Genesis Chapter Six
When you make the decision to look intently at Genesis chapter six, you begin to see
a strange people,
and an angry God.
The definitions and reasons behind those oddities do not jump out so readily, and so it takes dedication and a heart that chooses to understand to grasp what I am going to tell you.
The objective in talking about the Nephilim is not to make some new doctrine out of the unusual things buried within the Word but to open your eyes to the God that lives outside the time and space dimensions we do. Perhaps another way of putting this is to say that God does not live inside our religious box.
Here is where we will begin this dive into the Nephilim.
“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, whomsoever they chose.”
(Genesis 6:1-2 JPS)
Where did those “the sons of God” come from?
An assumption would be Cain’s and Shem’s descendants. But you have a problem because you cannot answer where Cain or Shem’s wife came from. To assume that these two stood around waiting for mom and dad to crank out some sisters is laughable. Assumptions are rarely productive or educational.
I cannot define who the sons of God were without understanding that this book we are looking at is a Jewish book, and the majority is written in Hebrew. But, of course, we also need to grasp the writer’s mentality; that tends to mean paying attention to the context. And I can use some logic to help comprehend this. Since we only know of two people, at this point, Adam and Eve, and God made them in his image.
“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7 NASB)
Sometime later, He makes the woman.
“The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”
(Genesis 2:20-22 NASB)
Operating on the premise that there are only two people on the earth, there could only be a handful of possibilities for ancestral sons on the planet. But, for argument’s sake, there are supposedly only two people on earth when sin infiltrates humanity.
- Descendants of Adam and Eve.
Keep in mind that from the garden forward, all their descendants carry a damaged chromosome that promotes an inclination to sin. In a way, humanity was already damaged by Adam’s treasonous act, making any further demonic efforts pointless; and yet the onslaught from Satan’s cohorts continues proactively. What gives this more credence lies in Genesis 3:15.
“And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 NLT)
Well, this demonic onslaught could certainly be perceived as hostility or warfare. And though I will not pursue it here, the fact that it speaks of offspring from Satan should alarm you. Her offspring speaks to the birth of Jesus, but keep in mind that Jesus was the product of God being carried by this young virgin Mary. There was no human procreation involved, making Jesus sinless from birth and, therefore, the only one who could pay the price of our redemption.
However, because God spoke a prophetic word that indicated that an offspring from Eve would strike Satan’s heel, Satan had every reason to disrupt that plan. So no, an attempt to pollute and stop the human lineage through demonic intervention simply because they were descendants of Adam and Eve falls short.
- Both Cain and Seth found a woman to “marry.”
Where did these women come from?
I happen to think that it is a logical question that deserves an answer.
I can logically assume that children were produced prior to eating from the tree of knowledge in the garden, as it is not practical to think that their bodies suddenly matured and they discovered sex after sinning.
Since we have little that defines Adam and Eve prior to sin, one might say that the children were Godlike (Consider that Adam was made in the image of God, and Eve is a clone of Adam.) This seems logical as Adam had dominion over the earth, and we rarely stop to think what that means.
And we have NO idea how long those two walked this earth prior to Adam’s treason. Then the potential number of children, who only know how to act based on what they saw and heard from Adam and Eve, could have been uncountable. (If you pay attention when you read about the creation of Adam and Eve, you will never see God giving any instructions to Eve or the sons, and yet we make the assumption that they are supposed to know the rules. Since we do see God giving those instructions to Adam, then the only logical recourse is to assume that it was Adam’s responsibility to pass the restrictions about the tree of knowledge along to Eve. This understanding is the basis of Satan’s argument, “did God really say that?” Because the pretense is that Adam played her, lied to her, and that would make God a liar as well.
What happened as sin suddenly traveled through the earth like a shock wave?
Scripture tells us that the sons of god looked on the daughters of men.
They would suddenly have looked upon the women differently, as sin was now affecting them to the point that they saw women as something to lust upon. (This train of thought is conjecture as there is little to back such statements.)
The Young’s Literal Translation tells us that the sons of god saw “the daughters of men that they are fair, and they take to themselves women of all whom they have chosen.”
