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WHO WERE THE SONS OF GOD, THE DAUGHTERS OF MEN, THE NEPHILIM AND ORIGIN OF THE DEMONS?
Part 1. of 2.
Sons of God and Daughters of Men
"The craving of demons for a body, evident in the Gospels, offers at least some parallel to this hunger for sexual experience." -Derek Kidner
In 1947 an Arab boy tending his sheep accidentally discovered an
ancient cave near the Dead Sea. In it were found a priceless collection of
ancient scrolls which soon became known as the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Qumran
Among these writings was one known as the Genesis Apocryphon. At first it was thought to be the long lost Book of Lamech. Although the scroll consisted of a speech by Lamech and a story about some of the patriarchs from Enoch to Abraham; it was not that book. According to the Bible, Lamech was the son of Methuselah and the father of Noah. He was the ninth of the ten patriarchs of the antedeluvian world.
It is significant, however, that the Genesis Apocryphon mentions the "Nephilim," and makes reference to the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men" introduced in Genesis 6. The Apocryphon also elaborates considerably on the succinct statements found in the Bible, and provides valuable insights into the way these ancient stories were interpreted by the early Israelites.
The copy of the Genesis Apocryphon discovered at Qumran dates back to the 2nd century B.C., but it was obviously based on much older sources. When discovered in 1947, it had been much mutilated from the ravages of time and humidity. The sheets had become so badly stuck together that years passed before the text was deciphered and made known. When scholars finally made public its content, the document confirmed that celestial beings from the skies had landed on planet Earth. More than that, it told how these beings had mated with Earth-women and had begat giants.
Is this story myth or history, fable or fact? Specialized research has revealed that many ancient legends have a basis in fact. But to answer the question, let us consult the most authoritative document known to man--the Bible.
In Genesis 6:1-4 the "sons of God" are captivated by the beauty of the "daughters of men." They subsequently "took them as wives" and produced an offspring of giants known as the Nephilim. Genesis goes on to say that these Nephilim were "mighty men" and "men of renown."
"Sons of God"? "Daughters of men"? What sort of beings were these? Were they human or did they belong to an alien species from outer space?
IDENTIFYING THE SONS OF GOD
There is no problem in identifying the "daughters of men" for this is a familiar method of designating women in the Bible. The problem lies with the "sons of God." Three major interpretations have been offered to shed light on this cryptic designation.
First, a group within orthodox Judaism theorized that "sons of God" meant "nobles" or "magnates." Hardly anyone today accepts this view.
Second, some interpret the "sons of God" as fallen angels, who began lusting after the "daughters of men." Many reputable Bible commentators have rejected this theory on psycho-physiological grounds. How can one believe, they ask, that angels from Heaven could engage in sexual relations with women from Earth? Philastrius labeled such an interpretation a down-right heresy. As will be discussed later in this article however, that is exactly who they were.
Third, many famed scholars contend that the "sons of God" are the male descendants of Seth, and that the "daughters of men" are the female descendants of Cain. According to this view, what actually happened in Genesis 6 was an early example of believers marrying unbelievers. The good sons of Seth married the bad daughters of Cain, and the result of these mixed marriages was a mongrel offspring. These later became known for their decadence and corruption; indeed, it reached such a degree that God was forced to intervene and destroy the human race. This comment of Matthew could be taken as representative of those holding this view:
"The sons of Seth (that is the professors of religion) married the daughters of men, that is, those that were profane, and strangers to God and godliness. The posterity of Seth did not keep by themselves, as they ought to have done. They inter- mingled themselves with the excommunicated race of Cain."
However, in spite of the excellent pedigree of the proponents of this theory, their argument is not convincing. Their interpretation is pure eisegesis--they are guilty of reading into the text what is obviously not there. This theory fails because the sons of God came from heaven and were part of the heavenly host.
Their interpretation fails on other grounds as well. At no time, before the Flood or after, has God destroyed or threatened to destroy the human race for the sin of "mixed marriages." It is impossible to reconcile this extreme punishment with the mere verbal strictures found elsewhere in the Bible for the same practice. If God is going to be consistent, He should have destroyed the human race many times over!
