Did Jesus Teach That Angels Cannot Marry?

Nephilim

My Th.M. thesis provides an in-depth look at this intriguing topic. It is available in print from my online store or on Amazon Kindle.

I have previously written a great deal on the sons of God and the nephilim. This was the focus of my ThM thesis, and people have asked me many questions about them. The Bible first mentions these two groups in Genesis 6:1–4 and this passage has been the subject of controversy, misinformation, and just flat out poor teaching.

The earliest view, based on documents we still have from ancient Jews and Christians, is that the sons of God were heavenly beings who married women and sired children by them. The giant offspring were called nephilim, a term that means “giants.” Other views have arisen which see the sons of God as being humans, while attempting to define nephilim to mean “fallen ones” or something similar.

I will not rehash all of the strengths and weaknesses of the various positions here. If you are interested in these details, I recommend that you go back and read my seven-part series on the subject, which was essentially a brief summary of my thesis.

In this post, I merely want to dig a bit deeper into addressing what is potentially the strongest argument against the fallen angel view.1 So this post is not meant to be a direct argument for the traditional position, rather it is primarily a critique of an argument used against the fallen angel interpretation. Those who oppose this heavenly being view often cite Matthew 22:30 or Luke 20:35–36, believing that in these passages Jesus clearly taught that angels cannot marry. If that is what He claimed in these verses, then it would certainly put an end to the notion that the sons of God (Hebrew bene ha ‘elohim) were heavenly beings, and I would abandon this view in a heartbeat. But what did Jesus really say?

Can Angels Marry?

Perhaps the most common verse used against the idea that sons of God were angelic beings is Matthew 22:30: “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” At first glance, this would seem like a good argument against the fallen angel view.

A parallel passage in Mark makes the same point, but uses slightly different terminology that helps to establish the meaning. “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mark 12:25). Matthew’s “in the resurrection” is obviously identical to Mark’s “when they rise from the dead.” So in response to the Sadducees’ challenge, Jesus told them that they were in error because when believers are raised in glorified bodies at the resurrection they will no longer marry or be given in marriage and will be like the angels in heaven.

Those opposed to the fallen angel view often cite these verses thinking they have proved their point that angels cannot marry and sire children. But is that really stated here? Jesus clearly stated that the angels “in heaven” do not do this, but He did not say whether they were capable of doing such a deed. Also, He specifically pointed out that the ones “in heaven” don’t do this. But what about the angels who left their proper abode and are currently being held in chains of darkness because of the sinful activity they engaged in during Noah’s day (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6)?

Clearly, the two verses from Matthew and Mark do not settle the matter, but in the parallel passage found in Luke, Jesus has more to say about this issue. At first glance, it may seem as if He spoke against the angelic view, but a closer look reveals that He may have actually acknowledged its accuracy.

Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:34–36, NASB)

In this passage, Jesus corrected the Sadducees, a group within ancient Israel who denied the future resurrection of the dead. They had asked Him a theoretical question about which husband a woman would be married to “in the resurrection” if she’d had seven husbands during her lifetime. Much could be said about their attempt to deny the future resurrection and the Lord’s masterful response (He quoted one of their favorite verses to show them that they were wrong), but it is His teaching about the “sons of God” that is particularly relevant to our study here.

Jesus contrasted the “sons of this age” and “those who are considered worthy to attain to that age.” Obviously, the “sons of this age” refers to normal human beings—people who can marry and be given in marriage, just like the woman in the Sadducees’ example who had married seven times.

Those who are “considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead” are the ones who do not marry and are not given in marriage. They are the ones who “cannot die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” So in the future, when believers are resurrected (i.e., when we receive our glorified bodies), we will be sons of God and equal to angels (at least in the sense of not marrying).

Aren’t We Already Sons of God?

So what does this have to do with the sons of God and the nephilim? Perhaps nothing at all. There is not necessarily a connection between the Hebrew terms translated “sons of God” and the Greek words translated the same way. And if this is the case, then the oft-repeated assertion against the fallen angel view that all believers are sons of God would be irrelevant. And if there is a connection, then it’s very possible that the Lord’s words here support the view that the sons of God were heavenly beings who left heaven and married women.

The Greek phrase for “sons of God” is uioi tou theou, and it is used in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) to translate the Hebrew bene ha ’elohim in Genesis 6:2 and 6:4, but not when that same term appears in Deuteronomy 32:8, Job 1:6, 2:1, or 38:7. In those cases, the Septuagint uses “angels of God” (aggeloi theou). “Angels of God” is also used to translate the Aramaic equivalent of bene ha ’elohim found in Daniel 3:25 (bar elahin). It is obvious that Jewish translators of the Septuagint believed that the bene ha ’elohim were angelic beings.

Jesus masterfully corrected the Sadducees' rejection of the future resurrection of the dead. However, contrary to a popular claim, He did not rule out the fallen angel view of Genesis 6—He may have actually endorsed it. Image from christianity-live.audiencemedia.com

Jesus masterfully corrected the Sadducees’ rejection of the future resurrection of the dead. However, contrary to a popular claim, He did not rule out the fallen angel view of Genesis 6. In fact, He may have actually endorsed it.
Image from christianity-live.audiencemedia.com

The contrast Jesus made is the key to understanding how this passage may be relevant to the discussion. Currently, we are “people of this age” (NET) or “sons of this age” (NKJV), but upon being resurrected in glorified bodies, believers will be “equal to the angels” and will be “sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36). At the resurrection our corruptible bodies put on incorruption and our mortal bodies put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53), and it is at this time that we will be like the angels. This “revealing of the sons of God” is what the whole creation longs for (Romans 8:19).

Believers are occasionally called “sons of God” or “children of God” in the New Testament. This has been one of the key arguments used by those who seek to identify the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 as simply human. Not only does this claim badly misrepresent the Hebrew phrase and the context of the passage,2 but I believe it misses how the term is nuanced in the New Testament. That is, when we are identified as “sons of God” it is essentially a claim about our future state of being, just as Jesus used the phrase in our passage. In the Sermon on the Mount, He said that the peacemakers “shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). And, as cited above, Paul wrote of “the revealing of the sons of God” as a future event (Romans 8:19).

On two occasions Paul identified Christians as “sons of God” and may have used the term to describe our present state (Romans 8:14 and Galatians 3:26). However, based on the surrounding contexts, particularly in Romans 8, it is likely that Paul used the term to describe our positional state—since our resurrection is guaranteed, one can speak of Christians as sons of God because that is our future. Even when similar terms are used for people, they seem to point to the future.3

Christians are sons of God in that we have been adopted by the Father, although the fullness of this position has not yet been entirely realized or attained. Indeed, we are co-heirs with Christ, and while that inheritance was earned by Christ’s entirely sufficient sacrifice and is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22), we are still “eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:24). Perhaps we could summarize it this way: positionally, we are sons of God by adoption, but our status as sons of God will not be finalized until our revealing as the sons of God (Romans 8:19) when we put on our heavenly dwelling (2 Corinthians 5:2–4).

With this in mind, let’s revisit what Jesus told the Sadducees. He said that “those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” (Luke 20:35–36, NKJV).

Since we actually become “sons of God” in the fullest sense when we receive glorified bodies, then this term does not refer to normal humanity. It refers to individuals whose mode of existence is fit for the heavenly realm, such as angelic beings and glorified humans. Paul contrasted the believer’s current body with his future body: “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:44). The use of this term is quite similar to the way ’elohim is used to refer to beings from the spiritual realm.

One of the reasons we will be equal to angels and be identified as sons of God is because we will possess a spiritual body, which is still a physical body, but one that is incorruptible and immortal—it is one dominated by the spirit rather than the flesh. As sons of the resurrection, we will be like the angels.

