The Son’s of God and the Daughters of men.
A commentary on Genesis 6:1-4:
Most commentaries identify the “sons of God” in these verses as divine beings, or angels which were cast to the earth with Lucifer when he rebelled against God in Heaven.
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:1-4
So how should this phrase, “the sons of God” be understood?
There are many scholars and laymen who use extra Biblical material to draw conclusions for the meaning of this phrase; but this causes a problem when the conclusions drawn from this material is contrary to the inspired word. We must always be mindful that the Bible is its own interpreter, and as such; the studied Christian will find the answers that they seek from the sure Word alone.
“The sons of God” is a phrase which is used in several senses in the Old Testament.
1] The King of Israel Jesus Christ: Psalms 2:7; II Samuel 7:14; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; Mica 5:2; Matthew 8:29; Matthew 27:54; Luke 4:41; 8:28; 22:70; John 1:49; 20:31.
2] Members of the divine council: Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7.
3] In a very special way, the Nation of Israel is called the “son of God”: Exodus 4:22-23. But this is symbolic as it was Israel who was to be the progenitor of the Messiah.
4) Members of the human race who follow Jesus: Beginning with Adam: Luke 3:38; Luke 20:36; John 11:52; Romans 8:16; 9:8; Galatians 3:26; I John 3:10.
“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” 1 John 3:10
The righteous ones are from the linage of Seth, and those born of men are not righteous; they are from the linage of Cain.
The context for these verses is provided in Genesis 4 and 5 where the human race is divided into two groups; the descendants of Cain, and the descendants of Seth. This can be recognized in Genesis 6: 1 and 2 if we identify the “sons of God” as those who obey the Lord, that is those who are of the line of Seth; and the rest of mankind as “men” who are of the line of Cain, who do not follow the Lord.
The expression in verse 2 “to take a wife,” is a legal term which describes a marriage between a man and a woman; this marriage establishes a legally binding contract between the two. (Gen 4:19; 11:29; 12:19; 20:2,3; 24:4,7,37,38,40)
One could not surmise for one moment that the Bible is describing a legal union between a woman and an alien being, it is unprecedented, and in no way supported by Scripture.
Also: In what way would any righteous judge condemn the whole human race; including His faithful for the activities of an alien being against His people? The idea is offensive to sound reason as one would have to believe that God allowed this union to take place; in contradiction to His declaration in the beginning that every creature would be after their own kind.
And what was the result of the ‘sons of God’ marrying the daughters of men?
“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men,
and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4
Many would have you believe that the result was giants; but this verse is very clear that the giants already existed before the sons of God married the daughters of men.
And the offspring: “became mighty men which were of old, men of renown”. They became mighty men of the human race, and any suggestion to the contrary is a fabrication.
One must conclude that any offspring were human because there is no suggestion to the contrary, either in this verse, or any other verse in the Bible. The Bible provides more than sufficient evidence to support the idea that they were men of the human race; but that will be a study for another day.
There are several Bible versions which leave the Hebrew word Nephilim in Genesis 6:4 because there is no English equivalent, the King James and others do translate the word as giant, but this is a stretch because the word Nephilim is not defined. It is generally understood by many commentators to mean giant; that is men which are much larger in size than their human counterparts, but there is no evidence to support this conclusion; and we will find that there is a Hebrew word which would be far better to use if that were the case.
Nephilim is a Hebrew word which is not defined, and the translators do not provide an English equivalent.
The word giant in Deuteronomy 2:11 as an example, comes from the Hebrew word “rä·fä'” which is “Rephaim,” which means “old tribe of giants”
“Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims.” Deuteronomy 2:11.
These were truly giants much larger in size and stature than their human counterparts.
But the word “Nephilim”, which is translated “giant” in Genesis 6:4 may have a different meaning, and we should investigate this possibility.
The Hebrew Chaldee Lexicon says the following of this word.
