Some believe that the Bible teaches that at the time of Noah, angelic beings produced giants through sexual intercourse with women. In fact, this belief is wide-spread and sometimes referred to as the “most controversial concept” in the entire Bible. Proponents refer for proof to Genesis 6:1-4. This passage reads:
“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… 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.”
Note, first of all, that the Bible does NOT say that the giants were the offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of men.
The Ryrie Study Bible states: “The giants were on the earth before the marriages of Gen. 6:2, and were not the offspring of those marriages.”
Some translations wrongly imply that the giants were the offspring of those marriages between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men,” while other renderings, sticking to the original wording in the Hebrew, show that the giants who were on the earth at the time, and afterwards too, were NOT the product of such sexual relationship.
Regardless, some claim that the sons of God were angelic beings, while the daughters of men were mortal women.
We discussed the Church of God’s understanding of this passage in one of our Q&A’s, raising the question as to whether angels are able to have sexual relationships with women and produce human offspring.
We rejected this idea and explained the following:
“First of all, let us remember that God made animals and humans according to their kind (Genesis 1:21, 24-28). Animals can only reproduce other animals, according to their kind (two dogs can produce another dog, but they can’t produce a horse or a bird), and men can only produce humans (they can’t produce animals). Since men and angels belong to a different “kind,” it is impossible for that reason alone, that they could produce human offspring.
“In addition, as created spirit beings, angels… do not reproduce sexually or by any other means. Jesus made this very clear. He said in Luke 20:34-36 that the ‘sons of this age,’ i.e. human beings who live today, ‘marry and are given in marriage.’ One of the purposes of marriage is reproduction, as well as having a sexual relationship (compare Genesis 1:28; 2:24). Married couples are to become ‘one flesh’–including sexually… Christ told us that those who are worthy to attain the resurrection to eternal life, will not marry or be given in marriage, but they will be, in THAT sense, equal to angels. They will be OVER angels in authority and essence (1 Corinthians 6:3; Hebrews 2:5-8), being children of GOD, not of angels, but they will be EQUAL to angels in the sense that they will no longer ‘marry’–physically–and engage in sexual activities…
“Some quote Genesis 6:4 for the false idea that angels [allegedly referred to as “sons of God” in this passage] married women and produced human offspring prior to the flood… Although it is true that in rare instances, ‘sons of God’ can refer to angels (compare Job 1:6-8; 2:1), it refers most of the time to human beings (compare Malachi 1:6; 2:10; Luke 3:38; Romans 8:14; Revelation 21:7). This is also the case in Genesis 6. God decided to destroy sinful men–flesh–not angels. We read that all flesh and every MAN died in the flood (Genesis 7:21-23). Because of this, some commentaries point out that the term ‘sons of God’ might, in this instance, refer to the ‘godly line of Seth’ (compare Ryrie Study Bible). Halley’s Bible Handbook allows for the possibility that the ‘sons of God’ were ‘leaders in Sethite families who intermarried with godless descendants of Cain. These abnormal marriages… filled the earth with corruption and violence.’
“Even though the ‘sons of God’ (human beings) belonged to the line of Seth, and might have worshipped the true God (compare Genesis 4:26), they took for themselves whatever women they wanted–including those who did not believe in and worship the true God (compare God’s warning in Malachi 2:15 and in 1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14). The consequence was that ‘the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually’ (Genesis 6:5).
“The Commentary of Jamieson, Faussett and Brown agrees that Genesis 6 refers strictly to human marriages, stating: ‘“the sons of God saw the daughters of men”–by the former is meant the family of Seth, who were professedly religious; by the latter, the descendants of apostate Cain. Mixed marriages between parties of opposite principles and practice were necessarily sources of extensive corruption. The women, irreligious themselves [that is, not worshipping the true God], would as wives and mothers exert an influence fatal to the existence of [true] religion in their household, and consequently the people of that later age sank to the lowest depravity.’
“Matthew Henry agrees with this explanation: ‘The sons of God (that is, the professors of [true] religion) married the daughters of men, that is, those that were profane, and strangers to God and godliness. The posterity of Seth did not keep by themselves, as they ought to have done. They intermingled themselves with the excommunicated race of Cain.’
“Similar the Soncino Commentary, identifying the ‘sons of God’ as ‘the sons of princes and judges,’ referring to the fact that the word ‘Elohim’ (in ‘sons of God’ or ‘Elohim’) always implies rulership and can refer to human judges (compare Exodus 4:16; 7:1). It goes on to say that ‘thus the very men who should have defended justice openly committed violence’ and that they took wives ‘by force,’ including those ‘married to others.’”