Conclusion

Many have argued that Jesus ruled out the fallen angel view by claiming that angels cannot marry. But this is not what He said. He stated that the angels in heaven do not marry. Furthermore, the very statement of Jesus used by many to dismiss the fallen angel view may actually support the position they seek to discredit.

The Hebrew term in the Old Testament translated as “sons of God” in English clearly refers to heavenly beings. And while there may not necessarily be a direct connection with the Greek term translated as “sons of God” in the New Testament, it is indeed interesting that it makes more sense to understand the Greek phrase as referring to those who have been resurrected in glorified bodies.


  1. In my thesis and in previous blog posts, I have referred to the traditional view of the sons of God as the fallen angel view. It would be more accurate to call it the “divine beings” view since they are called “gods” in Scripture. However, since we usually classify all heavenly beings other than God as angels, it is not necessarily inaccurate to use “Fallen Angel” as a designation. 

  2. The Hebrew phrase bene ha ’elohim is misrepresented when people take the English translation of the term (“sons of God”) and equate it with terms that seem similar when translated into English, such as “sons of the living God” in Hosea 1:10 or “sons of God” in the New Testament, which is translated from Greek. 

  3. Hosea 1:10 speaks of a time when the children of Israel will be called “sons of the living God” (Hebrew bene chay ’el) and Paul cited this passage when he wrote of God’s future plans for the Jewish people (Romans 9:26). This term is clearly not the same as bene ha ’elohim, and even if it were the same, it does not support the non-fallen angel views. In Luke 3:38, we are told that Adam was the “son of God.” The word for “son” is not in the Greek text but is added for readability. Scholars have differed on the reason for Adam being identified as such. Gavin Ortlund’s article in the most recent edition of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (December 2014) makes a compelling case that Luke’s wording should be read in light of Genesis 5:1–3 and sheds light on what it is for man to be made in the image of God. 

About Tim Chaffey

I am the founder of Midwest Apologetics and work as the Content Manager with the Attractions Division of Answers in Genesis. I have written (or co-authored) several books, including In Defense of Easter, God and Cancer, The Sons of God and the Nephilim, and The Truth Chronicles Series (see the publications page for more details). Please note: the opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of Answers in Genesis.

Comments

Did Jesus Teach That Angels Cannot Marry? — 27 Comments

  1. If I may throw the proverbial flag here to try & separate the scuffle on the Field. I hope we can all be brothers & sisters in the Lord while disagreeing.

    With that said I have a few points.

    While I agree with Sam exegetically, I do agree with you Tim that we should not use personal attacks such as calling you Naive.

    So let’s all try to be Civil. There was a woman on here also who resorted to such talk.

    What I think Sam was trying to say is that when speaking of War in Heaven or Satan as the Prince of the Power of the Air and the Heavens, it was Paul who told us about the 3rd Heaven where God’s Throne is. Nowhere in Job does the conversation tell us that Satan is accusing Job in the 3rd Heaven. If you do a Scripture search for the phrase ‘before the Lord’ as used in Job you will find this same expression used many times of the Jews praying, dancing, sinning, etc before the Lord. He is the only being that is Everywhere.

    Now on to the Point Tim makes about the early Teachers.
    A-We 1st must appeal to scripture, not cherry-picking what certain men of the past may or may not have believed about a topic. Many who believe a certain way about Pre-Trib or Post-Trib use this same tactic but bear in mind there are far fewer writings of the Church Fathers than there are of Modern Scholars & Pastors. And the Majority of any timeline does not always mean the most accurate.
    B-I do have to agree with Sam only to a small degree about why did you believe it was necessary to write a 500 page book about this Minor Topic?
    C-Scripturally, the Demon/Human hybrid fails on every Hermeneutic application. (Grammar- the grammar in Genesis 6 only tells us the Giants were there, but it doesnt tell us they were a result of the sons of God & daughters of men. We have to avoid Eisegesis at all costs.
    Context-The context of the Narrative begins in Chapter 4 by giving us the 1st Contrast in the Bible, the Line of the Wicked and the Line of the Righteous. This sets up the narrative in chapter 6 that the Righteous become polluted by marrying women who are beautiful on the outside but wicked on the inside. This is the earliest of Unequally yoked in the Word.
    Harmonizing of Scripture- The passages in Job and the New Testament clearly use ‘sons of God’ for men of Faith. And daughters of men/children of men in the Old Testament always denoted pagans, men without Faith.
    Jesus said in Hebrews 1:5- ‘For which of the angels did God ever say ‘You are my son’? Sonship is an appellation only used for those Adopted by the Lord. Sons just as Jesus the Son all have an Inheritance. Angels have no inheritance. They are just ministering spirits. Only the Holy Spirit has Seed to reproduce.
    God-centered perspective-this one is a Huge Hermeneutic Failure. If one reads Genesis 6 slowly you can only conclude that God repeatedly disclosed his anger about the sin of man and the Wrath to come on man. He says nothing about the fallen angels. We know they have fallen by now of course but they can only obey their leader to tempt & deceive men or whatever they are told to do. This is the Forest for the Trees. Genesis 6 reveals the Forest of His message is that he will not put up with rampant sin and will bring judgement on this world again as in the Days of Noah in the Great Tribulationn. The Trees is getting hung up how/why Giants are mentioned. Let us focus on the Huge Forest that leaps off the page.

    Shalom.

    • Jay,
      Thank you for the call to civility. That is always appropriate, so my following remarks are offered in an irenic spirit even though they might occasionally seem to be harsh. That’s the problem with text on a page. It’s very difficult for someone to understand the tone in which it is offered.
      There are so many problems with your claims here.
      First, I do not start my argument with the church’s earliest view. In fact, this is typically the last thing I mention. In my book, I wait until chapter 10 to bring it up because the first 9 chapters deal with the biblical text. The only reason I mentioned it first in my response to Sam was so that he could understand that by condemning me for my view he was also condemning all the early Christians who wrote on the subject.
      Second, we know Job uses bene ‘elohim in reference to angelic beings in Job 38:7—human beings weren’t even created at the time this verse is referencing. So when he uses the same term in Job 1 and 2, and it is in connection with Satan, and Satan says that he came from the earth, it is not much of a stretch to conclude that this is not an assembly of godly men on earth, but it would be a stretch to assume that this is about men, particularly when one understands the biblical teaching about the divine council.
      Third, I think it is a bit hypocritical of you to question my motives in writing a long book on this topic when you have spent considerable time on this post alone leaving very long responses that I do not have the time to respond to. (Note to readers: I still have yet to approve some more long responses from Jay.) So I would ask you why you feel it is so important to come to my blog and spend so much time trying to debate this topic if it is just a minor topic? Why have I spent so much time on it? Because I am interested in the truth of Scripture and doing my best to discern what it teaches. Part of the reason for the length are the number of bizarre and baseless arguments made against the Fallen Angel view. I spend four chapters dealing with the various objections. But the topic is larger than most people realize, so the book is considerably longer than one might expect. And when it comes out in the near future, readers can decide for themselves if it was too long or if I made my case successfully.
      Four, you are simply wrong about the context of this passage beginning in chapter 4. The context begins in 5:28 with the Noah narrative, but this passage in Hebrew is only loosely connected textually and even rather awkward. It’s as if the author is providing iconic reinforcement — by including a text that seems to intrude on the context the writer informs the reader that the content of this chunk of text represents an intrusion on the natural order of things. This is why some scholars consider the text to be an “erratic boulder” in the narrative. So your attempt to link it textually to Genesis 4 fails.
      Fifth, the text does tell us why/how the Nephilim were there. They were there before and after the Flood, “whenever” the sons of God had children with the daughters of men. The key to understanding this is the word “whenever.” Unfortunately, most English Bibles botch this one, but Hebrew grammars explain why this word should be translated as “whenever” instead of “when.” So I am not the one performing eisegesis here.
      Sixth, those who superimpose a framework of a godly line vs. a wicked line on this passage are the ones doing eisegesis. Why on earth would the “daughters of men” refer to the presumed wicked line of Cain since Cain’s line only mentions one daughter (Naamah) while every generation before Noah in Seth’s line had both sons and daughters. If anything, the daughters should be from that line.
      Your claim that “children of men” (sons of men) or “daughters of men” always refers to pagans is patently false. Psalm 45, generally considered a Messianic psalm identifies the Messiah as the most handsome of the “sons of men.” In Psalm 11, the “children of man” includes both the righteous and wicked. It is so obvious that the “daughters of men” in verses 2 and 4 are the same daughters mentioned in verse 1 — the daughters that were born to men when men multiplied on the face of the earth. There is absolutely nothing in this passage that would cause us to limit the daughters to just one line. That must be imposed on the text, and that is eisegesis.
      Seventh, I have a whole section in the book dealing with Hebrews 1:5. You forgot to mention the rest of the quote: “You are my Son, today I have begotten You.” The point here is that God only has one begotten Son. It is not about claiming that angels cannot be identified as sons of God. We know they can be because the OT clearly does this in several places (Job 38:7; Psalm 29:1; 82:6; 89:6). The last reference places these sons of God in the heavenly realm. The term “son” is also used to identify a class of individuals. For example, the OT frequently mentions the “sons of the prophets.” These men were not necessarily physical sons of the prophets. Instead, they belonged to the same class as the prophets. The same is true with the bene ‘elohim. They are part of a class of spiritual beings identified as ‘elohim.
      Your final point simply begs the question. You are assuming the very point you need to prove, and you haven’t come close to establishing your position or refuting the Fallen Angel view.
      I’m going to leave it at this for now because I am tired of rehashing the same arguments time and time again that have been addressed in detail in my book. I don’t have the free time to continue this at this point. Readers can decide for themselves which view they think best explains the text. I won’t lose any sleep over someone disagreeing with me. It is not a salvation issue, but since it is part of God’s inspired and inerrant word, we must do our best to rightly interpret it.

