This treatise was written in order to address a particular controversy regarding a most strategic portion of the Biblical record, and the importance of a proper understanding of that passage and its relevance to our world today. The attempt is to clarify some of the key elements of the continued interpretive contention with the hope that a proper understanding will not only be elicited, but that such understanding will clarify the malignity of evil itself and to galvanize our understanding of its influence and culpability in the great underlying conflicts which beset our world. It is also hoped that the reader will not only be stimulated in his own study of Holy Writ, but that he will gain a greater appreciation of it and realize a greater degree of his own appropriation of these oracles of God. Then, the ultimate purpose and hope of this paper is that it might edify believers in their daily life, and, most of all, magnify the glorious anticipation of our Lord's imminent personal return in these last days.
One of the most fascinating topics to be found in our study of the Bible is that of its record regarding the early earth, that first great era in the history of our world, sometimes referred to as the antediluvian age. It is an age shrouded in mystery and wonder, an age pertaining not only to a lost world but an age separated from us in time by a great dividing epoch of catastrophic world changing events. It is an account of that world of human glory and depravity, and demonic intervention; a world which was totally destroyed in the great judgment of the Flood several thousand years ago, a flood which left our world vastly and permanently different. Even though the evidence of this great event is abundant in the traditions of many cultures around the world and confirmed in many of the disciplines, the only direct information that we have of this early period in the Earth's history is found in the first few chapters of the book of Genesis and a few other relatively brief references scattered throughout the rest of Scripture.
Because portions of this subject and related matters touch upon issues of demonology it has been objected that "we should focus our attention on Christ not on the Devil." Yet, among things, such an objection would tend to perpetuate the somewhat obscure understanding of this important passage of Scripture. Furthermore, if our victory as believers is to be complete, it is incumbent upon us to study all of the Scriptures, for as in any military engagement a knowledge of the enemy is necessary. That we will be engaged with this enemy is of a certainty pointed out most graphically by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10-18. Finally, our Lord Himself exhorts us to study the details of that early age, the likes of which will be repeated shortly before His second coming. Thus, if any ask whether this question is worth laboring, we can but reply that all of Scripture is given to us by the love and wisdom of God and it must be of essential value and importance to accurately understand it.
Two days before the crucifixion of Christ, His disciples asked Him, "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3) His reply pointed to a number of "signs," all of which together would occur in that generation which would see the signs, and which would be the sign they had requested. These signs were climaxed with the prophetic warning, "But as the days of Noe were, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be, For as in the days that were before the Flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the Ark, and knew not until the Flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matthew 24:37-39). Thus did Jesus not only verify the historicity of antediluvian culture and the great Flood, and remind us of the relationship between wickedness and judgment, but He also encouraged us to study closely the characteristics of the days before the Flood, because these would also characterize the days just before His return.
The first great age of human history was brought to its climax and culmination in the days of Noah. The sin-disease, which began so innocuously when Eve was tempted to doubt the word of God, which then began to show its true ugliness of character in the life of Cain, and which came to maturity in the godless civilization developed by his descendants, finally descended into such a terrible morass of wickedness and corruption that even the most fertile imagination is defied in its attempt to grasp the magnitude, and of which a full disclosure would, without doubt, utterly shock the Christian's sensibilities to behold. The record notes that even our very Creator Himself was dismayed and grieved to the core of His being that He had ever made man upon the Earth. Only a global bath of exceedingly turbid water unleashed from the windows of heaven and from the bowels of the earth could purge and cleanse the fevered and festered world. The word of God clearly and unequivocally declares that the characteristics of those awful and tragic days, strange as they may seem, are nevertheless to be repeated in the last days of this present age. As a correlation between Genesis 6:1-4 and Matthew 24:37-39, as well as other pertinent passages will show, it is clearly evident that in the times of both cases corruption and violence exist side by side with luxury, refinement and high culture. Such minglings apparently incongruous have not been infrequent in postdiluvian times. It is thus urgently important, from the standpoint of both understanding past history and seeking guidance for the future, that we understand the events which took place in the days of Noah.
As we can see from Scripture, and as pointed out by our Lord Himself, the sixth chapter of Genesis contains an important message for us regarding the days of Noah, a description of momentous interest and importance to us: for our Lord has declared that a similar epoch of worldliness will at length exhaust the forbearance of God toward the present dwellers upon the Earth, and cause Him to come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire; to plead with all flesh by fire and by His sword (Isaiah 66:15-16). It becomes, therefore, an obvious duty to consider the progress of wickedness and corruption among the antediluvians, so far as it has pleased God to inform us of it; to acquaint ourselves not merely with the sowing but also with the watering, the growth, and the ripening, of that hideous crop against which the gleaming sickle of the Almighty at length flashed forth from heaven; to note the various incentives to evil as they successively appeared, and to observe the particular influence of each upon the rapidly decomposing masses of society. For by so doing we shall arm ourselves against the errors and temptations which are daily multiplying around us, and be able to discern the threatening signs of our own times. (Romans 15:4; I Corinthians 10:11; II Timothy 3:16-17; I John 5:13)
When men multiplied on the face of the Earth in that primeval age, as in our own time, so also did the diffusion and intensification of sin. For every form of evil which exists in thinly populated locales will also be found, but in greater degree, where men have multiplied; where there are countless vices peculiar to crowded districts. Consequently, if they are numerous, men support each other in rebellion, and are prone to become far more daring and defiant of God. Among ourselves the strongholds of rationalism and atheism are always to be found in large cities. As the families of the earth increase in number, so also does civilization, learning, and technology. Given the longevity of the antediluvians, coupled with their immense accumulation of knowledge, experience, and skill, their civilization must have advanced to an almost inconceivable degree. One recorded specimen of antediluvian industry was the Ark built singly through the labor, and under the superintendence, of a lone godly Sethite, Noah, guided by God, along with his modest family. Sad and instructive was the long past amalgamation of the Cainites (descendants of Cain, the murderer son of Adam and Eve who slew his brother Abel) and Sethites (descendants of Seth, the godly son whom Adam and Eve bore after the death of Abel) in a society of leisure disposed to wickedness. Abject indulgence, self gratification and depraved human glory seemed to be the residual ungodly religion of the day. A wastefully indulgent life of vanity and a disregard for the institution of the family in the careless giving away of their children in frivolous marriages set the stage for the appalling escalation of evil shortly to follow. No true worshippers of Jehovah were to be found, save in the single family of Noah, a small remnant connected with the line of the promised Seed.
