Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Just Who Were the "Sons of God" and the "Daughters of Men"?
Few texts in the history of Bible interpretation have aroused more animosity and divergence of opinion than Genesis 6:1-4. Linking the Nephilim to the result of unions between angels and human women has absolutely no basis in Scripture. The "sons of God" were those of the line of Adam who rejected YEHOVAH's laws and increased in wickedness and "corrupted their way on the land" (Genesis 6:12). The "daughters of men" were those of the sixth-day creation (Genesis 1:26-28) who "the sons of God saw...were beautiful; and they [the sons of God] took wives for themselves of all whom they chose" in total disregard of YEHOVAH's instructions regarding racial separation and purity.
by HOIM Staff
Before we answer this question, we must go back to the very beginning -- Genesis 1.
In the Old Testament book of Genesis we find recorded the origins of the human race. In fact, we find TWO accounts -- one in chapter one and the other in chapter two -- both of which apparently contradict each other. In the first creation story, humans are created AFTER the other animals:
"And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:25-27).
In the second story, humans were created BEFORE the other animals -- notice!
"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof" (Genesis 2:18-19).
In the first creation story, the first man and woman were created SIMULTANEOUSLY:
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:25-27).
Then, in the second account, the man was created FIRST, THEN the animals, THEN the woman from the man's rib.
"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them.... And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man" (Genesis 2:18-22).
Writes Manfred Barthel: "The unsuspecting reader is...confronted with a puzzling problem in the first two chapters of Genesis: two consecutive and mutually contradictory accounts of the Creation. In the first account God creates the heavens, the oceans, and the earth, and man [plural -- mankind] is the final event on the program; in the second we are simply told that 'the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden,' and a man [singular] is the first creature to be brought into being. This seems to be a fairly glaring inconsistency, to say the least" (What the Bible Really Says, p. 33).
So what is the answer to this conundrum? How can we explain these inconsistencies?
Let's take a look at the order of the creation of physical life on earth, as covered in Genesis 1 and 2:
(1) First came the trees, grass and plant life after dry land had appeared -- on the third day or period.
(2) Second in the order YEHOVAH God created the beasts of the field -- or the wild animals on the sixth day or period.
(3) Third in the order of creation came male and female -- all the races of man except for Adam ('eth Ha-'Adam). This was also done on the sixth "day." This is what is referred to as the Sixth Day Creation. We should note that both male and female were created at the SAME TIME on this day or period after all the animals are created. We also should note that Adam and Eve are NOT YET on the scene -- they will not be mentioned by name until chapter two. The people created on this sixth "day" are all the separate races. All the distinct and diverse races were created at this time. YEHOVAH God created the differences in the races and made them just the way He wanted them to be.
(4) Fourth in the order of YEHOVAH's creation was the time on the seventh day or period for rest. After the mass creation of peoples on the sixth day or period YEHOVAH God rested on the seventh.
(5) Fifth in the order of YEHOVAH's creation -- on the eighth "day" (or a time beyond) -- YEHOVAH God formed Adam ('eth Ha-'Adam) to till the soil.
(6) The last order of the creation to this point is the creation of all domestic animals for the use by Adam -- and his naming of them.
Although the races had their male and female counterparts in Genesis 1:26-27, YEHOVAH God has only given the domestic animals -- and NO wife -- to Adam! There are two things to be aware of here: (1) The phrase "there was NOT FOUND a helper [counterpart, companion] comparable to him [Adam -- Genesis 2:20]" suggests that YEHOVAH God went looking for a counterpart for Adam but could not find one. This begs the question: If Adam was the first created human being -- where in the world did YEHOVAH God go looking? The only way this phrase makes any sense is if human beings had previously been created -- both male and female -- on the sixth day of creation! Otherwise YEHOVAH God was wasting His time looking! (2) The fact that YEHOVAH God could not find a counterpart (companion) for Adam among the previously created human beings indicates that YEHOVAH never intended for the mixing of the races. This is why "there was not found" a wife for Adam.
There is no documentation that spells out in detail the exact method of YEHOVAH's creation for the other races -- so whatever is said is pure speculation.
What About Eve?