    • You are welcome Tim. It is our temptation to get riled up when someone doesn’t agree with us and when believers give in they are letting the Flesh take over for the Spirit. I agree with you that Text as well as emails can render meanings we never intended.

      Ok, thanks for clarifying you wait until later chapters about the early church views. A sidenote, Augustine in the 5th century was not the 1st church father who disavowed the demon/women hybrid theory.

      As to Job using bene ‘elohim this is found in the Septuagint, not the Masoretic text. This is an Interpretive historical translation, not a word for word. Chicktracts has exposed this Major error in the Septuagint. See here-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxoWpUCRnIk&t=357s

      Job 38 is a Poetic language chapter. Notice in v.8 ‘who shut the sea in with doors’. We know that the sea has no Literal doors. All throughout the chapter it is Poetic Figurative language. Morning stars & sons of God are also Poetic terms expressing creation’s joy of seeing all the steps of creation. Recall that the Literal 6 days brought a new kind of joy each day for the Lights in the Heavens to shine upon.

      Back to Job 1 & 2 the context in both sons of God as Men of Faith worshipping before the Lord. Deut. 12:7 uses this same language ‘And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households’. Before the Lord is not in the 3rd heaven as Satan was cast out of the 3rd heaven.

      He roams the earth and the air of the 1st to 2nd heavens.

      The reason I issue long answers is while I do believe this is a minor Topic, I also believe this topic has led many believers into dangerous areas of exploration equating this Nephilim offspring as some kind of Monstrous creature that either still lives or is coming back again and it gives glory to Satan to some degree. Not saying you are, but it has led people to lose focus on God’s perspective about sin & repentance. The Context of Genesis 4-6 is really about the Adoption of the Righteous and what happens when they (the sons of God) stray and fall for Pagan women. This is a lesson given all over the Bible. This is the Truth that God was speaking through Moses, not some demons able to procreate.

      Tim-would you agree or not that the Bible is filled with Contrasts to teach us the difference between Good & Evil, Darkness & Light? You are so misguided into dismissing this Truth about Genesis chapters 4 & 5. It is so very clear.

      The Hebrew word ‘asher’ is translated correctly by several translations as when or whenever meaning either since or when. So yes they were there in those days and after but not ‘as a result of’. Yes, I have to sadly tell you that you still are using Eisegesis.

      Ive already explained why ‘daughters of men’ is the same as ‘children of men’. Have you done a Search Term for children of men to see who they are all throughout the Old Testament. If you do you will understand I hope these godless men. So yes, they are from the godless line of Cain. God warned his leaders and people to not intermarry with the pagans in many places of the Old Testament.
      The ESV in many places is a good translation but Psalm 45:2 in the KJV & NASB both use ‘you are fairer than the sons of men’ or ‘thou are fairer than the children of men’. This clearly denotes the Messiah as above mankind because he is the God/Man, he is sinless.As to Psalm 11, yes since believers are all ‘children of men’ before they are given Faith that is how he describes us all. Please read Genesis 11:5, Psalm 53:2, Daniel 2:38, Mark 3:28 and Eph. 3:5. Sons of men/children of men, always faithless men in the context.

      I’ve proven on Multiple Fronts using Hermeneutic Failures of Grammar, Context, Language, Harmonizing of Scriptures, etc why this demon/human theory falls terribly flat. And the most important you seem to not address is a God-centered Perspective. God’s wrath was only on man, not demons. You say nothing about this.