Then, in the days of Noah, a new and startling event burst upon the world, and fearfully accelerated the already rapid progress of evil, leading to such a tidal wave of violence and wickedness over the earth that there was no longer any remedy but utter destruction. For such, our text in Genesis reads as follows: "And it came to pass, 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. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown." (Genesis 6:1-4). This passage contains a detail that is often either ignored, disputed, or outright rejected - that of giants on the Earth. Here we have the record of what evidently constitutes the first great outbreak of demonic "genetic engineering" through the demonic abduction of women, the result of which was humanoid gigantism. The second outbreak occurred "also after that" sometime before Israel arrived in the land of Canaan. For there they encountered the Nephalim or "fallen ones." The pre-Flood outbreak had been, of course, brought to an abrupt end by the world wide judgment of the Flood. During the time of David, who faced off Goliath, God, through Israel, brought the post-Flood outbreak to an end. A thousand years after the time of David demonic intervention occurred again, this time in the form of human corporal possession which waxed rampant, at the time of Christ. Finally, in our own time we again see evident trademarks of demonic activity, by the fallen "sons of God," of a different legion, quite possibly in likes of the "UFO" and "alien abduction" phenomenon of recent years.
As the record clearly indicates, the offspring of the unions between the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men" were progeny of the most grotesque sort, being "giants in the earth," the same being "mighty men which were of old, men of renown," monsters not only in size but also monsters in wickedness, and they always, without exception, were disposed to thwart the purposes of God (Genesis 6: 1, 2, 4). In the minds of many readers, the first reaction to this passage is such that, in spite of its obvious and clear intent, its incredulity begs for an alternate interpretation. The standard interpretation of the liberals is to think of the fairy tales of antiquity, the legends of ogres and dragons, and the myths of the gods consorting with men - and then to dismiss the entire story as legend and superstition, but a careful examination of the passage will elicit a far deeper meaning.
Often the biases and presuppositions we bring into a matter prevent our understanding and acceptance of its face value and patient meaning. Modern Christians have often attempted to make this passage in Genesis more palatable intellectually by explaining the "sons of God" as Sethites and the "daughters of men" as Cainites, with their union representing the breaking down of the wall of separation between believers and unbelievers. Another interpretation which avoids the supernaturalistic implications is that the phrase "sons of God" referred to kings and nobles, in which case the commingling so described is merely an account of royalty marrying commoners. This passage is not the first to be met with a naturalistic attitude as such. The miraculous parting of the deep waters at the Red Sea, in which God provided a way of escape for the Israelites fleeing Egypt during the Exodus has been explained by liberals as an event whereby "a shallow swampy flood plain was drained during an unusually low tide accompanied by a particularly strong hot dry desert wind which dried off the land, thus permitting the Israelites to walk on dry ground at the shallow extremity of the Sea of Reeds." Yet the account in Exodus describes something startlingly different; a miraculous and dramatic division of waters where "the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left" (Exodus 14:21-22). In our present age the "scientifically impossible" is most often rejected outright anyway. In another case, unusually large and powerful animals, referred to as the behemoth and the leviathan, are described in Job 40:15-24 and 41:1-34. In the past they have been reckoned by Bible commentators to be descriptions of the hippopotamus or whale, yet neither of these creatures even closely fits the careful description of the beasts given in this passage of Scripture. It was only fairly recently realized that the behemoth and leviathan were large land animals, namely dinosaurs. Since the science of dinosaurs in our age is a fairly recent paleontological development, dating back only to the middle of the last century, most of the early writers of which our present commentaries are based had no knowledge of these creatures preserved in the fossil graveyards of the Earth. Had they taken God's word at face value and studied the descriptions of Job more carefully our knowledge and science of dinosaurs might very well have come at a much earlier time. Even the literal interpretation of the vast longevity of the antediluvians, who lived to such great age of nearly a thousand years instead of being cut off at three score and ten as in our age, is most often brought into question if not rejected outright by some theologians and Bible students. Regarding Genesis 6:1-4, none of the naturalistic interpretations, however, explain why the progeny of such unions would be "giants" or why they would lead to universal corruption and violence. Although Scripture does teach that believers should not wed unbelievers (II Corinthians 6:14; I Corinthians 7:39), there is no intimation that this particular sin is unforgivable or necessarily more productive of general moral deterioration than other sins. Regardless of intellectual difficulties, it is clear that something most remarkable, beyond the normal and natural, is described in Genesis 6:1-4.
The first matter of understanding regarding this amazing portion of Scripture beyond its plain contextual intent turns quite obviously to the Hebrew meaning of the phrase "sons of God" (bene elohim). In the New Testament, of course, this term is used with reference to all who have been born again through personal faith in Jesus Christ (John 1:12; Romans 8:14; etc.), and the concept of a spiritual relationship of believers to God as analogous to that of children to a father is also found in the Old Testament (Psalm 73:15; Hosea 1:10; Deuteronomy 32:5; Exodus 4:22; Isaiah 43:6). However, none of these examples use the same phrase as Genesis 6:2, 4; furthermore, in each case the meaning is not really parallel to the meaning given in Genesis. Neither the descendants of Seth nor true believers of any sort have been previously referred to in Genesis as sons of God in any kind of spiritual sense and, except for Adam himself, they could not have been sons of God in a physical sense. In context, such a meaning would be strained, to say the least, in the absence of any kind of explanation. When we are told that "men" began to multiply on the face of the earth, and that the sons of God saw the daughters of "men," in each case the human race is clearly signified, in other words the descendants of Cain and Seth alike. Hence the "sons of God" are plainly distinguished from the generations of Adam. The only obvious and natural meaning without such clarification is that these beings were sons of God, rather than of men, because they have been created, not born. Such a description, of course, would apply only to Adam (Luke 3:38) and to the angels, whom god had directly created (Psalm 148:2, 5: Psalm 104:4; Colossians 1:16).
