Sons of God – Daughters of Men

GENESIS 6: 1 – 4

Three primary views of this passage prevail:

1. The “sons of God” are angels.

2. The “‘sons of God” are royalty.

3. The “sons of God” are pious men from the “line of Seth.”

The first view appears to conflict with other Scripture, such as, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven (Matt. 22:30). Copulation by angels is not a Biblical teaching. They do not reproduce.

Cain’s corrupt line.

Reference to “giants on the earth in those days” (Vs. 4) has led some reputable persons to conclude position # 1 explains why.

Some persons conclude that these “Sons of God” are the fallen angels mentioned in II Peter 2:4. The destination of these angels is specified as not being earth but He “cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.”

Undeniably the expression “sons of God” is used in the Old Testament as a reference to angels. It is also used of godly people. In choosing which the expression refers to here it should be noted there is no reference to angels in the Book of Genesis up until this point and there is reference to sons of the true God in Genesis 4:25 – 5:32. That would lead to the conclusion the expressing in chapter 6 relates to those to whom reference has already been made.

Genesis 6: 1 – 4 is a summary of Genesis chapter 5 which speaks of the normal course of life just before the flood. They were marrying and giving in marriage. Life, though wicked just before the flood, was normal.

“There giants on the earth in those days…” (Genesis 6:4) reveals the giants were already on earth when the sons of God married the daughters of men, not as a result of.

If in Genesis 6:2 the reference is to angels why would it be men mentioned in verse 3 as the ones punished for the sin? Both verses refer to men.

When dealing with a passage that treats a subject that is not clear always refer to a passage on the same subject that is clear and interpret the unclear one in light of the clear one.

If Gen. 6:1-4 is understood to be a summary of chapter 5 it is seen as an account of the fact the sons and daughters of Adam had greatly increased in number and married and had children.

Those who interpret the passage to refer to fallen angels copulating with women see these verses as an introduction to the flood narrative which follows in chapter 6. In this light these relationships are seen as a reason contributing to the necessity of the flood to purge the human race. There was ample reason for the purge apart from any such possible acts.

In keeping with the Genesis account of the origin of men and women the terms “sons of God” and “daughters of men” are used. The first is used of males because Adam originated from God breathing life into him and the latter is used of females because God created Eve from man.

It should be noted they took them as “wives.” Legal marriages were involved not just indiscriminate sex. This is a strong argument for interpreting the passage as referring to the Godly descendants of Seth and the ungodly daughters of Cain.

“There were giants in the land” interprets the Hebrew term nephilim.” These are immediately identified in verse 4 as “mighty men of old, men of renown.”

The verb tense reveals these men were already in the land before the union described. They were “on the earth in those days, and also afterwards” (vs. 4). There is nothing said of a race of giants resulting ‘from” the union noted in the passage. They were already there.

The term “nephilim” can refer to men of great size as well as great men, “men of renown.” In chapter 5 there are ten such great men identified. They were “in the land” already when the acts of Gen. 6:1-4 occurred.

In verse 3 the Lord God pronounced judgment upon “man,” that is, mankind not angels for what happened.

Each view has supporters. However, it is view number three that seems most reasonable.