Copyright 2005. All scripture is Authorized King James Version, 1769 edition. This article may be copied and used without permission of the author, provided it is copied and used in its entirety
This article addresses the issue of angelic interaction with man. More specifically, it addresses the doctrine some believe to be found in Genesis, chapter 6, verses 1 through 4.
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. 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)
That doctrine is expressed as follows:
That the “sons of God” mentioned in verses 2 and 4 were angels that came to earth and had relations with women, and their offspring were giants (in Hebrew nephilim).
There are some variations of this doctrine that state the angels were fallen. Others hold that the angels were not fallen angels. In short, there exists no real settled doctrine among those who believe that angels or demons (fallen angels) had relations with women.
This in itself would not be disturbing, as there exists no agreement among men on any particular Bible doctrine. What is disturbing about this doctrine is that there is no other place in Scripture, either verse or passage, that confirms this doctrine. This would seem to violate the instruction of II Peter, chapter one, which states:
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (II Peter 1:19-20)
The fact that no prophecy or teaching of Scripture is ever based upon a single verse or passage has been a bulwark to both prevent and reveal false doctrines. Thus, this doctrine must also be tried by the standard of the rest of Scripture.
So then, what does the whole of Scripture teach about this? In studying the Scripture we must be mindful that we are to pursue this without the convenience of an out by saying that this word, or that word was not translated properly by the translators of the Authorized King James Version. Additionally, if the Scripture defines a term, we must not allow the supposed definitions of Strong’s or Young’s concordance to overthrow the defined term in Scripture.1
As with anything, we must begin somewhere. Logically, since the whole issue centers on whether men and angels are compatible enough in the way they are made to have relations, we must begin with the creation of both men and angels. In addition, we must ask the question: Would God allow such a thing?
The creation of men and angels
To begin studying this issue we must examine the basics of men and angels. Who are they, and how did God create them?
The creation of man
Since it is the first thing we find in Scripture, it is reasonable to address the creation of man first.
In Genesis, chapter 2, we are told of the creation of man.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)
This definitely tells us that man is at least soul and body. However in I Thessalonians, the apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, goes further and explains that the whole man is soul, spirit, and body.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)
Returning again to Genesis, we find that man is instructed to fill the earth with offspring.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:27-28)
We find additional information when Eve is told expressly how it is that she will bear children and thus man will fill the earth. This event takes place after the fall of man from his originally created state.
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. (Genesis 3:16)
There is one additional piece of information that is required to understand the uniqueness of man’s state. It is part of our nature, and it is inherited. It is the nature to sin – which is why we choose to sin. We find this in the testimony of David in Psalm 51.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalm 51:5)
In sum, we find that man is bound in a certain unique state so that he is different from the rest of physical creation. Yet, man shares certain characteristics with the animals the LORD made. This is the case as the physical world is bound by certain limitations that cannot be exceeded. However, man also shares certain things with the angels. Who we are is defined by our soul. Our physical aspect (the body, or flesh) allows us to interact with the physical world so that we actually are part of the processes of this world. Our spiritual aspect (the spirit) allows us to interact with the spiritual world. This enables us to know the reality of the spiritual world, and allows us to communicate with the LORD God, angels, and demons.
Nevertheless, we must remember that it is significant that physical relations must occur for man to have offspring. In other words, man cannot interact with just anything physical and offspring come about. This may seem trite, but it is a very significant point that must be acknowledged.
Part of the point of highlighting the necessity of physical relations for the bearing of children has to do with a principle the LORD established at the beginning. The LORD God states very specifically in Genesis, chapter 1 that a species is only to bring forth after its kind.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:24-25)
With this particular principle of God clearly established, and knowing the creation of man, we must ask the question: Are angels of the same kind, or species, as man?
The creation of angels
What do we know about angels, and how they came about? We can suppose many things, and there are many ideas put forth concerning angels. However, only the Scripture gives us an accurate record. In the Scripture, we are informed that angels are spirit, and have no physical body. In the Psalms we are given a record of some of the things the LORD God has done. Among them is the creation of angels.
Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. (Psalm 104:1-5)
In Hebrews, the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, quotes Psalm 104, verse 4 with reference to the Lord’s testimony of angels in comparison to the Lord Jesus Christ.
And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. (Hebrews 1:7)
Thus we are told that angels are spiritual creatures. To further demonstrate this fact the Scripture tells us of the significant distinction that exists between men and angels by the fact that the Word, which is the Lord Jesus Christ, became flesh as opposed to remaining strictly spiritual.