The contrast made in Genesis 6:2 is not between the descendants of Seth and the descendants of Cain, but between the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men." If by "sons of God" is meant "sons of Seth," then only the sons of Seth engaged in mixed marriages, and not the daughters. And only the daughters of Cain were involved, and not the sons. And another strange assumption is implied: that only the sons of Seth were godly, and only the daughters of Cain were evil.
The strangeness is compounded when one seeks for evidence that the sons of Seth were godly. We know from Genesis that when the time came for God to destroy the human race, He found only one godly family left among them--that of Noah. Where were all the other supposedly godly sons of Seth? Even Seth's own son could hardly be called righteous. His name was Enos meaning "mortal" or "frail." And he certainly lived up to it! Genesis 4:26 reads, "And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord." That statement seems harmless enough, but what does it mean when it says that it was only now that men began to call upon the name of the Lord? Upon whom did Adam call? And Abel? And Seth himself?
Some scholars give us a more literal and exact translation to this verse: "Then men began to call themselves by the name of Jehovah." Other scholars translate the statement in this manner: "Then men began to call upon their gods (idols) by the name of Jehovah." If either of these be the correct translation then the evidence for the so-called godly line of Seth is non- existent. The truth of the matter is that Enos and his line, with few noted exceptions, were as ungodly as the other line. The divine record could not be clearer: "all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth" (Genesis 6:12).
In the Old Testament, the designation "sons of God" (ben Elohim) is never used of humans, but always of supernatural beings that are higher than man but lower than God. To fit such a category only one species is known--angels. And the term "sons of God" applies to both good and bad angels. These are the beings of whom Augustine wrote:
"Like the gods they have corporeal immortality, and passions like human beings."
The designation "sons of God" is used four other times in the Old Testament, each time referring to angels. One example is Daniel 3:25, where king Nebuchadnezzar looks into the fiery furnace and sees four men, "and the form of the fourth is like the son of God." The translation is different and clearer in our modern versions, "like a son of the gods." Since Jesus had not yet become the "only begotten son" of God, this "son" would have had to be angelic.
Another example is Job 38:7 which says the sons of God shouted for joy when God laid the foundations of the Earth. Angels are the only entities that fit this designation since man had not been created at that time! Which eliminates the theory of the line of Seth being the "sons of God."
In Job 1:6 and Job 2:1 the "sons of God" came to present themselves before the Lord in Heaven. Among the sons of God is Satan--a further implication that the "sons of God" must have been among the angels who were his followers. another point to keep in mind, is the fact these "sons of God"/angels were only some of the one third who followed Satan, as found in Rev.12:4, and still remain, to be thrown out of heaven, according to Rev.12:7-9, during the seven years of tribulation, yet to take place.
The designation "sons of God" is used in the Old Testament only four times, and is Scripturally supported as meaning angels, as recorded in Jude 6. About the angels who kept not their first estate, in heaven, it is logical to conclude that the term in Genesis 6:2 also refers to angels.
Keep in mind when God sent angels to the earth as messengers, they were the same as human men with every capability of man, as the angels were who went to Sodom, of Gen.19, and of Jesus after His resurrection, with full capabilities, such as thinking, speaking, eating, functioning in every human capacity, the scars being felt on His body by Thomas with every reason to believe, to have perfectly normal sexual capable as well.
SONS OF GOD: THREE CATEGORIES
In the New Testament, born-again believers in Christ are called the children of God or the sons of God (Luke 3:38, John 1:12, Romans 8:14, 1 John 3:1). Dr. Bullinger in the Companion Bible states: "It is only by the divine specific act of creation that any created being can be called 'a son of God.'" This explains why every born-again believer is a son of God. It explains also why Adam was a son of God. Adam was specifically created by God, "in the likeness of God made He him" (Genesis 5:1). All of mankind have been made in God's image, in His likeness, beginning with Adam, according to Gen.1:26.
[B]Lewis Sperry Chafer expresses this in an interesting way when he states:[/B]
"In the Old Testament terminology angels are called sons of God while men are called servants of God. In the New Testament this is reversed. Angels are the servants and Christians are the sons of God." (3)
It is thus clear that the term "sons of God" in the Bible is limited to three categories of beings: angels, Adam and believers. All three are special and specific creations of God. As for the use of the term in Genesis 6, since it cannot possibly refer to Adam nor believers in Christ, we conclude that it has to refer to the angels whom God had created.
