Angels (Part Five)

This writing will consider some difficult passages.  Let’s consider –

Sons of God and Daughters of Men

Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the Sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose… There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them.  Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:1-2, 4).

Genesis 6 not only announces God’s coming flood on the earth (Genesis 6:6-7; 6:13-22), it also explains why God did this.  (1) The “wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Genesis 6:5).  (2) Man’s thoughts were “only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).  (3) The earth “was corrupt before God… all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Genesis 6:11-12).  God spared only eight souls (Genesis 7:13; 1 Peter 3:21).  (4) The earth “was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11, 13).  This judgment no doubt was for the good of future humanity.  “God is acting as a careful, loving doctor, cutting out the diseased cells that could kill all of humanity (Sarah Fallis, The Drama of Redemption, pp. 52, 226).

Another contributing factor which led to God’s judgment was that the sons of God married the daughters of men (Genesis 6:1-2, 4).  What does this mean?  There are two common views: (1) Some believe that “the sons of God” refer to angels (cf. Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Daniel 3:25).  It is thought that some angels came down to earth, took upon flesh, married and had sexual relations with women.  This created a breed of giants, who dominated the earth.  A common objection to this view is that angels are sexless beings (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34).  It is replied that angels were able to eat, when they appeared in the flesh (Genesis 18:1-8; 19:1-3).  Another objection is that evil angels are not elsewhere referred to as the sons of God.  “The reference to angels as ‘sons of God’ in Job 1:6 is contrasted with Satan; good spirit beings are thus contrasted with evil spirit beings (Trevor Major, The Meaning of “Sons of God,” p. 11).  Another objection is that angels are not elsewhere in Genesis or the Pentateuch referred to as “sons of God.”  (2) Some believe that “sons of God” refers to the followers of God (e.g. Deuteronomy 32:5; Isaiah 43:6; 45:11; Jeremiah 3:4; Hosea 1:10; 11:1; John 8:42; 1 John 3:11, etc.), and “the daughters of men” refers to the unrighteous, those who follow no authority greater than man.  The context is appealed to for support.  Cain and his descendants are mentioned (Genesis 4:1-24).  Nothing positive is said of their relationship with God.  Seth and his descendants are mentioned (Genesis 4:25-5:32).  There are positive things said concerning the relationship of some, in this list, with God.  Seth’s genealogy is associated with men who “call on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26).  Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:22, 24).  Lamech spoke of the LORD (Genesis 5:29).  “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generation. Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:8).  Trevor Major writes, “Thus, after the generations of Cain and Seth have been outlined in chapters four and five, and 6:2 then speaks of two groups of people, is it not reasonable to conclude that the earlier familial division is being carried into the later discussion?” (ibid, p. 13). According to this view, many married based looks and other matters. Spiritual matters were not considered.  These religiously mixed marriages weakened man’s spiritual condition, produced an ungodly offspring,  and contributed to the earth’s corruption.  The Bible warns man about such marriages (e.g. Exodus 34:1-16; Deuteronomy 7:3-4; 1 Kings 11:1-8).  Many godly parents had great concern over their children’s marriages (Genesis 24:1-4; 27:46-28:2; 28:8-9 cf. 26:34-35; Judges 14:1-3).  This seems a reasonable explanation to me.  Objectors point out that “sons of God” and “daughters of men” are not used this way elsewhere in Genesis.

If “sons of God” refers to the righteous, what about the “giants” (Genesis 6:4)?  The original word does not actually mean “giants.”  The word is “Nephilium.”  The word is generally thought to be from naphal, meaning “to fall.”  Those who believe that these are the offspring of angels and women think this refers to the fact that these are the offspring of fallen angels (who, some think, some how, were  able to pass on angelic DNA). Others take this to mean that they fall upon others; that is: they are a violent, war-like people. The word also appears after the flood in Numbers 13:33, and in such they are giants (though, the word “Nephelium” itself does not mean such).  Perhaps, it was based on this that the Septuagint rendered this “giants.” These Nephilium existed both “in those days, and also afterward.”  Some take this as Moses, from his prospective, indicating that Nephilim existed both before and after the flood.  If Nephilium are the result of the union of angels and humans, how do they exist after the fool? Others take this to mean that Nephilium did not begin with the intermarriage of the sons of God with the daughters of men, they existed both before and after this.

Judge Angels

Do you not know that we shall judge angels” (1 Corinthians 6:3).

The Bible tells us that some angels are reserved for judgment (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).  In what way will we judge angels?  I could set forth some possibilities.  However, I really do not know for sure.  Such may be one of Paul’s points.  The Corinthians thought that they knew it all (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:8; 4:10; 8:1-2).  They needed some humility.

Because of the Angels

For this reason the women ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels” (1 Corinthians 11:10).

Why does it say, “because of the angels”?  Let us consider three common suggestions.  (1) Those who believe that angels once lusted after women claim that this is intended to prevent such.  However, this does not seem to fit.  First, this is not addressing lust, but a sign of authority.  Second, this is not saying that a woman is to always be veiled (e.g. while sleeping, while with her husband, etc.).  This is addressing public matters. Yet, if this were about angels lusting would not the veil be required even in private.  (2) This may have to do with the judgment.  We know that angels are watching over us (1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Timothy 5:21; possibly, Ecclesiastes 5:4-6; possibly, Psalm 138:1).   We know that angels will have a role to play in judgment (Matthew  13:47-50; 25:31-32; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9). This could be a reminder that what we do is being witnessed (cf. 1 Timothy 5:16).  (3) This could be a reference to angels who sinned(cf. 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 5-6). John Coffman comments, “The simplest explanation (since Paul was speaking of proper subordination of women) is that this is a reminder that ‘the angels who kept not their first estate’ lost heaven; and it is not far-fetched to draw the analogy that those precious angels called women should not go beyond the limitations imposed upon them by their creation.”

Note: A full discussion of the veil can be found on a previous post (The Veil, Long Hair, and the Red Purse;  https://bryanhodge.net/2013/03/05/the-veil-long-hair-and-the-red-purse/  ).  It is not our purpose to discuss such here.

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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