Studies in Genesis, The Fall of Man, Lesson XVI, Genesis 6:1-8
We will begin our lesson this week by reading Genesis 6:1-8:
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. 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. 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. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
In our study of Genesis thus far we have been brought to this passage, with knowledge that God has put in place two lines, a line of Seth and a line of Cain.
We have called them the righteous line and the unrighteous line for one line leads to a promised deliverer while the other line leads to destruction.
The lesson here is that in the end only the righteous line will endure.
Chapter six continues this narrative showing that the righteous line narrows to eight souls while the unrighteous line narrows to a point where there are no souls.
But that is not the death of the unrighteous line for soon after their destruction by the flood this line raises its head but again it heads toward the destination of destruction.
Before we get into the study of this chapter six passage think of where it leads.
It does not lead to blessings from God but instead it leads to curses from God.
Now there are four characters, not including Noah, in chapter 6, verses 1-8 and all four of these characters are headed for death by a universal flood which God will bring to carry out God’s promise as recorded in verse seven to: destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth;
These four characters are the “sons of God”, the daughters of men, the giants, called Nephilim in most other translations, and the mighty men, who were the results of the union of the “sons of God” and the daughters of men.
There are several interpretations as to these characters so let us look at the first group, the “sons of God”.
Many take the “sons of God” as the godly line from Seth and through the process of time compromising to a point where they unite with the daughters of men who have come from the ungodly line of Cain.
We have been given in chapters four and five detailed descriptions of these lines so it is natural to assume that this account continues in chapter six.
So within this interpretation we are witness to the breakdown of separation of those who worshipped God and those who did not.
This of course threatened the godly seed through whom the deliverer was to be born.
God would not allow this to happen and this mandate resulted in the flood and the rescue of the godly line, a line reduced in size to only Noah and his family, eight souls.
This interpretation makes many assumptions and cannot be absolutely accepted therefore others have brought forth other possibilities.
Calling the line of Seth the “sons of God” is an assumption.
Calling the daughters of men the line of Cain is also an assumption.
God gives this passage to show us the fall of mankind which leads to its destruction, but also to show us his devotion to his promise to being the deliverer.
Another interpretation of who the “sons of God” were is based upon comparing it with the languages of the ancient world where some rulers were identified as the son of a particular god.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for God, Elohim, is used for men in positions of authority.
And in Psalm 82:1 men are referred to as gods.
It reads: God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
In other versions the word gods is replaced by rulers.
So according to this view the “sons of God” are nobles, aristocrats and/or kings.
And within this view, these men, these powerful men lusted after power and wealth desiring to become somebodies, men of renown.
And therefore marriage unions were such to bring this about joining power with power resulting in mighty men, children of renown.
But one such union was not enough for these “sons of God”, these nobles, these aristocrats, and joining with Lamech who married two wives many wives were sought for the more wives gained the more power.
So within this interpretation the sin was not intermarriage between two groups but the sin was polygamy.
And in this the harem was born bringing with it its debauchery and wickedness and godlessness in all ways.
And therefore we are led to read verse five.
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.
And another interpretation that has a wide following is the view that “sons of God” are fallen angels, Satan’s angels, which have taken to themselves the form of a man.
This view believes that these fallen angels are those which Jude describes in Jude 6:
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
So this interpretation says these fallen angels, tools of Satan, in the form of a man took to themselves women, from the line of Cain or the line of Seth and the resulting offspring were mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
The question to ask is why offspring like this were produced and those who espouse this interpretation explain that the angels had power to choose their own selves as mighty and powerful and therefore would produce offspring in like manner.
Like father like son, but remember the interpretation is that the angels were fallen angels, rebels against God and so too were their offspring and the result of this union was judgment.
So does this interpretation have any Biblical basis?
God uses the term “sons of God” in several places in the Bible.
In Job 1:6, Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
So here we see Satan, an angel, in a group called the “sons of God”.
And in Job 2:1, Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.
And again “sons of God” are mentioned in Job 38:7, When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
And inferred in Psalm 89:6, For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?
