Today I dedicate this column to a friend, DC and offspring, who are waaaay smarter than me and will disagree, vigorously and humorously with my conclusions.
Ah, the Nephilim…the source of much controversy amongst Christians. It almost sounds like something out of a Steven Spielberg movie. Your humble, and obscure, blog queen loves a good sci fi movie and half wishes that some conspiracy theories were correct. It would make life a bit easier to understand. Almost embarrassingly, she confesses to have read the entire trilogy called The Nephilim by L.A. Marzulli.
But, alas, she must take a conventional view on the Scriptural passage in question for several reasons. Here is the passage in question.
1 When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal his days will be a hundred and twenty years."
4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
5 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them." 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
9 This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. (Bible Gateway-NIV))
First we consider the context. The NIV titles this passage “The Flood.” Therefore, we must take into account that the verses in question lead up to the reason that God decided to send the flood. The answer is found in verse 5 in which God cites man’s wickedness for His intent to destroy mankind via the flood. It does not say that God saw the wickedness of men and demons; just men.
Secondly, if demons were able to produce humanlike bodies and have sex with women, how do we know that the resurrected Jesus was not a demon? Why couldn’t a demon have taken on the form of Jesus and deceived all of the witnesses? For that matter, why couldn’t demons have taken the form of men throughout the Scriptures systematically deceiving both Jews and Christians? Remember that God had to give Satan special permission to torment Job. No such exchange is discussed in this matter.
Thirdly, we believe that only God has the right to create life. Here is an interesting thought. “To say that demons can create bodies with DNA and fertile sperm is to say that demons have creative power – which is an exclusively divine prerogative”. This article goes on to question what the classification for this sort of half-human/half-demon creature is. Jesus dies for the redemption of men. No such redemption was offered to the rebellious angels. So, how does redemption affect a half demon man?
Fourthly, if demons were having sex with women in the past, they should still be capable of doing so now. So, do we have a civilization filled with ½, ¼, and so on humans and demons running around? What sort of powers do they possess? Do they go in and out of the spirit world at will? Unfortunately, there are some “demonologists who have developed this idea to a science with all sorts of sexual demons running around and raping women in their sleep. This seems a bit far-fetched to me.(However, it does make for scary movies)!
So, for me, the answer lies elsewhere. However, it is not a slam-dunk conclusion. It is highly possible that the “sons of God” are those who have descended through the godly line of Seth while the daughters of men are those who descended through the ungodly line of Cain. This sort of union continues throughout the Old Testament and becomes a central theme of the Old Testament where there is a whole lot of intermarrying going. The results of such marriages cause paganism to be brought into the worship of the one True God, causing all sorts of problems for the Jewish people. For our pastor readers who need new words for their insult book, we give you the word syncretism. An example of this might be the following, “Anyone who allows a paedoBaptist to have communion in a “real” Christian church that only practices believers’ baptism, is guilty of syncretism and should be concerned that God might send him into captivity (perhaps in an SGM church).”
The major difficulty of this interpretation is that Adam and Eve had other children that are not accounted for. So, is it fair to call the line of Seth, godly, without accounting for the other children? God did not see fit to give us more information. Yet, this theory seems to have the fewest difficulties and is my personal favorite.
Others have thought that the Nephilim referred to the mighty rulers of that day. It is interesting that they are called the heroes of old. Yet these heroes of old were sinners and part of the problem. Perhaps their sin was multiple marriages to the daughters of men. The problem here is that kings or rulers are not mentioned in the passage. There seems to be more speculation in this theory than the previous one.
So, TWW is most interested in our readers’ responses to this question. It sure gives a whole new spin (remember?) on Rosemary’s Baby!