We do not know who the “sons of God” or the “daughters of man” are in Genesis 6. There are at least three theories. The early church fathers believed, as many do today, that the “sons of God” were angels. Some point to the language of Job 1:6: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.” The problem with this view is that angels do not procreate, and there is no biblical truth that supports angels came down to earth and found wives among the daughters of man. Unless those fallen angels possessed evil men…and that is the second view. Perhaps these were demon possessed men who took whatever they wanted. A third view is that the “sons of God” were just really bad men, Cainites given over completely to evil, and taking what they wanted, including Sethite women. Bottom line on this? No. One. Knows.
We also do not know for sure who the Nephilim are in verse 4. The word literally means “giants,” and we see them again in Number 13:30-33, after Caleb had given his report to the people about the promised land, saying in essence, “Let’s go; we can take this land!” But then the others who had gone into the land said, “No, there are giants there, the Nephilim, and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers.” Who were these guys, these Nephilim? No proof that they were anything but just really big men, but some believe they were the offspring of the demon-possessed men. Bottom line again? No. One. Knows.
It is a mystery. But this much is clear. The pattern of sin described here looks very much like what happened in the garden. These men, whoever they were, “saw that the daughters of man were attractive.” And “they took…any they chose.” Just as, “the woman saw that the tree was good for food…(so) she took of its fruit and ate.” She wanted to be like God, and she stepped over the line that God had clearly set down. These men wanted what they saw, so they stepped over the line and design God had created. Allen Ross writes, “The conflict begins when boundaries are overstepped in the matter of marriage… the stages of seeing and taking are followed by intervention of God.” Men and women cannot usurp the authority of God and overstep his boundaries. God will act.
“I will blot out man whom I have created,” God says. The word there for blot out is maha, and it means to wipe off or wipe away. It indicates a complete removal of one thing from another. Here in Genesis God says he will completely remove the wicked from the earth.
He will do this again, sometime in the future. It will be the final act of God before judgment. Peter writes, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies (stars and planets and galaxies) will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”
Here is the good news for those of us who are in Christ, whose names, as Paul said of his fellow workers, “are in the book of life.” We are his sheep, and Jesus will lose none of his sheep, but each will have eternal life, for this is the will of the Father. (John 6) And Jesus said of us who believe, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10)
What is our only hope? The grace of God. God is good and does good and we run to him for refuge. We run to the ark of protection which can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer who died in our place and was raised from the dead. And who is coming back for us! Jesus said it himself: “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” -Matthew 24
Taste and see that the Lord is good! This holy week, run again to the cross of our forgiveness and marvel again at the empty tomb of our resurrection!