Genesis 6:1-2 (ESV emphasis mine):

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.

Who are these "sons of God" (bene elohim) in Genesis 6:2? Are these some kind of divine being or angels that are intermarrying with human women? I've heard some people claim that they are the men in the godly line of Seth, while the daughters are from the line of Cain. What leads people to this interpretation? Are there other ideas?

  • this answer is in part an answer to this question Commented Apr 12, 2014 at 16:49
  • Related: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/16190/… Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 8:15
  • @Soldarnal When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sun God saw that the daughters of Cadmus were attractive
    – R. Emery
    Commented Sep 21, 2022 at 20:06
  • @Soldarnal The bull-men were in the earth in those days when the sun god came in to the daughters of Cadmus and bore to them the same.
    – R. Emery
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 3:51

13 Answers 13


There are three common views on the identity of the 'sons of God' marrying the 'daughters of men' in Genesis 6.1-4:

  1. Descendants of Seth married descendants of Cain
  2. Nobles married commoners
  3. Angels married human women

1. Descendants of Seth married descendants of Cain

This view was popularized by Augustine (City of God, chapter 23), and the argument amounts to the following: the 'sons of God' designates people who are faithful to God (e.g. Romans 8.14), and hence are being contrasted to people not-faithful to God.

The account in Genesis 6.1-4, then, is telling us that there was a mingling of righteous men with unrighteous women, leading directly to the wickedness that prompted God to flood the world. Because Cain's descendants in Genesis 4 are inferred to be more wicked (based on the progression of Genesis 4.8-24), while Seth's descendants are inferred to be more righteous (based almost entirely on Genesis 4.25-26), it is common for adherents of this view to further identify the righteous 'sons of God' with Seth's offspring and the 'daughters of men' with Cain's.

A common criticism of this view is that Genesis 6.1-4 mentions neither Seth nor Cain, so identifying the 'sons of God' and the 'daughters of men' as their descendants, respectively, is accused of presupposing too much about the author's intentions.

2. Nobles married commoners

Another view, originating in 2nd century AD rabbinic thought, is that 'sons of God' designates members of nobility. We know from a variety of texts from the Ancient Near East that rulers were regularly perceived as the 'sons of God'. For biblical examples, see 2 Samuel 7.14 or Psalm 2, where God identifies the king of Israel as his 'son'.

In this case, the 'sons of God' — the rulers of the ancient world — are forcefully taking women from the common folk, which is also attested in ancient Near Eastern culture. The biblical book of Esther depicts such an occasion.

While the 'sons of God' label could indeed refer to nobility, both of views 1 and 2 suffer from the particular designation of the women as being 'daughters of men'. This epithet, which is contrasted to the 'of God', seems completely unnecessary if both the 'sons' and 'daughters' are humans.

3. Angels married human women

The third view is that a group of angels (the 'sons of God') descended upon the earth and married human women (the 'daughters of men'). I would argue this is the most accurate interpretation of the text (see my 'personal thought' below), and it seems to have been the earliest view as evident in both Jewish and Christian texts:

1 Enoch's Book of Watchers (3rd century BC)

And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: 'Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.' ... And they were in all two hundred; who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon. (R.H. Charles translation)

Jubilees 4.15-5.7 (2nd century BC)

in [Jared's] days the angels of the Lord descended on the earth, those who are named the Watchers, that they should instruct the children of men ... And it came to pass when the children of men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born unto them, that the angels of God saw them on a certain year of this jubilee, that they were beautiful to look upon; and they took themselves wives of all whom they chose, and they bare unto them sons and they were giants. (R.H. Charles translation)

LXX Genesis 6.2-5 (2nd-1st century BC)

Some copies of the Septuagint chose to translate the Hebrew 'sons of God' into the Greek 'angels of God'.

Philo, On the Giants (1st century AD)

"And when the angels of God saw the daughters of men that they were beautiful, they took unto themselves wives of all of them whom they Chose." Those beings, whom other philosophers call demons, Moses usually calls angels; and they are souls hovering in the air.

Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 1.3.1 (1st century AD)

For many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength; for the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants. (William Whiston translation)

Jude 6-7 (1st century AD)

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day: just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (ESV translation)

The epistle of Jude draws extensively upon 1 Enoch; with that textual transmission in mind, it is clear Jude is referring to the episode in Genesis 6.1-4. Jude 6-7 is further repeated in 2 Peter 2.4.

By the second century AD, the Jewish authorities were moving away from the 'angels' interpretation because of the growing view that angels could not, by nature, defy God's will. See, for example, Justin Martyr's Dialogue With Trypho, chapter 79. In this text, Justin (allegedly) debated a Jewish man named Trypho, who said:

The utterances of God are holy, but your expositions are mere contrivances, as is plain from what has been explained by you; nay, even blasphemies, for you assert that angels sinned and revolted from God. (Philip Schaff translation)

Meanwhile, Christian authorities favored it until about the fourth or fifth century, with Augustine being the main contributor to a shift in popular opinion.

Personal thought

As an aside, my personal thought is that Genesis 6.1-4 was written as an etiology for the tribes of 'giants' found in the narrative between the exodus and the rise of David: the Rephaim, the Emim, and the Anakim, all groups remembered for their extreme size (e.g. Numbers 13.33; Deuteronomy 1.28; 2.10,21; 9.2).

The last group, the offspring of Anak, are explicitly said to come from the nephilim (Numbers 13.33). A few 'giants' in particular survived in Israel's social memory: Og of Bashan (Deuteronomy 3.11), Goliath of Gath (1 Samuel 17.4), and a group of six Philistines from Gath (2 Samuel 21.18-22).

By the exilic period, memory of 'giants' who fought against Israel's ancestors was retained in the social consciousness. With this, as the scribes were compiling the larger narrative of Genesis—2 Kings, they wrote a story explaining the immense size and violence of those ancient enemies: Og, Goliath, et al, were offspring of the Rephaim, the Emim, and the Anakim, who were all descendants of the nephilim, the 'mighty men of ancient times, men of fame', who owed their great stature to angelic fathers.

