While the time of production of Genesis and Jude is separated by hundreds of years, it remains possible that there are literary, inter-textual connections between them. I am interested to know whether the so-called "angel marriages" recounted in Genesis 6:1-6 finds any illumination in the "rebellious angels" passage in the little letter of Jude.
The first four verses Genesis 6:1-6 read this way:
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 to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
As I understand it, there are two main options interpreters generally choose between. One camp believes the sons of God are men (i.e., mortals), the other believes they are angels (i.e., supernatural beings).
Does Jude give any insight into what was believed about the "angel marriages" in the time that letter was written, and do the words they and these in particular in v. 7 hold the key on this question?
Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. 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, 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 strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. [NASB]
Jude is reflecting on the Genesis text here:
if we can establish who the they and these represent in Jude v. 7, a corollary to the answer to this question -- regarding whether the sons of God are angelic or human -- may imply that both the they and the these did the same thing ("in the same way") namely "went after strange flesh";
Jude v. 6 also says that these angels did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode. Does this also indicate the nature and meaning of "going after strange flesh". Did they leave a spiritual state and enter a physical one?
My central questions, then, are these:
- is Jude thinking of the "angel marriages" in vv. 5-7?
- if yes, does that account tell us whether Jude thinks the "beings" involved in the marriages of Genesis 6:1-6 were mortal or supernatural beings?