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. (Hebrews 2:16)
And we are told that man and angels are different in order of authority.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (Psalm 8:3-5)
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)
Again, in the Scriptures we are told that men and angels are different by the Lord Jesus Himself when He replied to the Sadducees concerning the resurrection – which the Sadducees denied. In replying, the Lord demonstrates plainly that angels were not created to produce offspring at all.
The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.2 (Matthew 22:23-30) see also Mark 12:18-25, Luke 20:27-36
We also find that all angels were created directly. This is different from the creation of man as only Adam was created directly, and all others of the race of man come from Adam – including Eve.3
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (Ezekiel 28:14-15)
The above passage speaks of Lucifer, and specifically states that there was a time when he was created. Thus, as it was with Lucifer, so it was with all other angels. All angels were created at the same time.
The following passages also indicate that the creation of angels was performed all at one time. They also show that the angelic rebellion was a one time event occurred long before the physical world was created.
For if 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)
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation,4 he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (Jude 6)
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)
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)
Thus, we find that angels were not created with any ability to interact with man in a way that would produce offspring. In fact, angels were made so that they cannot interact with each other in this way.
By the Scripture we can now see that angels are a different kind, or species, from man. The Scripture is express that man is soul, spirit, and body (or flesh), and that angels are only soul and spirit. The Scripture is also express that angels hold higher authority than man, and that they were all created by direct creation as opposed to man, in which only Adam (the first man) was created by direct creation and all other men by pro-creation.
Therefore, by the very principle of God, creatures are only to produce after their kind. Hence, interactions between angels (or devils) and women (or men) that could produce offspring are strictly impossible. Moreover, it is clear by the statement of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, that angels were created genderless.
So then, what is meant by the phrase “sons of God” in Genesis, chapter 6?
A word about the sons of God
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. 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)
As was discussed above, this particular passage causes much trouble and speculation. However, by the scriptural evidence presented above, it should by evident that the term “sons of God” as it is used in Genesis 6, cannot mean angels. But, to shed further light on the use of the term “sons of God” it is helpful is show the scriptural use of the term.
Scripture usage of the term “sons of God”
Referring to angels
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. (Job 1:6)
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (Job 2:1)
Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:6-7)
Referring to men
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2:14-15)
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:1-2)
By the above passages of Scripture we can plainly see that the term “sons of God” does not always refer to angels, but more often refers to those of the race of man that have been born-again in Christ Jesus.
One final thought: we should note that when angels are allowed to appear to men, they always appear as a male, if their form is indicated in any way. The Scripture never speaks of, or indicates, that any type of female or child angel exists in any way. The reason for this ought to be plain – angels were not created like man, and were not created to bear offspring, but were all created directly by God.
Flesh and blood versus physical manifestation
There are many instances in Scripture where men saw an angel, or angels. Yet, the angels they saw were not flesh and blood. Much like seeing a rainbow, they saw the angel, or angels, but could do nothing more than speak with and observe them. Just as it is impossible to interact with a rainbow, it was equally impossible for those seeing the angel to interact with it, other than by speech.
However, there have been instances where certain angels were granted the ability to be (as far as we can tell) flesh and blood for a time. Such an instance occurred on the plains of Mamre when two angels came with the Lord to judge Sodom and Gomorrah. However, as the Scripture demonstrates, this was the exception, and not the rule. Rather the rule is that, although angels could (or can) be seen, it is much like seeing a rainbow, mirage, or other optical effect. The Lord Jesus Christ testifies to this after His resurrection. It is noteworthy that the Lord Jesus Christ had to inform His disciples that he was not a spirit, as they supposed, when after His resurrection He appeared to them in the closed room.
And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (Luke 24:36-39)
Thus, we have the word of the Lord that the primary physical manifestation of angels is not flesh and blood. Unless we have totally forgotten biology, we do know that it does require flesh and blood for a woman to become pregnant. The only exception to this rule is the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:26)
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. (Luke 2:8-15)
Now, for those who will argue that speech requires flesh and blood, which is utterly necessary for procreation, it would be well for them to remember simple physical science. A thundercloud has no flesh and blood, yet the stroke of lightening it produces, also produces a very loud noise. All that is required to produce speech is the expending of energy in a particular manner, which would be organized sound patterns. This is a far cry from flesh and blood. After all, an electronic circuit can produce understandable speech through a metal and paper speaker, which is obviously not flesh and blood.
What about angels and demons becoming flesh and blood?
While there are numerous instances of angels taking physical form in the Scriptures, there are very few instances where they took physical form as flesh and blood so that they could actually be touched. We also find that it was only for a specific purpose and for a very limited time. We are also told of the conditions in which they took physical form as flesh and blood and their purpose in so doing.