      Shalom

      • Hi Jay,
        I agree with you that some people get carried away on this topic. That’s one of the reasons I’ve written my book. So many books on the topic are full of nonsense and sensationalism. Mine does not have this junk. It is a serious biblical and comprehensive study of this topic, and one of the goals was to get rid of the garbage that is often dragged into this subject.
        Sorry, but it needs to be stated that repeating the same thing over again does not prove your point. You keep saying that you’ve proven on multiple fronts that the fallen angel view has multiple hermeneutic failures, but you haven’t provided a single example where it actually fails.
        You have tried a few times to dump on the Septuagint, but you’re relying on some pretty shoddy research from what I saw in that video. Job 38:7 in the Masoretic absolutely has bene ‘elohim. Even Origen’s Hexapla shows that the Hebrew has bene ‘elohim here. That was not introduced by the Septuagint in Job. You are simply wrong about this point and many others. You claim that the scene in Job 1 and 2 is on earth, but you have not demonstrated this. Satan tells the Lord that he has come from the earth, which strongly implies he isn’t there at this point. Also, he had not been thrown out of heaven at this point in Job, and I think Revelation 12 makes it clear that he still has not been but will be at some point in the future. Yes, Job 38:7 is poetic, but that doesn’t mean that the meaning of the subject (bene ‘elohim) changes. Should we change the meaning of God whenever we find the word in poetry? Of course not. The term in Job 38:7 absolutely, positively cannot and does not refer to human beings because it is speaking about a time before human beings existed and the sons of God were doing something then. Thus, when we come across the exact same term two more times in the exact same book in a scene that sure seems to be in the heavens, then it is only logical to conclude that the term refers to angelic beings in all three verses. I noticed that you ignored the near-identical term (bene ‘elim) in Psalm 29:1 and 89:6 where it explicitly tells us that they are in the heavens.
        The video you linked to has several errors. The claim that there isn’t a single shred of evidence that the Septuagint was translated prior to the first century AD is false and laughable. There is quite a bit of evidence found in the fact that NT writers and figures quote more often from a text that aligns with the LXX than they do from a text that aligns with the Masoretic (when the two disagree). Compare Luke 4:17 and Isaiah 61:1 as well as Hebrews 1:6 and Deuteronomy 32:43. In both cases, the Masoretic is missing a line even though it is quoted by Jesus in Luke and by the author of Hebrews. It is a very poor argument indeed to simply try to blame the LXX when you run into a problem. In the case of Deuteronomy 32:43, we have two fragments from Qumran to show that the LXX and Hebrews have it right, while the Masoretic is missing the line. I explain why this is the case in an appendix in my book.
        You claim that sons of men/children of men are always depicted as faithless, but I gave examples where that isn’t true. You claim that “asher” is rightly translated as “when” even though I’ve cited the Hebrew grammars that state otherwise and shown why in context “whenever” is the best option.
        You claim that I say nothing about God’s judgment in this passage, but I have addressed God’s punishment on both guilty parties, human and angel. In my book, I spend a significant amount of time discussing the punishment of the angels described in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6, and I address how the flood would have impacted the humans and angels involved in this sin. But like I’ve said before, I’m not going to rewrite my book in blog post comments.
        There is so much more that could be said, but this discussion needs to come to an end now. It is very obvious to me that you really do not have a good grasp of many of the textual issues involved in this passage. For example, two of cognate languages of Hebrew, Ugaritic and Aramaic, employ near identical terms to refer to angelic beings. The Aramaic of Daniel 3:25 uses bar ‘elahin to refer to the fourth individual in the fiery furnace and a few verses later it uses the term “angel” to refer to the same entity. So even in the Bible, we have the Aramaic equivalent term of bene ‘elohim being used to refer to a heavenly being. The Ugaritic language refers to El, the chief Canaanite god, and his seventy bn ‘il (sons of god). The truth is, the term translated as “sons” (bene) often refers to members of a class rather than physical descent. The “sons of the prophets” are mentioned several times, but this does not mean that each of these folks were actually the physical sons of various prophets. It means they belonged to the class of people who were prophets. Likewise, the bene ‘elohim are members of a class of beings from the heavenly realm that the ‘elohim inhabit. It does not mean that they are godly individuals or sons of godly individuals. This is the work of exegesis, not eisegesis. What you have done is applied a framework over the text that tries to see it through the lens of godly vs. ungodly, but the text itself does not provide that framework. So I am not the one doing eisegesis here.
        Thank you for taking the time to converse with me. I wish you all the best in your endeavors and that God will bless you and yours as you serve Him.
        Sincerely,
        Tim

  2. wow. wow wow Tim
    YOu really are naive.
    if you have written a 500 page book I expected better from you.
    you keep making reference to biblical verses which in no way support your theory and even the interpretation of those verses are so narrow minded I am starting to think some teenager has used the picture of a mature man to promulgate his erroneous idea to those less informed than himself.
    You really should pray for the Holy spirit to guide you when you study.
    I get the distinct feeling you have decided the meaning of a verse before you read it and then read it with the intention of proving your already formed opinion.
    I have done that before and i know how easy it is to use the bible to try to prove my theories but at he end of the day they just don’t hold water. precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
    Firstly trying to imply that because Jesus didn’t cover all bases is like a little child who has been sent to his upstairs room under the direction he is to go without supper because he was being punished jumping out the window because his parents said he was not to come down to have supper. they didn’t specifically say he can’t go have supper somewhere else. if you ready Hebrews one you will find jesus himself made the angels . They are made of a different kind of material and for the purpose of being messengers and ministering spirits. At no point anywhere in the bible or anywhere else in historical books are there references to Angels populating or having been made for the purpose of reproduction.its as simple as Jesus said.
    I said none of the verses you used support your theories in that the bible does not talk about angels reproducing anywhere. That is eisegesis.
    Now in relation to:”The war in heaven described in Revelation 12 has not happened yet. This is why Satan and other rebellious angels still had access to heaven in the OT. One day they will be tossed out for good, but that hasn’t happened yet.” what a load of crock. I think you confuse the heaven where Gods throne is and where they served to the other heavens. like the other planets or the heaven surrounding this planet. Just like Adam was kicked out of the garden of Eden he still had the freedom to move about the rest of the earth but can no longer access the tree of life. if you realize the honor they had in their posts you will realize that being blacklisted and thrown out of heaven is no different than being put in prison on Tartarus awaiting judgement. To them this earth is hell. just like prisoners have freedom f movement in their cell and withing the prison walls they are bound to that limited area. You have to look at the bigger picture. I think that while they may have been able to travel to other planets while some of them may have given him the benefit of the doubt I doubt any of them welcomed them once the news of killing their maker reached them. Not being welcome to other planets in the universe because of their actions of Joining Lucifer in his rebellion has bound them here. That is as real as being bound with real chains when you consider the freedoms they used to have.
    Finally. in relation to:”Finally, did you really just make this a salvation issue as if Jesus is going to quiz us on our view of Genesis 6:1–4 to decide whether we are saved?
    I agree that this is not a salvation issue. However I am worried about your obvious interest in this subject. you wrote a 500 book on a subject trying to prove a hypothesis which is directly opposed by the very creator himself I wonder what other ideas you have created from the Bible. I just wanted you to stop and ask yourself if you could possible have gotten it wrong. Not for my sake but for yours. I have watched many of my friends who have spent a lot of time becoming students of the bible loose sight of what the bible says because they are swayed by other peoples opinions who are more lost than they are.
    I haven’t read your book but I hope you are not implying that the so called giants of Genesis 6 are the offspring of angels and the descendants of Adam. These erroneous ideas seem to run hand in hand with many who like to believe a lie. The truth is much simpler if you read the bible with an open mind and pray for guidance.

    • Sam,
      It’s quite easy to see that when someone cannot argue the merits of their position that they often resort to personally attacking the other individual. Since much of what you have written consists of insulting me, my research, and my integrity, I think we can conclude that you really cannot provide any persuasive arguments against my view or in favor of your own.
      So, you think the imprisonment of certain rebellious angels is about them not being able to visit other planets? And you accuse me of trying to read ideas into the text? The truth is, the fallen angel view was the predominant view for the first four centuries of the church (and of the Jewish people until the 2nd century). It is the most natural reading of the text, it has by far the most explanatory power, and it is the only one that doesn’t suffer from fatal flaws. But again, I’m not going to rehash all the arguments here. Also, if all you’re interested in doing is attacking me personally, then I probably will not approve your comments from now on. I have better things to do, and those reading these comments can decide for themselves which view makes the most sense.

  3. I agree with Tim on this subject. Jesus didn’t say that angels were physically incapable of marrying. They just aren’t allowed to marry. In heaven we just have to follow simple rules if we want to be with God and have eternal life. it would seem that in heaven, angels still have a choice. They can either continue to follow God’s ways or follow their own selfish desires and be subject to eternal damnation. If this was not the case, then Lucifer wouldn’t have fallen from heaven with a 3ird of the Angels behind him and the Watchers wouldn’t married daughters of men. My guess is that it is difficult to sin while heaven, but when you leave heaven, which the watchers may have done while keeping an eye on men, the subjected to the temptations of Satan. All this may explain why there were giants after the flood. Perhaps there were angels that came later, slept with the daughters of men and produced giants again. No wonder God told Joshua to destroy the Canaanites. Not sure if the last part is true, but at leat it helps me to understand it better.

  4. Hello Everyone, I stumbled on this conversation a little late. I just want everyone to believe that everything really does workout for the greater good. And when a struggle for the truth is obtained it is shown through the result. So much effort and energy that is put into this clarification or debate was characterized by superiority. You people are smart. But there is a difference between bending the facts to your own opinion, and putting your head on the block. It is extremely vital that if one chooses to fight for the truth that he will win because he has put his head to the grindstone and has given all his time for what is important. When a blue belt in bjj spares with a black belt there is hardly a chance for the blue belt to submit a black belt because he is so advanced. No matter how strong the blue belt is wont compare to the resources of the black belt. He is a teacher. Someone who has put their heart in the trenches many hours to achieve what is good. And they dont mind sharing thier experience and education to fellow conrads in the faith. This clarification here is that perfect example. Remember my brothers and sisters. We are in this together until we are judged alone before God.