And then the Almighty Lord, the only begotten son is seen in:
Daniel 3:25, He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
But also are those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ called sons of God as we see in several New Testament passages such as:
John 1:12, 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:
So the conclusion of the matter is that “sons of God” include angels and include God’s only begotten son, Jesus Christ and His own body of believers.
Now in our passage the plural is used indicating many sons, and that could be many fallen angels who have taken on a human male body.
Now one passage which opponents of this view use is:
Matthew 22:29,30 where Jesus discusses the issue of marriage in heaven,
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
Those who hold the view that the “sons of God” are angels say these verses speak of angels in heaven, not on the earth.
Angels in angel form have no gender but angels in human form take on gender as described in Genesis and elsewhere.
The Apostle Paul in the epistle to the Hebrews chapter 13 while speaking of brotherly love said, 2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
The men of Sodom were attracted to the angels who came to Lot in the form of men.
They saw these men come to Sodom and were attracted to them in such an intense way that they demanded they come out and engage in depravity.
Certainly this alone may indicate these angels took upon themselves the form of men in its entirety.
These angels were sent to Lot by God and angels were sent to Abraham also.
Did angels have this power to assume the form of a man with a man’s complete ability to reproduce?
God’s sent ones came in the form of men so those who espouse this interpretation take the position that Satan’s sent ones also have this power.
Remember Satan took upon himself the form of a serpent, a serpent by the way who spoke Eve’s language, and he also masquerades as an angel of light.
We have referred to Jude 6 wherein angels did not keep their own estate or domain but abandoned their own habitation.
Does this speak of abandoning their fallen estate?
And if so did those angels who fell with Satan become discontented with this estate and begin to live among men and women as men?
Jude 6 is used by those believing in this interpretation to show that God judged them (these “sons of God”) for what they did prior to the flood and has kept them in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
So within this interpretation there are unbound angels of Satan and bound angels of Satan, the bound ones who performed as men and married the daughters of men, produced the mighty men of Genesis 6 who by the way were all destroyed in the flood.
This interpretation that the “sons of God” are fallen angels includes the idea that Satan was determined to interfere with God’s plan to bring a deliverer from the righteous line.
Satan is the author of confusion and the righteous line was open to his confusion for Satan knew from God’s word to Eve that through the seed of the woman God was going to bring forth a Messiah who would destroy him.
This battle is a theme of all scripture and it is here also in chapter six.
So Genesis six with this angel interpretation in view describes a desperate attempt to attack the godly remnant named in chapter five.
At every step Satan battles God, Satan battles Christ to destroy the righteous seed for Satan knows that his head is at stake, and that the righteous seed leads to his enemy, the truest son of God, Jesus Christ.
But God always has his remnant, this time narrowed to one family who was given an Ark of safety, while all else perished including the sons of God whoever they were.
God saw, according to some, the godly line compromising with the ungodly line, or of others who believe rulers and nobles took unto themselves the daughters of men in multitudes and in so doing corrupting the wonderful state of marriage God had instituted in the garden or lastly those who believe the “sons of God” were angels in the form of men.
But whatever the truth we read in Genesis 6:5-8,
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. 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. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord
Now whichever interpretation of chapter six is correct the lesson is this.
Men in their fallen state are bent on going it alone.
I can do it! I don’t need help!
I recall my son at age two or three when we tried to do something for him as parents are apt to do, apt to do too much I think.
His name is Erik and at that time he could not yet pronounce his name but one thing he could do was wanting to go it alone.
He would say in a loud voice, Eggit doo, eggit doo.
He wanted to go it alone.
But we are not made to go it alone.
We are made to depend upon our maker and to call upon Him knowing that our only strength is that which God supplies.
Satan put in place a system whereby the people of old attempted to live apart from God, making a people self-sufficient, giants, mighty men, men of renown.
Is it no different in our world today as men glory in men, glory in the accomplishments of men and think nothing of the God who made them nor the strength that only God supplies.
We may not see in our midst fallen angels in human form to further the cause of Satan but we have false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
For they take their orders from the master himself who so often appears as the angel of light.
Paul knew his true state for he knew he needed deliverance for there was no truth in him and he called out to God.
Romans 7:24, O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.