Who were the Sons of Elohim in Genesis 6:2? There are two main theories about the identity of these "sons of Elohim," explained in the Complete Word Study of the Old Testament.
"The first theory is that the 'sons of G-d' are fallen angels and the 'daughters of men' are mortals. The wickedness for which they are condemned in the unlawful marriage between those who are supernatural and those who are mortal. This ancient viewpoint hinges in part on the assumption that Jude 1:6, 7 refers to angels. The proponents of this view insist, perhaps with some scriptural backing, that the term 'sons of G-d' refers only to angels (Job 1:6-12). However, there is no precedent at this point from which this conclusion can be made. And if this sin is, at least to a large extent, the fault of the angels, why is man punished by the flood? When the proponents of this theory are reminded of the fact that [Messiah], in Matthew 22:30, says that angels do not marry, they answer that He only said that they do not, not that they could not or did not. Besides the mythological quality which this viewpoint brings to the text, there is considerable theological difficulty with the existence of human beings who are, at least in part, not descended from Adam (Acts 17:26).
"The second theory as to their identity is the one most often held to within conservative scholarship. The 'Sons of G-d' are reckoned to be the [righteous] line of Seth while the 'daughters of men' are of the line of Cain. Thus the sin with which they are charged is one which is common to the whole of scripture, and especially to the Pentateuch: the intermarriage of the chosen people of [Yahweh] (the believers) with those who are unholy."
Inspiration or Mythology
The idea that the Sons of Elohim were angels comes largely from the book of Enoch, which is rejected by Jewish and Christian scholars alike. This book was written shortly after 200 B.C.E. The pseudonymous author doubtlessly received this notion from Greek mythology.
The Greeks believed in what was known as demigod. The Greek mythological warrior Heracles was produced by his Father Zeus, the g-d of the sky, and his mother Alcmene, a mortal woman. This relationship between g-d and mortal produced what is known as demigod, meaning half human and half g-d.
The book of Enoch describes a similar story that seems to be taken right from Greek mythology. The author of this book writes about a time when two hundred divine or angelic beings visited the daughters of men, thus creating giants or demigods.
The theory that angels mated with mortal woman later crept into the Septuagint version. Of the three oldest manuscripts of the Septuagint, only the Codex Alexandrinus of the fifth century offers the word "angels" in Genesis 6:2 instead of "sons of Elohim." Not one of the Hebrew manuscripts, however, has the word "angels" (malachim - not written in the Torah there) in Genesis 6:2. Instead, all Hebrew manuscripts read "sons of Elohim."
Josephus, the Hebrew historian, makes a brief statement in his Antiquities of the Jews regarding the notion that angels procreated with the daughters of men. It is known that Josephus had early associations with the Essenes, which was a zealous Jewish religious sect that had some mystic teachings. This association may have led Josephus to adopt some of its doctrines and beliefs, obviously including the belief that angels created giants through mortal women. (hence the Rabbis hold his writings in suspicion)
It is easy to see how this corrupted, dogmatic doctrine became infused with the influence of Greek and Romans mythology. During the time of Enoch and such groups like the Essenes, one must remember the major influence at that time were the Greeks and later the Romans, which incorporated Greek beliefs into its belief system. The idea that angelic beings had relationships with mortal women not only is untrue, but a perversion of Yahweh's creation.
The Inspired Truth
Besides Greek mythology and the book of Enoch, the only other source used by those who advocate this belief is found in Genesis chapter 6.
"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 Elohim saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And Yahweh 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 Elohim 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. And Elohim saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:1-5).
From verse one we find the topic of this passage, "and it came to pass, when men…" It does not say 'when angels," nor does it ever indicate angels in verse one. The beginning of this chapter sets the tone for the entire passage. Verse three again verifies to whom Yahweh is angry by the statement, "…My spirit shall not always strive with man." Verse five once more verifies that Yahweh is not angry with angels, but angry with mortal man with the statement, "And Elohim saw that the wickedness of man was great…" (that's the plain meaning of the hebrew - any other interpretation is gentile fancy and corruption of the Jewish Torah scriptures by non-hebrew speakers)
Not one reference is attributed to angels in Genesis chapter six. Most proponents of this erroneous belief will often use the term "giants" found in Genesis 6:4 to substantiate the idea of demigods. Those who believe that angels had relationships with mortal women generally also believe that through these unlawful relationships giants were produced.
Nephilim – Giants
The word "giants" in Genesis 6:4 is from the Hebrew word "nephilim" meaning, "a bully or tyrant." This word does not necessarily mean oversized as in the English word "giant," but can simply mean one who is a dictator or despot. (naphal in hebrew does not necessarity mean a 'physical falling' but means a 'moral falling away'.
In addition to the meaning of the word "giants" as found through the Hebrew word "nephilim" we can also find one other oversight in verse four of Genesis chapter six. "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of Elohim 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."
