The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men, Part 1

Genesis 6:2  

The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.

This scripture has confused many people over the years. The major questions that arise are who were the “sons of God” and why was God so disappointed by these marriages?

One of the most common erroneous explanations of this verse is that the term “sons of God” refers to angelic beings coming down to earth and being attracted to human women (“daughters of men”), resulting in marriage and reproduction between angels and human beings. Those who espouse this idea point to verse 4 and claim that the result of angelic-human procreation was “giants.”

Though the Bible uses the phrase “sons of God” in various ways, including references to both men and angels (Job 1:6), we can say with authority that the above theory regarding Genesis 6:2 is incorrect. This is a situation where we have to apply one of the most basic rules of Bible study—consider multiple scriptures on a subject to get a complete picture of the biblical teaching.

Jesus Christ, when asked a question about marriage after the resurrection of the dead, said that human beings who are resurrected to spirit life “neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels” (Luke 20:35-36; see also Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25).

We learn two important truths about angelic beings through Christ’s statement: They are immortal and they do not marry. The implication of the statement is that angels cannot marry or have children. The ability to procreate was given to the physical created realm, but not the angelic realm. God specifically designed human beings to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) and become “one flesh” at marriage (Genesis 2:24, “one flesh” being a reference to the sexual union).

When God created physical life in Genesis 1, He created a specific law that governed reproduction. Physical life can only reproduce “according to its kind” (Genesis 1:21, 24-25). Human beings were unique because they were created outside of the animal “kind.” Humans were created, “according to Our [God’s] likeness” (verse 26). Human beings can only reproduce with other human beings because they are distinctly made after the God “kind.”

Hebrews 2:5-9 makes it very clear that humanity is part of a unique plane of existence that is distinct from the angelic plane. Physical human beings are created “a little lower than the angels” (verse 7), with the potential to be elevated above the angelic plane (Hebrews 1:5-13). Angels were created as “ministering [serving] spirits sent forth to minister [serve] for those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14).

The mistaken theory of angel-human marriages is further disproven by applying another rule of Bible study—studying the context of a scripture to better understand its meaning. The context of Genesis 6 doesn’t show God becoming angry at angels for reproducing with human women.

Notice God’s response to these marriages: “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever” (verse 3, emphasis added). God was angry at man. The Hebrew word for “man” is adam and only refers to human beings—never angels (the Hebrew word for “angel” is mal’ak). Verse 4 refers to the children of these marriages as “men of renown” (not hybrid angelic-human beings). Verses 5-6 also show that God’s displeasure was with men—not angels.

The scriptures we have covered show that it is impossible that the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2 were angels or demons. Tomorrow’s Daily Bible Verse Blog post will explore some possibilities about who the “sons of God” were.

To learn more about the situation in Genesis 6, read “Sons of God in Genesis 6: Who Are They?

Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men: Part 2.”

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