In Genesis 6:2 (NIV), it seems as if the sons of God aren't human...

Gen 6:2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

Why is it written this way and to whom is it referring? Is humans just a poor translation or reflective of a male dominated society of the day?

  • 1
    Do you mean Genesis 6:2? Pre-flood, after "men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose."
    – Lesley
    Dec 14, 2020 at 10:41
  • 3
    Which Bible translation says “the daughters of humans”? The NIV says “the daughters of men.” The NLT says “people began to multiply and daughters were born to them.” The ESV says “when man began to multiply and daughters were born to them.” Clearly the daughters were human offspring and this has nothing to do with “a male dominated society”. Which Bible are you reading?
    – Lesley
    Dec 14, 2020 at 12:34
  • I have edited question to include the bible version (which is NIV).
    – Adam
    Dec 14, 2020 at 18:38
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    Hi Adam - does this answer your question? If so, we'd be happy to close this a duplicate. Or if you're specifically interested in just understanding the 'daughters of humans' phrase, maybe it would be good to tighten down the question to focus on that aspect.
    – Steve can help
    Dec 15, 2020 at 14:32
  • Hi Steve, the other question you referenced seems to he arguing whether or not the sons of God are fallen angels who are attracted to female humans. I am asking this question from the perspective that in this verse the female appears to be the one causing the 'sons of God' to sin in the first place (ie here in Job centuries later there appears to be an ongoing stigma that the fall of man is Eves fault and thus its women who cause men to sin) Should I reword the question to include this?
    – Adam
    Dec 15, 2020 at 19:42

1 Answer 1


The NIV translation of Genesis 6:2 used to say “the daughters of men” but then the NIV translators became “politically correct”, and out of a misguided fear that they would offend people, they changed it to say “daughters of humans”. That is why I will never buy the latest NIV translation.

To say “the daughters of humans” is a mistranslation of the Hebrew, and as your question suggests, causes confusion.

This is the explanation of the expression "sons of God" given in the 2000 edition of the NIV:

The phrase “sons of God” here has been interpreted to refer either to angels or to human beings. In such places as Job 1:6; 2:1 it refers to angels, and perhaps also in Psalm 29:1 (where it is translated “mighty ones”). Some interpreters also appeal to Jude 6-7 (as well as to Jewish literature) in referring the phrase here to angels.

Others, however, maintain that intermarriage and cohabitation between angels and human beings, though commonly mentioned in ancient mythologies, are surely excluded by the very nature of the created order (Genesis chapter 1; Mark 12:25). Elsewhere, expressions equivalent to “sons of God” often refer to human beings, though in contexts quite different from the present one...

“Sons of God” (vv.2, 4) possibly refers to godly men, and “daughters of men” to sinful women (significantly, they are not called “daughters of God”), probably from the wicked line of Cain. If so, the context suggests that Verses 1-2 describe the intermarriage of the Sethites (“sons of God”) of chapter 5 with the Cainites (“daughters of men”) of chapter 4, indicating a breakdown in the separation of the two groups.

What is more important is the warning of the judgment to follow, as described in Genesis 6:3. Whatever it was they were up to, the corruption of humanity displeased their creator.

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