One mistake that folks make when considering this subject is ignoring the context.
Actually, since there is so little commentary on this particular period of time, it would be beneficial to consider the chapters leading up to chapter 6. We must take them into consideration to understand the correct context of chapter six. In reality chapter six is an extension of chapters four and five, so this should add to our understanding of the context there.
“This is the book of the generations of Adam,” (Gen. 5:1). The list of who’s who takes us down ten generations until we reach Noah and his sons, “And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat (his wife had) Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”
We are at the place in history just 100 years before the great flood. By this time there has been substantial human development, “and it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the earth…” As in any development of a species “addition” is the beginning phase, but at some point “multiplication” takes over, sky-rocketing the population in a relatively short period of time. This is where human development had come to in Genesis six, with potentially (as some scholars claim) millions of inhabitants.
From the Garden of Eden rebellion to this time is some 1,550 years. This would be ample time for millions to have been born. With such vital force and longevity, multiple generations would be alive for centuries. From the start of sin in Eden, the corrupt human nature would be passed on to succeeding generations and we see clearly how quickly are the results of such a deprived nature with the first son (Cain), becoming a murderer and vagabond.
The only safeguard in contrast to the fallen sin nature is conversion. What is listed in Genesis 4 and 5 are the two distinct lines of human development, the converted in chapter 5, following the will of God; chapter 4 reveals those who allowed the carnal nature to have control. This is why in Genesis 5 Adam’s descendant is listed as Seth and not Cain. Cain despised the true God, eventually left the area and started his own city. Seth would follow in his father’s footsteps in serving the Lord.
The author of Genesis refers to this as Sons of God (those that follow God’s will and truth) contrasted with the daughters of men (those that followed in Cain’s folly and error). What is really being described in chapter 6, is a mingling of those converted with those who were not. Angels are not mentioned, fallen or otherwise. Chapter six logically provides the main explanation for the flood judgment brought on by a loving God. Our heavenly Father in mercy would bring the violence and suffering to an end. The mingling of truth and error created chaos on the entire planet.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Co 6:14) At creation God separated light from darkness, He would not allow a continued mingling of truth an error, righteousness with unrighteousness.
The union of Seth’s descendants (Sons of God) and Cain’s descendants (noted as the daughters of men) created a situation that God would not allow. These unholy aliances (marriages) would produce offspring that totally humanistic in thinking. This of course was precisely the direction Satan intended for humanity to go, distorting the image of God in mankind. With each succeeding generation, the will of God would fade into obscurity. It was neither necessary nor possible for angels to procreate with humans to bring about this condition. The context is so clear, the Scriptures are really revealing intermarriage between the Sethites and the Cainites. It was this mingling of truth and error that totally corrupted humanity (just like today) that brought about conditions causing God to step in and (in mercy) judge that generation with a great flood.
A greater understanding of marriage helps to understand why God judged the entire world for this corruption of human relationships.
Examine the distinct lines: the ten generations of the Sons of God extending to the flood and the meaning of their names. Adam means “Man”, Seth means “Appointed”, Enos means “Wretched”, Cainan means “Mourner”, Mahalaleel means “The Blessed God”, Jared means “Shall Come Down”, Enoch means “Consecrated”, Methuselah means “By His Death To Bring”, Lamech mean “The Oppressed”, and Noah means “Comfort”
This is what the faithful line (Sons of God) signified: Man is appointed a wretched mourner, but the Blessed God shall come down, consecrated by his death to bring to the oppressed comfort.
The meaning of the names corresponds very specifically to God’s plan of salvation in the sending of the Messiah to save us. This was the promise from the beginning (Gen.3:15). If we more closely examine Cain’s descendants, we also discover the revelation of how wicked unrighteousness had become.
Cain in the Hebrew is Qayin, a “possession” (of Eve and Adam), but divorced from the truth of his parents teaching, he was a “spear” used by Satan to pierce his parents’ (and God’s) heart. He walked away from the truth as well as killing his own brother. His son’s name, Enoch, means “consecrated”, but not to the creator God, but to his own creations. Irad is begotten by Enoch and his name means “fleet” (multiple instruments of deception). Sin is a malady that works quickly, Cain the first son kills his own brother at a relatively young age, but sin still has centuries to go in taking the world captive before God steps in to check the cancerous race.
