Before we start I would like to apologize for the ridiculously long delay in getting this out, and I think everyone deserves an explanation. First, I had no idea this would end up being as difficult as it did, and I’ll try to be a bit more mindful of that in future when planning our multiple parts. Second, the part that dragged this backwards was the logic problem in part two. Which I didn’t initially think would be as time consuming as it ended up being. Three, I felt that this particular passage needed to be thoroughly explained, as in personal experience it’s been quite the thorn in my side to explain in the past. So again, my most sincere apologies, and while I can’t promise it won’t happen again, I’ll do my best to be more mindful in future.
Now this is going to be a three part mini-study, with the next parts directly following what I’m talking about here. Title of which will be Man’s Degeneration. Lets dive in!
Man’s Degeneration Pt. 1: Angels?
Genesis 6, pt. 1, v. 1-4 — http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%206:1-4&version=GNV
So the reason I’ll be taking so long over this section is because there’s a lot in the notes of the G.S.* which completely changes how I have looked at this passage in the past. Taking that into consideration, this first part of this mini-study will be more of an introduction than an actual exposition, though I’m sure some exposition will wiggle its way in anyway.
This is one of the passages that I find quite a few non-Christians and Christians alike seem to have a problem with. I’ve run into this verse a few times, and while I knew the right answer, and the explanation, there are certain considerations to take in. Granted, some of which need certain presuppositions before they can be established, which I hope to do in this session.
So here is the question I typically hear from this passage, and the questions that sometimes lead out of it.
Who are the “sons of God” in this passage? Are they angels? Or other men that God created? And this almost invariably leads to questions on the nephilim.
So with that, I’ll explain where I’m coming from, and then God-will-it in the next discussion, we’ll continue with the actual passage.
The presupposition I’m operating from, is that if it isn’t in the Scriptures, I’m not assuming that it’s true.
Also, if the Scriptures mention something, but don’t give specifics in regards to questions that could be asked, then I assume it was meant in the broadest and most general of ways, instead of trying to insert my personal view of what I think it could mean specifically.
By following these two presuppositions, I avoid running into the dangerous situation of not having Scripture to back up my understanding of the Scriptures. (I covered this concept briefly in DD #3)
How does that relate to this?
Well the Bible quite clearly shows that Angels are not sexual beings; in Christ’s words, “For when they shall rise again from the dead, neither men marry, nor wives are married, but are as the Angels which are in heaven.” — Mark 12:25
Now some people might say, “He was only talking about angels in heaven!” Well… let’s apply the above presuppositions.
Does the Bible say anything on this topic anywhere else, specifically about fallen angels? No, it doesn’t.
In light of that, not having any other evidence to the contrary, then taking this to be an umbrella statement, that means that all angels are not sexual beings.
“But wait!” some say, “The Bible never mentions that fallen angels aren’t sexual beings! So they could be sexual beings!” Well as there is no evidence to support this view from the Bible, we have now departed from logical Biblical thought, and are now dealing in “what if’s” that cannot be confirmed or denied, and therefore have no weight in the canon** of Scripture.
As an additional point, Hebrews 1:5-14 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%201:5-14&version=GNV), 1 Peter 1:10-12 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Peter%201:10-12&version=GNV), and Matthew 25:41 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2025:41&version=GNV), when looked at collectively show that angels have an understanding of salvation (1 Peter), that the fallen angels are condemned to hell (Matt.), and that angels are less in glory than humans because we have been made in the image of God. Angels have not.
Why would God deface His image, by allowing His image bearers to reproduce with creatures who are not only not made in His image, but who are eternally fallen? We already know God’s position on His image, and beyond that, beastiality; remember, angels aren’t just a different species, they’re conceptually a completely different kind of being, with a kind of existence that we cannot fully understand or comprehend. Would God bend the natural laws of reproduction like this? It’s completely inconsistent with His character. Does He ever do this anywhere else in the Bible? No. And we know that nothing evil comes from God, James 1:13 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%201:13&version=GNV), therefore why would God enable something He quite clearly says is an sin? He wouldn’t. He does not enable sin, nor deliberately deface His own image.
All that being said, I can see no way of reconciling the belief that fallen angels reproduced with human women. And with that we come to a close. I hope this introduction has been helpful. We’ll be covering next the other possibility of this passage, as well as the G.S. notes on the subject.
**Canon: n., from the Latin canon or “rule.” Originally, an ecclesiastical code of law or standard of judgment, later any standard of judgment, usually based upon determinate set of authorized texts, like the canonical books of the Bible, Torah, Qu’ran, or Sutras. In modern literature study, the “best” or “most important” or “most representative” works of secular literature which anchor the study of English and American literature. In religious canons, works previously treated as part of this set of texts but which have been excluded as inauthentic for some reason are “apocryphal” (also, “The Apocrypha”), from the Latin apocryphus or “spurious,” itself a loan word from Greek where it means “hidden.” In literary studies, the “canon” of an author also is a name for those works known to have been written by her/him, as distinguished from those mistakenly or mischievously or maliciously attributed to her/him (e.g., “Chaucer’s apocrypha,” most of which were identified and removed from the Chaucerian canon in the nineteenth and early twentieth century).
Man’s Degeneration Pt. 2: Children of Seth?
Genesis 6, pt. 2, v. 1-4 — http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%206:1-4&version=GNV
This next part focuses on the scripture passage and the G.S. footnotes on it.
The first thing the G.S. note is the term, “sons of God” of which they say, “The children of the [G]odly, which began to degenerate.”
The next, just words later is on, “the daughters of men”; “Those that came of wicked parents, as of Cain.”
