My explanation in the context of the Flood and Noah’s Ark (III)
Many thanks to Brad Kramer for having created the new topic “My Theory about the Flood”.
Tanks also to all, who are posting Comments.
Before I meet raised objections and questions I would like to post Part III of my Theory so that we can see things in a wider perspective.
A crucial question in the scenario I am proposing is this:
What would have happened if some non-personal human animal coming from outside Mesopotamia had joined the community of human persons living here, that is, Noah and his contemporaries?
As said, I think the answer to this question is given in Genesis 6:1-4, which is likely the most enigmatic episode in Genesis.
The “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2,4
On the one hand, the “sons of God” referred to in Genesis 6:1-4 really mate with human wives, to the extent of generating real children. The term “daughters of humans” highlights the humanity of the “sons of God”. Therefore they must be considered humans.
On the other hand the same term “sons of God” is used in other pericopes of the Old Testament for the angelic court surrounding Yahweh (Ps 29:1; 89:7; Job 38:7), and 2 times in the book of Job it is even used for the fallen angel Satan (Job 1:6 and 2:1).
Consequently we are led to this preliminary result:
The term “sons of God” is used in the Old Testament as well to refer to angels (even demons) as to human beings; any consistent attempt to define this term has to cope with this fact. Thus the proposed definition must be apt to describe both holly and fallen angels, and the human “sons of God” referred to in Genesis 6:2,4.
Interpreting Genesis 6:1-4 in the light of Luke 3:38 and Evolution
Interpreting Scripture with Scripture I first claim that the term “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1-4 is used in the same sense that Adam is called “son of God” in Luke 3:38. Accordingly, the term means human persons who are begotten independently of any creature’s decision and therefore cannot be called son of another human person. By contrast, names different from Adam in Luke 3:23-38 are called “son of someone”: “son of David”, “son of Abraham”, son of Noah” etc.
In Part II I have assumed that God created the first human persons through transformation of human animals into human persons. From this I infer that the “sons of God” of Genesis 6:2,4 were created directly by God through a similar transformation independently of any human father’s decision.
Finally, I note that also angels can be said to be “persons who are begotten independently of any creature’s decision”, since they originate from God independently of any angel’s decision, and therefore this meaning of the term “sons of God” is suitable for angels too, no matter whether they are good or evil. And one could analogously even say that the Second Person of the Trinity is the proper Son of God since He is begotten from the Father independently of whatever decision, even a divine one.
According to Scripture “sons of God” means “persons who are begotten independently of any creature’s decision”. All angels can appropriately be called “sons of God”, but not all characters called “sons of God” in the Bible can appropriately be considered angels. The “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1,4 are undoubtedly human, and it is fitting to consider that they were created directly by God through transformation of human animals into persons.
From this Conclusion the answer to our initial question follows as a Corollary:
When non-personal human animals living outside Mesopotamia were about to join the community of human persons living there, God transformed them into persons: these are the “sons of God” referred to in Genesis 6: 2,4.
The “sons of God” and the Nephilim
In Genesis 6:4 the Yahwist connects the “sons of God” with the Nephilim, and is interested to stress that these were on the earth not only in “those says” but “also afterwards”, i.e.: “in the post-diluvian period”. Since the Nephilim before the Flood were supposed to disappear in this catastrophe, the Nephilim after the Flood could not be the offspring from the former. Thus the Yahwist is implicitly telling us that the episode of the “sons of God” took place once more after the Flood [for details see discussion in Wenham, G.J. p. 195].
Accordingly, Genesis 6:4 backs our Conclusion in Part I that immediately after the Flood God transformed all non-personals human animals living at this time into human persons. These post-diluvian “sons of God” also “went to the daughters of humans and had children by them”, and their offspring were the new Nephilim of Numbers 13:33 and many other people in the post-diluvian humanity.
Although many questions remain still open and further work is undoubtedly necessary, the account about the Flood presented in Part I-III shows that it is possible to integrate scientific data, revealed truth, and theological reflection coherently. Evolution is a smart process of boundarisation which lays the groundwork for assigning rights through deletion of intermediate varieties. As such evolution can lead us to a deeper understanding of the Bible and novel theological perspectives. The Origins of humanity are a privileged field of study where scientists and theologians of all religions can fruitful inspire each other.