Notice that verse four says that there were giants (nephilim) in those days, and that after the sons of Elohim procreated children with the daughters of men that there were other nephilim. The creation of nephilim, i.e. a bully or tyrant, came before the relationships between the sons of Elohim and the daughters of men. The nephilim existed prior to these unlawful relationships, thus exposing one more blunder to the theory that the sons of Elohim originally created the nephilim. Furthermore, we can see that the nephilim produced by the sons of Elohim later become "men of renown." It does not say that the nephilim became supernatural giants, but men of popular status. Obviously, a type of totalitarian rule achieved this status.
Purpose for Flood
When Yahweh saw the result of those illegal and sinful relationships between the sons of Elohim and the daughters of men he was regretful that he made mankind. By reason of this distress Yahweh promised that both man and beast would die, except for Noah and his family. "And Yahweh said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repents me that I have made them" (Genesis 6:7).
Advocates for the theory that angels produced demigods with the daughter of men teach that the flood was for the purpose of killing off the offspring of that most-wicked relationship. While Yahweh did destroy the earth due to the wickedness of man, there is no indication that he did so due to divine relationships with mortal women.
If Yahweh did destroy all mankind because of unlawful relationships between divine and human he allowed it later in Numbers 13:33, almost eight hundred years after the flood. "And there we saw the giants [Heb. nephilim], the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight."
This passage does support that the sons of Anak were certainly larger than the Hebrew men sent out to spy the land of Canaan, but how much larger these men were it does not indicate. Clearly, these sons of Anak were a test for the Israelites. Yahweh in all likelihood placed the sons of Anak where they were to test the Israelites faith and obedience.
The fact remains, if Yahweh's purpose for the flood was to remove forever the nephilim He made a mistake, because it is clear that the nephilim were never completely removed. Those who support the idea that nephilim came from angels will argue that Yahweh did not make a mistake, but later restricted the nephilim to the land of Canaan.
Why would Yahweh restrict such a wicked people to a land that would later be called the promised land? No such evidence of this notion can be found anywhere in Yahweh's inspired word. Nowhere did Yahweh say that he was going to restrict the sons of Anak to a certain land. Evidence for this belief simply cannot be found.
Angels Cannot Procreate
One more impossibility that people overlook who advocate that angels procreated with the daughters of men is the fact that Yahweh never designed angels to reproduce other life. Yahshua in Matthew 22:30 plainly said that angels neither marry or are given in marriage, "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of Elohim in heaven."
Yahshua very plainly and without debate stated that angels are not given in marriage, thus indicating that Yahweh never gave them the ability to procreate within their own realm, much less with humankind. When Yahweh placed the man, Adam, within the Garden of Eden and then made the woman from Adam's own rib he stated that they were to multiply this on earth with other human life.
Yahweh left no question on whether or not mankind could procreate. Not only did Yahweh say that mankind had the ability to create other life, but He commanded that mankind do such. Again, we cannot find one shred of evidence within Yahweh's inspired word to neither indicate that angels had nor have the ability to procreate other life.
Yahweh's very name expresses creation and existence, and no other angelic being was ever called by this family name, Yah, except for His Son, Yahshua the Messiah, Who created all things under Yahweh's direction (Hebrews 11:3). To say that angels can procreate with humankind is to say that they have all the necessary components of procreation that man possess. This possibly cannot be true knowing that they are spirit and humans are flesh.
" Angels are essentially "ministering spirits," (Hebrews 1:14) and do not have physical bodies like humans. Jesus declared that "a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (Luke 24:37-39).
The Bible does, however, make it clear that angels can only be in one place at a time. They must have some localized presence.
Angels can take on the appearance of men when the occasion demands. How else could some "entertain angels unaware" (Hebrews 13:2)? On the other hand, their appearance is sometimes in dazzling white and blazing glory (Matthew 28:2-4). "
One argument by some is that the fallen angels possessed or took over the bodies of men, and, with earthly women, then produced giants or demigods. While it is clear that this notion contradicts Yahshua's words in Matthew chapter twenty-two there is one other obvious contradiction with this concept.
One law of genetics requires human genes and chromosomes to produce another human. Genes and chromosomes for human beings are only native to human beings, in other words, it is an impossibility for angels to pass on any other types of genes or chromosomes other than human even in the event that an angelic being possessed a human body.
Sons of Elohim
Verse two is the key verse used by those who advocate the doctrine of angels mating with the daughters of men. Verse two says "Sons of Elohim, very different from "angels of Elohim." Most often the term "Sons of Elohim" is contributed to those people whom Yahweh has called.