Some claim that “the sons of God” were evil angels or demons who cohabited with women. Of course, if righteous angels could not do so, neither could evil angels.
However, the Living Bible interprets the passage in Genesis 6 in this way: “In those days, and even afterwards, when the evil beings from the spirit world were sexually involved with human women, their children became giants, of whom so many legends are told.”
The Nelson Study Bible states: “The phrase [sons of God]…clearly means, angels… some of Satan’s angels, spirit beings, took on human form… and, out of perverted lust, seduced women…”
The Ryrie Study Bible prefers this explanation as well, stating that with the sons of God, “more likely, a group of fallen angels [is described] who, because of this unique sin, were confined… These are the fallen angels who sinned grievously by cohabiting with women.”
There are numerous problems with these explanations. Even though righteous angels are sometimes referred to as “sons of God,” fallen angels or demons are NEVER described in the Bible in that way. Demons are simply NOT described as “sons of God.” In addition, and as mentioned before, even when speaking of righteous angels, the term “sons of God” or even “gods” refers most of the time to human beings (compare Psalm 89:6-7, New American Bible: “Who is like the LORD among the gods?”; compare Psalm 82:6-7 with John 10:34-35. See also Isaiah 45:11; 2 Samuel 7:14.)
Notice Scofield Reference Notes:
“Some hold that these ‘sons of God’ were the ‘angels which kept not their first estate’ (Jude 1:6). It is asserted that the title is in the Old Testament exclusively used of angels. But this is in error (Isaiah 43:6)… we are expressly told that marriage is unknown among angels (Matthew 22:30). The uniform Hebrew and Christian interpretation has been that the verse (Genesis 6:2) marks the breaking down of the separation between the godly line of Seth and the godless line of Cain.”
Note again that some commentaries (quoted above) propose the idea that the fornication of angels with women constituted the sin for which the fallen angels were immediately confined. This, too, is erroneous. The sin of the angels, as mentioned in Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4, did not refer to fornication with women at the time of Noah, but it describes sinful rebellious conduct against God which occurred long before the creation of man.
We state the following in our free booklet, Angels, Demons and the Spirit World:
“The Bible reveals that God created all of the angels. They were not created as robots, but as spirit beings with the power to choose and to decide. One high-ranking angel, a cherub by the name of Lucifer, rebelled and sinned against God (Isaiah 14:12–15; Ezekiel 28:11–17). Lucifer wanted to ‘ascend to heaven’ to dethrone God (Isaiah 14:13). He wanted to ‘ascend above the heights of the clouds’ (Isaiah 14:14). This shows us that he was here on earth, because he wanted to ascend above the clouds of the earth to go to heaven. When he sinned, he was thrown back to this earth (Isaiah 14:12). He became Satan, which means enemy or adversary…
“Lucifer was not the only spirit being who rebelled against God. The angels under his control accompanied him and became known as demons thereafter. A reference to that rebellion is made in Revelation 12:4, stating that one-third of the angels (referred to as ‘stars’) followed Satan and became demons. This indicates that the other two-thirds of the angels stayed loyal to God…
“We read in Jude 6 about angels who did not keep their own domain (the earth), but left their own abode in order to go to heaven to dethrone God. They are now reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, that is, they are angels of darkness. They are still ruling this earth under Satan (compare Ephesians 6:12 where demons are called ‘the RULERS of the darkness of this age’). They are ‘chained,’ or held captive, by their own spiritual perversion. We read in 2 Peter 2:4 that ‘…God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell [in Greek, tartarus, describing a condition, rather than a place] and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.’”
The sin of angels occurred long before the creation of men. It does not describe any sinful sexual conduct with women at the time of Noah.
So, as the Bible does not teach that spirit beings cohabitated with women, where does this idea come from? The answer is, from uninspired Jewish folklore, fables, fairy tales and legends, as contained in the book of Enoch and in Hebrew myths.
Commentaries admit that the idea that angels married mortal women is derived from Jewish folklore—especially from the apocryphal book of Enoch. For instance, Unger’s Bible Handbook admits: “Barclay, in his commentaries on Jude and 2 Peter, also concludes that Gen. 6 talks about angels fornicating with women, thereby heavily relying on Jewish folklore and mysticism and the apocryphal book of Enoch.” Other commentaries explain that the book of Enoch “interprets” Genesis 6:2 as describing angels fornicating with women (compare Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary on Jude 6).
