The Sons of God

28 February 2021 PM – Genesis 6:1-4 – Gen2021 – Scott Childs
Introduction: (Read text) I believe that our text this evening explains the struggle to pass on the faith that we saw last week in Genesis 5. Genesis 6:1-4 overlaps Genesis 5. Satan was using bad marriages to hinder godly progress.
Transition: As we examine the age-old debate over the identity of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6, we will consider two main interpretations and then focus on the obvious application.
  1. The Sons of God may have been Fallen Angels
a.         Contextual evidence
1)         Scripture seems to make a distinction between the sons of God and the daughters of men. The former may imply divinity and the latter humanity. The daughters of men descended from both Seth’s line and Cain’s line.
2)         These bad marriages greatly troubled God (v.3).
3)         The offspring of the sons of God with the daughters of men became giants in the earth, perhaps changing DNA.
4)         They were mighty men of long duration.
5)         They were men of renown or well-known.
b.         Arguments
1)         Main arguments for this include, (1) the term “sons of God” always means angels in the Old Testament; (2) the results were giants (Gen 6:4); (3) the Flood was not a natural consequence, but was a universal judgment of such vast devastations that eliminated any trace of sin and the unnatural offspring of the cohabitation between angels and women; (4) the angels were locked in hell (Tautarus) till judgment (2Pe 2:4) and that the context suggests the Flood; (5) early Hebrew and Christian tradition held that the “sons of God” were fallen angels.
2)         While Jesus said that angels do not marry, He did not say that angels are sexless (Luke 10:35-36).
3)         2 Peter 2:4-5 places the sinning of angels just before the Noahic flood. “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
4)         Jude 1:6-7 may suggest that the sinning angels had been sexually immoral as the men of Sodom. “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. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
5)         Ancient legends claim that heavenly beings intermarried with human women. Commentators have often shrunk from the admission that this piece of mythology could have a place in the Hebrew Scriptures. Accordingly, very fanciful explanations have sometimes found favour. (Cambridge)
2.        The Sons of God may have been Seth’s Godly Line
a.         Evidence
1)         The previous chapter (Gen 5) traces the godly line of Seth. Though Satan was trying to wipe out this godly line, at least one son from each godly man continued the godly line. This truth leads us right into Genesis 6.
2)         Our text takes us back to Genesis 5:4 when men began to multiply on the earth (6:1). The hundreds of sons and daughters of Adam’s descendants rapidly multiplied abundantly. The details of Genesis 5 imply that most of the sons and daughters born had no faith in God.
3)         The sons of God were visually attracted to the beauty of the daughters of men. They took them wives of any that they chose. When a marriage is based on outward beauty rather than on inward godly character, godliness usually declines. When carnal personal choice overrides godly parental direction, godliness is likely to decline.
4)         We find nothing in the text or context to suggest that the sons of God were fallen angels or anything other than the godly line of Seth.
5)         God’s spirit grieved at the fleshly carnal choices of those men (v.3). At this point, God gave humans 120 more years to repent and change before judgment. If the sons of God were demons, why would God wait another 120 years?
6)         The offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of men were “giants”. Mickelson defines the word as a bully or tyrant. TWOT adds, The word does not mean they were large but that they were heroes or fierce warriors. These bullies became mighty or powerful men of renown or of famous name. We cannot rule out the possibility that these men truly were larger than normal for that is how it is used in Numbers 13:33. Being giants does not prove they were demonic half-breeds.
7)         Nothing in the text tells us why these marriages produced heroic bullies or giants.
b.         Arguments
1)         Why would angels be physically attracted to the daughters of men? (v.2)
2)         Jesus said that angels do not marry (Mt 22:30).
3)         Satan was among the sons of God in Job, but not necessarily still one of them (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7).
4)         Just because the term “sons of God” describes angels in the book of Job that does not prove that they are angels here in Genesis 6. Neither angels nor godly men were literally the “sons of God.”
5)         In the NT, the term “sons of God” applies to those born into God’s family by saving faith in Christ. Though the NT is Greek and not Hebrew, it still shows that the phrase is not exclusively used of angels or of literal sons.
6)         The statement in Jude 1:6-7, may mean that the sin of the fallen angels was spiritually what that of Sodom was carnally. Besides, the offspring of these unholy alliances are called men, which they could not be if the product of demons and women, Genesis 6:4-5. (OT Outline Studies, William Moorehead) The offspring are also called “flesh” (v.3).
7)         Though the daughters of men did descend from both Seth and Cain, God highlighted in Genesis 5 a few of Seth’s line who faithfully followed God. This was not true of Cain’s line. Genesis 6:1-4 took place during Genesis 5.
3.        The Obvious Application
a.         Ponder the uncertain
1)         Sound Bible scholars are divided on the interpretation of the “sons of God”.
2)         Since it is not critical to the application of the passage, I will let you come to your own conclusion on the identity of the “sons of God”.
b.         Focus on the obvious
1)         The intermarriages were based on physical beauty not on spiritual character. Satan uses beauty to hide bad character. Young people, do not let looks dominate your interest in the opposite gender. Solomon wisely wrote (Proverbs 31:30) “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 19:14) “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.
2)         The result of those marriages was negative. The offspring were less godly (v.4-5). God warns, (2 Corinthians 6:14) “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?Never marry an unbeliever or carnal Christian.
3)         God is very displeased with such intermarriages (v.3).
4)         The giants born glorified men not God (v.4).
5)         H. C. Leupold observed the obvious, “When God’s children, lose sight of such basic distinctions and look about only for the pretty faces and the shapely forms, then, surely, degeneracy has set in.”
Conclusion: Young people, next to trusting Christ, finding a spouse is the most important decision you will ever make. Be wise and follow the Bible. Look for character not beauty. Seek counsel. Do not give away your heart until you are positive that you found God’s choice.
Song: Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord – 337