The actual expression "sons of God," bene elohim, occurs explicitly three other times, all in the very ancient book of Job (1:6; 2:1; 38:7), and in each case the term refers indisputably to angelic beings. These are the beings whom, apparently, were created sometime during the first half of the creation week, probably on the first day (Genesis 2:1; Job 38:4-7; Luke 2:13). Twice in the beginning of the book of Job we read of the sons of God presenting themselves before Him at stated times, and Satan also comes with them as being himself a son of God, though a disobedient, fallen, and rebellious one. In Job 38:7 the morning stars are represented as singing together, and the sons of God as shouting for joy, over the creation of our earth. There are, as well, implicit references to these sons of God in a number of other passages. There is no doubt that, in these passages, the meaning also applies exclusively to the angels. A very similar form bar elohim is used in Daniel 3:25, and refers either to an angel or to a theophany. The term "sons of the mighty" (bene elim) is used in Psalm 29:1 and also Psalm 89:6, and again refers to angels. The sons of Elohim the mighty Creator are confined to those creatures made directly by the Divine hand, and not born of other beings of their own order. Hence, in Luke's genealogy of our Lord, Adam is called a son of God (Luke 3:38), and, so also Christ is said to give to them that receive Him power to become the sons of God (John 1:12). For these are born again of the Spirit of God as to their inner man even in the present life. This is only possible with man since he is delivered from the penalty of death and brought into newness of life through a substitutionary atonement, unlike the angels which, on the other hand, have been fixed in their position as angels of grace, or damnation, the latter hopelessly lost in their state of perdition. At the resurrection those of mankind who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, who is Christ, will in their glorified physical bodies, be clothed with a spiritual body, a building of God (II Corinthians 5:1); so that they will then be in every respect equal to the angels, being altogether a new creation (Luke 20:36). Thus, all reasonable doubt insofar as the context, language, and plain exegesis of Genesis 6:1-4 is concerned, is removed regarding the intent of the writer to convey the concept of angels, fallen angels no doubt, acting in opposition to God's will. This also was the meaning placed on the passage by the Greek translators of the Septuagint, by Josephus, by the writer of the ancient apocryphal book of Enoch, and by all the other ancient Jewish interpreters and the earliest Christian writers. It is apparent that the first Christian writers to depart from this understanding and suggest the Sethite interpretation were Chrysostom and Augustine. Even an appeal to some of the later "fathers," who abandoned the orthodox view of Genesis 6:1-4 because it is "refuted by its own absurdity" must themselves then answer their own patient frivolity of contending that the "giants" were merely individuals of the same race who were "slightly larger and stronger, and more evil," than the rest of the people. By the same token they must also answer why the world at Noah's time was "divided" into Sethites and Cainites, which in reality we know it was not. Furthermore, those who would interject the Christian Church into the Old Testament economy to justify the "sons of God" as being simply believers, thus mortal men, distracts the issue from one of a direct Biblical exegesis to other grounds which are much the obscure, if not outright fallacious. These men, in spite of their greatness in doctrine and theory, were still humanly fallible and capable of missing important elements of Biblical truth in their doctrines. In our own time this opposing view has been widely propagated by C. I. Scofield in the notes of his famous reference Bible. To apply the term "sons of God" as such to mere men is to stretch the matter beyond a reasonable limit, for it can only refer to those sons of God involved in a second and deeper apostasy of those fallen ones from on high.
Only a portion of the angels who originally fell with Lucifer committed this atrocity. These chose to leave their own world and, having broken through God's limits into another, to go after "strange flesh" (Jude 6, 7) and to exercise an unlawful influence over the human race. These more devious rebels in particular are no longer found among the spirits of darkness which now haunt the air. They no longer retain their position as principalities and powers of the world, or even their liberty; but may be identified with the imprisoned criminals of whom Peter tells us that, after they had sinned, God dashed them down at once to His lowest dungeons as an instant punishment of their impious outrage, and to deprive them forever of the power of producing further confusion of this particular sort. "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment" (II Peter 2:4). Jude 6 also mentions their present condition in similar terms, and the context of either passage indicates with sufficient clarity the nature of their sin. The demon-possessed men and their progeny, along with all the other godless inhabitants of the antediluvian world perished in the waters of the Flood. These waters are now the waters of the present day vast oceans. It is apparent that those former inhabitants are referred to in connection with the final judgment when "the sea gave up the dead which were in it" (Revelation 20:13). Since all who thus sinned were imprisoned in hell (II Peter 2:4; Jude 6) and, as it is evident, are probably "the spirits in prison which once were disobedient when the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah" (I Peter 3:19, 20), and to whom Christ went in the Spirit after His death to proclaim His ultimate victory over their evil purposes. There are, although, yet other fallen angels who were not bound, who still remain at large (Ephesians 6:12). That angels have appeared to men in bodies of such a nature that they could not only be seen but even touched as the selfsame Scripture declares, rumors have persisted over the millennia that, as well, certain demons continue to attempt and effect the ancient crime. That such has been so generally affirmed it would be impudent to deny it. That Paul had such thought in his mind when he bade the woman to worship with covered head "on account of the angels" (I Corinthians 11:10) is, to say the least, within the limits of possibility. We ourselves, being distanced in time from the ancients or of Paul who were much closer to the origins of these traditions and who still retained a fresh historical memory of these events, tend to find them incredible in our own time.