However, the problems with the entire uninspired “book of Enoch” are massive. We know of course that the biblical Enoch did not write it, but that it comes “from many writers and almost as many periods… It includes at least four quite independent books” (Richard Laurence, The Book of Enoch). (For information as to why the book of Enoch is uninspired and just a Jewish fairy tale, please read our Q&A on the book of Enoch.)
In chapter 7, and in other places, the book of Enoch writes that 200 holy angels from heaven decided to take wives for themselves from the daughters of men, cohabited with them and “teaching them sorcery, incantation, and the dividing of roots and trees, And they conceiving brought forth giants… these devoured all which the labor of men produced; until it became impossible to feed them… they turned themselves against men, in order to devour them…”
The demonic nature of this interpretation becomes even clearer, when reading chapter 15 of the book of Enoch:
“Now the giants, who have been born of spirit and of flesh [Note: the only One who was ever born “of spirit and of flesh” – or better, who became flesh when the holy spirit impregnated Mary–was Jesus Christ; see discussion below], shall call upon earth evil spirits, and on earth shall be their habitation. Evil spirits shall proceed from their flesh, because they were created from above; from the holy Watchers was their beginning and primary foundation. Evil spirits shall THEY BE upon earth, and the spirits of the wicked shall they be called. …”
So, according to the book of Enoch, these giants BECAME evil spirits which “are born in earth” and which “shall rise up against the sons of men, and against women, for they come forth from them during the days of slaughter and destruction.”
These incredible Jewish fables become even weirder when considering what is explained in the book Hebrews Myths—The Book of Genesis. It states that holy angels—the “sons of God”—were sent down to earth to teach mankind truth and justice, which they did for 300 years. Then they lusted after mortal women, but also after men and beasts, and produced the giants, called the “Fallen Ones.” In absolutely corrupting the truth, these false Jewish fables claim that “in those days only one virgin, Istahar by name, remained chaste.” Istahar or Ishtar was in reality a very immoral woman, also known as Semiramis, the mother-wife of Nimrod, who was later worshipped as a Babylonian goddess. The Jewish fables claim, however, that Istahar flew to heaven where she took sanctuary. In the book of Jeremiah, we read about a pagan goddess residing in heaven, called the queen of heaven, who has been identified as Astarte or Ishtar, who was worshipped by the apostate Israelites (compare Jeremiah 7:18; 44:15-25).
The fables also claim that the “wise and virtuous Enoch also ascended to Heaven, where he became God’s chief counselor, henceforth known as ‘Metatron.’ God set His own crown upon Enoch’s head, and gave him seventy-two wings.”
All of this is utter nonsense, of course, as Enoch never went to the third heaven, but died and is in his grave, until he will be resurrected at the time of Christ’s first coming (compare John 3:13; Hebrews 11:5, 13, 39-40. For more information, please read our Q&A on Enoch.)
In addition, there is only one Mediator between God the Father and men—the Man Jesus Christ (see 1 Timothy 2:5).
The book Hebrew Myths—The Book of Genesis points out that the interpretation of Genesis 6 in the book of Enoch is derived from an UNGARITIC MYTH of how “El” — a Semite-Bull god—seduced two women and fathered divine sons with them.
It is interesting though that even these fanciful Jewish tales offer an explanation for the events in Genesis 6 which come closer to the truth. They say: “Others, however, make the Sons of God pious descendants of Seth, and the Daughters of Men were the sinful descendants of Cain… Adam, on his deathbed, ordered Seth to separate his tribe from the Canaanites; and each Sethite patriarch publicly repeated this order, generation after generation. The Sethites were extraordinarily tall, like their ancestor; and… won the name ‘Children of God.’” It is also claimed that the “Daughters of Men” were “Goddess-worshipping Canaanites” who “were notorious for their orgies and premarital prostitution.”
We will now address additional reasons why the idea is utter nonsense that angels cohabitated with mortals and produced children.
First note that Christ and His righteous angels, when they appeared in Old Testament times AS humans, did NOT actually BECOME humans.
In our Q&A, which discusses the fact that Jesus Christ BECAME flesh or a human being at the time of His First Coming, we state the following:
“We read that God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, together with two angels, appeared to Abraham, and they ate and spoke with him (Genesis 18:1-15). Christ and His angels appeared as men (verse 2). But this does not mean that they actually WERE men–that is, flesh and blood human beings. They just manifested themselves AS human beings. If the two angels had BECOME human beings at the time of Abraham, they could have died–but God’s Word tells us that His angels CANNOT die (Luke 20:34-36). If Christ had become a flesh and blood human being at the time of Abraham, He could have died at that time, too. But this would have been impossible. He had to become a human being, at the time of the New Testament, to be able to die.”
