Are the Sons of God spoken of in Genesis 6:1-4 really fallen angels who had sexual relations with human beings?
The passage in question says, “when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose…when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them” (Genesis 6:1-4).
There are some well respected Bible teachers who think that the “sons of God” were fallen angels, but I will share with you the two major questions about this topic that have prevented me from agreeing with them.
Can Angels Procreate?
I see no reason in the record of Scripture to believe that angels, fallen or holy, have the ability to procreate. I don’t think angels can have sexual relations or be married and apparently neither does Jesus, because when we was talking about Heaven in Matthew 22:30 He says no one will marry or be given in marriage “but will be “as the angels of God in heaven.”
Jesus said that angels don’t marry, but these “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1-4 first married “the daughters of men” then they had sexual relations with them.
Angels don’t marry because they can’t procreate, they are created beings. Angels, unlike humans, can not multiply their kind by having sexual relations.
One, there is no sexual relations in Heaven and in immortality, and two, according to Psalms 148:2-5, angels are created beings, “Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created” (ESV).
Paul says the same thing in Colossians 1:16 when he wrote that the Lord created all things – that includes angels. There is no hint or reference that the angels are even capable of having sexual relations, especially when you consider that they are not even flesh and blood, Hebrews 1:13-14 says they are spirit beings.
Besides, in Genesis 1:24 we read “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind.” Which makes me fairly sure that the Creator pre-considered His creation could only produce its same kind, not an amalgamation of a new kind.
Exclusive Meaning of Phrase?
The phrase “sons of God” is one that is used in both the Old and New Testament to signify those who are followers of God. In the Old Testament we have Deuteronomy 14:1, Isaiah 43:6, and Malachi 2:10 refer to this about men who are righteous in following God.
The Hebrew “ben elohiym” is used in Genesis 6:1-4, Job 1:6, Job 2:1, Job 38:7 and elsewhere with the inclusion of the word “Yĕhovah” as in Deuteronomy 14:1 where we read “ben Yĕhovah elohiym.” Not much difference between “sons of God” and “sons of the Lord God” to me, but the Hebrew word for angel, “Malek,” is not used in any of these verses or its context.
On Job’s use of this phrase “sons of God” in Job 1:6 and Job 2:1, I ought to make mention that I find no reason to assume that this council meeting with God was all or only spirit being angel.
It is likely this council meeting was some type of council dealing with the overseeing of the worlds of God’s universe dominion, and Satan shows up. Satan had made himself the overseer of planet Earth by virtue of Adam and Eve yielding it to him and making him the ruler of Earth. Perhaps if Adam did not sin, Adam would have showed up. Thankfully in Revelation 5:5 we see the Lord Jesus rightfully redeems the title deed to Earth.
Hebrews 1:2 and Hebrews 11:13 use the word “worlds” plural. I wouldn’t hold this possibility out as a dogmatic doctrine, but it is no more speculative than fallen angels marrying humans, but it is certainly plausible that Earth is not the only inhabited world.
We are likely the only fallen world but there is no reason to assume that God did not created other worlds with similar Edens and testing Trees of Life and Knowledge of Good and Evil. This may explain 2 Peter 2:8 and Jude 1:6, because God may have bound the fallen evil angels to this world so as to keep them from recruiting other worlds into their fallen rebellion against Christ. See my previous post, “2 Peter 2:8 and Angels in Darkness” for more details.
The phrase “sons of God” is a popular concept in the New Testament where its counterpart for the Hebrew “ben elohiym” would be the Greek “uios Theos” and “tekna Theos” meaning son or sons of God and child or children of God, respectively.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:9 that peacemakers will be called “sons of God” (ESV), in John 1:12 we read that in believing on Him we become adopted into His family as “children of God” and Paul said that “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:19).
Separation of Families
There is a school of thought that Seth’s line stayed separate from Cain’s line and that could be the real reference to the “sons of God” marrying the “daughters of men” and having offspring said to be giants.
Some translations have Genesis 6:4 with the word Nephilim, instead of giants, which is simply a transliteration of the Hebrew word used. It is said to mean “giant” as in “bully” or as in “fallen” with a meaning of falling down upon another with the idea of pouncing.
This school of thought is certainly a possible explanation in my understanding since Genesis 4 was all about addressing the divergent paths of the two families. One can certainly speculate that Seth and Enoch’s line followed Adam’s quieter country life of working the ground while Cain and Lamech’s line followed ambitions in building, producing, and multiplying in the pursuit of city life.
One 19th century commentator wrote that Seth’s families stayed to the hills while Cain’s families roamed, built, and lived their ruckus lives in the plains. Some comments suggested that Seth’s family line maintained a healthier stature than did Cain’s family line and the offspring mentioned as giants may actually have been contributed to Seth’s side physical traits but having the disposition of Cain’s side.
Many years ago I read an article from scientists at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California who estimated that Adam was about 10′ tall and could walk at a pace of 60 mph. It does appear that our genetics takes a degenerative decline as we get closer away from the Garden of Eden and God’s way of living.
We don’t have a clear “thus saith the Lord” on these things so I don’t want to turn speculation into dogmatic doctrine, but I do understand that if it wasn’t for the mention of their offspring as giants there would likely be no issue over the “sons of God” being fallen angels.