I think that an important theme of Genesis is the history of the fall of angels that rebelled from God and decide to create their own nations by corrupting Gods line in Adam. The Angels marry the Daughters of man creating the hybrid Nephilim teaching them the arts and sciences and the way of their civilization around 10000 years ago in a region of what is now Turkey. These nephilim then spread out about the world initiating civilization to other people’s and creating their own nations.
Hum. This is one of those things that have me scratching my head. Much of the musings about them derive from extra-canonical sources, so I discount much of it and don’t know what to think of the Biblical references, which are limited.
I agree with all this. Reading Michael Heiser’s book The Unseen Realm right now, which does a good job of explaining the Nephilim and their importance in OT theology.
Where are you getting the rest of this? Seems to go well beyond the biblical text.
And the more important question: On what basis can we say that this account describes “what really happened,” when it so clearly reflects an ancient mindset that nobody—not even fundamentalist Christians—believe in anymore? For instance, I don’t know of any Christian who believes that divine beings can descend from the sky and have sex with human women (note that conception of Jesus is not described in those terms). Still working through this question myself.
I shall have to get a copy of this book. Since Angels are unable to procreate in their normal status, I would say that they took upon themselves intermediate bodies the way some theologians believe the dead in Christ take upon themselves intermediate bodies until the Second Coming. Herman Hoyt, a German Baptist, accepted the
intermediate heavenly bodies for dead Christians in his eschatology (II Corinthians 5:1).
Brad, if I may play the role of Devil’s Advocate (or one of the New Atheists, if you prefer) does that not cast doubt on the reality of Virgin Birth? Once one accepts the miracle of Mary conceiving Jesus through the ‘overshadowing of the Holy Spirit’ can you then totally discount a similar miracle accounting for the Nephilim? Could it be possible that neither miracle actually occurred? I am not aware of a quotation from Jesus himself claiming to be born of a virgin. Perhaps you or another of the Biblical experts on the N.T, can help me out, since I don’t see it essential to Jesus’ message. Just trying not to be a heretic.
I can see your point; however, I feel that it does not negate the virgin birth. You are a good thinker, Albert. But if one believes in the holy inspiration of the Bible, I must believe in the Virgin birth. In my opinion, that is the only way that Jesus could be born sinless. His bodily Father was not a man but the Holy Spirit of God himself. I would say that these evil angels took upon themselves bodies the way the ones in Genesis 18 did. Through this method, they were able to make the “daughters of men” pregnant. God bless you and your intelligent mind.
Perhaps…but the Nephilim passage in Gen 6 describes “sons of God,” which seem to be a different sort of divine being than angels. (I assume that you are referring here to Matthew 22:30, which Heiser points out is limited to “marriage,” not sex in general). Also, I think that we modern people tend to think of heaven (and its inhabitants) and earth (and its inhabitants) as spatially disconnected realms—nobody thinks we can travel physically from one realm to the other. But the OT clearly thinks otherwise; heaven and earth can be traversed by divine and human beings. I also think that our categories of “physical” and “spiritual” beings are very modern. For instance, Abraham eats a meal with divine beings in Genesis, and Jacob wrestles an angel. Both of these events are very physical. We could say that these beings “assumed a human form,” which might be true, but the text doesn’t say that. It just says, “here’s the divine being, and now they are having sex/wrestling/eating a snack with humans.”
I think this is a really good point, and one I am wrestling with deeply. (For the record, I do affirm the virgin birth of Christ.) It’s interesting that the account of Mary’s conception does not use any explicit sexual language, whereas the Nephilim account clearly does. God says to Mary that she will be pregnant, and then she is. But I see how doubting the Nephilim account could make it more difficult to support the virgin birth.
Interested in hearing the thoughts of others.
I agree. Although they could be compared, they are also completely different categorically. To doubt the one is not necessarily to doubt the other.
Don’t worry, Albert; you’re already solidly a heretic --at least to those who have appointed themselves as strict guardians of orthodoxy. Your mere participatory presence here on this site already put you beyond the pale of approval to the same group. Maybe if in every other post you were warning all the rest of us here about the fires of hell, then you might find their, ummm, good “graces” again. I sat by someone at a meal the other day who was pontificating about seminary students from Princeton who had the gall to suggest that the Jonah story is “just a fable”. “Satanic” was the moniker applied, I believe. Followed by chortling disparagement of people with their fancy degrees facing God’s judgment. Not an entirely misplaced sentiment, to be sure. But an entirely missing Christian humility was on full exhibit, I think. There was no smiling and nodding. Just quietly eating and engaging them on an entirely different subject … and sober reflection on how often in my own life I’ve sounded like that too about similar things.
“The opposite of faith is not doubt … the opposite of faith is certainty.” --Anne Lamott (who I’m guessing would not meet with our inquisition’s approval, but the thought makes for an interesting reactionary sentiment --itself worthy of reflection and critique.)
I would say that as a Christian you are bound (in accordance with Jude 7) to conclude that they are Angels. I, however, as a Tanakh only guy, am on the fence. In my opinion, the only passage in the OT where the phrase B’nei Elohim clearly refers to divine beings is in Job 38 (though the phrase B’nei Elim does appear to refer to divine beings), and similar phrases, calling humans the children of God are found.
