Who Were the Sons of God?

by Pastor Robert Jacobs

Our text: Gen. 6: 1-4

There are three basic thoughts as to who the “sons of God” were in our text.

The First Thought

Some believe the “sons of God” to be the line of Seth. In other words it is thought to be those individuals belonging to the line of Seth while the daughters of men were the unsaved girls who belonged to the line of Cain.

This thought or view is supported by (5) five arguments:

  1. It is supported by Jesus – Matt 22:30.
  2. Because the law of biogenesis, life begets similar life – Gen 1:11,12, 21, 24, 25.
  3. Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15:38-40 basically tells us that celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial can never co-join.
  4. Moses did not use the regular Hebrew word for angel (malak) which he later employs at least twenty-eight times in the Pentateuch.
  5. “Mighty Men” (supposed offspring of angels and women) is the Hebrew word “gibbor” – Gen 6:4, which is used numerous times in the OT and always refers to human men- Judges 6:12.

The Second View or Argument

The second is the line of thought that these giants or sons of God were wicked and fallen angelic beings of some kind who committed immoral and unnatural physical acts with women in general.

  1. The Hebrew language seems to favor it.
    The Hebrew phrase “bne-elohim” (sons of God) always refer to angels in the OT (Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7).
  2. The Hebrew word “nephilim” translated giants in Gen 6:4, actually should be rendered “fallen ones.”
    According to Jewish Historian Josephus he makes reference to the fact that “The Septuagint” (the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT and Bible used by the Jews) translates Gen 6:2 as the “angels of God.”
  3. The interpretation of the early church: it was not until the fourth century that another view opposed to the angels of God theory was offered. Dr. James M. Gray (past President of Moody Bible Institute) writes, “There is reason to believe this view would not have changed . . . had it not been for certain erroneous opinions and practices of Christendom” (from his book, Spiritism and the Fallen Angels). Gray then suggests two such reasons:
    •One of these was angel worship. The church sometime after the fourth century began worshiping angels, so the natural thing would be to deny any angel could do such vile things with humanity.
    •The other reason was celibacy. If indeed these sons of God were human men, then the monks would have scriptural justification for indulging in sexual activities in spite of their official vows of celibacy.

Various New Testament Passages Support the Second View

For example: 1 Peter 3:18-20For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

It is thought by some that these spirits here were those sons of God in Genesis 6. The reason for their iniquity was a satanic attempt to corrupt human flesh and thus prevent the promised Incarnation (Gen. 3:15) from taking place.

But here Peter describes Christ as telling them their foul plan didn’t work! For another suggested passage along this line, see Jude 1:5-7. “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Two kinds of fallen angels exist: the unchained and those already chained. The unchained now have access to high places and to the bodies of unsaved men. (See Eph. 6:12; Lk. 8:27; Mk. 1:23.) The chained are at present already incarcerated. (See 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:5-7.) The thought is that these are chained because of their involvement in Genesis 6.

The Third View

In more recent times a third view has been advocated which says the sons of God were indeed fallen angels who totally controlled and possessed all the evil men living before the flood. These demons may have even attempted to change (by genetic engineering, as we see today) the DNA code of future babies, as would some deadly virus.

Now I tend to lead toward the second view in that they were “fallen angels.” But I must confess, brethren, that it was difficult to actually make a solid conviction at least until I studied it thoroughly.

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