The term "Sons of Elohim" only occurs four times throughout the Old Testament. Besides the account found in Genesis 6:2 this phrase can also be found in Job 1:6, 2:1, and Job 38:7. In addition, the singular form of Son, Heb. Bar, is found in Daniel 3:23, where Nebuchadnezzar sees four men in a flaming furnace, and one being like 'a' Son of Elohim. The one that was described as being like a son of Elohim was certainly an angelic being protecting the three young Hebrew men.
Similar to Daniel 3:23, we have another account in Job 38:7 with the phrase "sons of Elohim" referring to angelic beings. "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of Elohim shouted for joy." This verse is referring to the creation of the heavens and the earth before mankind existed; thus the sons of Elohim here could only be those angelic beings that assisted in the creation process. What about the other two passages found in Job. These last two passages are almost identical so we will examine only Job 1:6. "Now there was a day when the sons of Elohim came to present themselves before Yahweh, and Satan came also among them."
Are the "sons of Elohim" mentioned in Job 1:6 angelic or human? The answer to this is contested and uncertain, however, it does seem plausible that the ones coming before Yahweh certainly could be referring to mankind.
Yahweh has established appointed times when we are to appear before His great throne. The three main passages that speak of these days are Exodus 23, Leviticus 23, and Deuteronomy 16. In every listed passage above can we find an order from Almighty Yahweh regarding the observance of His appointed days. Naturally then we could determine that the "sons of Elohim" mentioned in Job 1:6 could have been Yahweh's chosen people coming before His throne on His appointed time.
The dilemma faced when interpreting that the "son of Elohim" were angels in Job 1:6 is that then we must assume that the angels are not always in the presence of Yahweh. If this interpretation is true then the Messiah was wrong with his statement in Matthew 18:10, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." So if the angels all unceasingly before Almighty Yahweh, then to "present themselves" before Him would serve little purpose.
In addition to what we find in the Old Testament we can also find many examples of the "sons of Elohim" in the New Testament. For example, in Luke 3:38 the first man, Adam, is called the "son of Elohim." "Which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of Elohim."
John the evangelist in John 1:12 also testified that those who received Yahshua as the Messiah would later become the "sons of Elohim." "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of Elohim, even to them that believe on his name."
Paul also used this curious term in Romans 8:14, 16, 19, 21, Romans 9:18, Galatians 3:26, and Philippians 2:15 in reference to those people whom Yahweh had called and will call.
Moreover, we can find at least seven other passages by our Savior and his Apostles using the phrase "son or sons of Elohim" when referring to mankind. In almost every instance can we find the phrase "sons of Elohim" referring to mankind.
We can find this term no fewer than fifteen times throughout the Old and New Testament, and only in three of those passages could it possibly be speaking of angels.
Daughters of Men
The only piece of the puzzle not yet discussed is the daughters of men. Who were the daughters of men, and why were they forbidden to the sons of Elohim? The sons of Elohim as proven cannot be angels, thus they must be human men whom Yahweh has chosen as his own possession.
An example of this is Jacob, which was later named Israel meaning, "who strives with Elohim." When Yahweh corrected Jacob or his sons Yahweh called them by the name Jacob. However, when Yahweh looked upon Jacob or his sons with favor Yahweh called them by the name Israel. The term Elohim or El when used by Yahweh in reference to mankind shows His favor.
Notice that Yahweh used the word "men" when referring to the daughters that had relationships with the sons of Elohim. This indicates that these women were not followers of Almighty Yahweh, but instead were followers of men. They were not faithful to Yahweh, but instead apparently faithful to the customs of men (Jeremiah 10:2).
Marry in Yahshua
Yahweh in numerous passages warned his people not to make relationships with those people from heathen nations. "When Yahweh thy Elohim shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when Yahweh thy Elohim shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other elohim: so will the anger of Yahweh be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. For thou art an holy people unto Yahweh thy Elohim: Yahweh thy Elohim hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth" (Deuteronomy 7:1-6).
Deuteronomy chapter seven should make it obvious why Yahweh was displeased with the sons of Elohim for marrying the daughters of men. The sons of Elohim in Genesis chapter six can only represent the line of Seth, Yahweh's chosen possession; while the daughters of men represent the line of Cain, the cursed line of Adam.
The Apostle Paul repeated that Yahweh's people should only marry within the faith in 1 Corinthians 7:39. "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in Yahshua." The Apostle Paul once again verifies that Yahweh's people are not to be unbalanced with unbelievers in 2 Corinthians 6:14. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?"
The notion that angels created superhuman giants plainly cannot be proven within the pages of Yahweh's inspired word. However, we can see a consistent warning by Yahweh, His prophets, and his Apostles not to marry and become "unequally yoked" with unbelievers. Generally, bad company perverts good company, thus creating disunity between Yahweh and his chosen people.
In Like Manner
As pointed out at the beginning of this article, proponents who support the notion that angels procreated with mortal women will often use Jude 1:6-7 to substantiate their argument.
