statement :
30For in the resurrection they(men and women) neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
So the angels in heaven neither marry nor are given in marriage, or Jesus doesn’t know what He is talking about.
If fallen angels, who are created spirit beings, were able to impregnate human females, then the conception of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit would not be a unique act. In fact they would seem to possess the same power as the Holy Spirit. Obviously men and women are able to conceive children, but we are created to procreate. That is a function given to us by our creator.
There is no evidence that angels were ever given this function as created beings. There is no evidence that angels actually possess a body such as ours.
Since human flesh is the only flesh that God will raise again incorruptible, and apparently angels don’t die, then there is no similarity at all between angels and men that would make them physically compatible to have intercourse.
Remember that Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is the creator of life. Angels are like us only in that God created them. They are immaterial beings, and we are not.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
34 And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"
35 And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God.
Gen 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
The Spirit of God overshadows or hovers over as it “creates” something from nothing.
I don’t believe that angels, whether they be fallen or not, have the ability to reproduce through a union with a human agent. The idea that the “sons of God” are fallen angels is mere conjecture. If the sons of God are angels, and they were able to be seen and touched by men, then it would be so today. It would seem that the alleged danger of angels mating with humanity is just as possible today as it allegedly was millennia ago. The angels who delivered God’s messages to men throughout scripture were visible to man, by God’s discretion only, and always “appeared” as men. It would seem that is the preferred way for heaven to enter earth and communicate with men. There are too many scriptures to reference which would back this up.
There is one last point to be made.
Many use the argument that Jude in his letter, says that the angels participated in sexual immorality, i.e. going after “strange, or other flesh” just like the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah.
That is also a misreading of the passage.
6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—
7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
“The angels who did not stay within their own position of authority.”
If one is not willing to stay in the position of authority, it is generally because one desires greater authority that one has not been given. No one leaving a position of authority leaves it for a lesser position. Satan, and his followers, desired to be elevated; they did not desire the daughters of men.
This brings up an interesting point;
If Satan is a fallen angel, and the sons of God of Genesis 6 are fallen angels, which would include Satan, and they are procreating with human females, then how many spawn of Satan have inhabited or are inhabiting the earth?
Jesus told the people that they are of their father the devil, the father of lies, and the truth does not dwell in them. So Satan’s seed are those who do not love the Truth.
38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father."
39 They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did,
40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.
41 You are doing the works your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father--even God."
42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?
47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God."
…………… back to Jude)
Therefore Jude is speaking of rebellion re: the angels. They left their proper dwelling. They suffer the eternal consequences of their actions.
Sodom and Gomorrah are guilty of the same transgression, that is, leaving their position of authority and responsibility re: sex and procreation. They left what is proper for the improper, the unnatural. This is what Paul is addressing in Romans 1: 18-32. There is an attempt to usurp God’s established order. This is why homosexuality is specifically pointed to by Paul. Men were to be fruitful and multiply. Homosexuality will never be able to fulfill that divine mandate. Obedience is worship, and Paul is stating emphatically that those who desire to leave their divinely appointed “positions” of authority are not worshiping God, but are worshiping the creation, which includes “man worship”. They are handed over to their disobedience, their rebellion.
The rebellious angels and the populations of Sodom and Gomorrah are being compared not in the specific circumstances of their wrongdoing, but in the fact they are both being held up as examples of the eternal consequences which accompany rebellion against God.
My conclusion is that Jude is not saying the angels engaged in sexual relations with humans and produced the nephillim. Jude’s entire letter is speaking of those who are disrupting the church with their anti-Christ theologies and activities. He is speaking of the rebellious.
I believe that even today we see that the dna of the nephillim survives. There are indigenous peoples in the African nations, for example, who are beyond what we call normal height, and the Book of World Records along with the NBA have several examples of those of abnormally large stature.
The world bears the evidence of the fall, and what was lost, everywhere one looks.
Soli Deo Gloria