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Who were the "sons of God" who married "the daughters of men" and had children who were giants in Genesis 6

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Scholars debate and disagree over the meaning of the obscure reference to “the sons of God” in Genesis 6:1-4 Genesis 6:1-4 1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
American King James Version×
. Some people read into these verses the idea that it refers to angelic beings marrying women and producing a race of giants. Christ explained that is impossible, teaching that angels are neither male nor female (Luke 20:34-36 Luke 20:34-36 34 And Jesus answering said to them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal to the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
American King James Version×
)—that is, they are incapable of reproduction.

Humans are clearly the subject in Genesis 6—not angels. God said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh” (verse 3, emphasis added throughout) and, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth” (verse 7). If angels were capable of reproducing as mankind does, their offspring would be spirit, according to the principle of “according to its kind” portrayed in Genesis 1.

The Bible labels the offspring of these marriages “giants” (Genesis 6:4 Genesis 6:4There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
American King James Version×
), meaning simply people of giant stature. Similar people are spoken of in later times, most notably Goliath and his family.

How, then, can we understand Genesis 6:1-4 Genesis 6:1-4 1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
American King James Version×
? Human beings are also sons of God. We're not referring to becoming spiritual sons of God through conversion, but to the fact that all people are sons of God by creation (Luke 3:38 Luke 3:38Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
American King James Version×
). The attitudes and actions of these “sons of God” were so wrong that they provoked God to send the Flood.

Halley's Bible Handbook raises the possibility that these sons of God were the descendants of Seth. Seth, the Bible records, was made in the image of Adam, who was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26 Genesis 1:26And 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 creeps on the earth.
American King James Version×
; 5:1-3). Speaking of Seth's descendants, Genesis 4:26 Genesis 4:26And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call on the name of the LORD.
American King James Version×
adds, “Then men began to call on the name of the Lord,” a phrase that could also be rendered, “called after the name of the Lord”—that is, the “sons of God.” If so, the women, “the daughters of men” whom these “sons of God” married were the descendants of unrighteous Cain. By marrying these women, the sons of righteous Seth turned from God, leading Him to say that the entire world was then corrupt (Genesis 6:5-7 Genesis 6:5-7 5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repents me that I have made them.
American King James Version×
, 12).

An alternative explanation is that “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2 Genesis 6:2That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
American King James Version×
refers to self-willed men who called themselves “sons of god,” not in worship of the Creator, but of pagan deities. Their marriages were in defiance of the Creator God, as they lived contrary to His will. In light of God's characterization of society riddled with violence (verses 11 and 13), we surmise that the men forcibly took the women as wives.

Regardless of which explanation is accurate, the idea that a half-spirit, half-human race resulted from angels marrying women is impossible, according to the Bible.

For more information please watch our BT Daily Video Did angels marry women and produce a race of giants?

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    Comments

  • vince thompson

    Mt. 22:30 describes how “angels of God in heaven” behave, not how fallen angels would behave. The phrase “Sons of God is a very old phrase and only appears in the two oldest books in the Bible, Gen & Job. Clearly in Job 38:7 “Sons of God” refers to angels so if for no other reason than to be consistant in translation it warrants a deeper look. This period of time on earth was preflood and quite early in demons experiance with man. Mankind must have presented quite a tempting toy for a group of beings banished from heaven by the very Being these weak creatures were fashioned after. Manipulating them and possessing them was likely quite a sport for them. We see many examples of demon influence and possession of men and beasts throughout the Bible. While I doubt that a cross species mating occured for all the complications it would present later, it’s not impossible to conceive of the idea that fallen angels considering men as pets to be managed, looked at the giants which, as you point out, already existed and sought out men and woman who carried the Giant Gene and possessed them for the purpose of spawning more giants. They obviously accelerated the corruption of man until “the thoughts of his heart was only evil continuously.” How much pleasure they must have had at the expense of these little God lookalikes! This theory while only a theory, not only allows you to more consistantly and less subjectively explain a rare phrase of the OT, it also helps explain two difficult NT passages.
    1Peter 3:18-20 describes Christ apparently correcting misbehaving spirits during this exact timeframe who after being disobedient in some way were being restrained while Noah built the ark. If these spirits had done as I proposed earlier, they would certainly have earned a preaching to and maybe even a stern warning complete with a sign as a reminder to them as to who the woman was created for, which brings me to the 2nd difficult scripture my theory clears up;1Cor 11:9-10. Here a peculiar addition to the end of vs 10 perplexes all who read it,”because of the angels” Paul states the man was not made for the woman but the woman for the man and then says that a womans long hair is a sign or symbol of this,”because of the angels”! Just like the rainbow was a sign that God would never destroy man with a flood again, might woman’s hair be a sign to the angels not to touch the woman!

