Apparently this is quite the interesting argument in Christian circles. When reading Genesis 6, the KJV says in verses 2-4: “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 unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”
One side believes that the “sons of God” mentioned here are angels (fallen angels, to be more specific). The other side believes them to be the “sons of Seth”, or a godly line of male descendants from Adam’s “good” son who fell for the secular line of Adam’s “bad” son, Cain.
The “Seth” proponents point to Hebrews 1:5 which says “5For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”
Let’s break this down a little. This verse is saying that God has never said the words “thou art my Son” to an angel, therefore, the “sons of God” could not have possibly been angels.
HOWEVER, the next words are “this day have I begotten thee.” This is important because Jesus Christ is the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON (John 3:16). Begotten is an incredible important word here. Christians are “sons of God” through our Faith. We are essentially adopted into the family of God when we get saved. The angels are “sons of God” through creation. ONLY Jesus Christ was born into this world as the Son of God. He is the only one who is begotten.
The NIV and MEV (among others) leave out the word begotten here; a grave error in translation. The NIV, ESV, and others also leave “begotten” out of John 3:16. Whether you believe Genesis 6 is referring to angels or sons of Seth, someone other than Christ can be a “son of God”. Leaving out “begotten” is incredibly dangerous as it removes the deity from Jesus Christ, but I digress.
When the “sons of Seth” side leaves out “begotten” when they argue Hebrews 1:5, they are making a huge error. Their use of the verse to counter Genesis 6 is faulty.
They also claim that the very idea of the “sons of God” being angels comes from the “Book of Enoch” ch. 6 and 7 where the fallen angel leader “Semjaza” devised a plan to mate with human women and his followers made a pact to go through with the plan no matter what.
The Book of Enoch is, of course, not a book of the Bible. Therefore, the very idea that the angels are “sons of God” must be extra-Biblical as well. Right? That’s like arguing that since Jesus in mentioned in the Quran, that we should dismiss his mentions in the Bible.
Well, here is MY POSITION.
The “sons of God” are angels. In Genesis 6, they are fallen angels who came to Earth and did produce hybrid offspring with human females.
Yes, I know that this is a very strange concept, but bear with me through my arguments.
- The book of Job (not Enoch) references angels as “sons of God”.
Job 38:4-7 has God asking Job “4Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
Did you catch that? When God was laying the foundations of the earth, the “sons of God” shouted for joy. Were the sons of Seth around when God was creating the earth? No. No human beings were. Clearly the “sons of God” are not human. However, there is more!
Job 1:6 (Job 2:1 says something quite similar) says “6Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.”
So here we are in heaven where God sits on his throne, and the “sons of God” present themselves alongside Satan. To me, this is a picture of the fallen angels walking behind their leader, Satan. Those who believe they are the “sons of Seth” have to reconcile how in the world those human souls made it to heaven and why Satan enters among them.
Here’s the big problem. The “old testament saints” did not go to heaven. They went to “Paradise” or “Abraham’s Bosom”, not the third heaven where God is seated. The sons of Seth could not have presented themselves to God in heaven, because they simply were not there.
Angels, however, were.
Furthermore, Jude 6 says “And the angels which kept not their principality but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.” This is a clear reference to the fallen angels. They “left their own habitation [heaven]” and came to Earth. I believe that they are “reserved in everlasting chains . . .” because they had sex and produced children with humans.
Finally, 2 Peter 2:4-5 states, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
Thus, the flood came upon the “world of the ungodly” when the “angels that sinned” were cast into hell. How did these angels sin? By mating with humans.
- The hybrid offspring of angels and humans are the “giants” and “men of renown” in Genesis 6:4.
This is consistent with the idea that these half-angelic offspring would be supernatural supermen. If an angel and human had a child, I would imagine that child would be a giant (and we are talking GIANT – as in 9 – 12 feet tall, like Goliath). I would also imagine that it might have some supernatural abilities. Could these beings be worshiped as gods? Absolutely! In fact, I can think of no better explanation as to how the concept of the gods could so thoroughly infiltrate every civilization on the planet virtually simultaneously unless there was a common genesis (pun intended) for their existence. Furthermore, there are countless stories of the gods (angels?) creating demigods by having sex with human women.
It also makes sense of how giants could still be around after the Flood, when only Noah and his family were on the ark. I believe that either 1) one of Noah’s daughters-in-law may have carried some of the hybrid genes into the new world (see my Notes on Genesis 8-11); or 2) more fallen angels could have come and mated with humans again to produce entire races of giants like the Anakim of the giants of Gath, where Goliath and his brothers hailed from.
- Angels are capable of producing offspring.
This is a point of contention that usually ends with the other side simply saying “I just don’t believe it,” although there is Biblical precedent that is often overlooked.
Opponents of the “sons of God” as angels who can mate with humans often point to Matt. 22:30 which says, “in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” We see that the angels in heaven do not marry, but the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 did. Therefore, they cannot be angels. Right?
The key here is “in heaven.” As I mentioned before, the fallen angels “left their habitation” (Jude 6). They were not in heaven.
“Yeah, but angels cannot produce offspring,” you might say. However, this has a simple response.
Genesis 3:15 says, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
God is speaking to Satan here, so “thy seed” means the offspring of Satan while “her seed” is referencing Jesus Christ. Satan was an angel. Satan can produce offspring. Therefore, angels can produce offspring.
- The “sons of Seth” were not a part of some special, godly line of believers.
There is no evidence that states otherwise. This took place centuries before the Law of God was written for God’s children (Israelites). A believer marrying an unbeliever was not a sin at this time like it would be later, and polygamy was actually quite common even after the flood (Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon) and was rarely punished by God. It would take a fall of epic proportions to progress from a godly line of Seth to the destruction of all life on Earth save for those in the Ark.
Furthermore, there is absolutely ZERO evidence of the “sons of God” being the line of Seth in any other mention in the Bible. The aforementioned passages in Job are clearly not the sons of Seth, and in no other place are the sons of Seth found. In fact, the “sons of Seth” are not mentioned at all other than by name (Enos, for example) in the listed genealogies.
Just look at the text of Genesis 6. We see “sons of God” not Seth. We see “daughters of men” not Cain. There is no mention of the daughters of men being ungodly or of whose line they belonged. The daughters of Seth and Cain were most likely included, and we have no idea of their religiosity.
This topic will continue to be debated, as both sides seem to be engrained in their positions (which is common in almost all debates these days). However, there is more Biblical evidence to support that the “sons of God” are angels than there is to support that they are sons of Seth, or of any human being for that matter. It seems to me that the true “extra-Biblical” stance is to ascribe the non-Scripture based interpretation of the “sons of God” to anything other than angels.
What do I know, though? I’m not a “Bible scholar” and have never been to seminary. I’m just a regular guy who reads his King James Bible and tries to understand the worlds of the natural and supernatural in the way God intended me to.