The righteous line is as salt preserving the world with promise and hope, but also an irritant to the ungodly. Eventually intermarriage between the Sethites and the Cainites infected all of humanity, setting the stage for self-destruction of this super race, and the super place God had provided for humanity (Earth). Irad’s son Mehujael is smitten by God, disciplinary action by a merciful God in an attempt to reach this idolatrous line of unconverted. Mehujael’s son is Methusael translated Methuwsha’el (both father and son have the el suffix in their names which means Elohim – the plural of God), but Methusael does not live up to his name, “Man of God.” The Scriptural account does not indicate, but I am hopeful that some from Cain’s line converted as this is always an individual choice. However, Lamech his son, is a proud ambitious man and further seems to broaden the road leading to a godless lifestyle.
Notice these quotes from Jewish scholar Alfred Edershiem:
“We must remember that centuries had elapsed since the creation, and that men had already multiplied on the earth. Beyond this settlement of Cain, nothing seems to have occurred which Scripture has deemed necessary to record, except the names of the “Cainites”, somewhat singularly like those of the “Sethites.” Thus, we follow the line of Cain’s descendants to Lamech, the fifth from Cain, when all at once the character and tendencies of that whole race appear fully developed. It comes upon us, almost by surprise, that within so few generations, and in the lifetime of the first man, almost every commandment and institution of God should already be openly set aside, and violence, lust, and ungodliness prevail upon the earth.
The first direct breach of God’s arrangement of which we here read, is the introduction of polygamy. “Lamech took unto him two wives.” Assuredly, “from the beginning it was not so.” But this is not all. Scripture preserves for us in the address of Lamech to his two wives, the earliest piece of poetry. It has been designated “Lamech’s Sword-song,” and breathes a spirit of boastful defiance, of trust in his own strength, of violence, and of murder,” (Lamech means powerful).
“Of God there is no further acknowledgment than in a reference to the avenging of Cain, from which Lamech augurs his own safety. Nor is it without special purpose that the names of Lamech’s wives and of his daughter are mentioned in Scripture. For their names point to “the lust of the eye, and the lust of the flesh,” just as the occupations of Lamech’s sons point to “the pride of life.”
The names of his wives were “Adah,” that is, “beauty,” or “adornment;” and “Zillah,” that is, “the shaded,” perhaps from her tresses, or else “sounding,” perhaps from her song; while “Naamah,” as Lamech’s daughter was called, means “pleasant, graceful, lovely.” And here we come upon another and most important feature in the history of the “Cainites.” The pursuits and inventions of the sons of Lamech point to the culture of the arts, and to a settled and permanent state of society. His eldest son by Adah, “Jabal, was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle,” that is, he made even the pastoral life a regular business. His second son, “Jubal, was the father of all such as handle the harp (or cithern), and the flute (or sackbut),” in other words, the inventor alike of stringed and of wind instruments; while Tubal-Cain, Perhaps “Tubal, the smith.” Lamech’s son by Zillah, was “an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron.
Taken in connection with Lamech’s sword-song, which immediately follows the scriptural account of his son’s pursuits, we are warranted in designating the culture and civilization introduced by the family of Lamech as essentially godless. And that, not only because it was that of ungodly men, but because it was pursued independent of God, and in opposition to the great purposes which He had with man. Moreover, it is very remarkable that we perceive in the Cainite race those very things which afterwards formed the characteristics of heathenism, as we find it among the most advanced nations of antiquity, such as Greece and Rome. Over their family-life might be written, as it were, the names Adah, Zillah, Naamah; over their civil life the “sword-song of Lamech,” which indeed strikes the key-note of ancient heathen society; and over their culture and pursuits, the abstract of the biographies which Scripture furnishes us of the descendants of Cain.”
This distinction between Sons of God and daughters of men is also more clearly defined in the remaining Scriptures. Out of the eleven verses that use the phrase (Sons of God) not one refers to angels. All refer to beings other than angels. Job 38:7 even separates them from angels, “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7); the morning stars are a reference to angels, (the word star is often used to designate an angel) with the sons of God shouting for joy. The phrase “sons of God” always is synonymous with unfallen or converted beings, other than angels.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).
“Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jo. 3:1-2). The sons of God, from a scriptural perspective, are clearly human beings that have been converted and follow His will.
There is no Biblical precedent for a union between angel and human that produces offspring; both are created beings, but with distinct features and responsibilities. Christ created the angels but made Adam from the earth. Angels were created to serve, to be ministering spirits, messengers etc. Humanity was made in the image and likeness of God with the ability to procreate, to “be fruitful and fill the earth” (Gen.1:28). “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).
