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Could Genesis 6:1-4 be talking about aliens? (ESV):

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

There's another question about what the word Nephilim means and it literally means "the fallen". So that could mean they "fell" or landed from outer space, right? Maybe that's why they lived so long, were mighty, and well-known.

Is this a possible interpretation?

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This... Yes. It's one theory. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) –  Richard Nov 29 '11 at 23:01
    
@Richard: That's how I feel about asking. ;-) But I'll put my pride aside for the sake of our FAQ. –  Jon Ericson Nov 29 '11 at 23:03
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+1 for being brave enough to ask. :-) –  Gone Quiet Nov 30 '11 at 1:48
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Actually, nefilim or nephilim (whichever you prefer) does not mean "fallen," i.e. "fallen ones." That would be נפוּלים (nefulim or nephulim). All we know is that the word נפילים (nefilim) shares the same trigeminal root as the verb נפל (nafal), which means "to fall." However, there's a possibility it could be a conjugation of the verb פָּלָא in binyan Nif'al, meaning "those who are great, amazing," referring to their immense stature. –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Feb 21 '13 at 21:49
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8 Answers 8

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Simply put, we don't know for sure, but we have clues!

We have three known facts about the Nephilim:

Their Name

The world "nephilim" comes from the Hebrew word nephiyl, which means "the fallen". What did they fall from? The Bible isn't clear about that.

It's possible that they fell from the sky (making them aliens) or from heaven (making them demons).

Regardless, it seems clear that the people who lived at that time called them "the fallen".

Lineage

Also, we know about their lineage: they are children of "sons of God" and "daughters of man":

Genesis 6:4 (NASB)
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.

So, the Nephilim themselves weren't actually the angels/aliens/kings, but the children of these beings.

Size

Another thing we know about Nephilim is that they were tall--huge, even:

Numbers 13:33 (NASB)
We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.

So, clearly, they are very large.

Aliens?!

One possible interpretation of this is the one you mentioned: that nephilim are a race of alien-human hybrids.

However, due to the Numbers reference, many translate the word "nephilim" to "giants". Of course, their size was only an aspect of who they were, but not necessarily the primary aspect. It could very well be that they had wings like angels or big bulbous heads like aliens.

Unfortunately, we simply do not know what nephilim were and many theories abound. One of which is, actually, that they were human-alien hybrids.

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A complete run-down on most of the theories is found over at Christianity.SE, if you are interested. –  Richard Nov 30 '11 at 19:04
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If 2 Peter 2:4-6 and Jude 1:6-7 are referring to the same parallel events in the ancient world, then these "fallen" must indeed be fallen angels. –  Joseph Feb 22 '13 at 1:45
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If the word Nephelim has any connotations of 'Fallen', then that word must be taken in the context of all the other ways the word 'Fallen' is used in this context. It would be obvious to say, that wherever this word is used, it has reference to sin. The two words are synonymous in that respect. Satan fell from his position. Luke 10:18 'Then I saw Satan fall from heaven'.Jude 1: 6-8 States quite clearly That the fallen Angels left their first estate.. Jude 1:6-8 New American Standard Bible (NASB) 6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after [a]strange flesh, are exhibited as an [b]example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

8 Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile [c]angelic majesties.

They certainly fell from heaven to Earth. Enoch Says specifically that 200 Angels with Satan at their head, chose a path, to come down into the daughters of men.

I think it is to easy to rationalize these issues. The truth is Pre flood history is well hidden. Of course we can glean many things from works such as the Gilgamesh epic and other Sumerian Babylonian etc histories, but sadly these are clouded by fallen interpretations. Never the less we have adequate information laid before us to understand the true history of the World in the word of God, we just need the wisdom from God to interpret it correctly. Lets not make the mistake of interpreting what seems like fantasy as fallacy. No one can deny that the, 'result', of the Sons of God, entering into the daughters of men, was a race of unnatural beings. This could only have occurred, if there was an addition, to the human physical genome. Fallen angels co-habiting with the daughters of men, could certainly have caused this. That there is absolutely no context for, 'Space men', is obvious from the Whole context of the bible.

According to Genesis 6:4, the Nephelim existed on the Earth before they came into the daughters of men.

Genesis 6:4 (NASB) 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.