  • 3
    Where would the "Sons of God" or heavenly council mentioned in the Book of Job (Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and Chapter 38) fit in your explanation? What constitutes one (whether angel or man) to be call "Son of God" in the Bible? For example, Adam was "the Son of God" (Luke 3:38). Why would angels, Adam, and finally Jesus be termed "Sons of God" in the Bible? Thanks in advance.
    – Joseph
    Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 16:25
  • 3
    Those are all separate questions, because they were all written in different historical and theological contexts apart from that of the Genesis 6.1-4 pericope.
    – user2910
    Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 16:41
  • I was just curious why you did not cite Job in your research, when it is the only other place in the Hebrew Bible where "sons of God" appear; and secondly, the events of Job (the person of Job) pre-existed Moses, so the term "sons of God" had reference to angels in the (proto-)Hebrew language at that time. Why you make no mention of intra-Biblical references (to the Book of Job) as part of your research is thus my question.
    – Joseph
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 10:25
  • 2
    I don't mention them because: 1. None of those texts is related to the specific episode of Genesis 6.1-4 (whereas all the texts I cited were), and 2. I don't assume a systematic connection between every biblical text, and hence their vocabulary. If that is the kind of answer you prefer, perhaps you could be the one to provide it for us?
    – user2910
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 16:00
  • Oh! Also, 'sons of God' is found in variants of Deuteronomy 32.8-9, and was likely the original text.
    – user2910
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 16:04

The first part of the term "Bene Ha'elohim" simply means sons of. Therefore, the question really revolves around what "elohim" refers to here. In that vein, there are a couple of different possible translations for "elohim". In the Bible, elohim is most often used to refer to Yahewh (God,) however elohim can also refer to gods; the mighty, great or powerful (that is - lords or aristocracy); or rulers/judges. Many have used the book of Enoch, an apocryphal text to fill in the blank here and say that these were angels, however I find it helpful to consider the idea that the Bene Ha'elohim were simply mesopotamian rulers or aristocracy (who would certainly qualify as "men of old" and "renown") and see how this impacts the our interpretation of this narrative in Genesis. Nephilim means (roughly) the fallen ones - so perhaps these sons of the powers or lords fell in battle.

First, In Genesis 6:5-8 it is revealed that the relationships between the Bene Ha'elohim. (Literally, sons of the powers) and the daughters of man is the reason for the great flood.

Secondly, at the time, the Hebrews were a nomadic people who lived in the hills near Ur and surrounding areas of the Fertile Crescent. At that time the major powers and empires (aka kings or lords) were either the Sumerians, Akkadians, Hittites or Mitannis depending on when you date this story and/or the flood.

Lastly, in the pericope, it seems like the daughters of man are the daughters of God's people (the Hebrews) based on context of the passage. So what does the puzzle look like get if we assemble all of these pieces?

This paints the picture of the Israelites and people of God marrying into neighboring cultures with all their gods, customs and religious practices because these people were wealthy and powerful.

So suddenly, a familiar theme emerges - the theme that is presented in the story of the tower of Babel, the theme presented in Deuteronomy 20:16-18 and the most common theme throughout the entire Old Testament: Idoaltry.

Under this understanding, what comes into relief is that with the intermarriage of races were repeatedly forbidden by God. Marriages of convenience to join tribes and help leaders acquire wealth and in the spirit of greed would seem to be further afoul of God's will for his people.

The reasoning behind this was that when the Israelite intermarried, with these marriages comes the intermarriage of religions and this caused temptation of the Israelite people to follow other gods. This was repeatedly condemned as unacceptable to Yahweh as he is Jealous God.

Having this idolatry as the reason behind the flood makes a ton more sense than to obliterate the earth because there were some half-breed little green men from outer space or some mulatto angels running around. This may be a more mundane interpretation, but it is also more sensical and fits more neatly into the story arc of the text.

  • You are making illogical jumps, even if they fit with you they don’t fit with the rest of the references in the Bible concern the elohim. Commented May 12, 2019 at 19:09
  • 1
    @Autodidact - First, this feedback is not in any way constructive. Secondly, there are no other references to the "Bene Ha'elohim" as a people group (all other references are "Son of God / sons of God" and a different reference.) Outside of this, there is only one other relevant reference in Numbers 13:32-33 to the Nephilim. A) There is no reason to believe that the Author of Genesis meant for them to be understood in light of that reference and B) even if it were the case, I don't see how that would invalidate this interpretation. Commented May 13, 2019 at 15:52
  • A) There is no reason to believe that the Author of Genesis meant for them to be understood in light of that reference, I take it then that you don’t agree with this verse “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” ‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭B) some half-breed little green men from outer space or some mulatto angels running around there’s a big jump between what Genesis 6 says and little green men or angels running around. Commented May 13, 2019 at 16:02
  • 1
    A) I do agree with 2 Tim 3:16. But "God-breathed" is not the same as penned by and I happen to recognize that the author of Genesis is not the author of the Psalms, the Gospels and Revelation. In fact it is very obvious that they were written by different authors and their differing styles can accordingly be compared and contrasted. Commented May 13, 2019 at 23:12
  • 1
    But B) I am expressly saying that Genesis 6 is not saying this, as the OP and [other questions here on SE][hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/686/… suggest. I am expressly saying the nephilim were not intermarried angels or aliens. I am arguing that my interpretation makes more sense and is more consistent with the themes of Genesis and the Old Testament and that the "bene elohim" were secular lords who intermarried into the Hebrew tribes - or "nobles who married commoners" as it were. Commented May 13, 2019 at 23:14

While it is understandable that some people believe that the "sons of God" in Genesis 6 were perhaps "fallen angels," there are several Biblical, theological, scientific, and logical problems with this view.

First, from a Biblical, hermenutics perspective, there are simply no angels (fallen or otherwise) within the immediate context of Genesis 6. In Genesis 4:16-24, we are given Cain's line, in which we are shown that polygamy started and murder continued.

From Genesis 4:25-5:32, we are given the line of Seth, in which we are first told that "men began to call on the name of Yahweh"(4:26). We find Enoch walking with God 300 years (5:22), and then Noah (a son of Seth) finding grace in God's sight later on in Genesis 6:8. This is the surrounding context prior to Genesis 6, in which we have two human lines, not a hypothetical angelic invasion out of nowhere.

The additional hermenutical problem is revealed in the fact that in both Old and New Testaments, human beings in special relationship to God are also called "sons of God" (Hosea 1:10; Psalm 82:6; Luke 20:36; Romans 8:14; Galatians 3:26). Furthermore, it is bad hermenutics to assume that the term "sons of God" in the different contexts revealed in Job must mean that the "sons of God" in Genesis must be angelic. Logically speaking, that simply doesn't follow and is a non sequitur fallacy.

Second, the God of creation specifically made creatures to reproduce after their own kind in Genesis 1. This is why cats have cats, dogs have dogs, and humans have humans in reproduction. The theological problem arises when we have one kind of creature (an angel), allegedly mating with another kind of creature (a human), and producing offspring as we are told by the fallen angel view. Nowhere are we ever told in the Bible that angels can even reproduce among themselves, let alone with an entirely different kind of creature. So to argue that angels came to earth and had sexual relations with human women and then also reproduced violates God's divine order and reproductive boundaries as laid out in Genesis 1.