נְפִיל nᵉphîyl, nef-eel’; or נְפִל nᵉphil. Gen 6:4 and Num 13:33. The etmimology of this word is uncertain. Some have compared this word with “gigg” or “cast” which renders “great,” or “large in body;” but this is incorrect; for it means, excellent, noble, skillful.
So the word may actually mean “excellent, noble, or skilful.”
Let’s take a look at the story of the tower of Babel, and take a close look at the men behind the movement to build it.
“And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.”
Now notice the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and then several other cities are mentioned as well which are the worst enemies of Israel in the Old Testament. Now Nimrod was a descendant of Ham, and the line of Ham was the most wicked line of the three sons of Noah.
Shem continued the holy line from Seth, but Ham brought into existence the kingdom of Babylon, and Assyria and also other kingdoms that were inimical to God, and is people.
Now it’s interesting to notice that the name Nimrod means “rebellion” in Hebrew, and of course this whole enterprise at the Tower of Babel was a rebellious enterprise.
Now lest you think that’s not important; over 70 times in the book of Genesis we find God emphasizing the meaning of a name. Names are not just given to identify people, names are given in order to describe the character of the bearer of the name, and in Genesis you have God changing names very frequently when the character changes. And so the name Nimrod; which means rebellion, is very important as this descendant of Ham was intent on establishing an apostate religion against God.
Now Genesis chapter 11: 3, 4
“And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:3, 4
So they said to one another come let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly, for they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar.
And they said come let us build us a city and a tower; notice the word “us” in this sentence. This is a selfish enterprise, let us build ourselves a city and a tower, and again; let us make a name for ourselves lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.
What didn’t they want to happen? They didn’t want to be scattered over the face of the earth; they wanted to remain consolidated in one great apostate united system against God, which we might call a New World Order. This was no longer a patriarchal type of existence, where each household was independent of the other households.
This is the first time that you have a monarchy in human history, and we should now take a look at an interesting statement that is found in the book patriarchs and prophets by Ellen G White.
“God had directed men to disperse throughout the earth, to replenish and subdue it; but these Babel builders determined to keep their community united in one body, and to found a monarchy that should eventually embrace the whole earth. [A monarchy means that there one ruler governing over all the world.] Thus their city would become the metropolis of a universal empire; its glory would command the admiration and homage of the world and render the founders illustrious. The magnificent tower, reaching to the heavens, was intended to stand as a monument of the power and wisdom of its builders, perpetuating their fame to the latest generations.” Patriarchs and Prophets p.119
The word “us” or “ourselves” in Genesis 11:4 indicates that this was a selfish enterprise, they wanted to bring glory and honor to themselves, they wanted to establish a universal Empire in apostasy against God. In fact, later on in history over a thousand years later another Babylonian ruler named Nebuchadnezzar established what is known as the Neo-Babylonian empire in the same geographical location, and we catch a little bit of the spirit of the original builders by looking at the spirit that Nebuchadnezzar had.
Notice Daniel chapter 4 and verse 30: Here we find that Nebuchadnezzar has the same spirit as the Babel builders; Nebuchadnezzar is speaking about his kingdom, and he says.
“Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power,
and for the honour of my majesty?” Daniel 4:30
He had the same selfish spirit as the original builders, he wanted to exalt himself and set himself on high. Now you’ll notice that they wanted to build the tower to reach up to the heavens, and you need to understand this in the light of the flood, the fact is that perhaps they wanted to build the tower so high that they could explain the reason for the flood. But even more importantly, in their minds they felt that they needed to build a tower taller than what the waters of the flood had reached so that in case there should be another flood, they would be able to climb up on the tower and they would be able to deliver themselves from destruction.
In other words they did not believe God when He said that He would not send another flood upon the earth. And so they said let’s build us a tower just in case.
It was a project totally built upon selfishness; and you will notice here that they say that they wanted to make themselves a name; probably a better translation would be they wanted their reputation to become known, they wanted to become renowned. [Remember the word “Nephilim” was “excellent, noble, or skilful.”]