Perhaps the most common of objections to the obvious meaning of the "sons of God" as representing angels, apart from the supernaturalistic overtones, is, for those who do not reject the idea of angels, that it would be impossible for angels to have sexual relations with human women and to father children by them, because they are "strictly spiritual beings" who, unlike humans, "have no form." However, this objection presupposes more about angelic abilities than we know. Whenever angels have appeared visibly to men, as recorded on numerous occasions in the Bible, they have appeared in the physical bodies of men. Those who met with Abraham, for example, could not only be touched but they actually dined with him (Genesis 18:8) and, later, appeared to the inhabitants of Sodom in such perfectly manlike form that the Sodomites attempted to take these "men" for homosexual purposes. The writer of Hebrews also makes a pointed comment that, on various occasions, some "have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2). The Lord Jesus indeed said that "in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven" (Matthew 22:30). However, this is not equivalent to saying that angels are "sexless," since people who share in the resurrection will surely retain their own personal identity whether male or female. It should be remembered that Christ Himself, even though in a glorified state after His resurrection, was still recognizable to His disciples, and others, in His masculine gender. Furthermore, angels are always described, when they appear, as "men," and the pronoun "he" is always used in reference to them. Thus angels have the power to assume human form in the fullest sense, although the Holy angels never opted to exploit this power to their own advantage, as did the demons. When Jesus said that the angels of God in heaven do not marry, this does not necessarily mean that those who have been cast out of heaven were incapable of doing so, or committing some form of sexual act. It clearly was not of God's design or intention that angels mix in such a way with human women, but these wicked angels were not concerned with obedience to God's will. It was probably precisely for the purpose of attempting to thwart God's will that this particular battalion of the "sons of God" engaged in this illegal invasion of the bodies of the daughters of men. The activities of these fallen angels was not only a patient counterfeit of the unique conception by the Holy Spirit, Who through the virgin Mary gave birth to the God-man Jesus, but an attempt in desperation to fatally pollute the human race, and in particular those people through whom the promised Seed was to come, and thus to destroy that Seed.
By a profound principle of genetic science, discovered only recently, the blood line, or type, is determined through the male, or father, and thus the blood of Christ was technically, and truly, not tainted by the curse of Adam as it is in the rest of humanity, since Jesus did not have an earthly father. The same sinless blood was poured out at Calvary for all whom are redeemed in Christ. No other death could have accomplished the substitutionary atonement and the propitiation of His righteousness unto us. In the same principle, but in a design which was diametrically opposed to the purpose of God and in almost inconceivable malignity, Satan through his cohorts began to infest humanity with hybrid offspring of an appalling characteristic, bearing cursed blood. This heinous deed by the fallen league thus becomes all the more diabolical. Satan had not forgotten God's prophesy that a promised Seed of the woman would one day destroy him. He had planted his own spiritual seed in Cain and his descendants, but God had preserved the line of the true seed through Seth. When Noah was born and Lamech was led to prophesy that "comfort" concerning the Curse would come through him (Genesis 5:29), Satan and his angels must have reckoned that their opportunities for victory in this cosmic conflict were in jeopardy. Desiring, if possible, to completely corrupt mankind before the promised Seed could accomplish Satan's defeat, it is evident that they opted to utilize the marvelous power of procreation, which God had authorized and given only to the human family, and to exert their own power to corrupt it to their own illicit advantage. In the days of Noah, men were rapidly multiplying on the Earth, and by implanting their own "seed' in humanity, these malignant beings might be able to enlist in only one generation a vast multitude as allies against God. It was an ingenious way to effectively contaminate and make filthy the entire human race so that God's seed, Messiah, could not come to offer eternal salvation. So these "sons of God" saw the daughters of men and "took them wives (or, literally 'women') of all which they chose." With the demoniacal ungodliness of the antediluvians in general, coupled with the irruption of the Serpent's seed directly into large numbers of the human race, and then with the thrusting forth of hordes of the monstrous offspring of these unlawful unions, conditions in the world became finally intolerable even to a God of compassion and long-suffering. Thus, such a scenario made the necessity of the catastrophic judgment of the Flood all the more sensible and necessary.
Another objection to the bene elohim, or sons of God, actually being angels is the contextual assumption that they actually have male reproductive systems, which leads to the even graver question of the nature of the progeny that would result from their sexual intercourse with human women. Fallen angels have no possibility of salvation, but fallen men and women do have at least this possibility. What, then, would be the case with "people" who were half-angel, half-men? It is a situation that is so grotesque that it would seem extremely doubtful that God would have allowed it to happen at all, even if it were physiologically a realistic possibility. Yet, as already indicated, it would do violence to the actual text of the passage if we were to make it merely mean that the sons of Seth began to marry the daughters of Cain. If this were the meaning, why did not the writer simply say so, and thus avoid all the confusion? Furthermore, why the Giants, and why the universal violence? The sons of Seth were surely not all Godly men; so why should they be called sons of God? It should be remembered that they all perished in the flood. Adam had many sons in addition to Cain and Seth; were they spiritual "sons of God" too? Not very likely, at this period of history. Furthermore, why stress only the union of godly men with ungodly women? What about the "daughters of God"? Were they being married to "sons of men"? The naturalistic interpretation is so forced and awkward that it seems to do disservice to the doctrine of Divine inspiration to suppose that this is what the writer meant to say. He surely meant to convey to his readers the idea that, in those days of Noah, such an awful irruption of abnormality and wickedness burst forth on the Earth that it could only be explained by a demoniacally supernatural cause. The apparent dilemma of the theologically paradoxical and grotesque nature of the progeny of such unions is resolved when one realizes that these children, even though true human children of truly human fathers and mothers, were all possessed and controlled by evil spirits. That is, these fallen angelic "sons of God" accomplished their purposes by something equivalent to demon possession, indwelling, or taking on, the bodies of human men, and then also taking, or "possessing" the bodies of the women as well. The men whose bodies they possessed were evidently thereby made so attractive to the careless and rebellious women of the age that they could take over and use any of the women they chose. The seductive beauty of the women, probably enhanced by various artificial cosmetics and allurements developed by that time, was itself sufficient to induce men to constant obsession with sex, assuring a maximum rapidity of multiplication of the population. Thus, the "sons of God" controlled not only the men whose bodies they had acquired for their own exploitation, but also the women they took to themselves in this way, and then all the children they bore - veritable children of the damned. I Kings 22:19-23 and Psalm 82:1-8 sheds some light on the fate of these progeny in that unlike their demonic progenitors they die an earthly death. The "sons of God," et. al., were warned that if they proceed with the evil which God condemns, and withhold their powers on behalf of the needy and afflicted, they shall "die like Adam (men), and fall like one of the princes." Now if the children of Adam were the persons addressed, it would be superfluous to warn them as such, for their death would be a matter of course; hence it is quite evident, again, that these are "sons of Elohim," not of Adam.