Third, this leads us to the scientific problem inherent in the fallen angel view. We know from biology and experience that despite many attempts in history, humans cannot reproduce with animals. This is due to a biological block known to science. Even when we go around such blocks and produce hybrid animals like a horse with a zebra (a close horse relative), the resulting creature is sterile and cannot reproduce after its kind. Yet we are supposed to believe that with all the biological blocks God wisely put in place to stop trans-kind reproduction, all of a sudden God lost His wisdom and allowed angels and humans to reproduce. This makes no sense, and is not the God of the Bible who is both omnipotent and omniscient.

Finally, as pointed out earlier, the fallen angel view of Genesis 6 fails logically as well as hermenutically because it has no immediate contextual support, and it illogically assumes that angelic beings called "sons of God" in one context (Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7) must also be angelic in an entirely different context in Genesis 6. So this fallen angelic view fails on several counts, and eisegeting Jude and 2 Peter back into Genesis 6 also does not help the case for this view.

In addition, the fact that Scripture reveals angelic beings having the ability to "eat" does not prove they can also reproduce. Such reasoning is fallacious, and is revealed to be so by the simple fact that there are plenty of sterile humans that can eat just fine, but cannot reproduce. So, logically, angels eating is by no means valid evidence of them being able to reproduce while appearing human.

Therefore, the "sons of God" in Genesis 6 were not fallen angels but the fallen sons of Seth, who intermarried with the daughters of Cain's line. This view is supported by the overal Biblical, theological, scientific, and logical evidence.


Are the 'sons of God' genetic progeny or an 'offshoot' of humanity?

I support Samuel's argument against the 'sons of God' as angels - it is well founded, if not widely accepted.

But what does the word bene really mean?

A common error of understanding in the Old Testament has been in preferring the literal, physical translation of a word despite it being used elsewhere in a figurative sense.

When my daughter was first learning to talk, one of her first words was 'bah' - which we translated as 'bath'. It wasn't long before we noticed that she was pointing to puddles on the road and saying 'bah'. When we have no word to describe an experience, we use what we believe is the closest approximation in our vocabulary to our experience, in the hope that the listener or reader can understand this unnamed experience we mean to communicate. My daughter meant to communicate an experience of 'water', but she didn't have that word available.

So when someone says 'sons' of God, do they literally mean genetic progeny - someone physically born of God and not of man?

The Hebrew word 'bene' has been used for more than genetic progeny in various instances throughout the bible.

One interesting occurrence is from Job:

For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground; but man is born to trouble as the sparks (ū·ḇə·nê re·šep̄) fly upward. (Job 5:7)

Here Eliphaz is talking about 'sparks', but the literal translation is 'the sons of flame'. The imagery is very poetic, but it is the experience that resonates with the reader, and is unfortunately lost when we translate it to 'sparks'. Job also uses the word ben to refer to 'sons of God'.

Other instances suggest that bene may not refer only to genetic progeny, described as "often plural with name of ancestor, people, land, or city, to denote descendants, inhabitants, membership in a nation or family, etc." (biblehub.com)

I will provide one more example in Isaiah's last words or 'prophecy' regarding his descendants:

Joseph is a fruitful bough (ben), a fruitful bough (ben) by a spring; his branches run over the wall. (Genesis 49:22)

The fascinating thing about this verse is that Joseph is also his genetic progeny, but the word ben is not used in this way, but describes him as an 'offshoot' of the vine, a cutting that will be most beneficial in continuing the life or purpose of the original vine.

If we go back to Genesis 4:26, we see that the birth of Seth and his son Enosh begins an 'offshoot' of humanity that differs from Cain and Enoch in one specific way:

To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time men began to call upon the name of the Lord. (Genesis 4:26)

The wording of this is interesting, because it doesn't necessarily distinguish these men genetically from Cain's descendants, nor does it state that Seth and his descendants all began to call upon the name of the Lord. Although it is easy enough to make that incorrect assumption. This section of Genesis concludes with a distinction between two kinds of men, regardless of whether we believe the distinction to be genetically determined: those who called on the name of the Lord, and those who didn't.

This distinction is described a little differently in the toledoth of Chapter 5, as Enoch is particularly noted to have 'walked with God' (Genesis 5:22). And then in Chapter 6 the same distinction is described as 'the sons of God' as opposed to 'the daughters of men'.

When men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose. Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” 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. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. (Genesis 6: 1-4)

This distinction between male and female as well as between God and men can be considered figurative here - it's unlikely that marriages occurred only along these gender lines. The use of gender and their decision to 'take wives' based on sexual attractiveness (rather than connecting with each other on a spiritual level) highlights humanity's tendency to follow evolutionary instinct rather than the spirit of God within them.

The 'mighty men that were of old, the men of renown' refer to the descendants of these unions, the 'nephilim' - which literally means 'the fallen', but also has connotations of 'prisoner'. In some way they could be afforded some pity, as their fathers had once walked with God but chose to turn from Him and live by evolutionary instinct. It was, after all, their parents who chose genetic self-benefit and proliferation, raising their children with partners who did not call upon the name of the Lord.

These 'fallen' children became 'mighty', great men not in terms of physical size (giants), but in terms of individual worldly achievement: success, power and physical ability. They were not 'sons of God' because they did not 'call upon the name of the Lord', they did not 'walk with God', and the spirit of God did not 'abide' in them as it did their fathers. They also lived only 120 years - considered a normal span of life for a human body - as opposed to the 300+ years of those who walked with God, whose spiritual presence or capacity to impact on the world probably outlasted their physical life.

Again, the assumption may be that this 'spirit of God' was being 'bred out' at a genetic level - but this is not the case. The stories of the Old Testament continually demonstrate both that this 'spirit of God' cannot be passed down genetically, and that it only takes one's awareness and openness for the spirit to abide in them.

This also relates to Jesus as a 'son of God', as one in whom the spirit of God abides, whose example inspires all of us to be aware and open to this spirit abiding within us, to join this 'offshoot' of humanity (not just calling on the name of the Lord but crying 'Abba, father' as sons of God), and whose spiritual presence continues to impact on the world more than 2000 years beyond his physical life.


The sons of God and the daughters of men (Genesis 6:2). [1.]

(I.) Three possible views.

John Walton:

This issue is one of the thorniest in Old Testament interpretation. …The earliest view, held unanimously until the second century A.D. as far as we know, is that “the sons of God” were angelic beings. In this view there is a material distinction between “the sons of God” and “the daughters of men,” and the offense is the transgression of boundaries. …In the second and third centuries, both Jewish Interpreters and Christian interpreters began to diverge from this consensus, but in different directions. Jewish commentators took the path of identifying “the sons of God” as rulers. Christian commentators beginning with Julius Africanus promoted the view that “the sons of God” were men from the line of Seth while “the daughters of men” were women from the line of Cain. This view entered the mainstream in Augustine’s City of God and soon became the Christian interpretation. It remained so through the Reformation and into the nineteenth century. [2.]

Bruce K. Waltke:

All three interpretations can be defended from the Hebrew grammar. [3.]