Let's take a look at the verses that document that Eve was taken from Adam, and that it was a special event not common to the creation of women in Genesis One:
"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He [YEHOVAH God] took one of his [Adam's] ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made He A WOMAN, and He brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" (Genesis 2:21-23, KJV)
In the above verses from Genesis Two "A WOMAN" in verse 22 has an Article. In the Hebrew this woman (Eve) is la'ishaah -- but a woman in general (especially from the sixth-day creation) is simply ishaah. In other words, this particular woman Eve was made by YEHOVAH God OUT OF Adam -- not that all women were made this way. This further strengthens the argument that the sixth-day creation and the eighth-day forming were totally different events -- for in the sixth day we see that "...male and female CREATED He them" (Genesis 1:27) but here in the eighth day we see that "...the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, MADE He a woman..." (Genesis 2:22).
Now with the Articles and Particles shown -- which are not visible in the English language translation, we have:
"...the [the (Particle)] rib, which the LORD God had taken from [the (Article)] man, made He a [the (Article)] woman..." (Genesis 2:22).
For more clarity this can be rendered, in English, as: "...this rib, which the LORD God had taken from that man, made He this woman..." This was a special event -- no other woman was made from any other man by any other ribs. Eve was from Adam, but ALL other women were created at the SAME TIME alongside the other men in the sixth "day" of YEHOVAH's Creation. There is no way that this Genesis chapter two event regarding Eve can be construed as simply a further explanation of all the women being created in Genesis chapter one. This is an entirely different event with its own peculiarities.
Eve is MADE (Hebrew word #1129) from Adam in Genesis 2:22. The reason for Adam and Eve being singled out from the creation of the rest of mankind is because through Eve the Messiah would eventually be born four thousand years later. The Bible, therefore, is basically the story of one man's family and the people they come into contact with throughout history. In other words -- it is the history of the Adams family through which the Messiah would come. Through the sacrifice of the Messiah on the tree, all Israelites from out of all the nations can be grafted into the eternal family of YEHOVAH God!
Eve was the "mother of all living" with YEHOVAH's breath -- not of the others. This indicates that there are those with the spirit, and those "having not the Spirit" -- (Jude v. 19). The latter is the "natural man" who “cannot receive the things of God” -- (1 Corinthians 2:14), but he may become very religious. What we believe about these issues in Genesis conditions what we believe right through the Bible.
The Breath of Life
The most important difference between the mankind of Genesis 1:26 and Adam in Genesis 2:7 is that Adam received the Breath of YEHOVAH God in his nostrils. Later, when the procreative power of Abram and Sara was regenerated, the spirit of YEHOVAH God was embedded in their genes -- memorialized by the addition of the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet to their names. Salvation requires that the individual believes YEHOVAH God and that belief is a function of the indwelling spirit, NOT of the natural flesh -- as the Messiah said to Nicodemus "what is spirit is spirit." Hence there was no point in the Messiah dying for people who do not have the indwelling spirit and hence no ability to comprehend and believe the things of the spirit.
From this sequence alone there is no way Genesis 2 could be a re-run of Genesis 1. Some take the view that, on a weight of evidence basis, there is more to say that Adam (as we use the word) was the first spiritual man, but not the first biological man. In other words, YEHOVAH God took one man from Genesis 1 and breathed into him the breath of life. “And man became a living soul” -- (Genesis 2:7). The word “became” is consistently used in a manner showing that the subject became something that it had not been before.
Philo the Jew understood the spiritual component of "the Breath of life" when he wrote:
"But he [Moses] asserts that the FORMATION of the individual man [Adam], perceptible by the external senses is A COMPOSITION OF EARTHY SUBSTANCE, AND DIVINE SPIRIT. For that body [of Adam] was created by the Creator [YEHOVAH God] taking a lump of clay, and fashioning the human form out of it; but that the soul proceeds from NO created thing at all, but from the Father and Ruler of all things.
"For when he [Moses] uses the expression, 'He breathed into,' etc., he [Moses] MEANS NOTHING ELSE THAN THE DIVINE SPIRIT proceeding from that happy and blessed nature [YEHOVAH God], sent to take up its habitation here on earth [in Adam and his descendants], FOR THE ADVANTAGE OF OUR [ISRAELITE] RACE, in order that, even if man is mortal according to that portion of him which is visible, he may at all events be [eventually] IMMORTAL according to that portion which is invisible; and for this reason, one may properly say that man is on the boundaries of a better and an immortal nature [after the resurrection], partaking of each as far as it is necessary for him; and that he [man -- descendants of Adam -- Israelites] was born at the same time, both mortal and immortal.
