While trying to solve the mystery of who fired on the Klingon ship in the film The Undiscovered Country, Mr. Spock uttered the quotable line, “An ancestor of mine maintained that if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the solution.”
[BTW It is an adaptation of something Sherlock Holmes said in The Sign of the Four (1890)].
Upon reading the opening verses of Genesis chapter six, we encounter a situation we immediately find to be improbable. We’re told that certain fallen angels called “the sons of God” married and mated with “the daughters of men” producing “giants.”
It so challenges our thinking that commentators try to argue that “the sons of God” aren’t fallen angels at all, but, rather, the human descendants of the godly line of Seth. They marry ungodly, nonbelieving women from the line of Cain, and the kids from their union aren’t really “giants,” just rebels against God.
I think I can show you how that interpretation, and all other natural ones, is, in fact, impossible – leaving us with the improbable but true interpretation that fallen angels did, indeed, marry and mate with human women.
Listen to this quote by Arnold Fruchtenbaum:
Verse 2 describes an intermarriage. The first key phrase is, “sons of God.” The term “sons of God” is a general term which means to be brought into existence by God’s creative act.
Because the term carries this meaning, it is used very selectively. Throughout the Old Testament the term “sons of God” is always used of angels. This is very clear when the usages of the term are compared in the Old Testament… No one debates that the other places where “sons of God” is found in the Old Testament clearly refer to angels. But some want to make Genesis 6:1-4 the one exception, and there is simply no warrant for making an exception here.
In the New Testament the term “sons of God” is expanded. Adam is called the son of God (Luke 3:38) because he was brought into existence by creation. Believers are called sons of God (John 1:12) because believers are considered to be a new creation (Galatians 6:15).
But in Genesis, the text is dealing with a specific Hebrew expression, benei elohim, and, as it is used in the Hebrew Old Testament, it is a term that is always used of angels. The distinction in this passage, then, is not between the descendants of Seth and the descendants of Cain, but between humanity and angels. The word “men” here emphasizes humanity. The term “sons of God” emphasizes angels.
The phrase in question is rendered as “mighty ones” in Psalm 29:1; “heavenly beings” in Psalm 89:6; and “angels” in Job 1:6, 2:1, & 38:7. It always refers to celestial, heavenly beings.
One scholar pointed out that the phrase refers to gods in extra-biblical writings.
The earliest commentary on these verses is the Book of Enoch, which identifies these as fallen angels.
The Jewish historian, Josephus, refers to them as fallen angels.
Early church fathers referred to these as fallen angels, up until about the middle of the fourth century.
When Jesus’ original audience heard Him refer to the marriages in Genesis six, referring them to “the Days of Noah,” they would have immediately understood that He meant they were fallen angels.
Something else to consider: If these guys were human, from the line of Seth, they can hardly be called godly if they intermarried with the nonbelieving descendants of Cain. Would truly godly men marry ungodly women?
You must keep the big picture in mind. The verses clearly describe intermarriages that are not just unusual, but also unnatural – leading to the judgment of a worldwide flood.
The argument that these were mere men marrying women doesn’t hold-up biblically or logically.
Let’s notice a few other things in these verses, about “the sons of God” and “the daughters of men.”
Gen 6:1 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them,
The word for “men” is generic and means humanity in general. Men and women from both the lines of Seth and Cain were marrying and multiplying.
“Daughters” means females in general. There is no distinction between the daughters of Seth, and the daughters of Cain. Any such distinction is forced upon the text.
Gen 6:2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.
You notice that it is always “the sons of God” marrying “the daughters of men.” Nothing is said about “the daughters of God” marrying “the sons of men.” If this were about intermarriage among humans, it would go both ways.
Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
The situation was so bad, God decreed the judgment of the global flood. It would destroy what we read about in verse four. It’s hard to understand how believers marrying nonbelievers would invoke such a radical judgment on the part of God.