The union of man and woman was initiated before sin and became a sacred trust, we call this marriage. This sacred trust along with Sabbath worship came from Eden, but even after sin, was a representation of another union, that of Christ and His bride (the church and the New Jerusalem). I don’t see any evidence in Scripture that God would allow for this sacred trust to be distorted at the angelic level. In fact, the evidence is contrary to the theory. “For He (God) shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways”, (read all of Psalm 91). As long as the Sons of God cherished God in their hearts, they would be protected against the forces of evil, protected by righteous angels. “For it is God that worketh in us; both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
The question then becomes: once those who were faithful departed from their stand with God, would they be vulnerable to evil angelic advances in the form of humans? This calls into question the very nature of angels themselves, plus, notice that the theory is one sided with only females being impregnated. Why no angels masquerading as females to entice human men and produce half and half offspring? This is a logical argument against the whole theory.
Matt. 22:30 begins to answer this question, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven”. Angels, good or bad, do not marry. They are gender neutral, created not for the purpose of pro-creation but service. The author of Hebrews adds additional clarity; “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself (Christ) likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil…For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham”. Christ incarnate partook of humanity as opposed to that of the nature of angels.
I’m quite certain that if possible the fallen angels would have delighted in producing a half-breed race of unsanctified beings, but this was not possible. And why would they even bother? They have the capability to possess men’s hearts and minds, working their evil through any who would permit it. Sexual intercourse would not even be a necessity.
Christ was routinely casting out evil spirits (fallen demonic angels) from those who had allowed this personal intrusion. The devil will have his way with any who are not truly converted to Christ, and as the great destroyer has ravished and extinguished millions of lives. If he had his way, he would eliminate all Christians as well (Rev. 9:11, Lam. 3:22-23). Praise God for His wonderful watchcare; we are under the blood and His wings of protection!
So, if evil angels were not involved in the offspring of the Nephilim; that leaves them completely human, but there was something of significance going on for Moses to highlight their development. As already mentioned the fact that they were much larger in stature then the author, this would prompt the use of the term Nephiyl (giant). A careful investigation of the Hebrew usage of the text itself (Gen.6:4) reveals the postulation that the offspring though completely human, were indeed somewhat unique, but in what way?
Though everyone was giant in stature and lived a long life; certain individuals, like today, rose to leadership positions obtaining great authority and power. As the environmental conditions were completely stable and optimal, there was likely little variation on physical size from the adults. However, intellectual development, like today, most likely marked the differential between the average person and the men of renown.
Post-flood accounts using the same Hebrew words (mighty men-Gibbrowr), describe Nimrod as one of these mighty men or hunters, (Gen10:8-9). The Nephilim were like mighty men of previous generations (which were of old-Owlam) strong, powerful, but now there are multitudes to rule over and evil has matured as well. The Hebrew word Enowsh (men) is defined as mortal, man, mankind, and Shem (the word for Renown), adds the political aspect; that of reputation, fame, power, and glory.
Just like today, individuals find ways to enhance strength and power through disciplines, the use of supplements, and steroids, accelerating the natural processes to the extreme. There will always be those in any society that become domineering due to some genius or enhanced physical skills or even great wealth. What is being described in Genesis 6 is not to dissimilar to our current world political situation, those in charge with their inflated egos, wielding power and authority over the masses. They most defiantly believe they are of a different sort, the elite, the privileged, the enlightened ones and mostly unconverted; men and woman of renown leading the masses on to destruction and eternal loss.
The Nephilim were of the sort to demand respect, to command obedience, to lead with brute force if necessary. This is the very condition that existed pre-flood, “the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence”, (Gen. 6:11). These pre-flood giants had become full of themselves, sin and greed had ripened the planet for destruction, and these unconverted giants lead the masses of humanity to their ultimate doom.
God would clarify the context of these few chapters and instruct Noah, His last remaining servant to construct an Ark. God would demonstrate that error was not the only option to live by, and truth would stand in defiance of falsehood. At the very core of the issue in these chapters is truth vs error. Today it is still the central issue, and the theory of the Nephilim still play a part. Will we be persuaded by the influential, the powerful, the wealthy, the strong? Will we be influenced by the celebrities, the sports professionals, the politicians? Will we just believe what they say or question their opinions?
Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD, (Jer. 9:23-24).