The fearful phenomenon of demonic "taking" and "habitation" of human bodies has often been repeated since, though apparently never yet on the global scale which Satan attempted in the days of Noah. Many such cases of demon possession are noted in the New Testament, and missionaries still testify to its common occurrence in heathen lands today. The association of extreme violence with demon possession is well noted in Mark 5:13 and Acts 19:13-16. Even in modern "Christian lands" where the influence of the Gospel has until now kept it to a minimum, this form of Satanic activity is evidently rapidly increasing. Spiritism, witchcraft, and other forms of occult belief and practice - even Satanism itself - are captivating the minds and bodies of multitudes today, especially among young people. A closely related phenomenon is the tremendous recent upsurge of interest in the "host of heaven" - in terms of astrology, the so-called "chariots of the gods" and "gods from outer space," the various unidentified flying objects, and their strange occupants. Although scientists have pointed out many fallacious assumptions and interpretation involved in these there remains a stubborn residuum of scientifically inexplicable yet apparently well-verified phenomena attached to these highly unusual types of data, including the more recent "alien abduction" phenomenon. All of this should be a reminder to us that there does indeed exist "principalities and powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12) and that Satan is the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). Evil angels as well as God's unfallen Holy angels, apparently on certain occasions have the ability both to appear in material forms of various sorts (even as "ministers of righteousness" - II Corinthians 11:15) and also to inhabit and control the bodies of human beings. Furthermore Jesus warned that, in the last days, "fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven" (Luke 21:11). It may be that this particular feature of the days of Noah is beginning to be repeated in the modern proliferation of this great complex of unexplained and spiritually intimidating occult phenomena, the purpose of which appears to be to gain direct Satanic control over the minds and bodies of hosts of human beings before Christ returns.
The children of the unlawful connections before the Flood, as recorded by Moses in Genesis 6:4, who became the "mighty men which were of old, men of renown" no doubt gave rise to the countless legends of the loves of the Gods; and no doubt the subsequent repetition of the crime after the Flood reinforced these traditions. These explain the numerous passages in the Classics, as well as in the ancient literature of other languages, in which human families are traced to a half divine origin. Doubtless many of the mighty labors accomplished by the earlier descendants of Noah, such as the pyramids of Gaza, may be considered to have sprung from reminiscences of pristine grandeur, and fragments of lore, handed down by forebears who had lived a portion of their existence in the previous age. Thus reams of mythology have been generated which is taught in public schools to this very day. Now mythology enshrines the remembrance by man of the earliest actings and teachings of these fallen angels and their hybrid offspring of super human vitality. Such had come from the heaven and became gods and they were worshipped as such. They had imparted "life" to humans, they had performed spectacular miracles, and revealed great truths, never before imagined. They had returned to the stars according to Satan's delusion but not before they left a promise to come again! Such are the themes of so many stories and beliefs around the world that the masterful counterfeit of Christian truth is startling. The Biblical account of the doom of these grotesque creatures in hell as recorded in II Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 is closely paralleled in the Greek classics where Tartarus was a dark abode of woe, as far beneath Hades as Earth is below Heaven (Hom. I1. viii. 16), a description which fairly corresponds to Peter's "pits of darkness." Very significant, too, is the fact that it was thought to be the prison where Zeus hurled Cronos and the rebel Titans. The mythology of the past is a startling disclosure, albeit twisted, of the uncontrolled behavior of both spirit beings and rebellious man. The Almighty had to destroy the ancient world because it had become completely unsalvageable.
One of the most amazing facts revealed by paleontology (the study of fossilized remains of creatures which inhabited the Earth in bygone ages) is that nearly all modern animals have larger ancient counterparts. Among these have been found fossils of mammoths, large bears, giant insects, sea creatures, and huge reptiles like the dinosaurs. Along with these are occasionally found giant human footprints, suggesting that indeed, "there were giants in the earth in those days." Not only in the Bible, but in numerous other ancient books, are preserved traditions of giants. With such a uniform testimony from ancient tradition, and with paleontological evidence as well, it is a superficial sophistication which ignores the possibility that these data may contain primitive reflections of the real events and characters described historically in the Genesis record.
As to why children born of demon-controlled parents should grow into giants, a reasonable supposition can be made. The modern science of genetics has shown that there are two basic causes of variations in physical characteristics among men, namely mutations and recombinations. In the genetic system a tremendous number of factors for different characteristics exist. Some are dominant in a particular population and some are latent or recessive. These can be "recombined" in various ways to allow for an almost unlimited variation in physical features. Mutations can introduce new features formerly not present through a response to external influences whose energies effect random changes in the genetic system. It is now known that such features can be brought about by design in the case of controlled manipulation of the genes by breeders understanding enough about the genetic process to do so. Today geneticists appear to be on the verge of breakthroughs in "genetic engineering" which would permit them to accomplish such things on a practical basis, including cloning, and gigantism. Given the supernatural powers of angels (and demons) such a possibility in Noah's time is not only credible but all the more likely. With their power over the minds and bodies of antediluvian parents, through these secrets, the evil league of the "sons of God" could then by some genetic manipulation, cause their progeny to become a race of monsters.
