The Nephilim and the Sons of God from Genesis 6

Posted: March 21, 2013 in Bible, Genesis, Hard Questions
Tags: , , , ,

angelwings

Little different post today.  I just finished writing an article on the Nephilim from Genesis 6.  It’s longer than a normal blog post, but I’ve included a snippet here.  If you’re interested in this subject and would like to read the full article, the link is below.

I get questions about the Nephilim from Genesis 6:4 all the time, and with several recent book series and movies based on speculation about what it might mean that the “sons of God married daughters of men”, producing the Nephilim, I thought it was time to develop a solid biblical answer to this long-standing puzzle from the Bible.  At the risk of sounding arrogant, I think God has given me some important insight into this question and I think I can tell you with a high degree of confidence what the Nephilim were and why they are mentioned in Genesis 6.  And (spoiler alert), they aren’t angel/human hybrids!

Perhaps one of the most puzzling passages in the book of Genesis is found in 6:4:

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days– and also afterward– when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them.

This enigmatic verse has caused no end of confusion, consternation and, of course, speculation. One of the most common speculations holds that this verse teaches that fallen angels (e.g. the “sons of God”) had sex with human women, giving rise to some kind of human/angel hybrid called the Nephilim. This view has been popularized in books, movies, TV shows and, most unfortunately of all, in sermons by irresponsible preachers.   This teaching depends on the fact that in the book of Job, the phrase “sons of God” is a clear reference to angelic spirits (cf. Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7) and assumes that the phrase must mean the same thing here in Genesis.  The fact that the Nephilim, who appear to be the offspring of this union, are said to be “heroes of old, men of renown” reinforces the idea that they are not mere mortals but had supernatural qualities.

This idea certainly feeds our appetites for sensationalism, but is it good biblical teaching?  No, it is not.  More importantly, it ends up causing people to miss the very point God was making when He inspired Moses to write these words!

Let’s deal first with why this popular idea of angel/human hybrids is almost certainly mistaken…

Hooked?  You’re welcome to read the full article at the Shepherd Project website.  Click here to read the full article. (Don’t worry…it’s free and there are no sign-ins required!)

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