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Shadowland: Beginnings: Week 11

The Sons of God

Who are the "sons of god" in these passages: Genesis 6:1-4; Job 1:6,2:1; Psalm 89:6? There are two main interpretations of the Sons of God in Genesis 6: the staid Presbyterian interpretation, and the Rosemary's Baby hypothesis. The early church fathers were divided between these two views.

The safe interpretation: Mixed Marriages

The "Sons of God" are the godly line of the Seed. It is assumed they were instructed to not intermarry with the ungodly line of Cain, just as the Israelites were instructed not to intermarry with the Caananites. When they disobeyed, the line was in danger of corruption. Our mentor St. Augustine and letters attributed to St. Clement espoused this view, as did many Jewish commentators of the Greek era.

"Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you." Deuteronomy 7:3-4

The scary interpretation: Direct Creations of God

Tertullian and Lactantius had a different opinion. Every mention of the "sons of God" in Scripture, including those above, refers to a being directly created by God. Adam is called "the son of God" in Luke 3:38 because he is the direct creation of God. The sons of God sang together in Job 38:7, before Adam was created.

Jesus is the Son of God because he is the direct "creation" of God when Mary was over shadowed by the Holy Spirit, as well as being God, and also the Son of Man, through the lineage of Mary, and also the Heir of David by adoption through the line of Joseph.

Most wonderfully, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name," John 1:12. We as Christians are direct creations of God through the new birth, and therefore sons of God! "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

The angels are therefore sons of God, and Jude has this to say: "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," Jude 6. Jesus said, "In the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage. Instead, they will be like the angels in heaven." Note that the angels in heaven do not marry, but he does not say that there is no potential to do so.

On the Fence

One problem with the safe interpretation is: where do the Nephalim come from? Some commentators note that "nephalim" could also be "one who makes others fall" (Hiphil causative) - i.e. a bully. So the godly line married ungodly wives, and their offspring were bullies. But that doesn't explain the nephalim the Israelites faced in Caanan. Or Goliath and his kin. Why is it a problem when a son of God marries a daughter of men, but a daughter of God marrying a son of men is not worthy of mention?

Note that it is logically possible for both of these orthodox interpretations to be true.

Other interpretations

Those who believe that "firstborn of creation" means that Jesus was a created being (e.g. Arians, Mormons) see the sons of God as fellow elder beings - brothers of Jesus also with human like bodies. The rest is predictable. The word "Nephalim" means "descended". This plays quite well with flying saucer, alien, and reptilian conspiracy enthusiasts.

The Nephalim