"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
This passage does not necessarily prove that angels had relationships with mortal women. If a close examination is taken with this passage the first sin that is mentioned is not that angels had relationships with mortal women, but that they left their first estate. This is referring to Satan and those angels that rebelled against Yahweh's authority before mankind existed.
"And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born" (Revelation 12:3-4).
The fact is that there is no mention of angels procreating with mortal women in Yahweh's inspired word. The only specific sin mentioned in the Bible is the rebellion of Satan and his angels against Yahweh's authority (Isaiah 14:12-16).
Also notice the phrase in verse seven is "in like manner." It never says that the angels committed precisely the same sin as Sodom and Gomorrah, but committed a sin in comparable or similar manner. What sin could be comparable with the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?
The word "fornication" in verse seven is derived from the Greek word No. 1606, which is a root of No. 4203, porneuo, meaning "harlotry (including adultery and incest); fig. idolatry." This word "fornication" in the broad sense can also mean idolatry, which is precisely the sin committed by Satan and his followers. In other words, when Satan decided that he should be above Yahweh in authority and stature he committed idolatry.
In this manner Satan's sin was similar to that of Sodom and Gomorrah. As Sodom and Gomorrah forsook Yahweh for their pagan g-ds and their heathen practices, Satan in like manner forsook Yahweh to pursue his own will and his own desires.
Those that support the notion that angels had relationships with mortal women also believe that fallen angels are in Tartarus today awaiting final judgment. This belief is derived from 2 Peter 2:4. "For if Elohim spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment"
The problem with this passage is that it seemingly is speaking of past events, but with careful study of the Greek we can see that this particular passage has no tense. Therefore this passage could be easily read "For if Elohim spares not the angels that sin, but will cast them down to Tartarus, and deliver them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment."
The words "spared," "sinned," "cast," and "delivered" found in 2 Peter 2:4 are all in the Greek aorist, which is defined by the Online Bible Greek Lexicon, "The aorist tense is characterized by its emphasis on punctiliar action; that is, the concept of the verb is considered without regard for past, present, or future time. There is no direct or clear English equivalent for this tense, though it is generally rendered as a simple past tense in most translations."
This Greek term essentially has no tense, therefore leaving it open to interpretation. Most translators interpret this passage in the past tense, but there is nothing in the Greek indicating that this a past tense event. If this event has already occurred why then do we read about dark angels in the New Testament? If these were fallen angels or demons that had unlawful relationships, why then can we find evidence of their freedom after the flood?
It seems that a proper and consistent interpretation would be that this event in 2 Peter 2:4 has not yet taken place, but will occur when Satan is locked at the bottom of the abyss for the thousand-year period after the Great Tribulation. Any other interpretation does not fit with Yahweh's word. Besides the common interpretation of 2 Peter 2:4, there is no other evidence that angels have been already imprisoned, but there is much evidence to say that they will be in the future (Revelation 20).
There are various reasons why the "sons of Elohim" could not possibly be angels. Below are ten undeniable facts proving this truth.
- Angels are spirit beings that are without physical bodies.
- Yahshua stated that angels could not marry (Matthew 22:30), thus indicating that they do not have the ability to procreate other life.
- Other than Yahshua the Messiah, no angel is given the name "Yah," the prime root of creation.
- Even if an angel took over a man's mind, one law of genetics necessitates that only human chromosome and genes produce another human life.
- In Genesis 6:3 Yahweh said that his spirit "shall not always strive with man, " not angels.
- In Verses 3, 5, 6 Yahweh said that man sinned, not angels.
- In Verse 7 Yahweh said that he was going to destroy man, not angels.
- Nowhere are the fallen angels called the sons of Elohim.
- Yahweh offers a consistent, stern warning to his people not to marry outside the faith.
- Jude 1:6-7 does not mean that the angels committed the literal sin that Sodom and Gomorrah committed, but simply that in like manner they rejected Yahweh's authority.
This type of behavior is prophesied to occur before the coming of Yahshua the Messiah. Yahweh's word prophesies of a great falling away. Before Yahshua's Second Coming there will be a time when even the elect, Yahweh's chosen possession, will be drawn away from Yahweh's word. This will be a time when deception and guile will run rampant throughout this earth.
Yahshua in His Olivet Prophecy said that the last days would be comparable to the days of Noah. He said that they would be eating, drinking, and marring just as in the days of Noah. However, just as the generation of Noah was cut short because of their wickedness, our generation awaits the same fate. We each as individuals and as a collective body should strive to live a life worthy of Yahweh's calling and study so we will be able to discern truth from error.
As John the Evangelist said in John 1:12, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of Elohim, even to them that believe on his name." Let's all strive to overcome so that we may become the children of Yahweh.
This post has been edited by voice: 12 May 2008 - 08:31 PM