  • Redeemed777
    Vince , angels are ministering spirits they can not procreate including those ( ⅓ ) who followed satan. And remember the ⅓ fell along with satan from the beginning and the (⅔)good angels would have not taken daughters of men to wife even if they had the means to. So that would leave fallen angels except one thing there that does not float God would have not called fallen angels His sons ,God called them “satans angels” they were no longer ministering spirits serving God however they did remain ministering spirits but not for God they were minstering spirits serving satan Those(men) that walked according to God were His sons they were the offspring of Seth but they too fell into sinful lust because they were an offspring of Adam and Eve who fell and everyone after them were born in sin (flesh) absent of the Holy Spirit of God therefore its written “Yea must be born again” ;of the Spirit of God. Those born again of Christ Yeshua are sons (children of God) Genesis 5:2 Genesis 5:2Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
    American King James Version×
    both man and woman were called Adam (mankind) Therefore in the NT all born again of Christ Yeshua are “sons of God” When we are gathered up to the Lord we will be like angels that is never dying and never marrying or given in marriage
  • Jane2014
    The Sons of God marrying daughters of men was signifying that those who had the gospel in their life, and knew the truth, were marrying people of foreign faiths, and foreign ideals. As it says in Psalms 82:6 Psalms 82:6I have said, You are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
    American King James Version×
    “I have said, Ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.” We also find in Romans 8:14-17 Romans 8:14-17 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
    American King James Version×
    “14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Thus, in plain text we see that we are the children of God, and the Sons of God. And we know that scripture cannot be broken, and there are two witnesses to this account, therefore, I know that the account that we are Sons of God is true. Therefore, if the Sons of God marry daughters of men, it means that they are marrying out of their faith, and taking people out of their religion to be their companions, and thus why wickedness ensues in the next few verses. As for the giants, well, it was talking about the size and stature of the people they were marrying.
  • Malachi 3_16-18
    Hi Jane2014, I would recommend that you carefully re-read the article above, looking up the verses that are mentioned. As it points out, there are two different uses in Scripture of the term “sons of God.” You are correct; the Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35 John 10:35If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
    American King James Version×
    ), but looking at Bible verses in their context, and also looking at related verses in other parts of the Bible, helps us to understand what is meant in each case. As the article pointed out, spirit beings cannot and do not father children (Lk 20:34-36). The first use of “sons of God” means simply being fathered as a human by God. In this sense, Adam was referred to in the Bible as the “son of God” (Lk 3:38). This terminology also looks forward to the incredible future we have of becoming spirit-composed sons of God in His Family (1 John 3:1-2 1 John 3:1-2 1 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
    American King James Version×
    ). The second meaning refers to our becoming spiritual sons begotten by God’s Holy Spirit when we are converted. We cannot become sons of this degree unless we have the Spirit, are led by that Spirit, and continue to walk by that Spirit (1 John 3:1-3 1 John 3:1-3 1 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.
    American King James Version×
    , and Romans 8:14-17 Romans 8:14-17 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
    American King James Version×
    – the verses you quoted). There is no indication that the “sons of God” mentioned in Genesis 6 were spirits or even converted humans, and therefore sons of God in the latter and spiritual sense, because God did not condone their actions; in fact, their taking wives of their own choosing seems to have contributed to the evil conditions described in the subsequent verses.
  • Sword4Christ
    For one I can clearly understand how this subject can become cloudy, I struggled with this for some time. However there are some serious questions to consider, if the sons of God refer to the sons of Seth, then God is very inconstant in judgement, I mean if judgement against the whole world came every time godly men had sexual relations with ungodly women by this time there would be no world left to judge. What we do know is this: whatever happened brought server judgement, and apparently whatever happened is what will bring server judgement in the future. Jesus said “for as it was in the days of Noah, for so shall it also be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man.” We also know from the bible that those who committed these offenses are locked in everlasting chains in the abyss (2peter 2:4, 1 Enoch 22:4-7) I know this is difficult to accept but this view of the watchers having relations with women was the common view of Enoch, and the old testament saints. It makes sense when we consider that their purpose was to stop the coming Messiah by corrupting the seed of the women (Genesis 3:15 Genesis 3:15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
    American King James Version×
    ). Satan knew that the Messiah would be born of a women what better way to try to stop this than by corrupting the seed. If the sons of God refer to the sons of Seth then do we believe that when Satan presented himself in heaven before God in Job 1:6 Job 1:6Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
    American King James Version×
    that Seth’s sons were actually with him? Hardly not! This refers to the angelic beings

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