Now these individuals who were building the tower of Babel were actually sharing the same spirit as the daughters of men in Genesis chapter 6.
I want you to notice Genesis chapter 6 verse 2, with the relationship between the sons of God and the daughters of men it says there.
“That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Genesis 6:2
Who was it that interbred here, and what were the results? The sons of God with the daughters of men.
Now let’s take a closer look at verse 4
“There were giants [giants is the Hebrew word Nephilim] 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.” Genesis 6:4
This verse may imply that the giants were the result of the union between the sons of God and the daughters of men, but the text is far from explicit. What it does tell us is that the giants existed before, and also after this union, and that the union bore children that were mighty men of renown, but this in no way suggests that the result of this union were giants. So we cannot conclude that they produced giants simply from this verse alone. Notice the expression where it says “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.”
Now here comes the key portion “Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” It’s the identical expression that is used in Genesis 11, “let us make a name for ourselves”, in other words it really says that they were men with a name, or with a reputation.
And if you read the very next verse you can see what kind of reputation they had.
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the
thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” Genesis 6:5
That’s the type of name that they had, they were wicked, they were renowned for their iniquity.
Notice also that the expression “sons of men” is used for the builders of the tower of Babel, in Genesis chapter 6 you have “sons of God, and daughters of men”, in Genesis 11:5 you have the “sons of men”.
“But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.” Genesis 11:5
Do you think that maybe there were “daughters of God” also, have you ever stopped to wonder why the sons of God looked at the daughters of men, and they didn’t pay any attention to the daughters of God?
It has something to do with the external appearance, watch the video at the following link, and study the transcript to learn the reason why the daughters of men; which are descendants of the lineage of Cain had something attractive that the daughters of God did not.
Now the sons of men here are the male counterpart of the daughters of men of Genesis chapter 6. The daughters of men are the descendants of Cain; that is the women descendants of Cain. The sons of men here are the male descendants of Cain.
Read Ecclesiastes chapter 8 and verse 11
“Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the
heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Ecclesiastes 8:11
In other words: The expression “sons of men” in Genesis represents the wicked.
Now let’s continue our analysis of Genesis chapter 11 and verse 5: it says here.
“But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.” Genesis 11:5
See here: The expression “sons of men” represents the wicked, which are the male counterpart of the daughters of men. The sons of God are the righteous, according to what we’ve studied.
Now: The antediluvian Nephilim were destroyed by the Flood; so the giants which existed after the flood must have come from one of the descendants of Noah. So it is clearly not possible for these giants to be the result of the union between fallen angels and human women, because even if it were true, they were all destroyed in the flood.
So any contextual and linguistic analysis shows that the ideal interpretation of the phrase “sons of God” is the one that finds its seed in the descendants of Seth, and the daughters of men must therefore be those of the descendants of Cain.
Those who believe that the sons of God were fallen angels who took the daughters of men for wives and produced giants have some serious questions to answer; questions which cannot be answered without contradicting the sure word of God, for
“…they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.” Mark 12:25
Angels neither marry, nor are they given in marriage. Then they do they have the ability to produce children.
It is important for all Christians to realize that evolution is a lie, and when God created all living creatures He created them after their own kind, and only after their own kind.
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing,
and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.” Genesis 1:24
This obviously includes man.
So neither man nor woman can reproduce with another creature which is not of their own kind.
“…but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one,
and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” 1 Corinthians 15:39-40
Celestial: That is of heaven.
Terrestrial: That is of earth.
The bodies of the celestial and the terrestrial are different, and those of the celestial cannot reproduce, as Jesus confirms in Mark 12:25, Matthew 22:30 and Luke 20:35.
For they will be as the angels in Heaven, who neither marry, nor are given in marriage.
Continue to part 2 of this study: “The Nephilim”