  5. Hi Tim,
    Just want to say Thank You, Ive been searching for a better way to explain why I believe this! Im totally with you on this! And I wonder why people find it so hard to believe?
    Except I have a couple questions that Im still trying to figure out!!
    HOW did they mate with women, do angels have private parts or did they enter into bodies of men to do the “deed”???
    I don’t know if you addressed this. But Im hoping you may have an answer, or a theory on it.
    I would so very very appreciate your thoughts on this!!!!!!!
    Thank you again for all this work!

  6. Tim,

    Here are 2 more points on the Hermeneutic Failures of the Hybrid theory.

    B-Grammar failure. When read carefully, the 1st 4 verses is not structured in such a way that tells us the Nephilim were offspring of the 2 lines, but rather they were there as the intermarriages were happening. It is more likely that that they were a result of offspring of ungodly men & women because Nephal as the Hebrew root word means fallen, bully, to fall. Nephilim actually is a term to describe a Character of a Person, not a specific race. But I won’t quibble too much on that. The traits of Cain and his lineage are described in many ungodly terms.
    C- Historical Background Hermeneutic failure. The reason this hybrid view was around by the time it was rejected by Augustine was a group of Jewish writers influenced by Kabbahlists who were influenced by Pagan Mythology. With research this is easily traced and how the book of Enoch was part of this propagation of the hybrid theory, but some Jews before Augustine also rejected this.
    Some of this can be also attributed to the Midrash. There was a book that goes into great detail where all this comes from, Ginzberg’s ‘Legends of the Jews’. I have not read it, but a great bible teacher discovered this book as a compendium of where these pagan ideas came from in history.
    The reliability of the Septuagint translation in this matter has been questioned by Gesenius and Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg. In the case of Gesenius, he lists the meaning without agreeing with it.[18] Hengstenberg stated that the Hebrew Bible text never uses elohim to refer to “angels”, but that the Septuagint translators refused the references to “gods” in the verses they amended to “angels.”[19]

    • Jay,
      Regarding your claim of grammar failure, you are simply wrong about this. I already explained how the Hebrew word “asher” should be translated as “whenever” and I cited one of the most well respected Hebrew grammars for support. This clarifies that the Nephilim were the result of these unions. Also, Nephilim does not mean “fallen ones” or anything like that and it does not come from the Hebrew verb naphal. While this is a popular argument on the Internet, it is not the view of the Hebrew lexicons. Every lexicon I’ve checked lists “giants” as the primary meaning of Nephilim. It comes from the Aramaic noun naphil, which means “giant.” The Aramaic plural is nephilin, and when brought into Hebrew it becomes nephilim. If it were a participle derived from the verb n-p-l (naphal), then the word would become either nephulim (passive) or nophelim (active). It does not become Nephilim. So no, Nephilim is not a term that describes the character of the person. It is a term that tells us about a physical characteristic of a person — that person was a giant. This is how it is used elsewhere in Scripture too (Numbers 13:33).
      As I explained in my earlier response, it is the Sethite view that plays fast and loose with the grammar, changing the meaning of “man” throughout the passage.
      Your claim about the “historical background hermeneutic failure” is simply wrong. The Jews largely rejected the fallen angel view near the start of the second century, but they didn’t and still do not hold the Sethite view. It has nothing to do with Kabbalism. They held to the royalty view (that the “sons of God” were tyrants or judges who abused their power). The fallen angel view is not traced to the book of Enoch. I have done the research on this. In my thesis I traced the historical development of the views, and your understanding of the history is just flat out wrong. The reason the fallen angel view was around until Augustine and is still around today is because it is the best interpretation of the text. The two other prominent views fail miserably in their attempts to make sense of the passage.
      You can keep attacking the Septuagint, but in this case you are contradicting the clear words of Scripture. Hebrews 2:6–7, “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels…” Of course this is a quote of Psalm 8:4–5 and what does Psalm 8:5 say? “For you have made him a little lower than the angels…” What Hebrew word is translated as “angels” here? It is elohim. So even if it is a bit ambiguous in the OT whether Psalm 8:5 was referring to God or angels, Hebrews 2:7 decides the case for Christians by telling us that it is referring to angels.
      Jay, I think we need to bring this to a close. You obviously don’t like the fallen angel view. I get it, but most of your points on this topic are just not supported by Scripture or history. I have far too much to do right now than repeating the same points that I’ve already written about and thoroughly examined in my book. If you decide to read it when it becomes available and would like to continue the discussion after that, then I would be open to that. But for now, I’m not going to continue reinventing the wheel by writing long posts in response to arguments that I’ve already refuted at length.
      Have a wonderful day and keep on serving the Lord.

    • Jay,

      I would like to challenge you to find proof of your viewpoint before the 3rd century AD. It was the universal held view from both the Christian / Jewish leaders that the sons of god in Gen. 6 were in fact celestial beings. It needs to be pointed out that many of these individuals were contemporaries of the disciples and apostles themselves.

      A small sample of what they wrote can be found here:

      http://beginningandend.com/what-did-church-fathers-believe-about-the-nephilim/

      The aforementioned article is but a small sample of their writings. My challenge to you is simple: find one church father or Jewish leader, prior to the 3 century ad, that believed that the sons of god were of the linage of Cain. if you are not able then your position lacks any credibility.

    • Jay

      Why was it that Jesus was silent about the true nature of the sons of god if everyone around HIM believed that they were angels? Would not Yahweh have had a perfect time to set the record straight if this was indeed an erroneous teaching?

  7. Hello Tim, The sons of God being called Sethites is just an appellation, to identify the subject. In a sense we could just call them Men of Faith as that describes sons of God all throughout the Bible, and no one argues this in the New Testament. In reply to the ‘defying the use of language’ the same argument is easily made by many scholars/preachers that if the sons of God were fallen angels or demons they would be called just that. If we observe all the texts on angels we can conclude that only Holy Angels appear as men and only Wicked Angels possess men, but neither type of Angel can procreate. That’s why I posted the verse in Acts about 1 Blood.
    There is nothing in the lineage of Cain that even hints that any of those men ever called on the name of the Lord. They were considered all unrepentant just as all the nations but Israel were unrepentant save the exceptions such as when Jonah was sent to preach to the Ninevites.
    There is nothing in the text to conclude other than the line of Cain produced a line of people that were only focused on Secular achievements, works of metal, music, building cities and the characteristics of those in his line proved that out. As I posted before the Bible is Full of Contrasts and Chapters 4 & 5 are the 1st Major Contrast literary feature in scripture.
    Mehujael means ‘smitten of God’ in many Bible dictionaries. In some dictionaries Methushael means ‘death of God’. Could there have been exceptions in the line of Cain such as we see a very few exceptions of foreigners having faith in the OT. I will yield to that possibility, but the line of Cain is not marked by that.
    The separation of the 2 lines does not fill in all the blanks but gives us a general overview of the hearts of the 2 lines, 1 wicked, 1 righteous.
    The contrast is used to teach us that though there were righteous men at some point they ‘took for themselves wives who were beautiful’ based on their outer beauty, not a spiritual inner beauty.