Although our text in Genesis 6:1-4 also includes an assertion of a secondary outbreak of demonic hybridization after the Deluge, this episode was not of the magnitude and scale of the first but nevertheless equally as diabolical. As we read that there were giants "also after that," it is to be remembered that when we come to the days of the Canaanites in the Biblical account we find encounters with giants in the land when the Israelites arrived there. When they beheld these people in the new land they felt, as it seemed to themselves, like mere grasshoppers in comparison. This agrees with a passage in Numbers which mentions the sons of Anak who are said to have been known as, among other things, the Nephilim, or of the Nephilim (Numbers 13:32-33). Even though the English rendition of the word is "giants" the Hebrew form meant "the fallen ones," hence the fallen angels. The term later transferred to their offspring. The Greek rendering signifies "earth born" and was used of the Titans, or sons of heaven and earth - Coelis and Terra. Humanly speaking, the Nephilim in Canaan were descended from Anak, and so were also known as the Anakim. The Anakim as well as the Emim, Rephaim, and Zanzummim were all a race of giants existing in Canaan at the time of Israel's arrival, Among them were warriors of exceeding stature, including Ishbi-Benob (II Samuel 21:16), Og (Numbers 21:33; Deuteronomy 3:11); and the famous ten-foot-plus Goliath, a great champion of Gath who defied the Israelites and who was slain by David (I Samuel 17:21-29). Goliath was probably descended from the old Rephaim of whom a scattered remnant took refuge with the Philistines after their dispersion by the Ammonites (Deuteronomy 2:20, 21; II Samuel 21:22). Tradition has it that by David's time there were only five great warrior "kings" left in the land, represented by the five stones in David's satchel, one of which he used to slay Goliath, while the other four stones were marked for the other remaining giants slated to be destroyed (II Samuel 21:15-22). After the time of David the Philistines were no longer such a reckonable adversary to Israel. From then on the nation of Israel was beset with different problems. Interesting enough, that these beings were real and not an impossible phenomenon is confirmed by the discovery by archeologists in Palestine of human skeletons of similar stature and of roughly the same period. These people were, of course, known to Moses and it was probably he who editorially inserted the phrase "and also after that" into Noah's original record here in Genesis 6:4. Moses probably also inserted the information that these were the "mighty men of old, men of renown," men whose exploits of strength and violence had made them famous in song and fable in all nations in the ages following the Flood. To rebellious men of later times, they were revered as great heroes, hence the heroes of mythology who have their basis in historical fact; but in God's sight they were merely supra-ungodly men of violence and evil.
Before the foundation of the world God had ordained a particular people of the human race to bear the special oracles and testimony of Divine revelation. He also chose these people to be the bearers of the Chieftest of God's manifestation, Jesus Christ, who would come to redeem a people of His own from the bondage of Satan and his kingdom. It was in the land of Canaan, the crossroads of three continents, into which God had led his people out of Egypt to dwell and to establish a theocracy from which the entire world would be blessed. At the time of the arrival of the Israelites into this specially "promised" land after 40 years of wilderness wanderings they found it to be already inhabited. It was these indigenous inhabitants who proved to be great adversaries to the people of God. They, of course, included the Philistines, after whom the land was later called Palestine, hence the current rival faction of the Palestinians often heard about in the news media today in association with the continued conflict in Israel. The ancient Philistines should be of interest to the student of the Bible in terms of understanding why God was so "harsh" in dealing with them. Satan himself was behind the circumstances of the Canaanites and the certain jeopardy into which they placed the Israelites. Already well known was Satan's agenda to bring the entire human race to ruin. God's particular people were targeted above all other peoples because of their unique mission. All of this makes it all the more obvious why a "cleansing" of the land was necessary when Israel arrived. In spite of God's command to do so, the Israelites did not utterly and completely drive the Canaanites from the land (Judges 1:28; 3:5-7). The small residue of these people that was allowed to continue in the land was sufficient to inflict a considerable degree of tragedy upon the people of Israel. Nevertheless by the providential superintendence of God the messianic line was preserved. It is impossible to imagine what our world would be like today otherwise.
When the Israelites first arrived in the promised land they thus encountered the Nephilim, that progeny of the second recorded outbreak of demonic conceptions. In reality the population of the land was literally infested with these strange beings and their families, and as if by higher design they were "pre-planted" there, in place, waiting for the arrival of the Israelites in order that they might be a vexation to them. In consideration of the promised Seed who was to come out of the Israelites the ominous presence of the Nephilim makes all the more sense, and all the more strategic, as well, that the Israelites obey fully the command of God that the whole race of the Canaanites be totally extirpated. Some of the accounts of their destruction at the hands of the Israelite warriors are most graphic. One specific account illustrating the means whereby the Israelites were to carry out God's mandate is found in I Samuel 15:3: "Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." Such descriptions of wholesale slaughter from, of all things, the Holy Bible, often breach the sensitivities of the reader, if not his very sensibilities. Even some of our learned expositors literally stumble in the pulpit as they dare give even a brief treatment for this verse of abject carnage, and it is usually delivered in a timid and almost apologizing manner, lest there be in the congregation before him a tender footed believer who might stumble at the hearing of this "harsh posture and great atrocity" on behalf of our benevolent and loving God. Often nothing more is said than "well uh, we may not understand all of these things, but we can rest assured that God is still a just God in spite of this, and uh..." Hence the matter is usually left at that with no one really grasping the deep significance of the passage. Indeed it is true that God, of a certainty, is consistent in His righteous integrity, judgment, and loving kindness. Yet, when the hideous and treacherous nature of the Canaanites is truly comprehended then the purpose in the movement of God and His people against these enemies, and the wholesale destruction of the same, then all of this takes on a whole new meaning, significance, and justification. The utterly ungodly identity, nature, and purpose of these exceedingly depraved murderous inhabitants becomes chillingly authentic when their origins and heredity is realized.
