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Who Were the Sons of God in Gen. 6?

Genesis 6:1-4
1) And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2) That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3) And the LORD 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.
4) 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 unto them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
 
The note on Gen. 6:4 in the Old Scofield Reference Bible says:

Some hold that these "sons of God" were the "angels which kept not their first estate" (Jude 1:6). It is asserted that the title is in the Old Testament exclusively used of angels. But this is an error (Isa. 43:6). Angels are spoken of in a sexless way. No female angels are mentioned in Scripture, and we are expressly told that marriage is unknown among angels. (Matt. 22:30). The uniform Hebrew and Christian interpretation has been that verse (Gen. 6:2) marks the breaking down of the separation between the godly line of Seth and the godless line of Cain, and so the failure of the testimony to Jehovah committed to the line of Seth (Gen. 4:26).

As much as I respect and appreciate the work of Dr. Scofield, I disagree with this note on several points. 

1. He misuses Isa. 43:6 to prove that “sons of God” in the OT may refer to individual believers in the OT. The reference is a prophecy about the future salvation of Israel in the last days.

The term “sons of God” is only used 5 times in the OT. There is only 3 ways to be a son of God:
1) Christ, the only begotten Son of God
2) Direct creation of God (Adam, Lk. 3:38 – angels, Job 38:7)
3) Regeneration (NT doctrine, in the OT Israel as a nation was called God’s “firstborn,” Ex. 4:22) 

2. Nowhere in the Bible are angels spoken of in a sexless way. In Matt. 22:30 Christ was referring to the angels “in heaven,” and He simply said they do not marry, not that they are sexless. Angels are often referred to as men (Gen. 18:1-2). God said that Satan had a seed (Gen. 3:15). 

3. Scofield claims that his interpretation is the “uniform Hebrew and Christian interpretation,” making it sound like a majority position is automatically authoritative. There have been plenty of Bible teachers that have taken a different view, including Arno Gaebelein (who was a consulting editor for the Scofield Bible). He wrote, "Angels good and fallen are termed sons of God in the Old Testament. Satan himself is reckoned among the sons of God in Job 1:6 and 2:1. The term sons of God must mean here supernatural evil beings. These evil beings came down out of the air and began to take possession of such of the daughters of men as they chose." 

William Kelly (1821-1906), a Plymouth Brethren writer whom Scofield respected, wrote, “The sons of God, in my judgment, mean the same beings in Genesis as they do in Job. This point will suffice to indicate their chief guilt in thus traversing the boundaries which God appointed for His creatures. No wander the total ruin speedily ensues. It is really the basis of fact for not a few tales of mythology which men have made up.”

4. Nowhere does the Bible speak of a “godly line of Seth.” Yes, the Messiah would come through the line of Seth, but there were ungodly men in that line. If the “sons of God” were the descendants of Seth, and the “daughters of men” the descendants of Cain, that would mean only men were godly. That would also mean that many godly men died in the flood, but Peter said it was the “ungodly” that perished (2 Pet. 2:5). God had not yet given commandment to not be “unequally yoked,” so why would he destroy the whole world for a sin that He had not yet spoken against? Also, godly people marry ungodly people today and the result is not “giants” that are “mighty men” and “men of renown”. The “daughters of men” in Gen. 6:2 are spoken of in the general sense of the human race (v.1), and not the limited sense of the descendants of Cain.

Why do I believe the sons of God in Gen. 6 were fallen angels? 

1. The “sons of God” in the OT refer to supernatural beings, both good and bad (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7).

2. See Jude 5-7 – These angels in leaving their first estate and own habitation committed a sin that was “Even as” Sodom and Gomorrah in that they went after “strange flesh” (unnatural). These fallen angels are chained up in hell awaiting their judgment (1 Pet. 3:19-20). The angels that rebelled with Satan are loose as they work for him (Eph. 6:12).  

3. See 2 Peter 2:4-5 – This refers to the same angels as Jude 6, and links their sin with the time of the flood.  

4. The union of angels with women would certainly produce a unique offspring. This was part of Satan’s plan to corrupt the seed line (Gen. 3:15). One of the main reasons Noah was spared was because he was “perfect in his generations” (Gen. 6:9). Noah and his family alone had preserved their pedigree and kept it pure, in spite of the prevailing corruption brought about by the fallen angels. 

5. This happened again after the flood (Gen. 6:4) on a smaller and localized scale as Satan sought to prevent Israel from taking the land God promised Abraham (explains God’s command to utterly destroy the Canaanites).  

6. Christ said, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the son of man be” (Matt. 24:37). There will be another mingling of the seed in the tribulation period (Dan. 2:43-44). Satan and his angels will be on earth in the the last half of the 70th week of Daniel (Rev. 12:7-9).

 

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