    Verse 2-3 tells us that the righteous began to intermarry the unrighteous and v.3 sets up what God is going to tell us why later on he is going to bring the judgement of flood. The keys are after v. 4 in 5-7. v.5 is talking about all men because of a period of several generations the whole world had become polluted and only Noah was found Righteous. This is the 1st of many repeated patterns of God working with a Remnant to preserve the Righteous line so that Jesus the Messiah would come.
    If you ignore the Contrast, ignore the intermarrying, ignore the judgement is only on man, ignore the Remnant and claim the pagan-influenced Mythology of demons & women you are forcing the Text. This is Eisegesis.
    Why did the line of Seth marry pagan women? The same reason as others did later such as Solomon and they all become their downfall. The NT warns Christians of not committing the same tragedy.
    At this point in History God had not yet made a Covenant yet to have a people He would set aside to call His people.
    The Sethites had been corrupted by the intermarrying. There are No recorded boundaries of this until the Mosaic Covenant.
    Genesis 11:5 uses ‘sons of men’ in the NASB and the Masoretic text does reveal bene elohim. I would not use the Septuagint because of the various MSS the Alexandrian mss influenced many translators to accept its ‘Interpretive translation’ in several areas rather than word for word.

    Just because we have no records of Jewish teachings that we have discovered supporting the Sethite view does not prove anything. Many people use that same logic to support a certain view on the timing of the Great Tribulation. We must first appeal to scripture because so much of what was written down was lost. Many of the Jewish Rabbis rejected the Fallen Angel view but I would rather appeal to scripture.

    There are many more impositions to support the Fallen Angel and women view than the Sethite view and I will post the next one shortly. Mainly, the Hermeneutic failures are Gigantic with the Hybrid theory. If we ignore Hermeneutics and force a view that is really an imposing on scripture.

    And yes I do read your words in a Kind Light.

    • Hi Jay,
      You continue to mention hermeneutic failures, but you haven’t pointed out any. I listed seven assumptions and problems with the Sethite view that deal specifically with the text, but you barely interact with that. You cite your preferences (“I would not use the Septuagint because…”), but my views aren’t contingent on the wording of the Septuagint. They are in line with the oldest known Hebrew text. I pointed out an area where the Masoretic is clearly wrong (the Holy Spirit inspired book of Hebrews quotes from Deuteronomy 32:43, but that line doesn’t appear in the Masoretic) but you ignored that point. The same thing happens in Luke 4:18 citing Isaiah 61.
      You dismiss the historical interpretation of the passage because “so much of what was written down was lost” but this is an argument from silence. What we do have of what remains from early Jewish and Christian writers is that every Jewish writer who commented on the passage until the close of the first century AD held to the fallen angel view, and every Christian writer who wrote on it until the third century held to the fallen angel view. More significantly, so did Jude and Peter when they wrote about the angels who did not keep their proper abode and are now held in chains of darkness until the day of judgment.
      You have claimed multiple times now that the fallen angel view is based on pagan-influenced mythology. You need to back that up with evidence rather than just making the claim. I would argue that the Sethite view is based on pagan influences — the allegorical hermeneutic developed by the Greek philosophers in the 6th century BC as a way of reinterpreting Greek mythology in a more palatable way. I have an entire chapter on that too where I trace this development of allegory from Athens to Alexandria and then into Jewish writing and then Christian writing. I would argue that the proliferation of mythologies including stories of their gods mating with women are much like the many flood legends found around the world. Both have a basis in reality, but are distortions of what really happened while the Bible records the history accurately.
      Regarding Cain’s line. You stated, “There is nothing in the lineage of Cain that even hints that any of those men ever called on the name of the Lord” and yet I gave you a couple of lines that argue against that. When Enosh was born, “men began to call on the name of the LORD.” This statement is not restricted to one family line, because it is speaking of men in general, and it may well have included some of the early names in Cain’s line. But I also mentioned Mehujael and Methushael. Yes, Bible dictionaries often claim that Mehujael means “smitten by God.” What’s your point? My point was that a couple people in this line seem to be acknowledging God in the way they named their sons. It seems rather convenient to ignore the more common definition of Methushael’s name (“who is of God” in Strong’s or “man of God” in HALOT). Why didn’t you mention that? I’m not arguing that these guys were believers, but that there is at least some evidence that some might have been. But it isn’t my view that is contingent upon whether there were or were not godly Cainites. The whole world was corrupt in the years before the Flood.
      You are applying an entire framework over the top of the text. You are assuming that the Bible is trying to make a strong contrast between the two lines—that one was godly and the other was not. But that is not stated in the text. So you are not doing hermeneutics here, you are doing eisegesis.
      You are also doing eisegesis when it comes to what angels can or cannot do. You say that fallen angels cannot materialize. How do you know this? You claim that there are no instances of them doing this, but that begs the question since the very passage in question may tell us this. You say they can’t procreate, but you don’t know that either. Using the “one blood” argument does not rule it out. By your argument, then we would have to conclude that Jesus wouldn’t have been part of the human race either, since He had just an earthly mother and no biological earthly father. But He was/is fully man (and fully God). You are of the mindset that these fallen angels somehow have angel blood that gets mixed with human blood. Yet, the fallen angel position generally views it as heavenly beings (“angel” is not the best term to use since the passage is referring only to a certain class of heavenly being) taking on human form to marry women and have children with them. Thus, the offspring are still fully human, just as they are called in Genesis 6:4 (“mighty men of old, men of renown”).
      Much of what you wrote is inaccurate and not based on sound hermeneutics. You keep citing hermeneutics and yet you are not allowing the text to speak for itself. The truth is, whenever bene elohim is used outside of Genesis 6, it refers to heavenly beings. You get tripped up over the idea that disobedient creatures could be called “sons of God” but elohim does not always refer to God, it simply identifies one whose primary realm of existence is the heavenly or spiritual realm. That is why it is also used of angels (Psalm 8:5), demons (Deuteronomy 32:17), and the spirit of a deceased human (Samuel in 1 Samuel 28). But the near identical term, bene elim, is also used of heavenly beings (Psalm 29:1 and 89:6). The equivalent Aramaic term, bar elahin, is also used in Daniel 3 and refers to a heavenly being who is also called an angel in that same passage.

  8. Tim,

    I appreciate the work you have done with AIG and think I may have seen you at 1 of their Seminars.

    With this very difficult passage a couple things are typically overlooked:

    A- The Septuagint has many errors in it and 1 of them in the Alexandrian mss is the Hebrew Bene ha elohim. The Masoretic text shows in the OT Bene elohim. The Alexandrian mss tended to have certain ‘interpretive translations’ rather than literal.
    B- The reason Jesus said that angels in heaven do not marry in the Matthew, Mark & Luke passages is two-fold:
    1)-was to correct the Sadducees thought of who would marry the spouse in heaven if she had multiple husbands of several brothers that there is no marrying in heaven’
    2)-was to show that where there will be Eternal Life there will not be any marrying because it stands to reason that there would not possibly be marrying where there is Eternal Death in the Lake of Fire
    Now there are many other Hermeneutic Failures in the Fallen Angel/Human hybrid theory, including Syntax because the text does not read Giants were a result of sons of God marrying daughters of women, they were just there at the time of the complete Human Apostasy save Noah. I believe it is more likely the Nephilim were all from a bloodline of fallen men in the line of Cain. All other Giant races in the Bible also arise from Pagan peoples such as the Rephaim, the Anakites, Goliath & his brothers of the Philistines.
    This is just the tip of the iceberg of the Hermeneutic failures.

    Anyhow, God bless.