In addition, we are given revelation of how Satan and the fallen angels are allowed to work.
In the books of Job and I Kings we are told of how the Lord uses Satan and the demons for His purposes on the earth. However, we should note the limitations placed upon the evil angels by the Lord.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:12)
And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. (Job 2:6)
And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. (I Kings 22:19-23)
This applies to the angels that kept their first estate as well. The Lord only permits them to take physical form for the accomplishment of express purposes.
And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. (Daniel 9:20-22)
Therefore, it should be reasonable to conclude by the Scripture that no angel, or devil, is allowed to do anything except by express permission of God. In short, the LORD God retains complete sovereignty and control over angels and devils.
This now returns us to the question: Would God allow angels to interact with women to produce offspring? The answer should be clear at this point, if we remember the principle of producing only after their kind and that the Lord retains complete sovereignty over all spiritual creatures. In short, the LORD God would not allow this type of interaction between angels and man as the LORD would be violating His very own principle. After all, the LORD God would have to give direct permission for such a thing to occur. That He will not do.
“sons of God” and “daughters of men”
So then, what does Genesis, chapter 6 mean in telling us that born-again men took the “daughters of men” to wife?
There is a lesson for born-again believers generally, and the New Testament Church specifically, in relating of the involvement of the sons of God with the daughters of men. The following passages of Scripture provide a more that adequate explanation of the problem of being unequally yoked.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (II Corinthians 6:14-18)
But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. (I Kings 11:1-4)
But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (I Corinthians 7:32-34)
If it is understood that the term “sons of God” refers to born-again believers, the above passages of Scripture give an answer to a question that should arise pertaining to the LORD’s judgment on the pre-flood world:
How is it that the number of born-again believers finally came down to Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives only – which constitute Noah’s immediate family?
We ought to understand that when children are born into a mixed household (the parents hold diverging beliefs on issues) the children frequently choose not to believe anything they are told. In short, they see the conflict between the parents, and choose not to believe anything in particular. If they do decide to believe something, it is frequently wrong. Moreover, when the father is a believer, and the mother is not, it is apparent to the children just who the one that compromised in the family is.
In the particular instance of Genesis, chapter 6, it is obvious that those “sons of God” placed a higher value on physical appearance, than on godliness. When they saw that the daughters of men “were fair” they were looking strictly upon the outward appearance, without regard to what the woman believed. It is a safe bet to say that those households were not spiritually-minded. Ultimately, the focusing on the flesh killed the propagation and maintenance of the Gospel.
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 6:4)
The issue of the giants should actually never become an issue in the first place, let alone a basis for developing false doctrine. The reason for this blunt statement lies in the fact that most “Christians” do not know basic English grammar and usage rules.
The verse begins thus: There were giants in the earth in those days;
Please note that the beginning phrase of the verse ends with a semi-colon. This is significant in that a semi-colon joins two independent clauses. In this case the transitional word “and” is used to indicate an entirely separate event, or point after the semi-colon, than the point made before the semi-colon. In other words, we could rewrite the verse this way:
There were giants in the earth in those days. 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 6:4)
Now, no reasonable English-speaking person would even attempt to tie the two sentences together. Moreover, it is plain to see that tying the two sentences together would be presumptuous since it cannot be supported in English grammar at all.
We must also remember that “mighty men” and “men of renown” do not necessarily mean that these same men are also giants. David was not a giant, but he was a mighty man, and he became a man of renown. In addition, we should remember that one of the first effects of sin would be on man’s genetic code. Gigantism, along with dwarfism, are aberrations of the genetic code.
To say that gigantism is a result of the union of angels and women raises several questions. I am compelled to ask the following:
1. Where do dwarves come from?
2. Since all the giants of that time died in the Flood, how did Goliath, his father, and his brother come about?
3. What are we to make of Andre the Giant, who died several years ago: Was his father an angel?
As with any passage of Scripture, care must be taken to not fall into the many traps the Devil has set for the believer. In this case, erroneous doctrine can be easily avoided by applying simple grammar rules. Additionally, the Scripture does not have any other reference that supports the erroneous interpretation. Finally, the very nature of God would be compromised as He would have to break a principle that He set forth for the purposes of governing the entire physical universe.
Therefore, I find several scriptural reasons that the passage from Genesis, chapter 6 cannot refer to angels having relations with women and producing offspring. However, I do find scriptural admonition about the practice of being unequally yoked with unbelievers and its attendant dangers.