This website here offers a critique of the divine view (though I’m maybe playing devils advocate here):
I don’t think these accounts are that similar. At the annunciation, the Virgin Mary’s questioning was brute biology: “How can this be?” And there is no direct parallel in paganism to the miracle of the virginal conception of Jesus, since no contact was involved.
God is not said to be working miracles in the story where the sons of God mate with the daughters of men. It’s a creepy idea, anyway. The idea of intermediate heavenly bodies seem far-fetched (as much as I enjoyed Avatar). Why would these bodies be equipped with reproductive organs? What would their genetics look like? The story sounds like a bit of paganism, perhaps added to show how the world was in moral decay before the flood.
Could these “sons of God” be the origin of the legend of the incubi? The incubi went about at night, forcing themselves on sleeping human women and impregnating them, using either incubi sperm or sperm taken from human males. This probably helped to explain some potentially embarrassing pregnancies!
Good discussion. To analyze any part of Scripture, you need to put the text in the context of the rest of scripture. I do not believe this text refers to angels for two reasons:
- In the New Testament, it clearly states that angels are not married or given in marriage (Matthew 22:30, Mark 12:25)
- The term “Sons of God” is used several times in the Bible to refer to those in the will of God (Hosea 1:10, John 1:12, Romans 8:14, 19, Philippians 2:15, 1 John 3:1-2), if the angels were mating with humans, I do not believe they would be in the will of God. There is one time, however, when the “Sons of God” is used in the context of angels in Job.
I take the position that the creation story of Genesis Chapter 1 and the creation story of Chapter 2:4 on are two separate and sequential events. I feel a reasonable person would come to this conclusion if they read Genesis without any preconceived notions. The “Sons of God” refers to the offspring of Adam and Eve (Adam is referred to as “the son of God” in Luke 3:38) and the daughters of men refer to the men and women created in Genesis 1.
By Adam and Eve not being the first H. Sapiens, this eliminates the conflict with evolution, as I feel evolution could have easily been the means by which God created life in Genesis 1.
Thank you Phil for your thoughts. Certainly this has been a point of biblical interpretation really over the ages. I do not know why the early church choose to gloss this over. Maybe we should ask that in a different post. I think that Heiser attempts to frame this in the context of the Biblical scribes world view. Please consider 2 Peter 2: 4
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment.
Jude 1:6. And the angels who did not keep their position of authority but abandoned their own home - these he kept in darkness bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great day.
These are references to the book of Genesis and really the non canonical but well known book of Enoch. The Biblical writers believed these were angels that had fallen.
And their importance in UFOlogy.
Thank you for your comments Brad. Yes, Heiser is quite knowledgeable and interesting.
I am sure that you would agree, that we as Christians really have to believe in the spiritual existence of God and heaven with angels. I have no idea how they were able to procreate with humans. How ever the spirit becomes physical is not so much my concern here. More the point is that this event is what is described in the Bible. This event is also similar in other cultural descriptions especially that of the Sumerians. This is important because the Sumerians were the first civilization and could have a similar derivation from these events that the Bible describes. The Sumerians believed that their knowledge came from their gods the Annunaki and who came from mount Dilmun. The Sumerians kings also attributed their rule to their annunaki gods. The Nephilim in the Bible were considered hybrids human/angel and described as giants. They were not immortal but they were thought to contain an evil spirit that will curse and subject mankind through the ages by the evil intent of their cursed Angel “fathers” to create their own nations in defiance of God.
I can certainly think of some evil leaders through the ages.
Hybrids??? (John 3:6) “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Nephlims were just human beings
Thank you for your note Wookin.
Yes I should use the word “hybrid” in quotes. They are mortal and did die. For example Gilgamesh may have been a real person and the epic of Gilgamesh is in part about his search for immortality. I see John 3:6 to perfectly support this concept of the Nephilim. The nephilim were physical humans born of the flesh (of their mothers) and contained the evil spirit of their fallen cursed sons of God. The mortal Nephilim would die but their evil spirit continued on to “oppress, corrupt, fall contend, and bruise upon earth” according to Enoch 15:8-9.
Well Jonathan. Jesus is not an alien, He is Just Not of This World
Who was Mary, mother of Jesus?
At the time of the Fall, Lucifer’s mate was pregnant with their 13th child. Mary was born without her father present and this was the first painful birth in Heaven for this reason. Since Lucifer’s palace was destroyed in the battle to purge evil from heaven, Raphael went to live with Jesus. Mary was born in His house and she grew up with Him.
When it came time to plan Jesus’ birth, Mary volunteered, given their relationship in Heaven. She was incarnated at the appropriate time, into a pious family. Mary was pure in all terms of the word. Her divine spirit was young and she was unmarried in heaven. Like other prophets, she could hear the instructions the angels around her.
Ref: Walther, Hinz. Jesus – New Insights into His Life and Mission (Kindle Locations 1177-1181). ABZ Verlag Zurich. Kindle Edition.
Best Wishes, Shawn