"Mortal as to his body, but immortal [eventually] as to his intellect" (The Works of Philo, translated by C. D. Yonge. "On the Creation, XLVI (134-135)).
Continuing in his discussion of the Breath of Life, Philo makes the following comments:
"...for there must be three things, that which breathes in, that which receives what is breathed in, and that which is breathed in. Now that which breathes in IS GOD, that which receives what is breathed in is THE MIND [of Adam], and that which is breathed in is THE SPIRIT. What then is collected from these three things? A UNION OF THREE takes place, through God extending THE POWER, which proceeds from Himself THROUGH THE SPIRIT, which is the middle term, as far as the subject.
"Why does He [YEHOVAH God] do this, except that we may thus derive A PROPER NOTION [idea, belief] of Him? Since HOW could the soul have perceived God if He [YEHOVAH God] had not inspired it, and touched it according to His power? For human intellect would not have dared to mount up to such a height as to lay claim to THE NATURE OF GOD, if God Himself had not drawn it up to Himself, as far as was possible for the mind of man to be drawn up, and if He had not FORMED it according to those powers which can be comprehended" (ibid., "Allegorical Interpretation, I, XIII (37-38))
From Adam to Abraham -- and Beyond
From Adam to Abraham, Adam’s pure line contained the breath of spiritual life (see Job 33:4), so where did the people come from who did not have the breath of life? These men and women originated from Genesis 1. Through misgenerative activity -- (i.e. race mixing) -- racial pollution was introduced to the bloodstream of the sons of Adam, and we find that YEHOVAH God sought to eliminate the products of such activity. Noah was “pure in his generations” (Genesis 6:9), and so he and his unmixed family were preserved. Later, the Children of Israel were to destroy the mixed breed of the Canaanites. These could not receive the things of the spirit of YEHOVAH God. They could not witness in their spirit and say, "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16), as an Israelite is able to do. This principle is a continuing theme in the Bible.
Through Abraham and Sarah, YEHOVAH God established the basis for Abraham’s seed to become the Sons of YEHOVAH God (John 1:12). YEHOVAH was making a new beginning with Abraham. None other than the seed of Abraham, through the son of promise, Isaac, has this opportunity or potential. Abraham’s seven other sons did not have this potential -- because they were born prior to Isaac. The descendants of Isaac were begotten of the spirit from their conception. This is why those among Isaac’s descendants who believe are regarded as being anointed by the spirit (Galatians 3:16).
Paul is able to declare, "now He which stablishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us is God who has also sealed us and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts" (2 Corinthians 1:21, 22). In 1 Corinthians 2:7-16 Paul, confirming this, tells the brethren (kinsmen of the same womb of Sarah) that they have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit of YEHOVAH God (verse 12). He says that through this we might know (or comprehend) the things that are freely given to us, (the brethren), of YEHOVAH God. He goes on to further declare that the “natural” man (those not born of Isaac’s line) cannot receive the things of the spirit of YEHOVAH God. He affirms Yeshua’s statement that anyone who is not begotten of the original sowing (in the womb of Sarah) cannot see the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God.
1 John 2:27: "But the anointing which you have received abideth in you,"
1 John 3:9: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit [practice] sin, for his seed remaineth in him:"
1 John 5:18: "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not;"
There is this relationship between the “anointing”, the right “seed”, and being begotten of YEHOVAH God.
The "Sons of God" and the "Daughters of Men"
Few texts in the history of Bible interpretation have aroused more curiosity, animosity and divergence of opinion than Genesis 6:1-4. It is at once tantalizing and deeply puzzling to those drawn to its web.
"Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the LORD said, 'My spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.' There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown" (NKJV).
What is the most difficult and contentious is the identification of the main participants in this short passage -- the "sons of God," the "daughters of men" and the "Nephilim" (or "giants"). Down through the ages an impressive array of scholars has backed up each of the three major positions taken on the identification of these three groups of participants. The three major positions are as follow:
(1) The cosmologically mixed races view (angels and humans).
(2) The religiously mixed races view (godly Sethites and worldly Cainites).
(3) The sociologically mixed races view (despotic male aristocrats and beautiful female commoners.
