James Montgomery Boice.

Genesis, an Expositional Commentary, Vol. 1 Creation and fall, Genesis 1 – 11, Baker Books, 1998.



who is the Alpha and the Omega

the First and the Last

the Beginning and the End.”


… there is no better or needful time for anyone to be studying the Book of Genesis than the present… (the) Start at the beginning of everything! You will find that your understanding of the Christian faith will be wonderfully and deeply enriched and that your ability to talk about Christ and the gospel will be significantly enhanced…


Fragments of Chapter 42

Sons of God/Daughters of Men


Genesis 6:1-4


“…The interpretation of Gen. 6 that takes “the sons of God” as referring to the godly line of Seth is most natural since it avoids the obvious problem of how spirit beings could copulate with humans… it is not an early view but it appears in such thinkers as Chrysostom and Augustine in the early church, and is adopted by reformers such as Luther, Calvin, and their followers.


Augustine’s treatment occurs in The City of God, in which he is trying to trace the origin, nature, and development of the two cities (the society of those who love God and the society of those who love self)…he writes of the passage, “By these two names (sons of God and daughters of men) the two cities are sufficiently distinguished. For although the former were by nature children of men, they had come into possession of another name by grace… When they (the godly race) were captivated by the daughters of men, they adopted the manners of the earthly to win them as their brides, and forsook the godly ways they had followed in their own holy society (Augustine, The City of God, book 15, 303).”


Francis Schaeffer notes: “there is a constant prohibition… against the people of God marrying those who are not the people of God (Schaeffer, Genesis in Space and Time, 126).”


However, there area reasons for rejecting this interpretation in favor of the angelic or supernatural view, and it is to these we now come.


The first reason is linguistic. That is, so far as the (specific) biblical use of the phrase “the sons of God” is concerned, there is every reason to take it as referring to angels.


This has been denied by the other side, of course. The (specific) biblical use of the phrase “the sons of God” (bene ’ elohim) is used only three other times in the Old Testament – in Job 1:6, 2:1; and 38:7. In each case it clearly means spirit beings, twice those fallen spirits who accompanied Satan in his periodic appearances before the Lord in heaven. This is so clear that the translators of the New International Version drop the longer phrase entirely and simply substitute the word angels: “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them (Job 1:6, cf. also 2:1)”. A similar form of this phrase (bar ’ elahin) is used in Daniel 3:25 of the fourth figure Nebuchadnezzar saw when he looked into the burning furnace into which Daniel’s three friends had been thrown. In this case it probably refers to an unfallen angel…, but the actual identity of the being involved is not given. Nebuchadnezzar merely says, “The fourth looks like a son of the gods.”


…(In the New Testament) believers are termed “sons of God” because they are born of God directly by his Spirit (cf. John 3:3-8).


The first reason why the angel view of Genesis 6 should be preferred is that this was the view of the translators of the Septuagint, who rendered “sons of God” as “angels”, and (also did)… other Jewish writers prior to the time of Christ:


The… book 1 Enoch… is available to us through an Ethiopic text of which only three manuscripts survive. Yet in spite of this paucity of manuscripts it was probably “the most important pseudepigraphic (a work written in the name of someone other than the actual author) of the first two centuries B. C. (R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English, vol. 2. Pseudepigrapha (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1913), p. 163).” (In that book 1 Enoch we read): “And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: “Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children”… They were in all two hundred… (They) took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments… And they became pregnant, and they bare great giants… And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways” (Chaps. 6-8). The book continues by showing the judgment of God against the fallen angels, in which they are bound up in… the “uttermost depths” of the earth.