(a.) Angelic Beings.

(i.) The argument in favor.

Gordon J. Wenham:

The “angel” interpretation is at once the oldest view and that of most modern commentators. It is assumed in the earliest Jewish exegesis (e.g., the books of 1 Enoch 6:2ff; Jubilees 5:1)... [4.]

Abraham Kuruvilla:

…the LXX (Vaticanus contains ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ, angeloi tou theou; the Alexandrinus corrects υἱοὶ, huioi, to ἄγγελοι; the LXX also has ἄγγελοι θεοῦ for “sons of God” (בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים) in Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; and Dan 3:25. Philo (Giants 2.6), Josephus (Ant. 1.31; 1.73), 2 En. 18.3-8; 2 Bar. 56.11-14; and the DSS (1Qap Genar 2:1, 16; CD 2:17-19) also hold to this interpretation, as well as Justin (Second Apology 5), Irenaeus (Haer. 4.36), Clement of Alexandria (The Instructor 3.2), and Tertullian (On the Veiling of Virgins 7), among others. “Sons of god” in the OT may stand for heavenly beings (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Ps 29:1; 82:6; 89:6-7; Dan 3:25; etc.)... [5.]

Gordon J. Wenham:

Modern scholars who accept this view advance three main reasons for supporting it. First, elsewhere in the OT (e.g., Ps 29:1, Job 1:6) “sons of God” refers to heavenly, godlike creatures. Second, in 6:1-4 the contrast is between “the sons of the gods” on the one hand and “the daughters of man” on the other. The alternative interpretations presuppose that what Gen 6 really meant was that “the sons of some men” married “the daughters of other men.” The present phrase “sons of God” is, to say the least, an obscure way of expressing such an idea. It is made the more implausible by 6:1 where “man” refers to all mankind. It is natural to assume that in v 2 “daughters of man” has an equally broad reference, not a specific section of the human race. Finally, it is pointed out that in Ugaritic literature “sons of God” refers to members of the divine pantheon, and it is likely that Genesis is using the phrase in a similar sense. [6.]

(ii.) The argument against.

Andrew E. Steinmann:

However, this interpretation is not without problems. It introduces angels into Genesis with hardly any prior discussion of them apart from the cherubim who guarded the way to the tree of life (3:24). Moreover, in the New Testament Jesus clearly teaches that angels do not marry (Matt. 22:29-30; Mark 12:24-25; Luke 20:34-36). It could also be added that although the Scriptures at times speak of angels appearing as humans, they never depict them as having bodies that function like those of humans: they do not eat, drink or sleep. It is hard, therefore, to conceive of them mating as humans do. Moreover, Hendel has noted that ‘The sexual mixing of gods and mortals is unattested elsewhere in West Semitic lore’, thereby casting doubt upon the supposed mythological background behind this text. Finally, it ought to be observed that this intermarriage of the sons of God and daughters of mankind contributes to God’s judgment on humanity (vv. 3, 5-7). Since these marriages were initiated by the sons of God, it seems incongruous that God would judge humankind on the basis of what angels did. [7.]

(b.) The godly line of Seth and the ungodly line of Cain.

(i.) The argument in favor.

Abraham Kuruvilla:

Historically, this is the interpretation that has been followed by Julius Africanus (Chronicles 2), Chrysostom (Hom. Gen. 22.2), Augustine (City of God 15.23), Luther (Lectures on Genesis Chapter 6-14), and Calvin (Comm. Gen. 1.237-238). [8.]

Kenneth A. Mathews:

We already have shown how chaps. 4 and 5 contrast the two lines of descent from Adam—the Cainites and Sethites. Genesis 6:1-8 relates how the two lines intermarry, resulting in a community of unprecedented wickedness. The flood account, we have shown, is actually embedded within the Sethite genealogy, which is not completed until the notice of Noah’s death (9:29). This provides the appropriate interpretive key for understanding 6:1-8. During this period of amazing Sethite expansion (chap. 5), the Sethite family marries outside its godly heritage, which results in moral decline.

ʾĔlōhīm can be rendered as a genitive of quality, meaning “godly sons,” referring to the heritage of the Sethites. …bĕnê hāʾĕlōhīm has analogues pointing to human referents. [fn. 108: Since בְנֵי־אֱלֹהִים cannot refer to physical descent, i.e., the angels are not physically generated, then we must take “sons of God” as metaphorical regardless of referent. It follows, then, that the expression can be applied to more than angels, i.e., any who “bear the image of God” (see Keil, Pentateuch, 128-29).] Also important is the weight of the Pentateuch’s testimony, which identifies the Israelites as the children of God (e.g., Deut 14:1; 32:5-6; cf. Exod 4:2; Pss 73:15; 80:15); this resonates well with taking the “sons of God” in 6:2 as an allusion to godly (covenant) offspring (cf. also Isa 43:6; Hos 1:10; 11:1; John 1:12-13). [9.]

(ii.) The argument against.

Derek Kidner:

…while the Old Testament can declare God’s people to be his sons, [fn. 20: Deut. 14:1; Isa 1:2; Hos 1:10 (MT 2:1).] the normal meaning of the actual term ‘sons of God’ is ‘angels’, [fn. 21: Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Dan. 3:25.] and nothing has prepared the reader to assume that ‘men’ now means Cainites only. Possible New Testament support for ‘angels’ may be seen in 1 Peter 3:19, 20; also in 2 Peter 2:4-6, where the fallen angels, the flood, and the doom of Sodom form a series that could be based on Genesis, and in Jude 6, where the angels’ offence is that they left their proper habitation. The craving of demons for a body, evident in the Gospels, offers at least some parallel to this hunger for sexual experience. [10.]

Michael S. Heiser:

…this view forces two divergent meanings on the Hebrew word ʾadam in Genesis 6:1–2: the term would have to mean “mankind” in Genesis 6:1, but a specific group of humans—the Cainites—in Genesis 6:2. [11.]

(c.) Kings or rulers.

(i.) The argument in favor.

Kaiser, Davids, ‎Bruce & Brauch:

(1) The ancient Aramaic Targums render “sons of God” as “sons of nobles” (Targums of Onkelos), and the Greek translation of Symmachus reads “the sons of the kings or lords.” (2) The word gods (Hebrew elōhı̂m is used in Scripture for men who served as magistrates or judges (“Then his master must take him before the judges [elōhı̂m],” Exodus 21:6; see also Exodus 22:8; Psalm 82:1, 6). (3) Structurally, the account of the Cainite Lamech (Genesis 4:19-24) and that of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1-4 are very much alike. In each there is the taking of wives, the bearing of children and the dynastic exploits. The former passage ends with a boast of judgment by Lamech, and the other ends with God’s decree of judgment. Lamech practiced bigamy (Genesis 4:19), and he enforced his policies by using tyranny. The portraits are parallel and depict states of tyranny, corruption and polygamy. (4) Near Eastern discoveries have validated the pagan use of all sorts of ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses’ names in order to give more clout and prestige to the governments of Egypt and Mesopotamia—hence the title “sons of God.”