Christ was not a human being—He did not become a human being—prior to His human birth. In Old Testament times, He – the Spirit being – would manifest Himself in human appearance, looking like a human, but He was NOT a human being. The same is true for angels. They never BECAME humans.
One might respond that as angels, they could eat physical food, so why could they not engage in sexual conduct? They refer to the record about Sodom and point out that the men of the city wanted to have sexual intercourse with the two righteous angels who were staying with Lot. But this passage does not say, of course, that such intercourse took place. In fact, it did not occur, and the homosexual men of the city did not know that these were angels who had manifested themselves as men. The Bible clearly says that angels DO NOT marry nor are given in marriage. Some respond that this does not mean that they COULD NOT marry. This “distinction” is academic and immaterial, since righteous angels DON’T marry. Genesis 6 clearly states that the “sons of God” took “AS WIVES” those whom they wanted. The New Jerusalem Bible renders Genesis 6:2,4 as follows: “… the sons of God, looking at the women, saw how beautiful they were and MARRIED as many of them as they chose… and had children by them.” The New International Version says: “the sons of God… MARRIED any of them [the daughters of men] they chose.”
So, these “sons of God” could not have been righteous angels, as angels do not marry. The same is true for demons, as we have seen, so the “sons of God” could not have been demons. But there is still an additional reason why the sons of God could not have been demons.
When angels sin, they cease to be righteous angels, but they become fallen angels or demons, and as such, they cannot materialize themselves any more as humans—let alone become humans. Unlike God’s holy angels, demons cannot appear as human beings—and for that reason alone, they could not have married women.
Notice the following comments in our above-mentioned booklet Angels, Demons and the Spirit World,
“It appears from Scripture that demons cannot materialize themselves the way that angels can. Demons cannot appear as men. They can, however, create an illusion, or an apparition that might look very real to people… We find the following interesting record in Mark 6:47–50: ‘Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost [Authorized Version: a spirit], and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”‘ The disciples thought they saw a ghost or a spirit, that is, a demon. The Greek word for ‘ghost’ is ‘phantasma,’ which has the meaning of ‘phantasm’ or ‘apparition.’
“In Luke 24:36–42 we find another passage that sheds some light on the inability of demons to materialize themselves. We read: ‘Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence.’
“Christ manifested Himself to the disciples as a being with flesh and bones. He even ate food in their presence to convince the disciples that it was He, not a spirit or a demon. The Greek word for ‘spirit’ is ‘pneuma’ and can refer to demons (compare Matthew 8:16; 10:1; 12:43, 45; Luke 4:33, 36; 6:18; 7:21, etc.). We understand, of course, that Christ is not a being with flesh and bones. Rather, at His resurrection He received a spiritual body and became a life-giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:44–45, 50). He was able to manifest Himself, however, as a person with flesh and bones… angels can manifest themselves as human beings as well. Demons cannot. Christ used this opportunity to show His disciples that He was not a spirit or a demon, because demons cannot manifest themselves as human beings with flesh and bones.
“We read in Job 4:12–16 about Eliphaz’ encounter with a spirit: ‘Now a word was secretly brought to me, And my ear received a whisper of it. In disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men. Fear came upon me, and trembling, Which made all my bones shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair on my body stood up. It stood still, But I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; There was silence; then I heard a voice…’ Eliphaz saw some kind of a form before his eyes but he could not discern the appearance of the spirit. This indicates that it was a demon, as the Bible does not show that God’s angels appear to man in such a way. It was something like an apparition—a phantasm. It was what the disciples thought they saw, too, when Jesus was walking on the water.
“Another encounter with a demon is recorded for us in 1 Samuel 28… King Saul consulted a witch to find out his future. During a séance, the witch ‘saw’ a demon, who pretended to be the dead Samuel. Saul could not see the demon. The demon spoke through the witch to Saul. We note again that the demon did not materialize himself as a being with flesh and bones. Rather, it was an illusion.”
The idea that righteous or fallen angels cohabited with women—and that they could perhaps do so again today– is a demonic and blasphemous abomination. The sons of God in Genesis 6 were not angels or demons, but male descendants of Seth (third-born son of Adam and Eve), who sinned when marrying unrighteous female descendants of Cain (Adam and Eve’s unrighteous first-born son who had murdered his righteous brother Abel).
This happened at a time when there were giants on earth. Clearly, Satan and his demons were behind these events, in that they influenced the descendants of Seth to marry the unrighteous descendants of Cain (whom they had also influenced, of course, to become and stay unrighteous), but this does not mean that Satan and his fallen angels physically fornicated with the women.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link