It would be strange, to say then that man, or a Holy line of men, existed on the Earth, before they went into the daughters of men, this would be obvious. That fallen angels are acting in the world to effect their evil intent, is clear through the whole history of the world. Would it be radical then to say at a point after the creation and fall of man that these fallen angels were permitted to assume the form of flesh and mate with the daughters of men. Not when we consider the fact, that Satan himself, the chief fallen angel, appeared as a serpent, to deceive Eve. Once Adam and eve fell we know sin had a ravaging effect, even to the extent that Cain murdered Abel simply because he was 'cast down'. After the fall, Satan was permitted to 'run wild' as is his nature. Going to far in his madness he planned this scheme to corrupt the seed of God. That seed that would be the line that the Messiah would come from. Satans purpose through history has been simply to thwart Gods purpose because he knows that if that purpose is fulfilled, he is finished. Introducing a genetic modification into mankind would have been a great plan from his point of view....To corrupt the natural line of genetics with his own poison, would result in turmoil on Earth and so it did. The resultant offspring of giants were a major source of suffering for mankind. Gods answer to this action by Satan and the daughters of men, was to declare the end of mankind by a flood. This was a sure way of re setting as well as continuing the history of redemption in Christ Jesus..the seed of God..as opposed to the seed of Satan. Satan Im sure was privy to the conversation in the garden of Eden. He knew Gods plan was to introduce a seed that was pure and powerful. A seed that would bring about his destruction..

Genesis 3:15 New American Standard Bible (NASB) 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall [a]bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

Satan it appears, in all his malice, considered how he could wipe out the line of the seed that would crush him. Introducing a genetic pollutant, into the race of mankind, was the route he took. The result was chaos. Giants, according to Enoch, who devoured the Earth of all food. When they were not satisfied by what God had provided for mankind, they turned and ' Sinned against animals and birds' (by eating them)..when not satisfied even with that, they turned on man and devoured him also. This Enoch describes explicitly.

It makes complete sense when taken in conjunction with Genesis 6. Gods judgement on this mating was to completely destroy mankind....If the judgement meets the crime, then the crime could have been devastating to the Holy line that would bear the Messiah...and there was need of a radical move to safeguard the Holy seed from the genetic pollution of fallen angels. The flood. We must not divorce, verses 1-5 from verses 5-8. The Nephelim greatly increased evil on the earth, both by mating with the daughters of men and by teaching mankind all manner of corruption and rebellion against God. The Judgement was as great as the sin and therefore we must conclude the sin to have been great. Granted Holy men marrying unholy women would have been a terrible sin also. But a union of Holy men and sinful daughters would not have created a genetic anomaly under normal circumstances. This taken with the fact that these Nephelim were on the Earth before they mated with the daughters of men gives strong warrant for their being 'Fallen' angels walking on the Earth. Of course they were men of renown. They were angelic beings and had knowledge that surpassed that given to man. They had been in the heavenly places and had gifts many, gifts which were perverted to Satan's evil schemes. This Enoch also states when he says that 'They taught men the art of war' and other things. Naturally Satan insinuated his poison, as far as he could into mankind. After all He had declared war on God and would teach man how to do the same thing. To some degree this consists in man killing man. Thou shalt not kill is the law of God. When we kill, we fight against God by doing so.! Satan surely taught man war . Enoch explains that on a physical level, where man was taught how to make weapons and armor.

Genesis 6 New American Standard Bible (NASB) The Corruption of Mankind

6 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were [a]beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not [b]strive with man forever, [c]because he also is flesh; [d]nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were 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.

5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved [e]in His heart. 7 The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the [f]sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

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Hi John, thanks for this and your other recent contributions. Can I ask you to see if you can make use of some formatting within a long answer like this? A clearly marked conclusion section (or a tl;dr at the top) can also be very helpful… –  Jack Douglas Nov 3 '13 at 10:23
    
Thanks the feeling is mutual! Yes will do on my next answer God willing. I need to break it up and add some headings. You'll have to be patient with me. As you can tell, I am not an academic. Im just a builder with stubby hands who really appreciates your time! Any advice or help is really needed. I was a reader many years ago, but life and sin swamped me...Just this last year I feel I am stiring from a deep horrible sleep.! Anyway thanks again. –  John Unsworth Nov 4 '13 at 15:00
    
The word נֶפֶל appears in all those citations in your first paragraph on which the rest of your argument (as far as I can tell) depends? –  Gone Quiet Nov 12 '13 at 0:14
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From reading Genesis in conjunction the book of Enoch. It appears that the evil seed was sown by the 'Sons of God' when they came into the daughters of men. The resultant mutations were Giants. There is no such thing as aliens. The word of God is catagorical on that issue. Nowhere have beings from another planet ever been mentioned in scripture and we believe we have a full representation of the nature of creation in that word. There is a spiritual and a physical dimension which meet in Jesus Christ. He explains it. But Aliens No..The conspiracy may though be such that fallen angels will again enter with men in the last days before the days that are like unto the days of Noah. It looks like these days are here with the amount of Genetic modification and pollution affecting the DNA and the major moves toward a one world government.

