Of late, I have been leading the 9 to 12 year olds at my church through a discussion of the book of Genesis. When I came to Genesis 6, the question came up that inevitably comes up when surveying this book of the Bible: “Who were the sons of God in Genesis 6?” Now, this was not my first time having studied this text, so the answer came fairly easy for me, but I realize that it is still a hotly debated issue in Evangelicalism. In fact, I recently had an exchange with someone on social media over this topic, and the guy was less than cordial toward me for my stance.
The default position in the Dispensationalist SBC churches I attended as a child was that the sons of God were fallen angels who became like men and procreated with human women, the offspring of which were giant, hybrid creatures called Nephilim. The go-to text for proving this interpretation was always Job 1:6 where Satan (a fallen cherub) is said to have appeared before God “when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord” (NASB). The idea seems to be, if a set of words is used in one way over in one book of the Bible, it must be used in the exact same way wherever else it appears.
Of course, the proponents of this view also cited a few verses from the New Testament:
“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment” (2Peter 2:4; NASB).
“And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6; NASB).
“in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water” (1Peter 3:19-20; NASB).
Seems like a pretty open-and-shut case, doesn’t it? Hardly. In the next post, we will examine their arguments closer and get into the context of these passages to see whether or not the arguments hold up and are truly supported by the texts here cited.