Gen 6:4 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
The verse literally reads, “there were Nephilim on the earth in those days…”
We’ll dedicate at least one study to these guys. For now let’s simply notice that there was something unusual about them.
Here is another quote from Fruchtenbaum:
The second word to note in this verse is giborim, which is translated as “the mighty men… the men of renown.” Again, because this was a product of fallen angels and human women, they were unique. They were the giborim. Notice that there is no mention of mighty women, which would be strange if this were a product of a normal union. After all, a normal union produces both males and females.
If this were a natural union, then the product should have been mighty men and mighty women. But there are only mighty men because this is a new race of beings that is neither human nor angelic. The only way to explain the origin of the giborim is that they were the product of this union…
These bizarre events are also echoed in the legends and myths of every ancient culture upon the earth: the ancient Greeks, the Egyptians, the Hindus, the South Sea Islanders, the American Indians, and virtually all the others.
The more you get into these verses, the more impossible it becomes to say “the sons of God” are merely men.
The New Testament agrees with the interpretation that “the sons of God” were fallen angels. Here are four verses – two in Second Peter, and two in Jude – that indicate these were fallen angels:
2Pe 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;
2Pe 2:5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly…
Jud 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
Jud 1:7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
We know from other verses that certain fallen angels are temporarily confined in a place called the Abyss. They will be released in the Great Tribulation.
Peter describes fallen angels who are permanently confined in a prison in “hell.” The word for “hell” is Tartarus. It is not the Abyss. These angels are in Tartarus permanently, until the final judgment, at which time they will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
Their incarceration has something to do with the global flood; by that I mean that what they did is connected to the judgment of the flood.
Jude tells us what they did that deserved such strong condemnation. They “did not keep their proper domain,” but instead gave themselves over “to sexual immorality [by going] after strange flesh.”
Jude is describing a sexual union that is unnatural – in this case, between fallen angels and human females.
It’s at this point that folks say, “Wait a minute! Jesus said, ‘For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven’” (Matthew 22:30).
It is argued from that statement that angels are sexless and incapable of reproduction.
That isn’t at all what Jesus said. We are reading more into it.
First, Jesus was discussing life in Heaven – not on the earth. He was answering a question about humans in Heaven, and if marriages would continue.
He said, in Heaven, there would be no marriage, and therefore no reproduction – not for angels, and not for humans.
When angels appear on the earth, they are always in a body, and it is always masculine. They are nowhere in the Bible declared to be sexless.
Humans on earth do marry and reproduce. Jesus’ words do not go so far as to say angels cannot marry and reproduce. They are dealing with future life, in Heaven – not life on the earth.
Interestingly, when God’s angels came to Sodom and Gomorrah, the wicked men of those cities wanted to have sex with them.
So, we conclude that when Jesus said that angels in Heaven do not marry and produce offspring, it does not mean fallen angels on earth cannot do so.
God promised Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, that He would send a Savior for the human race. The Savior would be born of a human female.
A theme that is developed in the Old Testament is Satan’s attempt to thwart the plan of God to bring a Savior that would be born of a human female. Polluting the gene pool certainly was a strategy of Satan’s, and it would have worked if not for God saving righteous Noah and his three sons. In the flood, all the unrighteous perished – including the Nephilim.
After the flood, the earth was repopulated by the righteous family of Noah – preserving the line of the promised Savior.
Listen: God didn’t decree the global flood simply because mankind was spiraling into deeper-and-deeper sin. It wasn’t on account of the proliferation of violence, or any other such characteristic.
It was because the human race was itself in jeopardy on account of Satan’s fallen angels tampering with our DNA, producing weird offspring.
God intervened to save us.
I’ve been documenting, in our Prophecy Updates on Sunday morning, that scientists now have the gene-editing technology to, as they are saying, “change all biological life,” and to “control human evolution.”
Thus it is “as the Days of Noah.” and, just as then, God plans to intervene in the Great Tribulation.