Now let’s apply a little logic to these verses to figure out whether the “sons of God” are the descendants of Seth:
Note: I’m acting off of the presupposition that we’ve proven wrong the question of whether or not “sons of God” is referring to angels.
Note: For those of you not familiar with introductory logic, the following is a syllogism. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllogism)
The “daughters of man” are not descended from the same ancestor as the “sons of God”.
None of “Cain’s descendants” are not the “daughters of man”.
Ergo, “Cain’s descendants” are not the “sons of God”.
Okay, let’s break this down in it parts to clarify:
(1) The first premise, is stating that the “daughter’s of man” referenced in this passage are not from the same bloodline, or lineage, as the “sons of God” referenced in this passage.
(2) The second premise states that the only people, of those referenced here, that are Cain’s descendants, are the “daughters of man”.
(3) The conclusion then states that if the the only descendants of Cain’s are the “daughters of man”, then the “sons of God” cannot be Cain’s descendants.
Now why use logic here? Why is this so significant?
Well we’ve already established from the last DD, that the “sons of God” are not angels, which leaves us with one of four choices. They’re either descendants of Cain (C), Abel (A), or Seth (S), or one of Adam and Eve’s other children (OC).
We know they can’t be descendants of A as he had no children, which leaves us with C, S, or OC.
The possibility of them being the descendants of the OC, is next to none if you look at how the Genealogy is depicted in this whole passage (Genesis 5). Not once does it deviate from talking about the descendants of Cain and Seth. It only mentions other children as a passing note, never stopping to focus on them or tell us anything about them. When it goes into detail, it is always in the context of the lineage of these two Men.
Therefore I think it is safe to assume that the “sons of God” are from the bloodlines of one of the three first children.
So we’ve eliminated both A and the OC from the roster, leaving us with C or S.
And as the above syllogism clearly shows that it is not C, then it must be S.
Not while I can’t say this is true definitively, so don’t take this to be doctrinal, the Bible is not inconsistent, and as the only other possible option is the OC, which I don’t believe, as that would be inconsistent with how the information has been presented up until now, it leaves only S as the possible ancestor of the “sons of God”.
Okay! We’re done! Phew! That was a tiring one. I can’t tell you how many hours went into this last DD, but the most challenging part was correctly wording that logic problem, the process taking place over a grueling twenty-four hours. Much thanks to my good friend Thalia Borreson who worked with me tirelessly for multiple hours on end to get this right. Introductory logic is not a strong point of mine as of currently, and I could not have done it without her.
Onwards to the last part of this mini-study!
P.s. As a note, if the question to this would be asking if “sons of God” could be referring to other humans on earth, then go back and read DD #4, in which I deal with the issue of Cain’s wife. But in a nutshell, no, that isn’t a feasible argument.
Man’s Degeneration Pt. 3: Man’s fall from grace
Genesis 6, pt. 3, v. 5-8 — http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%206:5-8&version=GNV
The last part of this mini-study. It’s been a long road and we’re finally at it’s end. Let’s dive in!
So in verse five, if we read it with the context of the previous four verses, we see that mankind has completely fallen away from God, both the bloodlines of Cain and Seth. Reading the rest of the passage, it seems that the actions of the “sons of God” served as the catalyst which caused the following actions to occur.
Moving onto verses six and seven, we see that God regrets making man, as we have so fully fallen away from acknowledging Him as our God and creator. Now this is an interesting passage which if my memory has caused a lot of questions for many Christian’s in the past, as several (or perhaps many or most?) versions use a term along the lines of, “God repented”, which is of course confusing, as we typically understand repentance only in regards to sin, and as we know that God doesn’t sin, when why does it say repent? As the G.S. explain, God dictated in terms we can understand. (If only we were this patient and understanding with one another while maintaining a spirit of foresight in all we do.)
In that case, I’d take this verse to be understood as: God felt sorry for creating man.
Or another way of saying that, and to flesh it out some more, would be that: He felt sad over the state of mankind, which he had created. And while He did not create evil, or encourage our pursuit of it, He created us to have free will and conscience, and a understanding of pleasure. And in our fallen state we pursued sinful things, loving the sinful lusts of the flesh more than acknowledging or honoring our creator.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that God was sorry for creating all of life, as He references to things that fly, the things that crawl, and every beast upon the earth.
Now I can’t even begin to comprehend or imagine that level of degradation. How far had man fallen in that day and age that they had managed to corrupt the rest of creation? The mere thought is abominably revolting to my mind.
My next thought is that praise be to God for having the mercy to allow us to live each and every day. That he would send His one and only Son for people with the potential for that level of sin (and we’ve already in the thousands of years from the flood managed to do many horrendous things), is a truly staggering thought. That’s insane love, which until the last day, we will probably never be able to comprehend.
I can understand why some non-Christian’s when our faith is explained to them have an issue believing that someone is capable of that level of forgiveness. I can’t understand it myself. But I have faith that He who has that level of forgiveness, did indeed forgive us. And I expect that I’ll understand it one day. But until then, I rest in the fact that God said that He has forgiven us. Even if I don’t understand why, I trust His word.
And with that, I appeal to you. Don’t let your sense of guilt stop you from coming before God for forgiveness. We all have skeletons in our closets, things we done, said, or thought, that in our minds make us irredeemable, and yes, in our understanding they are. But trust that God is beyond your comprehension, and therefore is telling the truth that our sins are indeed forgiven. Take comfort in that fact; don’t let it become a road block.
I hope this has been a blessing to all, and I’ll try to make sure that I keep up with the DD’s on a day-to-day basis.
Cheers, and I’ll see you on the other side.
Cody, logging off.