The fifth and final line of evidence concerns the nep̄ilı̂m/gibbôrı̄m of Genesis 6:4. The word nep̄ilı̂m occurs only here and in Numbers 13:33, where it refers to the Anakim, who were people of great stature. The root meaning of the word nep̄ilı̂m is “to fall.” However in Genesis 6:4 the nep̄ilı̂m are associated with the term gibbôrı̄m. The word gibbôrı̄m comes from gibbôr meaning “a mighty man of valor, strength, wealth or power.” Nimrod, in Genesis 10:8, was such a gibbôr. He also was clearly a king in the land of Shinar. Hence the meaning of nep̄ilı̂m/gibbôrı̄m is not “giants,” but something more like “princes,” “aristocrats” or “great men.” [12.]

(ii.) The argument against.

Michael S. Heiser:

First, the text of Genesis 6 never says the marriages were polygamous. That idea must be read into the passage. Second, ancient parallels restrict divine sonship language to kings. Consequently, the idea of a group of sons of God lacks a coherent ancient Near Eastern parallel. The precise plural phrase. refers to divine beings elsewhere in the Old Testament, not kings (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Pss 29:1; 82:6 [cf. 82:1b]; 89:6 [Hebrew: 89:7]). [13.]

(II.) Conclusion.

Victor P. Hamilton:

Suffice it to say, it is impossible to be dogmatic about the identification of “sons of God” here. The best one can do is to consider the options. While it may not be comforting to the reader, perhaps it is best to say that the evidence is ambiguous and therefore defies clear-cut identifications and solutions. [14.]


[1.] Gordon J. Wenham: "“The sons of the gods” or “the sons of God.” בני־האלהים could be translated either way. Job 1:6; 2:1 lend support to the latter, while Pss 29:1; 89:7 make the former possible." {Gordon J. Wenham, World Biblical Commentary: Volume 1: Genesis 1-15, (Waco: Word Books, 1987), p. 139.}

[2.] John H. Walton, The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis, (Zondervan Academic, 2011), on Gen. 6:1-4, §. Identity of the Sons of God.

[3.] Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), on Gen. 6:2.

[4.] Gordon J. Wenham, World Biblical Commentary: Volume 1: Genesis 1-15, (Waco: Word Books, 1987), p. 139.

[5.] Abraham Kuruvilla, Genesis: A Theological Commentary for Preachers, (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2014), n. 45, p. 103. Note that Kuruvilla does not advocate this solution. Cf. Abraham Kuruvilla: "However, there has been no mention of any angels in Scripture up to this point; moreover, angels do not marry (Matt 22:29-30/ Mark 12:24–25/Luke 20:34-36). Also, the phrase “they took wives for themselves” is a fairly standard expression for normal marriage in the OT (Gen 11:29; Jdg 3:6; 2 Sam 5:13; 1 Chr 14:3; 23:22; etc.); no bizarre super-human conjugal relationship is implied by in the phrase." {Ibid.}

[6.] Gordon J. Wenham, World Biblical Commentary: Volume 1: Genesis 1-15, (Waco: Word Books, 1987), p. 139. John Phillips: "The expression “sons of God” (“sons of Elohim”)...occurs three times in the book of Job (1:6; 2:1)...in that context the sons of God are angelic beings. It occurs again in Job 38:7… Again the sons of God are evidently suprahuman beings. The other reference is in Daniel…(in that case it was God the Son in one of His preincarnate appearances), again a supernatural being. …the title “sons of God” in the Old Testament, then, is confined to angelic beings and to Christ. In the Septuagint version of the Scriptures the expression “sons of God” is invariably translated “the angels of God.” The term “sons of Elohim” seems to be confined to those who are directly created by God’s volition rather than to beings born of their own order. It is that characteristic that, as much as anything, distinguishes between the angels and men. In the Old Testament a kindred expression is used, “sons of Jehovah,” and that would have been an ideal expression to use in Genesis 6, had it been the intention in that passage simply to differentiate between Cain’s descendants and Seth’s. In fact, it would have been a particularly appropriate expression because Genesis 4:26 records that, since the days of Enos, men had begun to call upon “the name of Jehovah.” Instead of using the expression “sons of Jehovah,” however, the text uses an expression elsewhere reserved in the Old Testament as descriptive of supernatural beings." {John Phillips, The John Phillips Commentary Series: Exploring Genesis: An Expository Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2001), n. 4, p. 79.}

[7.] Andrew E. Steinmann, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Genesis, (InterVarsity Press, 2019), p. 83. Franz Delitzsch: "But could angels have had carnal intercourse with human women? According to Bereshith rabba, c. 26, R. Simeon b. Jochai pronounced an anathema upon all who should understand בני האלהים of angels (though the Sohar makes him affirm it himself); Augustine (civ. Dei, xv. 23) advises rather to relinquish the apocryphal fable; Jerome reserves his judgment; Cyril of Alexandria reckons this opinion among the ἀτοπώτατα; Theodoret calls its advocates ἐμβρόντητοι καὶ ἄγαν ἠλίθιοι (Quæst. in Gen. § 47); Philastrius numbers it among the heresies; the ancient Protestant interpreters regard it as a Jewish Platonizing fancy." {Franz Delitzsch, A New Commentary on Genesis: Vol. I, Clark’s Foreign Theological Library: Vol. XXXVI, trans. Sophia Taylor, (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1888), p. 223.}

[8.] Abraham Kuruvilla, Genesis: A Theological Commentary for Preachers, (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2014), p. 104.

