Who Are The ‘Sons Of God’ In Genesis 6?


‘When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.’ The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.’ Genesis 6:1-4

In Genesis 6 we see that there is a rapid increase in sin. We don’t know what the actual population of the world would have been at this point in time.

If you read through Genesis 4-5, you’ll clearly see that the ‘sons of God,’ weren’t ‘fallen angels’ as some like to suggest. When the New Testament speaks of angels leaving their proper place, 2 Peter 2:4 / Jude 6, it refers to their fall with Satan, not to cohabitation with women.

We must remember that angels are without sexual orientation which implies that they aren’t male and female. Angels do not have physical bodies, which are needed for the procreation of human children, Matthew 22:30.

The daughters of men are the daughters of the children of Cain whose family is listed in Genesis 4:16-24. Seth’s family is then listed in Genesis 4:25-5:32. So, you have two families represented up to this point.

Cain’s line is recounted in Genesis 4, and this line displays a huge growth in wickedness, capped by Lamech, who was the first polygamist, Genesis 4:19, and who rejoiced in the murderous, vengeful use of the sword, Genesis 4:23-24.

The line of Seth, is traced in Genesis 5, and displays righteousness. This line includes Enoch, who ‘walked with God’, Genesis 4:24 and Noah, who was ‘a righteous and blameless’ man, Genesis 6:9.

There are ‘the sons of God’ represented in the family of Seth, and there are ‘the daughters of men’ who are the female offspring of the children of Cain and his family.

Sons Of God

It’s true that angels are called ‘sons of God’ in Job 1:6, but righteous people are also called, ‘sons of God’ in Hosea 1:10. Even in the New Testament, we find that Christians are called ‘sons of God’ through faith in Christ, Galatians 3:26.

The term ‘sons of God’ simply refers to those who were obedient to God, but those who joined themselves to (married) those who weren’t faithful to God, that is ‘the daughters of men’. Seth’s godly descendants married the descendants from Cain, and so marrying those who’d rejected God and leading to greater wickedness.

The ‘sons of God’ were those who loved God and the ‘daughters of men’ were those who didn’t love God. So we simply have people who served God and people who served themselves. We see two lines, one obeying God and the other wilfully disobeying Him.

Because of intermarriage, the people who belonged to the line of Seth came down to the level of those who didn’t love God. In other words, the godly became ungodly.

It’s clear that God was upset because the people left Him and despite having 120 years to repent, they didn’t and so, God announces His judgment and man is to be judged, Genesis 6:3 / Genesis 6:5-7.

The Nephilim

The Nephilim existed before and after ‘the sons of God’ married ‘the daughters of men’. They were a vicious and dominant people who dominated civilizations by populating the earth through the ‘daughters of men,’ and so they brought wickedness upon the earth.

Notice some translations use the words, ‘giants’ and ‘mighty men.’ In Numbers 13:33 we find a description of them, they were a group of big strong people.

Here in Genesis 6:4, this can be read one of two ways. They were either physically large, or they were giants among men in the sense of leaders. The Nephilim were powerful and influential men, but not necessarily good.

Notice they were ‘heroes of old and men of renown’, Genesis 6:4. The Hebrew word ‘gibbor’ is translated as ‘heroes’ in the NIV but this is misleading. Most other translations use the words, ‘mighty men.’

This is important because a ‘hero’ is good, but a ‘mighty man’ can be good or evil. These ‘mighty men’ were so evil, the result of their wicked culture led to the digression of mankind.

Mankind’s strength wouldn’t save them and so the people put their faith in the Nephilim, giants, mighty men, instead of God, Matthew 23:12.