Im afraid the answer to this question revolves around whether or not the 'sons of God' were fallen angels or holy men. Please find my thoughts below.

Genesis 6 New American Standard Bible (NASB) The Corruption of Mankind

6 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were [a]beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not [b]strive with man forever, [c]because he also is flesh; [d]nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were 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.

5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved [e]in His heart. 7 The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the [f]sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Verses 1-4 Reveal an interaction in creation between two parties. The first party 'The sons of God' are fallen Angels according to Enoch and the resultant offspring were giants, this we agree with as this is the same as the statement in Genesis 6. If one holds to the authenticity of the book of Enoch it is easy to conclude the nature of the sons of God. Whether we agree or not regarding the nature of the sons of God, the fact remains the offspring were not normal. They were a genetic mutation and this is the point...Why would a combination of the genes of men (albeit holy men 'Sons of God') combined with the genes of the daughters of men, cause the resultant Giants. Enoch tells us that the Giants were so hungry that they devoured the earth. Men were feeding then and when men could not feed them anymore, the Giants turned on the men and devoured them..This may sound like a fairy tail, but it would be foolish to dismiss the possibility of it, especially when Genesis expressly talks about Giants or Nephelim.

CHAPTER VII.

  1. And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants. 2. And they became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: 3. Who consumed all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, 4. the giants turned against them and devoured mankind. 5. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another's flesh, and drink the blood. 6. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones. RH Charles

The book of Enoch was recently recovered from the Ethiopian Church which had it as part of its cannon. Jude also quoted it. In this Book Enoch claims that he was the author of writing and that it had been given to him to record the earliest events.

The point I am coming to is this. Verses 5 to 8 of Genesis 6 immediately speak of Judgement on the whole Earth. 'The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the Earth' V.5 It appears that God was wiping a mutation between fallen angels and the daughters of men that was about to devour the whole Earth, namely the giants. Noah and his family were of the original gene pool and were saved..only them. How is then I ask that giants were later found in the old testament..The spies coming back from Canaan said 'We were as grasshoppers before them' and then we have David and Goliath. This raises two points. One, were the 'sons of God' just men of a holy line and therefore the genetics for the giants was in Noahs family , problem solved. But what if Genesis 6 is telling us as Enoch claims that Fallen angels mated with the daughters of MEN. How then did there come to be Giants after the flood ? Not through Noahs line.?

The Book of Enoch is the best, should we say, exposition, of Genesis 6. The flood came to wipe out the genetic strain of the giants and to destroy those who were, should we say, in league with them.

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Some passages in the Bible are difficult to understand, and have been taken many ways. This is one of them. No matter how we interpret this passage, we must make sure not to be dogmatic about the resulting theology. If we conclude that this passages is likely talking about aliens, we must be careful not to conclude, "therefore the Bible teaches that aliens exist". Rather, we can only arrive at the more tenuous conclusion, "this passage in the Bible is probably about aliens, though we can't be sure".

There are, however, many arguments against taking this to be speaking of aliens. First, "sons of God" in the Bible refer to angels and humans, but never to anything else. Second, though "nephilim" may be derived from a word meaning "to fall", the Nephilim themselves were born on Earth - regardless of where their parents came from. Third, this passage in Gen 6 is very similar to parts of the book of Enoch (Enoch 6:1-7:6), parts of which originated before the flood (Jd 14-15). Whether or not this idea in Enoch is antediluvian in origin, the interdependence of the two texts suggests that one should be consulted when interpreting the other. Fourth, medically speaking, if aliens were to exist, their survival on planets whose atmospheres, gravities, etc. are so different from Earth's, means that their anatomy and physiology would be so different from ours that mating would be unthinkable. Fifth, everything in the Bible is there for a reason. The beginning of Gen 6 seeks to illustrate the depravity of creation, especially humans. A verse about aliens mating with humans when the culture of the time it was written had no conception of aliens, would serve only to confuse the issue. Sixth, the Bible nowhere else mentions anything about aliens (except in certain translations talking about "foreigners"), so reading this notion into a difficult verse is not to be recommended. Some of these arguments are stronger than others, but I do not believe any of them are invalid.