[9.] Kenneth A. Mathews, The New American Commentary: Genesis 1-11:26: Vol. 1A, (Nashville: B&H, 1996), pp. 329-330. Cf. John Murray, Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1991), pp. 244-247. Abraham Kuruvilla: "This interpretation might raise the problem of reading “men” differently in 6:1 and 6:2—in the first case generically of mankind, and in the second as referring to those of Cain’s lineage, which in itself, is not a problem, for they too are part of generic mankind. In Jdg 20:3, the sons of Benjamin are contrasted with the sons of Israel, but the former are part of Israel; in Jer 32:20, the Israelites are contrasted with the rest of humankind, but, of course, the former are humans, too; and, likewise, in Ps 73:5, the wicked are contrasted with the remainder of mankind. Thus the “sons of God” are human followers of God, distinct from the rest of mankind who are non-God followers. [fn. 44: However, one could see both occurrences of “men” in 6:1-2 as equally having the generic sense, with the Sethite “sons of God” simply failing to show covenantal discrimination in their choice of spouses (as in Gen 24:3-4; 26:34, 35; 27:46; 28:1-3, 6-8; 34). Rather, they made their selection based on their own whims and fancies—“whomever they chose” (6:2). Or it could also be argued that “men,” both in 6:1 and 6:2, is similarly restrictive, indicating, in both cases, Cainites: they multiplied, and had daughters who married the “sons of God.” There is no necessity to see “sons of God” as being non-human; they are labeled differently simply to distinguish them from the other, presumably ungodly, folks. The attribute “of God” (in בְנֵי־הָאֱלֹהִים, bne-ha’elohim) is thus, essentially, a genitive of quality (= “godly sons”). These individuals are godly/covenant offspring (as in Exod 4:22, 23; Deut 14:1; 32:5, 6, 18, 19; Ps 73:15; 82:6; Isa 1:2; 11:1; 43:6; 45:11; Jer 3:14, 19; 31:9, 20; Hosea 1:10; 11:1; Mal 1:6; John 1:12-13). The striking contrast between the pietistic elements in Seth’s family on the one hand (the result of Seth’s birth and his taking the place of Abel, 4:25-26; the pointed mention of Seth’s “image” and “likeness,” 5:3; his descendants: Enoch, 5:23-24; Lamech, 5:28-31; Noah, 6:8; and even the placement of Gen 6 after the introduction of the Sethites and Noah in Gen 5), and the humanistic characters in Cain’s line, on the other hand, leads one to see godliness as the key distinction between the “sons of God” and “daughters of men” in 6:1." {Abraham Kuruvilla, Genesis: A Theological Commentary for Preachers, (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2014), pp. 103-104.}

[10.] Derek Kidner, Kidner Classic Commentaries: Genesis, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008), pp. 89-90.

[11.] Faithlife Study Bible, gen. ed. John D. Barry, (Lexham Press, 2012), Michael S. Heiser, “Genesis 6 and the Sons of God.” Victor P. Hamilton: "In response we observe that while sons of God is indeed an enigmatic phrase, and appears here for the first time in the OT, notes about godliness abound in the context (4:26; 5:24, 29). Furthermore, the OT does not lack instances of a shift from a generic to a specific use of a word in one context. [fn. 10: Examples provided by C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, 10 vols., vol. 1: The Pentateuch, tr. J. Martin, 3 vols. repr. in 1 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973), 1:130-31.] Thus, ādām as “mankind” in v. 1 and as “Cainites” in v. 2 is not impossible." {Victor P. Hamilton, New International Commentary on the Old Testament: The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1990), p. 264.} Victor P. Hamilton: "It is possible, however, to reverse this identification and see the daughters of men as Sethites and the sons of God as Cainites (really “Eveites”). For example, the birth of daughters occurs only among the Sethites of ch. 5. Again, the taking of wives for oneself (6:2) is paralleled by the Cainite Lamech (4:19). Could it be that here we have a replay of Gen. 3? As Eve the initiator led Adam astray, so the sons of God led astray the daughters of men." {Ibid., p. 265.}

[12.] Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., ‎Peter H. Davids, ‎F. F. Bruce, Manfred T. Brauch, Hard Sayings of the Bible, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996), p. 108. Cf. Meredith G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview, (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2006), pp. 185-189. Bruce K. Waltke: "This interpretation best explains “any of them they chose” (6:2). For example, Pharaoh took to bed whom he would (12:10–20), and so did David (2 Sam. 11). It also fits the immediate context of the Flood, the theme of Genesis, and connects the reference to the Nephilim and heroes in 6:4 to 6:1–3. However, the meaning “divine rulers” is somewhat questionable, whereas “angels” is well established. …The best solution is to combine the “angelic” interpretation with the “divine king” view. The tyrants were demon possessed. Gispen avers: “The text presents us with men who are controlled by fallen angels.” [fn. 26: W. H. Gispen, Genesis I: Kommentaar op het Oude Testament (Kampen: J. H. Kok), 221, cited favorably by VanGemeren, “The Sons,” 348.] Their perverted psyches allowed this entrance of the demonic. Eichrodt asserts, “God’s power operates … within the evil which has been begun by the perversion of the creature’s will.” [fn. 27: Eichrodt, Theology, 2:179.]" {Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), on Gen. 6:2.} Cf. Meredith G. Kline: "Indeed, this is how the demonic dimension should be incorporated into the interpretation of the passage if one concludes that 1 Peter 3:19,20 and Jude 6 refer to the involvement of demons in the episode recorded in Genesis 6. That is, demons should not, then, be substituted for the human kings in the reconstruction of the event but rather the demonic element should be kept in subordination to the fundamental reality of the earth rulers' revolt against heaven. It could be accounted for in terms of the phenomenon of demon-possession in the experience of “the sons of the gods,” or of some such extraordinary working of demons through them (cf. 2 Thess 2:9). In that case, Satan will have intruded himself into the history of the world that then was both at its outset and at its culmination through acts of preternatural entry into other creatures." {Meredith G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview, (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2006), p. 187.}

[13.] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, (Lexham Press, 2015), Chapter 12: Divine Transgression, §. Divinized Human Rulers. Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: "6:2 sons of God. Royal titles of the ancient Near East regularly suggested the divine descent of kings, even outside Egypt’s context of deified kings. This idea of divine descent was a rhetorical expression of the divine election and legitimization of the king and is typical in royal inscriptions. Throughout the Biblical period it was part of the royal prerogative to claim divine heritage. Thus the title “son of God” can be identified as a royal motif both in the Bible and outside of it. Gilgamesh is portrayed as two-thirds god and one-third man (Gilgamesh Epic, 1.48) and “flesh of the gods” (Gilgamesh Epic, 9.49). Nevertheless, though it is common for kings to be portrayed as having divine parentage, there is no precedent for ancient kings as a group being referred to as “sons of god.” …married any of them they chose. There are no examples from Akkadian or Northwest Semitic mythological texts of divine beings marrying or cohabiting with human women, so it would be difficult to make the claim that this account is a vestige of ancient mythology as some do. There are examples of kings claiming mixed ancestry of gods and humans…but that is a different concept. If the “sons of God” are viewed as kings, the question remains as to what offense they are committing here. Polygamy has always been a weak candidate since the OT does not condemn it. Promiscuity is likewise an unlikely explanation since the Hebrew text describes the situation using the standard idiom for marriage (“taking wives”). An alternate understanding may be found in a practice noted in the Gilgamesh Epic as the prime example of Gilgamesh’s tyranny, namely, his exercising the right of the first night with a new bride: “He will couple with the wife-to-be, he first of all, the bridegroom after” (Gilgamesh Epic, Old Babylonian version, v.159-60). This practice accommodates the marriage terminology, and in Gilgamesh it is clearly both oppressive and offensive behavior. The remaining problem is that this practice is infrequently attested in ancient literature." {NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, gen. eds. John Walton, Craig Keener, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016), n. on Gen. 6:2, p. 17.}

[14.] Victor P. Hamilton, New International Commentary on the Old Testament: The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1990), p. 265. Howard Vos: "Many interpreters come out dogmatically in favor of one of the above views, but in light of all the evidence it seems impossible to do so." {Howard F. Vos, Everyman’s Bible Commentary: Genesis, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), p. 44.}

Καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν πρὸ πάντων καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν.