The phrase “the sons of god” is the usage of two Hebrew words, ben ‘ĕlôhı̂ym. Elohim means rulers, judges, divine ones, and angels, while ben means sons.
Now, why would I use the terminology supposedly in relation to people on earth?
Because it seems intuitive for the man, Adam, to mate with the woman, and, whether you intended to make a baby or not, babies happen; and our “two” humans are not even in the garden as yet, at least that is the way we get this narrative depicted to us.
Stepping away from babies for a moment, you need to realize that God placed Adam in the garden and pointed out that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was in the middle of the garden.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:7-9 KJV)
“The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17 NASB)
Is that clear enough?
When you eat from that tree, you will die.
Ah, but how many ways are there to die?
Physically, spiritually, and perhaps the hardest to understand, complete separation from God. Unfortunately, to many, this separation means nothing until it is experienced.
Another reason for using the term supposedly is because God has to say to Eve, now your pain will be increased in childbirth.
The Complete Jewish Bible puts it this way.
To the woman, he said, “I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth. You will bring forth children in pain. Your desire will be toward your husband, but he will rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16 CJB)
That is a bizarre disclosure unless she has already been producing children with minimal discomfort, and you have NOTHING that restricts Adam and Eve’s time or actions together to the garden environment.
The third argument in support of Adam producing offspring outside the garden is the fact that Cain, the first of two children since the fall of humanity, says, people will kill me. Quite an odd statement when we prefer to believe that there are only three people on earth, and we see nothing to explain how or why Cain would have this concept.
Cain, understandably, leaves the family unit and goes to the land of Nod.
“Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. “When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear! “Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground, and from Your face, I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” So the LORD said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him seven-fold.” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain so that no one finding him would slay him. Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” (Genesis 4:11-16 NASB)
I looked at the word land to see if I could find some clue as to where Cain went, but no, it just means the vastness of the land. Nod, on the other hand, gives us a clue that I did not expect. In Hebrew, it means vagrancy, or, as the Brown-Driver-Briggs definition puts it, wandering.
The very next verse says,
“And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch, and he built a city and called the name of the city after the name of his son Enoch.” (Genesis 4:17 JPS)
And we are left to assume that in this land of Nod that Cain immediately found himself a woman and started a family. So think about this, Cain finds his woman in the land of wandering also. What a treasure she must have been.
For life to go on and people to expand their families is not unusual; however, we have no well-defined evidence to tell us what life was like before sin entered the human stream, but when Adam saw Eve, he said, “At last! This is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh.” (CJB).
All the soft furry animals may have talked, but they were NOT human, and Eve was like him in more ways than one. So it only makes sense that after the introductions, the exploratory interactions began.
Having been raised in the church, where everything associated with the world was evil and would send you to hell, I asked the question, what makes the sexual act a sin?
What makes it a sin is the intent and the self-serving idolatry that goes along with that intent. That intent can turn into idolatry, where you are setting up something as having more importance than God, and that is what makes it a sin. But remember, as yet, corruption was NOT integrated into the lives of Adam and Eve and, therefore, had NO impact on them. It was all good.
This is a naively simple translation of Genesis 6:2.
“the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.” Genesis 6:2 NIV
Who were the sons of God?
Or did God actually have sons at this point?
Since I should know that we are not talking about the sons of Adam, then it has to be someone else.
The Hebrew word for sons is ‘ben,’ pronounced bane, and means a son (as a builder of the family name), in the broadest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc… Word Study Dictionary.
So I know that I am dealing with a figurative relationship when I read “the sons of God.”
BDB Definition: 1) son, grandson, child, member of a group, 1f) sons (as characterization, i.e., sons of injustice [for unrighteous men] or sons of God [for angels]), 1g) people (of a nation) (plural), 1h) of lifeless things, 1i) a member of a guild, order, or class.
Since I know that the relationship is figurative, then it becomes easier to understand that these are fallen angels. Young’s Literal Translation also identifies them as fallen angels.