I have to admit, though: the question caught me off guard, and it was interesting.

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The Nephilim were Neanderthal man. They came in unto the daughters of man. A skeleton of their offspring is in the museum at Haifa zoo. It was found at Carmel Caves. This is an original theory made known now for the first time. By me. At least it is better than aliens.

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I find it hard to understand how the Nephelim were 'Neanderthal man', when the scripture says they were "Men of renown". A stupid big idiot would not be considered renown unless the rest were as stupid as he was! They were Giants and Neanderthal man or at least what evolutionist say about their invention is that he was not much bigger than us! Neanderthal man is an invention of Darwinism and the occult. He was invented as a link in evolutionary theory and as a deception for the masses. –  John Unsworth Nov 17 '13 at 9:31
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Please refer to this answer to find out where does these nephilim come from, who were their fathers...

Such a conclusion makes sense when we recognize that "the son of the true God" mentioned at Genesis 6:2, 4 were angels who materialized bodies and committed immorality with women. Those women give birth to many different anomalies, which were then called the Nephilim.


They born on this planet. Therefore, if you ask them to be as aliens from another planet or from outer space - no.

But as a more common definition of alien, that is "a person from another and very different family, people, or place"; "who is not included in a group"; "an outsider"; "an organism, especially a plant or animal, that occurs in (or is) naturalized in a region to which it is not native" - yes

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The Nephilim were the result of the intermarriage between the priestly people and the rebellious kings. The text gives us a split genealogy after the murder of Abel, priests serving God outside the garden, and Cain's false kingdom (he went and built a "fortress").

The sin of the sons "of God" (God was their authority) was marrying daughters "of men" (man as authority), and we know this is what it is talking about because it happens over and over throughout Bible history. These women were unconverted. Marrying such women was forbidden in the Mosaic laws for kings. It brought about Solomon's failure which destroyed Israel - under a Babylonian "flood." Omri in the northern kingdom also attempted to co-op Judah through intermarriage. Ezra and Nehemiah deal with such intermarriage as well. Finally, Jesus says His generation would soon be destroyed for such "marrying and giving in marriage."

James Jordan has a must-read article on this here, aligning with our own day. Basically, the Enoch factor is that the unrighteous achieve more than the righteous initially, because they resort to slavery and robbery (like Pharaoh, and Rehoboam). But it is short-lived. The only way paganism can continue (because it is unsustainable) is by co-opting the strength and integrity of a righteous culture. This is exactly what has happened in western culture. This is the "Nephilim factor."

So forget the aliens. The Nephilim were simply a race of men who were "like god" in a bad way - "mighty men." (Notice that David and Boaz are also mighty men, in a good way.) The serpent offered Adam a kingdom without priestly obedience first. "You shall be like God." The Nephilim were the fulfilment of this offer, a race of Cains, a sin that was now full grown (as James says) and ripe for judgment.

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The word that is translated as "God" in the phrase "Sons of God" can also mean can also mean leaders, judges, dictators etc.

It is also possible that the Nefilim and the "Sons of ..." are two different, but possibly connected groups. When the Nefilim were present, such and such happened.

The word Nefilim also means miscarried or aborted fetuses. Some have interpreted that there were incompatibilities between regular women and the "Sons of ..." that caused miscarriages. Others suggest that the women, the "Sons of..." or third parties purposely caused abortions. Whether to eliminate the children of the "Sons of..." or to eliminate the children of regular men is up for speculation

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Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics - Stack Exchange! Some interesting theories, but do you have sources for them? That would really help me. ;-) –  Jon Ericson Dec 13 '11 at 21:53
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@JonEricson נֶפֶל means a premature birth, or a miscarried or aborted baby; literally/etymologically (I think), "that which has fallen [from the womb]" (Job 3:15; Psalm 58:8; Ecclesiastes 6:3). –  Kazark Sep 23 '12 at 19:41
    
It is nothing related here... (Job 3:15; Psalms 58:8; Ecclesiastes 6:3). "That which has fallen [from being obedient]" IMO –  Jeremiah G Aug 25 '13 at 13:30
    
Do you have a source for your first sentence? –  Gone Quiet Nov 3 '13 at 1:02
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protected by Jon Ericson Aug 26 '13 at 3:38

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