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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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