“The fallen ones were in the earth in those days, and even afterwards when sons of God come in unto daughters of men, and they have borne to them—they are the heroes, who, from of old, are the men of name.” (Genesis 6:4 YLT)
Do not read this and say, look, only moments later, the verse calls them sons of God, so it is two different groups. The Holy Spirit is telling you that the fallen ones came back after the flood to try a variety of approaches by which they could pollute and nullify God’s people.
Let’s see if there is any corroborating evidence for some of my theories.
These sons of God are (any) descendants of Adam.
The problem with that is genetics. You will get black cats if you breed two pure strains of black cats. God created Adam; therefore, the possibility of the couple’s first offspring looking extraordinarily different than the originals would be insurmountable, that is, unless something extraordinary happened, and it did – they ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. So any sexual activity prior to the entry of sin would have produced offspring exactly like the Godlike creations they were.
Sin, through the eating of the forbidden fruit, corrupted the human DNA, and that caused mutations within the offspring that no one could see. While that is certainly a possibility, it is not addressing where the sons of god came into play. Not everything in scripture is black and white, but there is usually some underlying evidence to support or reject some theory.
Why, then, would God choose to send his son Jesus as a man when there was the possibility of that form having a genetic malfunction that would make him unqualified to pay the debt necessary?
In case you missed this in your Bible reading, God circumvented the human reproductive method and had a young virgin, Mary, carry a fertilized egg made without human intervention. That fertilized egg had NO malfunction or sin attached to it at all, as God bypassed humanity to produce that egg. Don’t lose sleep over this concept; just remember that He created Eve, and all her intricate body functions from a rib. He can create a fertilized ovum.
These sons of God are not humans, leaving only angels.
Your mind cannot wrap around that as yet. Hang on.
The Hebrew gives us some leeway in looking at the word ‘ben‘ as It carries the connotation of a figurative relationship with God. Based on this information, we still have no clear definition of who the sons of God are.
What does it mean when it calls them the sons of God?
The word God is one we have become familiar with as church leaders try to integrate us into the Jewish heritage. In this case, it is the word ‘elohiym.
Brown-Driver-Briggs‘ Hebrew Definitions – Transliteration: ‘elohiym – Definition: 1. (plural) a. rulers, judges b. divine ones c. angels d. gods.
It is becoming more evident that the ‘sons’ is taking on a figurative or conditional relationship and could easily have been angels, and that is why I want you to look at Job’s life for a moment. This journey into Job may seem long, but the important takeaway is that Satan is included among the “sons of God.”
In the opening narrative about Job, we see Job’s sons.
“His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.”
(Job 1:4 NASB)
Now this narrative alone may mean nothing, but Job is troubled by their actions and repeatedly offers sacrifices to God, presuming that the boys have sinned and cursed God.
“When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.”
(Job 1:5 NASB)
The religious, who feel they have the right to be critical of Job, will point out that “without faith, it is impossible to please God,” which may have been Job’s failure. Admittedly, the passage tells us that Job continually offered “sacrifices to God,” which would seem to be a problem.
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.” (Job 1:6 NASB)
A straightforward observation is that this is the same Satan Jesus saw fall to earth.
“And He said to them, I saw Satan falling like a lightning [flash] from heaven.” (Luke 10:18 AMP)
Our assumption upon reading that is that Satan was permanently ejected from heaven, yet there he is. It feels more like he lost his seat at the United Nations assembly, but not his right to attend the meetings and voice his protests. Satan was well aware that God had protected Job, but he was not aware that Job had somehow made himself vulnerable.
“Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? …” (Job 1:10 NASB)
So no, Satan does not know everything, and we see him challenging God to test him yourself.
“All right, you may test him,” the LORD said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the LORD’s presence. (Job 1:12 NLT)
Truth is, beyond God telling Satan that he is in your hands, we don’t know what happened to Job to make him vulnerable to Satan. What we do know is that God trusts the man to not submit to Satan’s tests.
The following is an excerpt from the ‘Through the Bible’ commentary by Dr. J. Vernon McGee.