~ Soli Deo Gloria


While the book of Enoch is a respected and quoted widely to bring the view that angels were sons of God, the view does not align with the rest of the scripture. We read in the book of Hebrews: “Hebrews 1:5

5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?“ Angels were not sons of God but ministering spirits sent to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation: “ Hebrews 1:13,14

13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” By these scriptures, it is the heirs of salvation that are the sons of God. Adam who was created in the image of God was refered to as a son of God We read in the geneology thus of Adam: “Luke 3:37,38

37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan, 38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” As pertaining to the heirs of salvation we read: Hebrews 2:6-11

6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

“Galatians 4:4-7

4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Adams seed, thou fallen from grace were still sons of God for to redeem means to buy back, to restore to the original owner/condition. Through Christ we are restored back to the original condition. Howbeit even in our fallen condition were were called sons of God. We can get our backing of this from the scripture:

“Psalm 82:6

6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. In the words of Jesus: John 10:34,35

34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;”

By these scriptures we find the sons of God were of the lineage of Adam. Of seth it is said:

Genesis 4:25,26

25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. 26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

But of Cain it is said: “1 John 3:12

12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.” Cain was serpents seed by carefully reading of the scripture below:

"Matthew 23:33-35

33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar."

Thus the scripture identifies to lines of people from Genesis to revelation, the line of the wicked one and that of the righteous one. By the above lines of scriptural thought and mind we see that the sons of God were of the line of righteous Seth and the other line was that of Cain. The descendants of Seth married the descendants of Cain.

  • Thank you. I would add Rom. 8:14, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Those who were led by the Spirit of God were listed in Gen. c 5. Gen. c6 begins by calling them sons of God. Angels cannot procreate (Matt. 22:30) no matter whether they are in heaven or on earth.
    – Gina
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 15:55
  • 1
    Samuel please do not use the "Community Wiki" checkbox when you post answers. It's not relevant to the kinds of posts you are making. All posts on this site are already editable by the community anyway. Only in the case of prearranged collaborations where you are not the primary author and the other authors are on the site would I consider using that feature here.
    – Caleb
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 19:52
  • Ihave to say that you have me swayed here. I have pondered this question many times and generaly favored the idea of Angels but you have made an interesting case here. My only concern is that the New Testament rendering of some terms have dispensational connotations, So while the Angel of the Lord may have been a manifestation of Jesus in the OT, in the NT they are just Angels and cannot be a manifestation of God himself. I wonder if this can be applied to the term Sons of God to mean one thing in the OT and something else in the NT.
    – Dr.Apell
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 3:00


Biblical facts say that angels on occasions materialized and took human form, they also ate and drunk with men,Genesis 19:1-3 (NASB) says:

The Doom of Sodom

1" Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and [a]bowed down with his face to the ground."

2 "And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.”

3 "Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate." Read also Genesis 18:1-8 (NASB)


Jacob wrestled with a materialized angel, Genesis 32:22-28 (NASB)

In view of the Biblical facts it is logical to assume that such materialized angels with human bodies could have sexual relations with women.

Biblical facts indicate the angels did just that , Jude 6-7 compares the angels that left their proper abode, with the men of Sodom and Gomorrah that indulged in gross sexual immorality and went after strange flesh.

Jude 6-7 (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."

Peter makes a similar comparison of the disobeient angels in Noah's days to the men of Sodom and Gomorrah.

2 Peter 2:4-6(NASB)

4" For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell (Tartarus) and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;"

5 "and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a [a]preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;"

6 "And if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter."

Conclusion: It therefore reasonable to conclude that"the sons of God” mentioned in Genesis 6:2 are angels who materialized into human form ,and had sexual immorality with women.


The sons of God in Genesis 6 are angels, it makes no sense to say that the sons of God are those led by the Spirit of God or those that call upon the name of Yahuah. Yahushua (Jesus) gave the sons of men power to become sons of God, those that believe upon His name. And we are now equal to the angels and are now the sons of God (Luke 20:36). The sons of God were there at the creation of the world, read Job 38. How could "believers" have existed before the earth was created?

In the Old Testament Bene haElohim means sons of God and benowt ha'Adam means daughters of men, all men from Adam to Cain to Seth and mankind in general. The Bible should be read in its proper context in order to determine the correct interpretation of the text.


The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

This passage, like all of scripture, must be interpretted in the light of 2 Timothy 3:16,17

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished (or equipped) unto all good works.

It would be absolutely no spiritual use to us today to learn that angels came down to earth and people had children by them. What would be the spiritual application of that? If you see an angel walking down your street then don't seek any carnal knowledge with them? It would be absurd. And the interpretation is consequently likewise absurd.

But if "the sons of God" simply means "believers" then the passage makes sense. It means that before the flood those who professed faith in the promised Saviour stopped choosing who to marry on the basis of whether their potential wife was godly and started simply choosing on the basis of their appearance/beauty and non-godly criteria.

Before the flood there had been a true church:

At that time men began to call upon the name of the LORD, (Genesis 4:26).

That is, there were true believers.

So, Genesis 6:2 explains how a great falling away from God came about, how a great apostacy from God came about in the professing church, and why there was a great flood, and why there was only the family of Noah to be delivered at the time of the flood when previously there had been many believers and a professing church. It is warning us of the dangers of marrying an unbeliever.

And the application is fully declared in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 starting

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?

The children of an unequally yoked marriage, if it is chosen when a believer, will commonly be unbelievers, (Malachi 2:15).


The 'Sons of God' were chosen. Genesis chapter 5 is a list of Adam's descendants to Noah, arranged in a standard pattern;

Each father lived for some years, became the father of a son, lived for more years, and had other sons and daughters before he died.

On that list, each father had many sons and daughters. However, only one son is named: the son of God, who was chosen and listed on the Genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3:23-38. The other sons and daughters are referred to as the sons and daughters of man.