    • Hi Jay,
      Thanks for the kind words about my work. As I mentioned in the opening of this article, I have written extensively on this topic in my Th.M. thesis and in other blog posts (and I am nearly finished with a very detailed book on the topic). I have one post about the Sethite view, explaining the reasons why it does not adequately explain the text (http://midwestapologetics.org/blog/?p=343). Let me briefly respond to your points above:
      A) The LXX does have errors, but that doesn’t mean it is in error regarding the bene ha elohim. In fact, the LXX translates the phrase correctly as either uioi theou (literally, “sons of God” or aggelos (“angels”). If they were angelic beings, then there is nothing wrong with this translation. It would be comparable to translating iesou christou as Jesus Christ or Jesus the Messiah because they mean the same thing. One is more of a transliteration and the other is a translation, but both are entirely accurate. In Job 1, 2, and 38, the bene elohim are obviously angels. They cannot be humans in Job 38 because humans hadn’t even been created at the point this verse is referring to. Furthermore, the Masoretic has errors that are easy to spot, and some of them are precisely related to this very issue in Deuteronomy 32:8 and 32:43. In fact, the book of Hebrews quotes from Deuteronomy 32:43 (“let all the angels of God worship Him”) but that wording doesn’t exist in the Masoretic. But it does exist in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the LXX (http://midwestapologetics.org/blog/?p=1686). There is so much more to this issue that I’ve already written about elsewhere so I won’t rehash it here.
      B) I don’t disagree with your points here. This post isn’t about the main point Jesus was making. I was pointing out an overreach made by many people who have sought to discredit the fallen angel view by claiming that Jesus said they couldn’t do this. As I’ve explained, that isn’t at all what he was saying.
      As for the alleged “hermeneutic failures,” you didn’t really cite any other than stating that the text doesn’t claim that the Nephilim were the offspring of the sons of God and daughters of men. It’s true that most English translations are rather ambiguous about this idea, but the Hebrew text is not. According to Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, 2nd edition, the Hebrew word asher in this construction should be translated as “whenever” instead of “when,” because it refers to an event that occurred in the past and was repeated at times up until the point that one is writing about it. So the text is saying that the Nephilim were on the earth in those days (i.e. before the flood) and also afterward (i.e. after the flood), “whenever” the sons of God came into the daughters of men and they bore children to them. These (the children born to them) were the mighty men of old, men of renown. I have an entire chapter about this issue in my upcoming book in which I go into much more detail.
      Regarding the Nephilim being in the line of Cain…there is nothing in the text that makes this connection. The truth is that this passage isn’t very difficult, and as far as we know, the ancient Jews until after the time of Christ, and the ancient Christians until the 3rd century, unanimously held to the fallen angel view. Please understand that I have heard the objections, and I have written four chapters just about the objections to the fallen angel view. The fallen angel view is not a result of hermeneutic failures; it is a result of sound hermeneutics because it holds to the plain meaning of the text. The opposing views do not have textual support. If you are interested in this issue and learning why the fallen angel is the only view that makes sense of the text and the only one that can answer all the objections, I’d encourage you to pick up my book when it becomes available (hopefully later this year).
      Thanks for being willing to discuss this issue in a civil manner. I hope my words were understood in the same irenic spirit. It’s an interesting subject and should never be a cause for division among believers.
      God bless!

      • Tim,

        It’s probably the 1st time I’ve encountered anyone who has written on this passage for their Thesis. Many seminary students get confused or don’t know what to make of the passage so they skip over it like most Pastors too.
        I will try to use succinct points to address your blog if that is possible and yes, I am glad we can be civil about this and it was sad to see how that lady on this site was not gracious.
        I’ve taught in Bible studies, youtube videos and in my 1st book (unfinished) on Hermeneutics this passage is covered in detail as you have done.
        A-the reason the view is called the Sethite view is not because all of the lineage of Seth were faithful, the genealogy of Adam to Seth and beyond listed to Noah were worshippers of the Lord. The intermarriage of ungodly women is not told in detail how many years it took and how many in each of the line before Noah rebelled, but what we can glean is that there is a Major Contrast between the ungodly line of Cain and the godly line of Seth. Scripture is full of Contrasts and this is the first usage of the Literary technique.

        • Hi Jay,
          I understand why the Sethite view is called what it is. Those who hold it believe that the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1–4 are descendants of Seth who married unbelieving women from the line of Cain. There are several problems with this reasoning. As I have written many times elsewhere on my blog and in an entire chapter in my upcoming book, the Sethite view just does not make sense of the text of the passage. To quote Derek Kidner’s commentary on Genesis:

          The sons of God are identified by some interpreters as the sons of Seth, over against those of Cain. By others, including early Jewish writers, they are taken to mean angels. If the second view defies the normalities of experience, the first defies those of language (and our task is to find the author’s meaning).

          Why would he say that the Sethite view defies the use of language? There are several reasons. I’m sorry that this post will be a bit long. I’ll try to keep any other ones shorter.
          First, it assumes (as you do) that the line from Seth to Noah was godly. How do you know this? It’s safe to assume that Enoch and Noah were godly since the Bible clearly tells us this. You might be able to infer from Lamech’s words at Noah’s birth that he trusted in God. And you may be able to infer from Genesis 4:26 (at the birth of Seth’s son Enosh) that those two men were godly. However, men beginning to call on the name of the LORD at that point cannot be limited to just the line of Seth. It doesn’t say that only those in the line of Seth called on the name of the LORD. Second, you assume that those in the line of Cain were ungodly. How do you know that? Yes, Cain was ungodly and so was his descendant, the polygamist murderer named Lamech. But how do you know the others were ungodly? Two of them have a title for God in their names (Mehujael and Methushael). This doesn’t make them godly, but it may be a clue that they had reverence for God. The truth is, we can’t know the spiritual state of those people when Scripture does not tell us. You have assumed that one line is godly and the other ungodly. But what about the other lines from Adam? Where do they fit into your picture of Genesis 6:1–4? Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters (Genesis 5:4). For the record, I’m not completely opposed to the men in Noah’s lineage being godly and those mentioned in Cain’s line being ungodly, but I would not build a doctrine on this argument from silence.
          Second, the Sethite view must change the meaning of “men” throughout the passage. Verse 1 – When men began to multiply on the earth and daughters were born to them. This clearly refers to all men in the pre-Flood world—not just to Cain’s line which hasn’t even been mentioned for more than an entire chapter. Then in verse 2, you must assume that the “daughters of men” (who were clearly those mentioned in verse 1) actually refers only to those in the line of Cain. So now man must mean only those in Cain’s line. In verse 3, you are back to talking about all men when God says that His Spirit would not strive with man forever and then announces the 120 year judgment (no need to debate the proper interpretation of that verse here). But then in verse 4, you are back to narrowing man down to just the line of Cain again. Then in verse 5, it’s back to talking about all men. There is no hermeneutical warrant for jumping back and forth like this over who is being referenced by the term “men” or the “daughters of men” in this passage. You must impose that on the text to fit your view. It does not come from the text.
          Third, why would God judge the entire world with a Flood if the big sin here was just one line of men marrying ungodly women from another line? Why are all the other lines from Adam being judged?
          Fourth, if the Sethite men were truly godly (and I know you said that not all of them were, but surely you must think many of them were if you are using that as a basis for calling them “sons of God”), then why did they continually marry ungodly women? Sure, that can happen occasionally, but would so many men from the same presumably godly lineage continue to make the exact same mistake?
          Fifth, how can you even claim that the Sethites were godly when the Bible tells us that all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth, that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of men’s hearts was only evil continually? Again, it doesn’t sound like there are a bunch of godly men out there marrying ungodly women.
          Sixth, the Bible tells us nothing about the women in Cain’s line other than the names of two women who married Lamech (Adah and Zillah but they may not have been from that line by birth) and Lamech’s daughter, Naamah. Can you really make the case from Scripture that the Cainite women were all ungodly?
          Finally, Genesis 1–11 uses a different term for men instead of “sons of God.” Genesis 11 calls them the “sons of man” (bene ha ‘adam). The bene ha ‘elohim were not men, as many other passages in the OT shows, but that point can wait for another time.
          There are other issues that can be raised here, but I will save them for later. The point here is that the Sethite view is not derived from the text itself, it must be read into it. This explains why there is no record of anyone, either Jew or Christian, holding to it until the third century. Meanwhile, the early Jews (until the early second century) and the early Christians (until the mid-third century) were unanimously in favor of the fallen angel view (at least among those whose writings we still have and wrote about this issue).
          Again, I’m sorry that I got a little “long-winded” here. It’s just that there are so many assumptions being imposed on the text to support this position, and I think it’s important for those who hold it to be aware of those assumptions. Some of them may be correct. For example, the women in Cain’s line may have been ungodly, but the text doesn’t tell us that they were, at least not until the time when Noah needed to start building the Ark and we are told that practically everyone was wicked.
          Thanks again for the kind spirit in which your words were written. I hope you will read mine in the same light.