“The term “sons of God” in the Old Testament is used elsewhere but only of angels, never of man. In the book of Job, the sons of God were presenting themselves to God and Satan also came with them, angels. It would appear that these are angels here in Genesis, that they actually began to intermingle and intermarry. You say but wait a minute. Jesus said the angels neither marry nor are given in marriage in heaven. That is true. But Jesus did not say that they were sexless; He just said there was no marriage nor given in marriage. And it is interesting that always angels are referred to in a masculine form.” (emphasis mine)
I will lend my agreement to the late Dr. McGee, although he does not need it, in saying that I am unwaveringly convinced that angels were involved in the business of men.
Who were the Nephilim or giants?
I will give you two translations for comparison.
Genesis 6:4 (KJV) states that: “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that,”
Genesis 6:4 (NIV) The Nephilim were on the earth in those days–and also afterward–
And one more verse for understanding.
“In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.” (Genesis 6:4 NLT)
If the sons of God were angels, they were NOT living on the earth as the heavens are, or were their realm; but ask yourself, how does this statement apply to the fallen ones. From what we saw in Job, it is apparent that they move back and forth between heaven and earth with ease.
How odd; if we start with the pure strain called Adam, made by the hand of God, and Eve was a clone of Adam, there should have been no expectation of oddities, and yet here they are in the form of Nephilim. There are so many translations of Genesis 6:4, and many, probably because the era in which this was published was attempting to show sophistication, used words like “came” into, or took in marriage. Give me a break.
The “God’s Word” translation tells us that the “sons of God slept with the daughters of other humans,” as though they were all humans. In almost every interaction with humans, these beings looked like humans, although a few had wings.
The “ISV” translation says it straightforward “those divine beings were having sexual relations with those human women.”
A common religious argument which Dr. McGee mentioned in the previous quote, is that “ Jesus said the angels neither marry nor are given in marriage in heaven. That is true. But Jesus did not say that they were sexless; He just said there was no marriage nor given in marriage.”
Since many translators stated this interaction as “came unto,” which sounds like they met at a local dance, let’s tear this apart for a moment.
“Came in unto” is the Hebrew phrase bô’ el. The word bô’ carries meanings to enter, fall, or light upon (which quickly moves this thought into the category of spoils of warfare.) The Word Study Dictionary states that “It is used with the preposition el meaning to have intercourse,” and that is precisely what we see in (Genesis 6:4). In Genesis16:2, these are the words that Sarai spoke to Abram when she told him to go have sex with Hagar.
We cannot deny that there were giants because we have some bones, pictorial evidence, and historical records of these giants. Young David, before he assumed his kingship, slew Goliath – the giant, and mythology tries to explain the existence of such people.
How else would normal humans have described such persons?
Perhaps mythology was closer than we choose to believe.
H5303 nephı̂yl. Transliteration Nephilim. It is from H5307 nâphal. It is possible that the differences were pre-flood and post-flood.
Interesting that the Strong’s concordance indicates that they were bullies or tyrants.
The Word Study Dictionary tells us that Nephilim is a masculine noun and is only used in the plural sense to mean giants. That means that there were many of them. Having cohabited with women, the Nephilim – the mighty men or warriors of great fame, were the offspring.
The ‘WSD’ also indicates that H5307 is the Hebrew word napal: A verb meaning to fall, to lie, to prostrate oneself, to be overthrown.
I cannot help but think about a teaching that Dr. Chuck Missler did on the Nephilim. He asked the question, who is being overthrown here? Although the attempt was made on God, it failed, and it was Satan/Lucifer and those that followed him in this mutinous attempt that got overthrown. A wise observation is to pick up on the fact that these fallen ones are still viable but will meet their fate someday soon.
Brown-Driver-Briggs Definition of H5307 shows it spelled in this manner na^phal, and conveys the idea of being cast down or they failed. You could say they are fallen.
There is no denying that angels, fallen or not, have been involved in the affairs of humanity since time began, and you see their influence throughout the scriptures. Lot had some dealings with them, as two of them eventually had to grab Lot, his wife, and his daughters and remove them from the town that was to be destroyed. Daniel had angels appear to him on multiple occasions to give and explain dreams, and Jacob wrestled with one, although we believe this to have been a Christophany, a pre-incarnate interaction with Jesus.
