More on Genesis 6

William Arnold III

(original article: Who Were the Sons of God in Genesis 6?)


I just read your brief article defending the position that the sons of God in Genesis 6 are angels. My firs reaction was to think of when I was about your age and decided that your interpretation must be the correct one for pretty much all of the same reasons. Am I glad there was no internet to post my opinion on!!!!!!! Your position on this, and many other things will probably change over time, as has mine. God bless you for the courage you have to put out your arguments on such controversial issues, and grant you grace, a sheepic\sh smile, and only a slightly red face when you decide you were wrong.

I'm glad you are still thinking. You have a great mind, keep using it for God.

Just a few points concerning Genesis 6 for you to think about:

God is a spirit. In the incarnation He became flesh. The incarnation consisted of a human female (Mary) impregnated by a spirit being (The Holy Spirit, Who "overshadowed her"). From that union of human being and spirit being came a Being (Jesus) Who was both fully human and fully Divine. Thus we have Bible evidence that a spirit being can impregnate a human female and produce a fully human offspring. That seems to bolster your argument. However, Mary was still a virgin when Jesus was conceived. There was no sexual intercourse involved. If human females became pregnant by angels in Old Testament times, the virigin birth of Jesus was not unique. Jesus was born free from the Adamic nature (the sin nature) as the result of His virgin birth. The sin nature is passed from generation to generation by the male (notice the emphasis on male gender throughout the NT when discussing the sin inheritance. We are not sinners as the result of Eve's sin, which was a sin of ignorance, but as the result of Adam's sin, which was deliberate rebellion). Thus anyone born of a virgin female would be free from the Adamic nature. The offspring of angels and human females would also benefit from virgin birth (no human father) and would be free from the sin nature.

But, what if sexual intercourse was involved? If the angels were not human beings (and they are not -- the Bible states clearly that to be a human being one must be descended from Adam and Eve) they would not possess the human sin nature. Spirit beings can APPEAR to be humans, but they are not. They can temporarily take on human appearance in material bodies, but angels do not posses material bodies. Let us assume that, while appearing as humans, their bodies could pass any examination and appear human -- including a medical examination testing for fertility. Would angel semen carry human DNA then? If it did, would that be angel DNA? In other words, if the appearance of being human is so perfect that they can reproduce with human females, biology tells us that their genetic structure would have to be the same as humans (different species CANNOT cross breed. God designed that into all living things (see Genesis 1)). Thus, if angels can reproduce while appearing to be human, they have no genetic material of their own to pass along and the child would be human (not half-human, half-angel). How does that corrupt the human line? Ah! But even if they cannot pass on genetic material, perhaps they pass on spiritual material. The Bible is unclear as to how a human spirit is formed. You probably know the various theories. If we assume that the human spirit is the product of the mother and father, then you may have something. The product of the union of a human female and an angel temprorarily appearing as if it were human would then have a fully human body, but a half-human, half-angel spirit. If we also assume that the human sin nature is genetic (a pretty far-fetched assumption) this proto-human would still inherit the sin nature from the temporary human-appearing body of the angel. (Don't even think about trying the "angels possessed men" theory unless you want to argue that the offspring of a demon-possessed man and his wife is a half-demon).

You didn't even mention, what I believe to be the best theory for the interpretation of this passage: that the sons of God are believers and the daughter of man are unbelievers, regardless of their line of descent. You may ask, "why would the marriage of believeing MEN to unbelieveing WOMEN be singled out as troublesome without mention of believeing women marying unbelieving men?" The answer to that objection is simple when considering the cultural background of the original readers of this passage (women did not choose their husbands).


Thank you for your feedback and also for your encouragement. I really do appreciate it!

I have already considered much of what you have said and my first response is frankly that I do not pretend to know or to be able to explain how humans and angels could mate. My understanding of this passage is based off of exegesis and not science, much less genetics. I do believe that the "us" in Genesis 1:26 is a reference to angels. Therefore I believe that we are made in the image of both God and angels. When angels are seen (both in scripture and in the description of those who see them today), they look very much like we do. You said that angels temporarily take on human form. Well why do we assume that how they "appear" is not how they really are? Why do we think this is "temporary?" Luke goes so far as to call two angels "men" in Acts 1:10. I realize that he does not mean "humans," but they must be enough like us to be able to be called "men." Some angles have wings. But this does not mean that they all do. Most importantly, our understanding of what angels can and cannot do is so limited that I do not believe any of us are in a position to make dogmatic statments about these beings. The argument about God's order for the animal kingdom does not apply.

As you yourself mentioned, there was no intercourse involved with Mary. I do believe that there was intercourse in Genesis 6. Simply because this took place with angels would hardly make this incident "virgin births." I have heard it said that the "sin nature" is passed on from the father, but have never been convinced of this (aside from this issue). The Bible never uses the term "sin nature." It simply states that we sin and Jesus did not. The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus, "had to be made like His brethren in all things" (Heb. 2:17). I have always had a problem with the term "sin nature." I do not believe that sin is a "nature." Our nature is what makes up who we are. Sin is disobedience. Of course, this leaves the quesion of "Why didn't Jesus sin?" which is more than I want to get into here.

In response to you last statement, if the sons of God are men then why does "the daughters of the Adam" (Hebrew reading) mean "sinners?" The "godly line" is the one traced from Adam in Genesis 5. Also, the phrase "sons of God" seems to be used only of angels in the Old Testament. As I said before, I am not in a position to explain how this happened, since our knowledge of the angelic realm is so limited. But based upon exegesis and standard hermeneutical principals, I understand the passage to be refering to angels. And as I state in the article, Jude 6 and 7 seem to state very clearly that then angels in Tartarus are there because they committed sexual immorailty.

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