Does anyone have a paper on Genesis 6 and how it may support the TEism world view?

HI guys,
Firstly, this is not a loaded query nor am i seeking to attack from some kind of predetermined plan. You guys are already familiar with my theology and most of my doctrines, so i dont have a loaded gun under my jacket as such. I was reading Genesis 6 this morning and for whatever reason, my mind was apparently vacant of SDA influences at the time and i was able to see links between the idea of two different groups of people in the early world (eg sons of God and daughters of men). It occured to me that whilst i do not agree natively with the idea that this is supportive of TEism, i decided “you know what, lets look at a proper theology argument in some kind of paper from the guys on the forum and see what they have to say in a full context” (without my straw plucking bits and pieces out of individual forum posts).

So, with the above in mind, I am interested in reading papers on the link between Genesis 6 and Old Age Earth theology. Does anyone have anything they have written on this (proper academic papers, or word documents… anything reasonably well referenced that you guys have researched a bit and put together)

*Obviously, my aim is to both understand and critique, however, I see an avenue there for me to learn how those of a different theological view develop their doctrine from Genesis 6. *

I know that we have had some discussions on the forums over the time ive been here that touch on this chapter, however, i would like a researched paper on it if anyone has one. I guess what i am looking for is a well thought out consistent theology that considers the wider biblical themes. I appreciate that this isnt necessarily a science based question, however, i would certainly be interested in seeing relevant scientific observations in with the theology.

The caveat is that you guys know that i am a theology-first kinda guy, so obviously strong biblical referencing would be very important to me if that is ok. It would also help if your biblical referencing had cross-referencing too and Im all ears for ancient writers being used in the mix as well.

Even a kind of pictogram or photobook would be useful (with references on it obviously)


I don’t know of any science based academic papers that approach the Bible typically through the lens of theistic evolution. Normally science is kept out of theological writings focused on this unless it’s critiquing it.

There are writings by biblical scholars showcasing why Genesis 1-11 is better understood as myth while citing scientific facts that support that by those facts undermining a young earth lens.

Since you reject actual study of the scriptures in their original context I don’t think there are any papers that will satisfy you.

That said, I don’t think there’s such a thing as “Old Age Earth theology”. Scripture doesn’t care about the age of the Earth; though there are indications that the Earth must be truly ancient, e.g. calling God “the Ancient of Days” there’s really no theology taken from that.

The passage in question has inspired all sorts of ideas, some quite strange, from various people. Broadly, they tend to fall into several categories, such as:
“sons of God” as supernatural beings. Popular in ancient speculation, rather problematic in light of Jesus’s assertion that angels do not marry nor are given in marriage, tends to lead to wild speculation
“sons of God” as ethnically distinct, e.g. the line of Seth, mingling with Cain’s descendants
“sons of God” as rulers, imposing polygamy as a way to show off how rich and important they are

There are some interpretations within a general old-earth context, such as the suggestion that the “daughters of men” would be other hominids interbreeding with modern-type humans.

Of some relevance to young-earth claims is the fact that Nephilim are present in Canaan at the time of the Exodus, which is hard for them to do if they were all wiped out in the Flood.

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That’s after the resurrection – it doesn’t say that angels – can’t take human form sufficiently to make offspring.

The thing about the Nephilim bit is that it points to literature outside scripture and to a worldview we rational types don’t like.

Yeah – that kind of negates the global flood bit. Michael Heiser talks about this in depth somewhere.

Also in Genesis 14:5 you have other hominids (?) called “zuzim” that, apparently, were not wiped out in the flood.

The concordance definition for the “Zuzim”:

Zuzim = “roving creatures”, an ancient people of uncertain origin, perhaps, inhabitants of ancient Ammon east of the Jordan

I dont see any problem with Genesis 14:5 and YECism. The YEC all agree that giants existed before the flood and Goliah of Gath is evidence of their continued existence after the flood. It actually supports the SDA view that Adam and Eve, and all of those before the flood were generally much larger than we are today.

Anyway, Wikipedia reference explains who they likely were…

because they are listed alongside the Emim , which is later described in the Book of Deuteronomy as the Moabite term for rephaim ,[3] some scholars identify the Zuzim with the Zamzummim (Deuteronomy 2:20), a tribe of the Rephaim living in the same region later occupied by the Ammonites, who were also described as coterminous with the Emim

It does actually pose an offtopic question though…If dinosaurs were very large and died out, due to environmental change, why does there seem to be a rejection of the biblical interpretation that men were much larger prior to the flood? I also find it a bit strange that evolution cannot subscribe to the idea that we do have some very large animals alive today, and yet the big dinosaurs were unable to evolve to adapt to environmental change.

If bigger was unable to adapt, how can we maintain allegiance to the uniformitarianism model as appears to be the case? To me this suggests that uniformitarianism is false.

Anyway, ive got offtopic so ill stop there.

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Two points:

  • The environmental change didn’t favor large animals.
  • The dinosaurs did adapt and are here today. They are just called birds.
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That presents a bit of a conundrum because those Rephaites are not listed as descendants of Noah’s sons in Genesis 10. I have no idea as to how his sons could have carried this DNA in them if they were regular humans either (unless you consider it a work of fiction).

YEC’s get hung up on the word for “earth”, but the majority of the times the word is used it should be translated as “land”. Cain wasn’t driven off the face of the planet, he was driven away from his inhabited land into another. The whole world didn’t come to buy food from Joseph, only the adjacent nations that suffered from the starvation in Gen 41:57:

And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.

