Who Were the Sons of God?
by Alexander Zephyr

Part one of the series:
Post-Flood Rehabilitation
by Alexander Zephyr
1. Who Were the Sons of God?
2. The Wife of Noah and Canaan
3. The Offspring of Noah: Japheth.
4. The Offspring of Noah: Ham.
5. The Offspring of Noah: Shem.
7. The Blessings of God to Shem and Japhet.


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Who Were the Sons of God?
by Alexander Zephyr

 To better understand alliances of the nations, their races and the lands of their dwellings, let us explain how the resettling of the Earth had developed.
Descendants of Adam and Eve had begun to multiply on the face of the earth, as God commanded. People of those generations had decided to reject God and His Laws and live on their own sinful inclinations and pleasures. All flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth.
          'And God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually' (Genesis 6:5).
It would seem, the downfall of mankind had begun at the time when 'The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose' (Genesis 6:2).
This verse of the Bible is one of the most puzzling in the Scripture. Scholars have been arguing for a long time on the definition as to who these 'sons of God' and 'daughters of men' were.
Basically, there are two answers.
The first one goes like this. Since we have learnt that before the 'sons of God' started their business of taking 'daughters of men' to be their wives, there had lived two groups of people on the Earth: The Descendants of Cain and the Descendants Seth. They both came from the seed of Adam and Eve. Cain is the one who killed his brother Abel and for that reason was cursed by God. He settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden, got himself a wife and begat sons and daughters.
Meanwhile, 'Adam knew his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. A son was also born to Seth, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to worship the LORD' (Genesis 4:25-26).
So, the theologians have decided that from these two groups of people the descendants of Cain were called the 'sons and daughters of men'; and those who came from the seed of Seth they called 'sons of God'.
This is the one view of the discussed verse.
The second explanation  goes in the opposite direction.
While both sides agree that the 'daughters of men' represent humans, regardless of whether they are the seed of either Cain or Seth, the identification of the 'sons of God' has caused much controversy. Those who disagree that the term 'sons of God' refers to humans have come up with the idea that 'sons of God' are fallen Angels, who rebelled against Almighty: As  punishment, they were thrown out of Heaven and sent to earth after being stripped off those spiritual divine attributes they had possessed. They were given the ability to be like mortal humans, to be visible, to eat, drink and to produce offspring. Their children were called Nephilim. They were mighty giants who were of old, 'men of renown' (Genesis 6:4).
The proponents of this idea say that if the 'sons of God' had been ordinary people, their children would have been normal humans, not 'mighty giants' called Nephilim.
The concept of  fallen Angels may be hinted at in Scripture. It was believed in  by Josephus Flavius, Philon of Alexandria, and even recorded in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, the Books of Enoch and Jubilees.
This is what these Books said on the subject:
'And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: 'Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children' (Enoch 6:1).
'And it came to pass when the children of men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born unto them, that the angels of God saw them on a certain year of this jubilee, that they were beautiful to look upon; and they took themselves wives of all whom they chose, and they bare unto them sons and they were giants. And lawlessness increased on the earth and all flesh corrupted its way' (Jubilees 5:1).

The Essens of Qumran in the Dead Sea Scrolls have supplied us with an ancient text, the Genesis Apocryphon, which contains the story of Angels interbreeding with the daughters of men.
The defenders of the theory that 'sons of God' were only humans argue that when God decided to destroy the human race in the Flood, He did not blame the Angels or any other spiritual beings for the downfall of  man but strictly put guilt of it on the very men He had created:

# So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them # (Genesis 1:27).

'The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. And the LORD said, "I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth' (Genesis 6:5-7).

Also, they point out, that those who believe in the theory of 'sons of God' as  being literally fallen Angels, were condemned in the second Century A.C. by Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai and find no support in Rabbinical Judaism. Well known Rabbinical Sages of the Middle Ages such as Rabbi Yitzchaki (Rashi) and Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (Nachmanides) agreed with this position. In their view 'sons of God' represent pre-Flood noble people: military leaders, kings, or magistrates.

Which group of scholars is right and which is wrong, is not the subject of our discussion here. The flow of our story has to continue.
God regretted that He had made man, and it grieved Him at His heart. Then He decided to annihilate men and all He had created by a Flood.

'I will destroy man and every living substance that I have made' (Genesis7:4)
God spared only Noah for his righteousness and his family of seven people for his sake.


See Also:
List of Articles by Alexander Zephyr.

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