Whenever, and wherever you have a multitude of people you have a multitude of trouble, an excessive escalation of problems. This in a large part is due to a few who think they know what’s best for everyone else. Once the pre-flood population developed, and especially with a dedicated group of unbelievers (the descendants of Cain), the enemy of God would see to it, that the evil and corruption would spread to the faithful. The best way to accomplish this was a tried and true method, divide and conquer. The very same strategy used to unleash sin on humanity was again the agent used to take the world captive, use the disobedient to take down the obedient. The bad apple always spoils the bushel.
The multiplication of families, both of the righteous and wicked, meant a spreading out of towns and settlements. And remember these folks are all related, they are all relative one to another. Through work, play, or other engagements they began to intermingle. The result was a letting down of the spiritual guard that had separated the holy from the profane. These relationships eventually led to the converted intermarrying with the unconverted. Thus the standard of truth was compromised.
On three occasions in Genesis six, it is recorded that this brought about societal conditions that were detrimental to both physical and spiritual growth. “The Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth.” (Gen. 6:5) “The earth (all its inhabitance), also was corrupt before God and earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.” (Gen. 6:11-12)
God’s response may have seemed severe, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them (the union of both lines of descendants), and behold I will destroy them with the earth.” (Gen. 6:13) God’s heart of love goes out towards this super race of people, those who had been created to bring glory and honor to its maker. He would step in, as a loving Father and bring the violence and corruption to an end. He would not permit His disobedient children to suffer needless centuries of pain and anguish. He would bring it all to an end. God would provide also a period of investigation, giving the inhabitants an opportunity to repent and change course. This special probation extended for 120 years.
The mingling of truth and error, engineered by the devil, would capitalize on the fallen nature of man, not the intervention of fallen angels. This brought our world to the brink of annihilation. Sin left its dirty mark on God’s perfect world, and seemingly this would be the end. But thank God there was one man that lived by grace, and that was Noah. His faithfulness to the true God preserved our little planet somewhat, and provided a way of escape, not only for that mighty race, but for all of us today.
You see, the demonic world didn’t need to have sexual relations with godly women to produce a super race: there was one already here! But that race, unfortunately, was totally vulnerable to temptation and sin. All the demons needed to do was what they do best: entice, pervert, and mislead. Jesus said that they lead multitudes down the broad road to destruction. (Matt. 7:13-14)
We as human beings are so naive, so easily played and manipulated! We are so easily swayed and conditioned to the dark side. It wouldn’t take a group of half angel, half human beings walking about to accomplish the job. There are half breeds among us, though: human beings that possess two natures. They have the fallen nature they were born with, and the one God gives at conversion through the Holy Spirit. These are the ones who will accomplish a special mission, not for the demon leader Satan, but for the Creator of the universe.
Our little world will once again be brought to the brink, as humanity is confronted with truth. Three angels are pictured in the book of Revelation, not impregnating humans with half angel/half human babies, but with sounding a message of truth, exposing error, and proclaiming the last warning message to humanity: “Behold I come quickly and my reward is with Me, sayeth the Lord” (Rev. 22:12).
Human nature is such that we have a desire to blame someone else for our own sinful behavior and mistakes. The courtrooms are filled with folks attempting to blame one another for various shortcomings. If human beings today had degenerate blood from fallen angels flowing through their veins, this could be pointed to as the cause of all our woes in society. If we can blame the fallen angels for our own sinful condition, God might let us off the hook. After all, none of this mess that was made from sin is our fault: the fallen angels made me do it, right? Sound familiar?
For those who have embraced this theory, just stop and think that the only way for damaged DNA to be possible post-flood would be for Noah’s family to be infected. This supposed amalgamation of demon angel and human would have to have infected Noah or his family. This is of course absurd, as it was Noah’s commitment to the truth that allowed him to be used to preserve humanity. He is called a man of righteousness in Genesis chapter 6, perfect in his generations; Noah walked with God.
If fallen angels had the physical ability to mate with human women then, how about now? Is this practice still going on today? Some might insist yes, but there is no Scriptural or physical evidence to back up the claim. The wickedness that we see prevalent in the world today is not due to bad blood, but bad choices. The choice to reject the remedy for sin is still what it has always been: foolishness – a regenerate heart is the only answer and that can only be accomplished one way. It matters not what blood type a person has, but whether they have been born of the Spirit. This is what will provide a loving God the opportunity to save any of us. The fallen angels have made their bed and they will answer for their bad decision, let us not follow suit with the same.