LIGHT FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT
Two New Testament passages shed further light on Genesis 6. They are Jude 6-7 and 2 Peter 2:4. These verses indicate that at some point in time a number of angels fell from their pristine state and proceeded to commit a sexual sin that was both unusual and repugnant. Jude 6-7 states:
"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh..."
These angels not only failed to keep their original dominion and authority, but they "left their own habitation." Habitation is a significant word: it means "dwelling place" or "heaven." And the addition of the Greek word "idion" ("their own") means that they left their own private, personal, unique possession. Heaven is/was the personal residence of the sons of God/angels who chose "the daughters of men," and lost it.
Not only did these angels leave Heaven, they left it once-for- all. The Greek verb "apoleipo" is in the aorist tense, thus indicating a once-for-all act. By taking the action they did, these angels made a final and irretrievable decision. They crossed the Rubicon. Their action, says Kenneth Wuest, "was apostasy with a vengeance."
As to the specific sin of these angels, we are given the facts in Jude 7. As in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah it was the sin of "fornication" and it means "going after strange flesh." "Strange" flesh means flesh of a different kind (Greek "heteros"). To commit this particularly repugnant sin, the sons of God/angels decided to abandon their own domain and invade a realm that was divinely forbidden to them.
These angels transgressed the limits of their own immortal imperishable heavenly realm to invade one of created beings of a mortal, perishable earthly realm.
"It was a departure from the appointed course of nature and seeking after that which is unnatural, to other flesh than that appointed by God for the fulfillment of natural desire."
The mingling of these two orders of being, was contrary to what God had intended, and summarily led to God's greatest act of judgment ever enacted upon the human race.
TEMPTING THE ANGELS
Another New Testament verse may have bearing on Genesis 6. In I Corinthians 11:10, Paul instructs that a woman should cover her head as a sign of subjection to her husband, and also "because of the angels." This observation has intrigued commentators through the years. Why this sudden reference to angels? Could it be a reference to what happened in Genesis 6 where angels succumbed to the inducements and physical charm of the women of Earth? Obviously, Paul believed that an uncovered woman was a temptation even to angels. William Barclay mentions an old rabbinic tradition which alleges that it was the beauty of the women's long hair that attracted and tempted the angels in Genesis.
The off-spring of this union between the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men" were so extraordinary that it indicates an unusual parentage. In no way could the progenitors of such beings be ordinary humans. Their mothers possibly could be human, or their fathers, but certainly not both. Either the father or the mother had to be superhuman. Only in such a way can one account for the extraordinary character and prowess of the off-spring who were the Nephilim, the giants on the earth.
God's law of reproduction, according to the biblical account of creation, is "everything after his kind." God's law makes it impossible for giants to be produced by normal parentage. To produce such monstrosities as the Nephilim presupposes super- natural parentage.
"Nephilim" is a Hebrew word translated in the Authorized King James version as "giants." "There were giants in the earth in those days" (Genesis 6:4). The Hebrew and the Greek words do not exclude the presence of great physical strength. Indeed, a combined supernatural and natural parentage would imply such a characteristic. Angels, according to Scripture, are known for their power. They are often referred to as "sons of the Mighty" (Psalm 103:20). Therefore, if the ones who sired them were strong and mighty, it could be assumed that their offspring were likewise.
No evidence exists in Scripture that the offspring of mixed human marriages (believers and unbelievers) ever produced giants, excelling in great strength and might. No evidence can be found anywhere in history for that matter.
When the word "Nephilim" is used in Numbers 13:33, the question of size and strength is explicit. Here we are left in no doubt as to their superhuman prowess. When Joshua's spies reported back from Canaan, they called certain of the inhabitants of Canaan "giants." "And there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, which come of the Nephilim, and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight."
According to Gen.6:4 the Nephilim were on the earth in those days, before the flood of Noah - and after! How that took place is not defined for us in the Scriptures, since the earlier Nephilim had been destroyed in the Flood. The only logical explanation for it, is that all of the sons of God who were involved in it had not yet been caught and locked up in the Abyss awaiting judgement as the others had. Which is also a primary reason for God ordering Joshua to destroy all of the pagan tribes they encountered on their way to Canaan.
Review the following for pictorial evidence:
End of Part 1. Part 2. follows