Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature of our program, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and subscribers. Here’s this week’s question: I’ve been reading books and listening to tapes about the Nephilim in Genesis six. What is your belief in this regard?
Tom: Well Dave, I want to read first, Genesis:6:4. “There were giants on the earth in those days and also afterward when the sons of God came into the daughters of men and they bore children to them. They were the mighty men who were of old. Men of renown.”
Now some Christian writers, and there are that seem to be pushing views about the Nephilim that go far beyond what the scriptures can reasonably support. But Dave, can’t we run into trouble in this area?
Dave: Well I guess we could run into trouble in any area. If we tried to go beyond what scripture says. This is a difficult passage. For example, those who interpret these as being fallen angels, they would go to Jude where it says “the angels that kept not their first estate”. It talks about them going after strange flesh and so forth, and then they would say that there was some kind of a hybrid race and that was the reason for the flood.
So who are these sons of God? Well, in Job it says the sons of God came together and Satan came with them, so it doesn’t seem to call Satan a son of God and I would think then his underlings wouldn’t be called sons of God. Men are called sons of God. Adam is called a son of God. It could just be saying that men took women as they pleased, it says. Great men of renown were born, there were giants, I mean genetically this sort of thing could happen. I don’t think that it’s saying that demonic beings or angelic fallen angels, spirit beings could procreate with human beings. If then, why not now?
But this is not just some incubus, some incident that occurs, but it says they became their husbands. They took wives.
Dave: And they had families, so this would be demonic entities or spirit entities somehow taking bodies that are not just an apparition. Not like the apparition of Mary, or whatever, but they have flesh and they remain on this earth for a period of time. I just can’t accept that.
Tom: Well Mark:12:25 tells us for when they rise from the dead they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Now that seems to indicate that—
Dave: Angels are sexless, right. They don’t have sex.
Tom: Well, well at least they don’t get married and this scripture says they’ve taken wives. So that would be at least a scripture that would make me wonder about some of the speculation.
Dave: Yeah, so in some of these cases Tom, I mean I certainly don’t pretend to have all the answers to every difficult scripture out there and in some cases, I just have to say well, I’m not sure what that means, but I cannot believe that spirit entities took bodies and became the husbands of women on this earth. Now there are some other possibilities. Some people say it was the godly seed of Seth who were intermarrying as they shouldn’t have been.
Dave: There are other possibilities as well. I don’t know Tom, but I don’t think they are spirit beings who invaded this earth that now, I mean some people try to equate it with Goliath. He had four brothers and they were giants and they say well these are some of the Nephilim. Well, but I thought they were all destroyed in the flood. And if they weren’t all destroyed in the flood, or if their spirits are still floating about out there and they can do this sort of thing, this is like a virgin birth you know. Why aren’t we having instances of this down through history and we don’t have it. So, it’s a difficult scripture Tom, and I’m not prepared to give some definitive answer except—
Tom: I don’t think you can. I don’t think—
Dave: And I don’t think it’s spirit beings having sex with women and becoming their husbands.
Tom: Yeah, right, and the speculation along this line and I think that’s part of what we’re seeing out there, the speculations built upon speculation and then doctrines form I don’t think in many cases we have a basis for it.
Dave: Actually we’re better off if we leave these kinds of passages alone and stick with what we really know.
Tom: Dave, as we’ve been indicating Genesis:6:4 is a very difficult passage to understand. It’s not that we’re not to take the time and the effort to search these things out, but there can be a real problem with developing something on something that’s too difficult to really understand. Developing even the doctrine.
Dave: there’s a temptation Tom that we want to be ones who know something that nobody else knows. We want to have a sort an esoteric interpretation and I’m not blaming anybody for that, but we have to be very careful that we don’t try to build as you say, build too much. And here’s a scripture that’s very difficult. Then I don’t think that I should try to build some big teaching based around this. I would rather go to those passages that of which we are certain and so I would say that’s the problem. And then we can become preoccupied, spend so much time, trying to understand this and I think that is dangerous as well. So what are we saying? We shouldn’t even think about it? No, as you said, it’s worth thinking about, but in the final analysis I want to be very careful that I don’t build too much on a very shaky foundation.