First Enoch is not a biblical book, of course. Its interpretation of Genesis 6 is not inspired. It could be wrong in many places and undoubtedly is (note of the editor: i. e. exaggerates unto the absurdity the height of these beings). (Note of the editor: it looks like the versions of Enoch extant now are composed from an earlier and inspired text, but mixed with the imaginations of ungodly men. The same situation can bee seen if we compare the books of Daniel and of Esther in a Christian Bible (that follows the Hebrew Canon) with the same books in a Catholic version (in which some absurd fragments were added in such a way that we can see that there were not present in the original revelation of God)… Jude 14-15 (says) “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him”… (we can find also these words in 1 Enoch 1:9). The phrase “seventh from Adam” is found in 1 Enoch 60:8. Jude says in verse 6: “the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home” have been… “kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment of the great Day” (Note of the editor: in the New Unger's Bible Dictionary, originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois.  Copyright (1988), an implication is made that we, the born again believers are who are going to participate in the judgment of this fallen angels: 1 Cor. 6:3 “know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?.”


2 Peter and Jude are closely related in that most of 2 Peter 2 is paralleled in Jude, and there are parallels in the other two chapters… Peter… speaks of God’s judging the angels by “putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment”…


In 1 Peter (3:18-20)… “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built”…Christ proclaimed his victory over sin and (over) the devil to the demons. Peter refers to this event to encourage believers in their witness before this world’s magistrates (Cf. Bo Reicke, The Epistles of James, Peter and Jude (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1964), 109-11).


Strange Flesh


The third reason for preferring the supernatural interpretation of Genesis 6 is the way in which both 2 Peter and Jude connect the judgment of God on the angels with the judgment of God on Sodom and Gomorrah, particularly the way in which Jude refers to the second incident. Apart from the language of Jude the connection could simply be that of two obvious examples of great judgment. But Jude seems to say more when, after having spoken of the judgment on the angels for their sin, he goes on to say, “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion” (v. 7). In this verse the comparison is not in the matter of judgment itself. Jude does not say, “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah were judged.” The comparison is rather in the area of the sin that occasioned the judgment, and this, as Jude shows, was a sexual sin of a particular kind. In some modern versions this is hidden by such translations as “sexual immorality and perversion” (NIV and The New Testament in Modern English, 1958 by J. B. Phillips) or “unnatural lusts” (RSV, NEB).  But the Authorized Version is closer to the Greek text when it speaks of the Sodomites as “giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh (sarkos heteras).” The men of Sodom did this in desiring sexual relations with the angels who had come to visit Abraham and Lot (Genesis 18-19). The implication would be that in doing so they recapitulated the sin of the angels of Genesis 6, who “in a similar way” had desired relationships with women.


Paul’s discussion of the nature of our resurrection bodies in 1 Corinthians has bearing on this interpretation, for he used the word heteros, meaning something that is entirely different, in comparing the glory of “heavenly bodies” and the glory of “earthly bodies” (1 Cor. 15:40). One verse earlier he spoke of the differences between the flesh of men, animals, and birds. But there he used the word allos, meaning different but nevertheless of the same kind.


The objection to this supposed union of angel flesh and human flesh is that the angels are supposed to be sexless, since Jesus said, “At the resurrection people will never marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven” (Matt. 22:30). But this is not the equivalent of saying that the angels are sexless or that they could not have had sexual relations with women if they had chosen to do so. In heaven human beings will not marry but will nevertheless retain their identity, which includes their being either male or female. In the same way, the angels could also have sexual identities. It is significant perhaps that when the angels are referred to in Scripture it is always with the masculine pronoun “he,” and they are always described as men. So, as Henry M. Morris says, “When Jesus said that the angels in heaven do not marry, this does not necessarily mean that those who have been cast out of heaven were incapable of doing so” (Morris, The Genesis Record, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1976), 166).