  9. I read your work and it seems thorough enough. That said, Adam is said to be a Son of God (Luke 3:38) and Christ said we are all Sons of God. The said adoption into this status is misleading- we are sons of God but reject it if we do not believe in the salvation afforded us by the Christ.
    One major gap in your reasoning is that you fail to recognize that at the time of the creation of Adam, there were other beings science calls neanderthal (perhaps) and biblically called nephilim (cave dwellers or outlanders). We know this from scientific findings. Hence Cain’s wife. Unless we are to believe that Adam and Eve allowed their eventual daughter to leave and marry their murderous son Cain. Wouldn’t that have been a mention worthy event in the geneology? We are all descendants of Adam since Noah was a descendant of Adam and since we are all descendants of Noah. At the time of Noah’s flood, all nephilim were gone.
    [Poster’s personal info removed for privacy reasons]
    I am an avid Christian by the way.

    • Hi Michael,
      Thanks for the civil discussion even while disagreeing with me. If you would’ve read my latest blog post, you would’ve seen that there was no gap in my reasoning on this, since it was all about who Cain was afraid of. Here’s the link: http://midwestapologetics.org/blog/?p=1747. God did not create other people, and the text doesn’t say that Cain married his wife once he went to the land of Nod. It says that they were in the land of Nod when they had a son. If you consider his probable age by the time he murdered Abel (likely close to 130), then all of this makes sense.
      Yes, the Nephilim were wiped out in the Flood, but they were around again after the Flood (Numbers 13:33), just as Genesis 6:4 explains (“in those days and also afterward”). The Nephilim were not neanderthals—they were giants, the descendants of the sons of God and the daughters of men. This is how they could be on the earth both before and after the Flood even though all alive at the time of the Flood were killed in it. Neanderthals are/were fully human, and they have even been reclassified as part of homo sapiens.

    • The peace of God be with you… Personally, I don’t welcome the idea of theologians making any assumptions about the scriptures… the Bible clearly says “those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are given the opportunity to be the children of God”

      Now, without making any assumptions, nowhere in the Bible one can find a scripture indicating that the Angeles are the children of God… I’m afraid that humanity has been misled or misinformed through the ages… I’m asking for common sense, after all the Bible teaches us to search the scriptures lest we be led astray as the current false teachers have been lying to humans

      • Gumaro,
        Thanks for weighing in. You say that you “don’t welcome the idea of theologians making any assumptions about the scriptures” and yet you seem willing to make assumptions. Why would you automatically be opposed to people who spend their entire lives studying and teaching the Scriptures? God had given the church pastors and teachers to the church, and He has gifted certain people with the ability and opportunity to study and teach. Certainly, theologians are fallible, so their ideas must always be compared to the Bible.
        With that being said, your response shows that you don’t really understand the issue. It isn’t about who can become “children of God” (Greek – teknon theos). It is about those beings that are identified as “sons of God” (Hebrew – bene [ha] elohim). And there are very clear verses in the Bible that identify these “sons of God” as angelic beings. The clearest of all of them is Job 38:7 where God is asking Job about things that happened before man was created. He asked where Job was “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” These “sons of God” cannot be people since people didn’t exist yet in the period God spoke of. The same term is used in Job 1:6 and Job 2:1 in which the “sons of God” came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. So in two more places, we have very obvious uses of this Hebrew phrase “sons of God” (bene [ha] elohim) referring to angelic beings.
        I have written extensively on this topic elsewhere, so I’m not going to rehash all of it here, but I plan to publish a book later this year that will go into great detail about this issue and other related topics.
        Sincerely,
        Tim

  10. You people are stupid as satan is stupid,if JESUS said these angels are bound waiting for judgement,how the hell a spirit can marry? That time people ungodly didnt know exist,people like you twisting the word of GOD

    • Hi Becky,
      Rather than responding with the same rudeness you displayed in your comment, I’ll simply point out a few things so that you can understand the point being made (it’s evident you do not understand the view). First, Jesus did not say these angels were bound. Peter and Jude said they were. Second, the reason they were bound by the time that Peter and Jude wrote (the first few decades after Christ’s Resurrection), is because they had sinned in Noah’s day (1 Peter 3:20). And what was their sin? Among other things, they left their proper abode and married women (Jude 6, 2 Peter 2:4, Genesis 6:1–4).
      Honestly, other than your accusation that I’m twisting the word of God, I’m not sure what the second half of your comment is supposed to mean, so I won’t address it at this time. Your accusation rings hollow since you gave no biblical support for why you think I’m wrong.
      Finally, Christians need to understand that Satan is not stupid. He is evil, and what he’s trying to accomplish is futile, but in terms of intelligence, he’s far smarter than any of us will ever be this side of eternity. Underestimate him at your own peril.

      • Hello Tim. None of your Biblical references are supporting your statement. neither Jude 6 or 2nd Peter or genesis 6 say anything about the angles. you are reading into the text and adding to it.
        Jesus was very clear that angels do not marry. Not that they should not and can not but do not. that includes everything including that they were not created to have the ability to have a family and reproduce. and to imply that their sin is marrying human women as the reason for their loosing their heavenly post is just dumb and and attempt to move away from the real truth that they rebelled against god and took up arms against God and tried to overthrow him. Revelation 12:7–13. this is the real reason they lost their post not because of marrying women. trying to downplay their real sin is the same as the homosexual movement using the rainbow. Shame on you. Trying to take away and twist the creators actual words will incur Revelation 22:19 upon your soul.

        • Sam,
          Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4 both mention angels who sinned and being bound until the day of judgment. This cannot be referring to all fallen angels since many of these beings were not bound during Jesus’ ministry. Both of these passages follow up the mention of these angels by talking about the sexual perversion at Sodom. So it is completely false to say that these passages do not speak about angels.
          The fact that Jesus said angels “in heaven” do not marry does not cover all the bases for what “angels who did not keep their proper domain” can do. The war in heaven described in Revelation 12 has not happened yet. This is why Satan and other rebellious angels still had access to heaven in the OT. One day they will be tossed out for good, but that hasn’t happened yet.
          Finally, did you really just make this a salvation issue as if Jesus is going to quiz us on our view of Genesis 6:1–4 to decide whether we are saved? That’s what it sounds like when you claim that I’m incurring Revelation 22:19 upon my soul. Last time I checked, salvation isn’t contingent upon a person’s understanding of Genesis 6:1–4; it’s contingent upon believing in Jesus Christ for eternal life. There is zero similarity between my interpretation of Genesis 6:1–4 and relevant passages to the homosexual movement’s use of the rainbow.
          Anyway, I have written at length on this topic elsewhere so I’m not going to rehash all the arguments here. Interested readers will be able to pick up a copy of my nearly 500-page book on the subject in a few weeks and decide for themselves whether I’ve built a strong case. Whatever one decides, it shouldn’t have any bearing on whether we treat one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

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