Monday, October 07, 2019

Randy angels

1. Gen 6:1-4 is enigmatic, in part because it's so compressed, and in part because it uses a designation ("sons of God") that has no parallel elsewhere in the Pentateuch.

A popular interpretation is that it describes fallen angels mating with women, thereby spawning a race of hybrids. 

2. There are problems with that interpretation. For one thing, even if the "sons of God" are angels, they are never identified as fallen angels. The passage contains no background information concerning a primordial angelic fall. So on the angelic interpretation, there's no narrative assumption that angels mating with women was illicit. That requires a backstory regarding rebellious angels. But that context is missing. 

3. Scholars fall into two basic camps. Some scholars think the text is mythological. They have no problem with mythological interpretations of Scripture because they think Scripture frequently reflects a mythological outlook. They don't think this incident ever happened–or could happen.

4. Moreover, the interpretation offered by critical scholarship isn't angelic but polytheistic. They think the text describes gods siring demigods by mating with women. 

5. Yet other Christians think the angelic interpretation is realistic. But in that event, the angelic identification is equivocal. In order for angels to sire offspring by mating with women, the angels would have to transform into men, with male sexual anatomy and seminal fluid. At least temporally, the angels would cease to be angels, becoming human males at an anatomical, genetic, and chromosomal level. 

But even assuming that angels have that ability, the offspring wouldn't be hybrids or half-breeds but purebred humans. So that fails to explain what made the Nephilim superior to normal human males.  


  1. The explanation I have heard is that the "sons of God" refers to the descendents of Seth. The "daughters of man" refers to the descendents of Cain.

    The intermingling of the righteous and unrighteous lines.

    1. A common view which I preferred as well.

      Until I discovered Michael Heiser.

      And still resisted the supernatural-beings intepretation, but with time and more and more evidence and arguments piling on, I had to reluctantly concur.

      It's not 100% solved for me yet - one query being Steve's "What mechanism makes the offspring different?"

      Another being "How did the Nephilim result in the Anakim who were around during the Canaan conquest?" After all, all humankind post-Flood descends from Noah's family (at least in Global Flood view) - which I would assume has no Bene Elohim contamination. Even in Local Flood view, it seems pointless to send the Flood as a response to the Nephilim, if other Nephilim outside the flooded local area survive.