By all odds, the view that may perhaps claim the greatest antiquity is the cosmologically mixed races -- or the angel theory -- view. This view has been stretched to the limits of the bizarre by many commentators and authors, such as Stephen Quayle, in his book Genesis 6 Giants: Master Builders of Prehistoric and Ancient Civilizations. He jumps into the realm of the bizarre and without hesitation makes the following pronouncements:
"Obviously, the 'daughters of men' were simply human women. But who were the 'sons of God'? And who -- or what -- were the giants and 'mighty men' who were the offspring of the sons of God and daughters of men?...One explanation fits this scripture passage perfectly. Not surprisingly, it was also accepted as truth by ancient Jewish scholars. It becomes apparent with careful study of the scriptures as well.
"This view maintains that the 'sons of God' are angels. As creatures of God, these creatures (like mankind) bear a family relationship in that they were created by God and, therefore, can be viewed in a sense as being His sons. Not only that, this interpretation explains why all the human beings involved are female while all the male figures are called the 'sons of God.' The reason is that angels are always referred to as being males....
"The Nephilim that were produced by the angel/mankind marriage were much different from either of their parents. This, too, went against God's plan for the Earth in which each animal and human being was to reproduce 'after its own kind.' This is perhaps the best demonstration that the parents of these creatures were not simply descendants of Cain and Seth. Had they been, they would have produced human offspring, rather than the Nephilim....
"A careful study of the first introduction of this word in Genesis also shows that the Nephilim have appeared more than one time in history. The verses don't say that the first account was the only time this occurred. Rather,'There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men...'
"Notice that there were giants 'in those days' and 'also after that' time as well. Since the giants could only be coming from the sons of God interbreeding with the daughters of men, and since God wiped out the first instance of this with the Great Flood, this would have to mean that such couplings have occurred more than just once before the flood" (End Time Thunder Publishers, Bozeman, MT 2009, pages 120-121, 128 and 130-131).
According to the book Hard Sayings of the Bible, by Kaiser, Davids, Bruce and Brauch:
"...there are such overwhelming problems with it [the angel theory] that it is not recommended as the solution to this problem. While it is true, of course, that the term 'sons of God' does occur in Job 1:6, 2:1 and 38:7 with the meaning 'angels' (and that the phrase 'sons of the Mighty' appears in Ps. 29:1 and 89:7 with the meaning 'angels'), it does not fit well here for several reasons.
"Nowhere else in Scripture are we told that angels married humans. In fact, our Lord specifically stated that angels DO NOT marry (Mk. 12:25). And though the Septuagint translated the expression as being equivalent to 'angels,' it is in fact only the Alexandrian manuscript that does so. The critical edition by Alfred Rahlfs does not reflect the angelic interpretation.
"Even more serious is the problem of why judgment should fall on the humans and on the earth if the angels of heaven were the cause of the troubles. God should have flooded heaven, not the earth. The culprits came from above; the women seem to have been doing nothing except being beautiful!...
"To allege that 'giants' were the results of such sexual unions is once again to go beyond any data we possess in Scripture. Did the angels procreate without the use of natural bodies? Or did they already possess natural bodies? Or did they create for themselves natural bodies by the use of some mysterious, intrinsic, but rebellious power? Any and all answers to such questions would be purely speculative" (InterVarsity Press, Downes Grove, Illinois, pages 106-107).
"Purely speculative" indeed! Linking the Nephilim to the result of unions between angels and human women is highly speculative and has, in fact, no basis in Scripture. A different rendering of Genesis 6:1-4 by Ferrar Fenton shows just how speculative this notion is:
"But when corrupt Men increased upon the surface of the Earth, and sons and daughters were born to them, then the sons of God admired the daughters of Men who were beautiful, and they took to themselves wives from all they desired. Consequently the EVER-LIVING said 'My spirit shall not call to man for ever, for he is sinful flesh, but they shall have a hundred and twenty years.' The Nephalim were upon the earth in those days, and ALSO AFTERWARDS when the sons of God came to the daughters of man, and they [the sons of God] bore to them [the daughters of man] mighty men, who were men of renown of old" (The Bible in Modern English, "The Five Books of Moses," 1901).
This rendition clearly states that the Nephilim were alive (on the earth) BEFORE the union of "the sons of God" and "the daughters of Men" -- therefore the Nephilim could NOT have been the result of this union! The offspring of this union were the "mighty men, who were men of renown of old" -- totally different people to the Nephilim. The phrase "The Nephalim were upon the earth in those days, and also afterwards when the sons of God came to the daughters of man" is a interjectory statement similar in style to numerous other ones found in the Bible.