The final point of evidence for the angel view of Genesis 6 is the reference to the giants or Nephilim in verse 4: “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”


Since we have no information about the results of an angel/human union, except what is found here, it is impossible to argue how such a union might produce giants. It is enough to say that it is conceivable that this could happen and that this is the probable meaning of verse 4. The New International Version has hedged its translation by refusing to translate, simply transliterating the Hebrew word Nephilim. But in Numbers 13:33 the word clearly means giants (though not necessarily those produced by an intermarriage of angels and human beings). What would be more natural than that this union would produce the “mighty men” of antiquity? Since this verse specifically refers to the “heroes of old,” what would be more probable that that this is the origin of those stories of half-human-half-divine figures present in virtually all ancient mythologies? The stories of Homer and other writers would be embellished, of course, but they probably reflect memories of these ancient outstanding figures of pre-flood period.


Back at the Ranch


A study like this involves so many technical details that it is easy to find oneself wondering about the point of it all and asking whether the outcome really matters. In one sense, the natural interpretation is quite valid and its point well taken. But I am convinced that to view Genesis 6 in this way is actually to lose something important.


Earlier we pointed out that one thing in favor of the natural interpretation is that it seems to fit in well with the general theme of chapters 4 and 5, namely, the contrast between the godly and the ungodly lines. But this is not the only contrast we have seen in the opening sections of Genesis. What of the serpent? What of Satan? What of his desire to subvert the race and draw men and women after himself against God? If Genesis 6 does not refer to demonic activity, Satan apparently fades out of the picture entirely after chapter 3. But if Genesis 6 refers to a further attempt by Satan to pervert the race, then we have a reminder of his continuing hostility not only to God but to ourselves as well.


Satan was in the garden when the promise of a deliverer was given. He heard God say, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen. 3:15). Like Eve, he too must have though that Cain, the woman’s offspring, was the deliverer and must therefore have plotted to turn him into a murderer. He succeeded! He corrupted Cain by getting him to murder Abel, thereby eliminating one of Eve’s children and rendering the other unfit to be the Savior. Yet Satan failed! For, as he was soon to learn, God simply continued on his unruffled way to develop the godly line through which the deliverer would eventually be born. What was Satan to do now? At this point he conceived the plan of corrupting the entire race by the intermarriage of demons and human beings. The Savior could not be born of a demon-possessed mother. So if Satan could succeed in infecting the entire race, the deliverer could not come. In narrating this incident, Genesis 6 is saying, in effect, “Meanwhile, back at the ranch the villain is still hatching his plots.”


Stan is still doing it today. Because he is a being who learns by experience, he is a much wiser and more dangerous devil today than he was in the time before the flood. A person who knows this and who knows that we struggle “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12), will fear Satan and draw near to Jesus, who has defeated him.


Again, there is this practical application. Without detracting in the slightest from the fact that the flood was a real judgment of God on the ungodliness of men and women and consequently a warning of an even greater judgment to come, we can also see that it was at the same time an act of the marvelous grace of God. For in preserving the race intact, uncontaminated by Satan’s attempts at demonic perversion, God actually provided for our salvation through keeping open the way for the Redeemer to come. If Satan had succeeded, Jesus could not have been born and the race as a whole – including Adam and Seth and Enoch and all the rest – would have been lost. But by destroying the contaminated race and saving uncontaminated Noah and his immediate uncontaminated family and by binding the demos who participated in this great sin in Hades (Only use of the Greek word Tartaroo) until the final judgment, God made the salvation to be achieved by Christ both sure and possible.”


Más referencias de diccionarios: http://www.oocities.org/fdocch/canaan.htm

Regresar al índice:


Tasters of the Word (YouTube), videos recientes: "Astronomía y Nacimiento de Jesucristo: Once de Septiembre Año Tres A.C.", "Estudio sobre Sanidades" (en 20 episodios), "Jesus Christ, Son or God?" and "We've the Power to Heal":http://www.youtube.com/1fertra

Tasters of the Word (the blog, with: "Astronomy and the Birth of Jesus Christ"):http://fertra1.blogspot.com


And a commercial before we go:

Window Cleaning of Ronnie Petree, where my wife works (smile): Good Looking Glass of Houston (serving also at: Katy, Surgarland, Conroe, Kingwood, Woodlands, Galveston).