I am not a theological expert so forgive my lack of scholarly exposition. However according to Job 1:6 and Job 2:1 in the KJV & NKJV we see the Angels being called sons of God. Couple that with the book of Jude 6 - 7 that says Angels that did not keep their principality..... but descended to the earth... to commit fornication as in Sodom and Gommorrah. Some have rightly argued that Angels cannot marry and engage corporeal intercourse which is reserved for fleshly beings. This is a worthy point of note, however could it be that these Angels occuppied human flesh and commited fornication? It is possible that some were capable of tranforming themselves and even possesing humans as evil spirits to commit a forbidden act. Finally, I beg to ask if these Sons of God were simply descendants of Seth, what is so special about that the Bible takes time to talk about them and why would Seths line be the oly one producing men who are over 13 feet tall? What Biblical evidence do we have ( except in the Pseudepigraphia such as Cave of Treasures & the Life of Adma and Eve) that the descendants of Seth or the Sons of any acients nobles had some genetic abnormality that would produce giants?



The “sons of God” are those who are led by the Spirit of God and are not living according to the spirit of the world that natural men are living after…. living after the earthly wisdom: envy, strife, hatred of one another, wrath, etc.

Romans 8:12-14 KJV (12) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

We that have His Spirit within us are to mortify….deaden…kill….the deeds of the body so that we may live the eternal life of Jesus in this earth. He gives us the power to slay the deeds of the body out of our lives through His Spirit….using the sword of the Spirit.

(13) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

As many that are led by the Spirit of God…..they are the sons of God.

(14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

He gives us the power (through the Spirit) to BECOME the sons of God as we must use His Spirit to deaden the deeds of the body so that we might live the eternal life of Jesus in this earth. Again, He gives us the power through His Spirit to BECOME the sons of God.

John 1:12-13 KJV (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Even though we may His Spirit within but continue to live after the flesh, we shall die….for His Spirit shall not always strive with man who continues to live after the flesh (“for that he also is flesh”). We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh

Genesis 6: 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.

If we continue to live after the flesh, then His Spirit strives within man…as the Spirit and the flesh are contrary to one another. The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. The Spirit of God strives with those who continue to live after the flesh. The Spirit cannot then "rest" within those who continue to live after the flesh.

Galatians 5:16-17 KJV (16) This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (17) For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

We grieve the Spirit of God that is within us if we continue to live after the flesh….living in bitterness, wrath, anger, evil speaking, etc.

Ephesians 4:30-32 KJV (30) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Sure enough, The LORD was grieved as His heart in that time because He saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. They grieved the Spirit of God...as men continue to do even today that continue to live after the flesh.

Genesis 6:5-8 KJV (5) And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (6) And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

And so the world that was then was destroyed by water....and today is destroyed by the fire of His wrath revealed from heaven as ungodly men are destroyed (death) from the face of this earth as we speak. This is a NOW thing as the current heaven and earth are stored with fire for the destruction of ungodly men.

(7) And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

But “Noah”….meaning “rest”….found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Noah was led by the Spirit and the Spirit did not have to contend with the flesh within Noah for Noah gave His Spirit “rest”. There is no striving with the Spirit of God with those who are led by His Spirit.

(8) But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

The world that was then, being overflowed with water, perished.

2 Peter 3:3-7 KJV (3) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, (4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (5) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: (6) Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

But TODAY, the heavens and the earth which are NOW, by the same word (saying) are stored with fire against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

This is a NOW thing as the world and its lusts are perishing under the sun of God’s wrath as we speak. No flesh is being saved as ungodly men perish under the wrath of God that arises upon all men who continue to live after the flesh.

(7) But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

The wrath of God (who is a consuming fire) IS REVEALED NOW from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the down the truth in unrighteousness. Men who are living after the flesh are dying under His wrath as we speak.

They continue to perish from off the "face of the earth" by the same saying (word) of God just as they did in the flood. The same saying: my Spirit shall not always strive with man for he is also flesh...also living after the flesh.

Romans 1:18-19 KJV (18) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (19) Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

But the Lord is longsuffering towards us not willing that any should perish from the face of the earth under His wrath but that all should come to repentance. His patience with us is our salvation.

2 Peter 3:9 KJV (9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The downfall of the sons of God came when they saw the fair “daughters” of men and took them as wives.

The “daughters” of men are the wisdom/words/teachings of earthly men... of fleshly men that were incorporated into their (the sons of God) teachings.

The sons of God had received the spirit of the world. They married the wisdom of men into their own teachings which caused them to live after the flesh as they fought with one another over them. The word for “daughter”…. “bath”…comes from the root word “banah” meaning “to build”.

Genesis 6:1-8 KJV (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.

Wisdom has built HER house….

Proverbs 9:1 KJV (1) Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

Through wisdom is a house built….

Proverbs 24:3 KJV (3) Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:

Rachel and Leah were “builders” of the house of Israel….

Ruth 4:11 KJV (11) And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:

The LORD God took one of the ribs of Adam and BUILT ("made" = banah = to build) a woman with the rib. God built the builder.

Genesis 2:21-22 KJV (21) And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; (22) And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

The sons of God received the enticing words of man’s words of earthly wisdom (their “daughters”…their builders...the words of earthly men in their earthly wisdom). They build faulty structures so-to-speak.

1 Corinthians 2:4-16 KJV (4) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

Their faith became established in the words of the wisdom of men (their “daughters”).

(5) That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

They received the “daughters” of men of any that they chose….the wisdom of this world.

The “princes of this world”: 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.

They come to nothing.

(6) Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: (7) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

The giants in the earth…..the princes of this world….do not know the hidden wisdom of God as they are built upon the wisdom of earthly men in their churches.

If they did, they would not crucify the Lord of glory out of the lives of many by their enticing words. They prevent the eternal life of Jesus from ever appearing in the mortal flesh of those that they deceive. They perish without His life ever appearing.

(8) Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (9) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (10) But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (11) For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

The “sons of God” received the spirit of the world….they took “wives” from earthly men…which led them astray from being led by the Spirit.

(12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (15) But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (16) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.


The Bene elohim or 'sons of God' are also the order of angels that emanate from the sephiroth Hod in the jewish Kabbalah. The bible is based on the Kabbalah. The magical vision of this sephiroth is that of an hermaphrodite. This sephiroth is also associated with the hemisphere of the brain that regulates books and learning. Its opposite on the tree of life is Netzach which is typified by the magical image of a beautiful naked woman. Nezach also represents the hemisphere of the brain that regulates art and nature. Perhaps this passage is suggesting that the unification of these sephiroth teachings, or the equal use of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, is to be desired.

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    Welcome to Stack Exchange! If you haven't done so already, check out the site tour. In particular, be sure to read the section on what constitutes a good answer and revise your post to either cite references that back your position or to more thoroughly explain how you get this interpretation from the text itself. Please note that "showing your work" is required for answers to be considered "good" and get upvotes from the community on this Stack Exchange. Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 21:32
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    The bible is based on the Kabbalah. Considering that the Kabbalah texts were committed to writing around the 12th century AD and the Old Testament was certainly complete no later than the 2nd century BC, that is quite a bold statement.
    – ThaddeusB
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 21:47

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