Now, regarding the other two views of this Genesis passage (religiously mixed races and the sociologically mixed races) the Bible dictionary Insight On the Scriptures has this to say:
"Many commentators hold that these 'sons of God' were themselves human [so far, so good!] being in reality men of the line of Seth [oops, heading into the ditch!]. They base their argument on the fact that Seth's line was that through which godly Noah came, whereas the other lines from Adam, that of Cain and those of any other sons born to Adam (Ge 5:3, 4), were destroyed at the Flood. So, they say that the taking as wives 'the daughters of men' by 'the sons of the true God' means that Sethites began to marry into the line of wicked Cain....Corroborating Scriptural evidence is LACKING to support the view that intermarriage between the lines of Seth and Cain is what is here meant..." (Vol. 2, "Son(s) of God," p. 996).
Amen to that!
The last of the three views, that of the sociologically mixed races, while favored by many commentators, is a stretch and totally unnecessary when the truth about the two lines of Genesis 1 and 2 is understood. All the bizarre theories about angels marrying the daughters of men and producing hybrids that dominated the people of the time is based on nothing more than Greek and Roman mythology -- and probably Babylonian mythology before that!
If we take Genesis 6:1-4 again and correctly identify the people mentioned, we come up with the following:
Now it came to pass, when [non-Adamic, sixth-day creation, Paul's 'vessels of dishonor'] men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God [the Adamic forming of the eighth day, Paul's 'vessels of honor'] saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the LORD said, 'My spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.' There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward [an interjection, not related to the children born to the daughters of men and the sons of God], when the sons of God [line of Adam] came in to the daughters of men [line from sixth day creation] and they bore children to them. Those [the offspring from this union] were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown [not the Nephilim or giants]" (NKJV).
This has been a particular problem with the line of Adam, and YEHOVAH God had to admonish the Israelites time, and time again, about marrying into the non-Israelite races descended from the sixth day creation. We see here that the problem started out very early in the Bible narrative.
Who Died in the Flood?
It is commonly believed that all human beings on the face of the planet -- with the exception of Noah and his family -- died during the flood -- but is this true? Let's take a look at Genesis 6:17 --
"And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the land, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the land shall die."
Then, in Genesis 7:21:
"And all flesh died that moved upon the land, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepith upon the land, and every man: all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land died."
We saw above that the most important difference between the mankind of Genesis 1:26 and Adam in Genesis 2:7 was that Adam received the Breath of YEHOVAH God in his nostrils. Therefore, those drowned in Noah's flood were those of the line of Adam ONLY -- those of the line of Adam who disobeyed YEHOVAH God by marrying women (daughters of men) from the first creation of Genesis one. As these wayward Adamites continued to disobey YEHOVAH God "the wickedness of [Adamite] man was great in the land, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his [Adamite man's] heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).
The Judahite historian Josephus (37 A.D. - 100 A.D.) recorded in his work Antiquities of the Jews that others besides the family of Noah had survived the flood -- notice!
"But as for Noah, he was afraid, since God had determined to destroy [corrupted Adamite] mankind, lest He should drown the earth [land] every year; so he [Noah] offered burnt-offerings, and besought God that Nature might hereafter go on in its former orderly course, and that He [YEHOVAH God] would not bring on so great a judgment any more, by which the whole race of creatures [mankind of the first creation] might be in danger of destruction; but that, having now punished the wicked [Adamites who married the 'daughters of men' and became increasingly wicked], He would of His goodness spare the remainder, and such as He had hitherto judged fit to be delivered from so severe a calamity..." (Book I, Chapter III, 7).
Josephus also records that "Nicolaus of Damascus, in his ninety-sixth book, hath a particular relation about them, where he speaks thus: 'There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one [Noah] who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it...'" (Book I, Chapter III, 6).
Clearly, many survived the Flood; and since it was only the land in which the wicked Adamites lived that was flooded, this makes complete sense. Many of the races created in the first creation account of Genesis 1 were not affected by Noah's Flood, and although the weather patterns of the earth were greatly changed by the falling of the band of water surrounding the earth, these races continued to grow and expand over the face of the earth.
The "sons of God" were those of the line of Adam who rejected YEHOVAH's laws and increased in wickedness and "corrupted their way on the land" (Genesis 6:12). The "daughters of men" were those of the sixth-day creation (Genesis 1:26-28) whom "the sons of God saw...were beautiful; and they [the sons of God] took wives for themselves of all whom they chose" in disregard of YEHOVAH's instructions regarding racial separation and purity.
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