Just as world conditions in the days before the Flood pre-staged that early catastrophe, so will world conditions in the last days of this age foreshadow a potentially greater catastrophe. In that age there was a tendency to regard God as merely the Creator and Benefactor rather than as the covenant God of mercy, dealing with transgressors who are appointed to destruction, and finding a ransom for them. Some of the more notable characteristics of that age which will also attend the times prior to the second coming of Christ include the following: preoccupation with physical appetites (Luke 17:27), rapid advances in technology (Genesis 4:22), grossly materialistic attitudes and interests (Luke 17:28), uniformitarian philosophies (Hebrews 11:7), inordinate devotion to pleasure and comfort (Genesis 4:21), no concern for God in either belief or conduct (II Peter 2:5), an undue prominence of the female sex, and a disregard for the primacy of the marriage relation (Matthew 24:38), rejection of the inspired Word of God (I Peter 3:20), population explosion (Genesis 6:1,11), widespread violence (Genesis 6:11,13), corruption throughout society (Genesis 6:12), preoccupation with illicit sexual activity (Genesis 4:19; 6:2), widespread words and thoughts of blasphemy (Jude 15), organized occultic and Satanic activity (Genesis 6:1-4), promulgation of systems and movements of abnormal depravity (Genesis 6:5,12), and a preponderance of extraterrestrial or trans-dimensional demonic intervention (Genesis 6:2; I Timothy 4:1).
In the case of the last effect in the previous list, it is apparent that this same basic activity of demon possession is occurring again, today, "as it was in the days of Noe," but in a somewhat varied form under the guise of "UFO's and aliens from another world" who are abducting humans and conducting genetic hybridization experiments on them against their will, in a godless deception perfectly tailored to our modern technological age. The interest and popularity of the UFO-alien enigma has become so great in the last few years that television, radio, and the printed media are rife with features about these occurrences. The whole affair is very real but, in reality, it is not what it is purported to be and is not what most people think it is. This modified variety of demonic intervention, and possession, is nothing more than a deceptive attempt by demonic advocates of a fallen angelic order to supplant the body, soul, and spirit of man as a dwelling place of God and to pervert and turn man against God, thus doing Satan's "dirty work" for him, in overturning God's created order on Earth. The solemn fact is that the essential doctrines of the old pagan philosophers are even now subtly and widely permeating the western world, in spite of its education and scientific progress, and are captivating multitudes who would boast of intellectual superiority to the "poor heathen." For even some who would call themselves Christian today the Scriptures say "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (I Timothy 4:1). Now that much of mankind is laced with drugs, the occult, and the "new age-new world order" deception, the human race is ripe for the greatest conspiracy and deception of all time, a great "public disclosure," perfectly fitted to our time, that "we have made contact" and are being visited by "aliens from outer space." Many who claim to have had encounters with UFO's have reported that these objects seem to be more alive and intelligent than just mechanical craft. Given that our atmosphere is literally swarming with advocates of "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2; 6:12) it should come as no surprise that there might be an occasional visible manifestation of such a presence. The fallen angels have shadowed humanity ever since Satan deceived our first parents in Eden. Meanwhile God's Holy angels, in even greater numbers, continue as ministering spirits on behalf of God's people (Hebrews 1:14), and signal the ultimate victory over evil.
Even though the so called "extraterrestrials" may appear as "benevolent brothers" the messages derived from and through them consistently conflict with Biblical Christianity. There is nothing in the UFO phenomenon that leads to belief in the one true God. The "visitors" appear to be in tune with what has been known as "New Age" religion, including eastern mysticism, astral projection, and harmonic convergence, and so on. None of these are in harmony with Jesus Christ. They are more interested in steering us away from the one who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," to fool mankind about Bible prophecy, and even to falsify His coming in the very era of Christ's return. All of this can be nothing else than preparation for, and necessary to, the events surrounding the rise of Anti-Christ.
According to a recent survey of several hundred people, who claimed to have been abducted by aliens, there were no true Bible believing Christians found among the interviewees. Thus, we find another "red-flag" indicator that this phenomenon is decidedly demonic. Dear reader, are you a born again Christian? One of Christ's great comforts to the believer is the Biblical declaration that "...greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." -I John 4:4 All of these conditions prevailed in the days of Noah and they are all now increasingly evident today. There is good reason, therefore, to believe that these present times are those which immediately precede the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The judgment in Noah's time presaged the personal advent of Christ in judgment at the end time.
Now if we receive the word of God "with all readiness of mind," and "search the scriptures daily" to see "whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11), not "adding unto the word," nor "taking away from it" (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18-19), "comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (I Corinthians 2:13), "knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation," (II Peter 1:20), and knowing we follow not "cunningly devised fables" (II Peter 1:16), and most of all, realizing that there is a blessing for them that readeth, heareth, and keepeth the word of God (John 20:31; Revelation 1:3), then we shall find, as Enoch's knowledge of God's appearing some five thousand years ago showed him, that the secrets of God are ever with them that fear Him.
Missler, Church, and Eastman, Mark, Alien Encounters, 1997, Koinonia House, PO Box D, Coeur d'Alene, ID. 83816.
Morris, Henry M., The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1976.
Pember, George Hawkins, Earth's Earliest Ages, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1876.
Rhodes, Ron, The Culting of America, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 1994.
Scheeben, Matthias Joseph, The Mysteries of Christianity, B. Herder Book Company, St. Louis Missouri, 1946.
Steeg, Richard A., Spacemen or Angels, The Agape Arts, Hayward, California, 1974.
