WHO ARE THE “SONS OF GOD” IN GENESIS 6:2?

 Hello friends, I recently started a study of the bible with St. Paul’s Center for biblical theology, and since then it has been all ‘eye-opening’ for me. This is because, not only had I discovered new things about the bible that I never knew in my life, I also realized some views I held to or assumed which were probably due to my reading religious materials that were not Catholic during my childhood. I mean like the famous ‘My book of Bible Stories’ which up until some years ago I did not know was written by the Jehovah’s witnesses.  Anyway, part of the things I realized was the identity of the ‘Sons of God’ in Genesis 6:2. Up until some years ago, I had assumed or rather learnt that these were Angels of God, obviously with no biblical proof whatsoever , though later I began to wrestle with the text, as that particular interpretation didn’t seem to cohere with the rest of the early chapters of Genesis.

It is important to note how you start from Genesis 1 and you hear of creation, the first covenant, the fall and then the curse, and then the descendants of Cain in chapter 4 and those of Seth in chapter 5, and then in chapter 6 you begin to hear about these angels mating with women and then God doesn’t say anything, and moves on to Noah which was left off from the end of Chapter 5. It seems the author of Genesis has no reason to have mentioned that ‘angels’ married women, and is just telling a passing story that really has no significance whatsoever to the whole text. Again, that is not really consistent with the real purpose of the author from the beginning, but nevertheless, the author of Genesis does not use the word ‘angels’ but ‘sons of God’. The question now is, from the bible, can we freely assume that ‘Sons of God’ here ultimately refers to ‘angels’? From my studies of scripture and scholars, the answer is NO! Though some scholars hold to this view, the amount of biblical evidence against it is still yet to be flawed.

Firstly, the bible does not use the phrase ‘Son of God’ for angels alone. In the bible the title ‘sons of God’ is used for angels of the heavenly court (Job 1:6; 2:1), for rulers like King David and his Son Solomon (2 Samuel 7:14; 1Chronicles 17:13), and for men in covenant union with God (Hosea 1:10; John 1:12; Romans 8:14, 19; Wisdom 2:13; 5:5 etc.). So it is apparent that we cannot ultimately conclude that these referred to angels.

One fact that ruled out the possibility of the belief that these were ‘angels’, for me, was Matt. 22:30. Here Jesus himself made a statement, while he was reprimanding the Sadducees, a statement which he felt no need to argue. When he was posed the question about the woman with 7 late husbands, and who will be her husband in the end of time, Jesus replies them saying: ‘For at the resurrection men and women do not marry, no, they are like the angels in heaven’. Here Jesus clearly implies that Angels are spirit beings. They do not have a physical form and they do not procreate. The striking thing about this passage is how freely Jesus makes the statement. So Genesis 6:2 was not referring to angels in heaven because angels in heaven do not marry, according to Jesus. And then even as Jesus has said that the angels do not marry, if we were to assume that the angels went ahead to do something not ordained by God, nowhere is that suggested in Genesis 6, in fact the chapter doesn’t seem to propose that there was something wrong in the act of angels marrying men. This leaves us with a question.

Some scholars, trying to get around this block, have suggested that the ‘sons of God’ mentioned were not angels in the heavenly court but were Fallen Angels. There is something really wrong with this view because first, nowhere does the Bible refer to the fallen angels as ‘Sons of God’.  Secondly, would it then be suggested that God chose to create souls through such a union? For fallen angels have no power to create children or even to create anything at all. That prerogative belongs to God alone, who could not have created through such an unnatural union just as he cannot create offspring from a marriage between homosexuals.

And so, after considering all this, in line with the conclusions of St. Augustine, St. Ephraim, St. John Chrysostom and in line with the Church’s authoritative teaching on the matter, I agree to the fact that the ‘Sons of God’ referred to herein Genesis 6:2 were actually the descendants of the promised seed of Seth, and the daughters of men were the descendants of the cursed line of Cain. The line of Seth is the line God chooses to further perpetuate or continue his covenant relationship with man. Earlier in Genesis 5:3, we hear only of Seth that Adam fathered Seth, “in his own image, after his own likeness”, something we do not hear of for Cain and even Abel, something that is only mentioned about the 4 chapters earlier in Genesis 1:27 and 5:1 concerning Adam, who was made in God’s image, after his own likeness. Therefore the line of Seth, still contained something of the divine spark left in Adam after the fall, and was the line where the descendants, ‘walked with God’ , as we hear of Enoch in 5:22, 24 and Noah in 6:9, both descendants of Seth.

And so, the intermarrying between people of the covenant and the cursed line brought about a more perpetration of vice and in fact a loss of the spark contained in these children of Seth that God had to say in 6:3,’My Spirit shall not be responsible for human beings, who are only flesh…’. The vice increased and this led to the flood which Genesis 6 and following is wont to describe, and God still saving a descendant of the line of Seth, Noah, and re-establishes a Noahide covenant with him.

Finally, we must bear in mind the style with which the author of Genesis presents the first few chapters of the book of Genesis. He presents these Historical truths using Figurative language and in the case of 6, mythical language, for their existed similar mythologies in the Near East of spiritual beings mating with mortals and having offspring who are demi-gods. This does not mean the author is writing myth, but is using mythology as a tool to communicate a truth and to explain an event.

From your friend and brother: Chibuzor F. Ogamba
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Author: Chibuzor F. Ogamba

Chibuzor F. Ogamba is a Nigerian Medical Student, Writer, Poet, Blogger, Public Speaker and Catholic Apologist

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