An alarming statement in Genesis 6:4 tells us that they (the giants) were in the earth then and after.
For those that get hung up on the word impossible, consider that the Nephilim were here before the flood. All humans outside Noah’s extended family get destroyed, yet the giants returned again.
I don’t know about you, but I have to wonder, how did the destructive nature of sin get so reinvested in the earth?
We were told that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. I always assumed that Noah was a good man, like Joseph, who was engaged to Mary. We have nothing that tells us what would have made Noah a good man. I did a little investigation a few years ago and found that Adam was around 600+ years when Enoch was born. Who better train a curious young man when he comes to ask what it was like walking in the garden with God. Methuselah’s name, which many say, means “when he dies, it will come,” may well have had an influence from Adam and Enoch, and we do see Methuselah dying before the flood. Otherwise, I suspect he, too, would have been on that boat.
The Hebrew word for grace is chên and means that Noah found favor and kindness from the Lord. If you take this narrative back to the garden, you will discover Abel offering a proper sacrifice of a lamb, while Cain did not. I challenge you to find the time when God gave those instructions to Abel; you won’t find them. And neither will you find God giving Eve the warning to NOT eat from the tree of knowledge in the middle of the garden, as that was entirely Adam job, as he had been given dominion over the planet. This dominion included his lovely “wife” and, after the fall, his offspring – Cain and Abel.
Did you catch what I did there?
I put their names in birth order. This is significant because, whether Adam told them individually or in a group session, he told them both, and he was the representative of God here on earth. So I can prove that with this statement from God.
If you had done the right thing, you would be smiling; but because you have done evil, sin is crouching at your door. It wants to rule you, but you must overcome it.”
(Genesis 4:7 GNB)
[The translations of this verse are split down the middle. The NASB, which I prefer, says, “If you do well.” Killing your brother should be considered, by most, to be the polar opposite of doing well.]
You can’t punish your child for something that you have NOT explained to them unless you are just a tyrant. So we have evidence that God had explained the rules to Cain as well as Abel, but He did it through Adam.
Among these men on earth, one man stood out. The question is, why?
Noah – and why he stands out, requires more than a casual look.
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of Jehovah”. (Genesis 6:8 MKJV)
Jehovah yehôvâh – (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah,
“… Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9 KJV)
Just is the same word translated as righteous. It is tsaddı̂yq.
The word perfect is the Hebrew word tâmı̂ym. Some of its meanings include: complete, whole, entire, sound, and unimpaired.
The word for perfect in relationship to Noah’s generations implies purity within his generational lineage. That would mean that there has never been a time, since Adam, without the destructive interaction of fallen angels.
What, then, would they have been impaired by, and doesn’t that mean that the entirety of the world had been damaged?
Just a couple of names stand out as I think about the genealogy of Adam; Enoch and Methuselah.
“And Enoch walked with God, and then he was not, for God took him.”
(Genesis 5:24 MKJV)
But if you recall, the sons of god were only going after the daughters of men. In so doing, they were attempting to corrupt the human genome through the creation of giants, titans, and monsters.
“the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were good. And they took wives for themselves from all whom they chose.” (Genesis 6:2 MKJV)
Took is the Hebrew word lâqach means to take, seize, and carry away. This was not civilized nor romantic but a forceful act on the part of these fallen angels.
Now, why would that be important?
Because God had a plan to recover his creation, humanity, and it involved bringing a son into the world, which had to be done through a pure line from Adam. Recall how I talked about a pure strain that would have been initiated with Adam and Eve. Satan picked up on this idea and gave orders to impact and pervert the lineage of humanity in an effort to thwart God’s plan of redemption. It almost worked, and that is why we have this cautionary message about Noah being perfect or pure.
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Matthew 24:37 (NIV)
There is already an onslaught of demonic influence greater than anything Noah might have witnessed, and much of it will be hidden under the guise of alien invasions.