Stedman, Ray C. Exposition of Genesis Chapter 6, "Signs of Collapse" (Bible study on the giants of old)
Additional Related Information:
One of the last great barely known wonders of the ancient world is a Stonehenge-like monument sitting atop Israel's Golan Heights. Called Gilgal Refaim (The Circle Of The Refaim) in Hebrew, the monument consists of five concentric stone rings whose diameter is 155 meters.
The best preserved of the rings is the outermost, whose height reaches 2 meters and thickness 3.3 meters. Some of the stones used to create the ring weigh twenty tons. The total weight of the stones is 37,000 tons.
In the middle of the rings is a cairn, topped by a tumulus, measuring twenty meters across.
Despite the obvious attraction to archaeologists, the rings remained hidden while the suspicious Syrian regimes held the Golan Heights and were only opened to inspection after Israel won the area in the Six Day War of 1967.
One feature of the rings has particularly fascinated the few people who have studied them. It is the meaning of two large openings, somewhat like doorways, one facing northeast, the other southeast.
In 1968 Professor Yonathan Mizrahi of the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University and Prof. Anthony Aveni of Colgate University discovered that in 3000 BCE, the first rays of the summer solstice would have appeared directly through the northeast opening as seen from the central tumulus. At the same time, the southeast opening provided a direct view of Sirius.
One function of the circles then, was an astronomical observatory and stellar calendar. Or was it?
Prof. Mizrahi is doubtful. "Why would they have undertaken such a massive building project, collecting 37,000 tons of stone and painstakingly laying them down to last forever, when the same task could have been completed using one rock and a stick?"
In fact, no one knows why the site was built -- thus speculation is rife. Micah Ankouri, for instance, writing in Teva Ve'aretz (Land and Nature) spends five pages trying to provide a connection between the circles and Far Eastern mandalas. He concludes that Gilgal Refaim was an "astronomical observatory providing social harmony through its communal construction and proof of the perfection of the universe."
The astronomical dating confirms lichenometric tests and carbon dating of potsherds found on the site. In fact, the professors erred on the side of conservatism. The sherds dated to the Early Bronze Age, 3rd millenium BCE, 5000 years ago. A three layered burial monument was added to the central cairn a thousand years later. Thus, the circles pre-date the pyramids and Babylonian temples, making them the oldest astronomical complex in the Middle East.
The mysteries continue. Gilgal Refaim is the only megalithic astronomical complex on earth built of loose stones. It resembles more ruins found on Malta and in Zimbabwe than European sites built at the same time and possibly for the same purpose.
But despite the similarity of purpose, supposedly the simple nomads of the region had no contact with Europe. Nor were the shepherd tribes prone to massive building projects. Gilgal Refaim was the only such undertaking in the Middle East at the time. There was no apparent cultural reason for this unique engineering project.
For those seeking a possible UFO connection: the circles were built on a flat plateau. No one could have seen the shape of the monument from ground level and there were no hills nearby to gaze upon it. Yet the monument could only have been appreciated from above. It was as likely a message to the stars as a stellar observatory.
In the general region of the rings are hundreds of dolmens, similar in appearance to those found in northern Britain and France. Moshe Hartal, Chief Archaeologist of the Golan explains, "We have identified 8,500 dolmens of twenty separate styles on the Golan Heights. Each tribe had its own dolmen style. The biggest dolmen stones weigh over 50 tons and are seven metres in height. Graves are found within some domens but not all. Their function was not purely funereal."
If the dolmens surrounding Gilgal Refaim were an integral part of the site, then it was an enormous project encompassing more area than at the Giza pyramids. Hartel is reluctant to draw such a conclusion, taking the more conservative view that the dolmens were built over time around the attraction of the circles.
One fact stands out. The local nomadic tribes of the time did not build any other remotely similar monument. Circle building was not a fashion of the era among the herdsmen and that, combined with their unsuitable, primitive technology, seems to rule out their construction of the circles.
If the local inhabitants didn't build the rings, then who did? Surpisingly, there is strong evidence that the biblical giants or Refaim were the architects and engineers who constructed the monument.
Consider the following biblical clues, written in modern terminology (The Book, Tyndale House Publishers):
-- In Genesis 14:5, we are told the Refaim inhabit the place called Ashtherot-Karnaim. Just ten miles from the rings is the site of an ancient Canaanite city called Ashtherot. It is named after the Canaanite goddess of war and, contradictorily, love. Ashterot was the Canaanite name for Sirius, from which the Hebrew name Esther was derived.
-- In Joshua 12:4, we learn that "King Og of Bashan, the last of the Refaim, who lived at Ashtarot... ruled a territory stretching From Mount Hermon in the north...
-- In 1 Chronicles 6:71, we are told that the half-tribe of Manasseh later inhabited "Golan," in Bashan.
-- The most explicit description of the size of the people of Bashan is found in Deuteronomy 3. King Og is attacked and defeated. "King Og of Bashan was the last of the great Refaim. His iron bedstead is kept at Rabbah... and measures thirteen and a half feet long and six feet wide." In the same chapter we are informed that "The Sidonians called Mount Hermon, 'Sirion.'"
-- In Deuteronomy, we are told that the Refaim "were a large and powerful tribe, as tall as the Anakim (giants)."
-- In Chronicles 20, the last of the Anakim is killed. "A giant with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, whose father was also a giant,... was killed by David's nephew Jonathan. These giants were descendants of the giants of Gath and were killed by David and his soldiers."
The respected Jerusalem biblical author, Rabbi Yisrael Herczeg, hardly an advocate of ancient alien theories, nonethless confirms the possibility that giant heavenly beings or their descendants could have constructed the circles.
"The Jewish oral tradition says Og, the King of Bashan, stowed away on Noah's ark and was the only survivor of the flood outside Noah's family. Og was descended from the Nefilim, deities who fell from the heavens."
"No, more like fallen angels. Og had children with Noah's daughters and they were hybrid giants called the Anakim or Refaim. They existed in ancient times and the Bible records their presence in the Golan Heights. They could have built Gilgal Refaim."
12/97 (news article)