Cross reference Deuteronomy 32:8 to Genesis 10:25 and you will see that it’s not talking about any continental drift but the distribution of land inheritances.

When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, When He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel.

Bluntly because it’s just more science fiction.

That bad translation is tiresome; scholars should get off their anti-supernatural binge and translate honestly:

When the Most High apportioned the nations as an inheritance, when he divided the sons of Adam, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.

“Sons of God” is found everywhere except the Masoretic text; it’s בני אלוהים in the Dead Sea Scrolls and ἀγγέλων θεοῦ in the LXX with a variant υἱῶν θεοῦ . These read “sons of Elohim”, “angels of God”, and “sons of God”, respectively. Why the Masoretes altered the text is an interesting question, but the point here is that it is no longer tenable scholarship to rely on it.
It was never a sensible wording to begin with; fixing the borders of the peoples to match the number of the “sons of Israel” would mean there were just twelve people since that’s how many sons Jacob/Israel had, or tends of thousands of peoples since that fits the numbers of Israelite men who left Egypt. But reading it as “sons of God”, i.e. divine beings, makes perfect sense: God assigned one member of His divine council to watch over each people. Then those ‘angels’ rebelled against Yahweh and set themselves up as gods.

Michael Heiser has a great article on the matter: 'Sons of Israel' or 'Sons of God' in Deuteronomy 32:8

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The Rephaim aren’t mentioned until after the Flood, so they didn’t survive it, but yes, there’s nothing said about where they came from, they just show up in Genesis 14. In Deuteronomy 2 there’s a hint that they aren’t an ethnic group, though; it says that some were “regarded as Rephaim”, which suggests some kind of status rather than descent. It says that the Moabites called them “Emim”, who are described as a people. But in Genesis 15 they’re listed along with what seem to all be people groups, which is a bit confusing. One proposed solution is that some fallen angles/elohim repeated the earlier behavior of mating with human women, but that’s just speculation.,

I have read that article before and don’t know why Heiser insists upon that translation. 4Q45 has “children of Israel” as well, and it also fits the verses and narrative after this one much better as well.

Out of all the sons of Adam, the pagan man Abram and his later offspring was chosen as God’s people to be the bearers of blessings.

But even if we go with the “sons of God” translation, the Israelites are repeatedly referred to as the “children of God” in several other instances like in Exodus 4:22 and Deuteronomy 14:1. Jesus even quotes Psalm 82 where Israel are called “gods”. In Luke 3:38 Adam is called a son of God.

Gen 6:4 says that the nephilim were on the earth in “those days and after”. My interpretation is that they therefore must have been there after the flood as well since we find those mysterious tribes mentioned in Genesis 14 among the Canaanite nations and Sodom & Gomorrah. Jude writes in his letter that the people in Sodom & Gomorrah went after “strange flesh” and mentions “angels chained in Darkness” (probably interbreeding with these nephilim and “roving creatures”, and also following their religions).

I’ve read several interpretations for the flood and Noah which say that Noah and his family were spared because they didn’t interbreed with the nephilim. In Genesis 6:9 it reads that Noah was “perfect in his generation” and the word for “generation” in the Septuagint can mean “descent”, “stock”, “birth” and “family”.

Maybe that’s why the nephilim survived, because the (local) flood was aimed at destroying humans that were mixed with the nephilim?

If they were from Noah’s sons in Gen 10 they should be mentioned there.

But then again, if you consider it all a work of fiction it’s irrelevant anyway.

And its broadest meaning is “known world”, which is how it should be rendered in the Flood accounts.

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“Children of Israel” doesn’t fit at all in 32:8 because of 32:9: There’s a parallelism going on, so “Yahweh’s portion” is a people distinct from the rest, and “Yahweh” corresponds to someone among whom the nations are being apportioned – which makes no sense because there were no children of Israel at the time it’s talking about and even if there were “children of Israel” don’t stand in the same relationship to “the peoples” as Yahweh does to “Jacob”. And when 32:43 is included it’s pretty obvious someone deliberately tampered to take any mention of other elohim out of the picture – and scholars now recognize that the Masoretes did more than a little tampering with the text(s).

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That’s a fairly obvious way to read it, though how the Nephilim would have survived and not their more-human offspring is a puzzle. I listened to another lecturer once who treated the account as sheer legend who noted this as a problem.

I haven’t encountered that one before! It would mean the Nephilim were a lot busier than just grabbing a woman or two for a wife or two!

Standard translations are misleading in that they translate two different words here as “generations”. The Hebrew in the second case isn’t as flexible as the Greek γενέσει – which I see the translators of the LXX used both times as well – the closest it comes is “progeny”, which can include sons- or daughters-in-law.

Which leaves the puzzle of how the Nephilim survived if their offspring didn’t; why would half-humans survive any better than quarter-humans?

I’ve enjoyed Ben Stanhope’s video on the nephelim of Genesis 6. Micheal Heiser has a good bit of content on 1 Enoch and the ancient near east context related to the rebellious sons of God.

Excellent video! I especially loved the opening; I haven’t heard scripture read in Hebrew in a very long time!

Near the end it brought to mind a hymn for which I played trumpet in brass choir plus organ back in grad school:

I’ve got a whole different take on the hymn these days!

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I’m looking forward to singing more than I can or do anymore!