Who Are the Sons of God and Daughters of Men in Genesis 6:1-5?
by R.C. Sproul Jr.
“When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” — Genesis 6:1-5
There are several competing theories on this admittedly peculiar text, a few of them fantastic, at least one of them rather pedestrian, ordinary. Some suggest, for instance, that what is happening here is that angels, typically fallen angels or demons, are intermarrying with human women. My position is the far more pedestrian one, but one that carries with it an important lesson.
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First, why I reject this more fantastic view. Angels, whether fallen or not, and though I am happy to concede they can appear in human form, are spirit beings. They have no bodies. Most of the time most of us remember this, though here some seem to forget. Because angels are spirit beings they are not equipped to consummate a marriage and to sire offspring. Demons can do all sorts of shocking and even frightening things. This, however, is not one of them. They can’t bring forth giants because they simply can’t bring forth.
When we consider the context of this text we can better understand what Moses is explaining. In previous chapters we are given a glimpse of two competing lines, the godly line of Seth and the wicked line of Cain…
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