So I am back from being bogged down with school and just life in general. what have I been doing, Well I had final school paper on the topic of disobedient angels that took about one month of research and one week of hard writing (remember I am NOT a writer am an artist). So I thought I would share my paper with you, read it, chew it over and please comment to let me know what you thank.
Disobedient Angels Jude 1:6 & Gen.6
What is Genesis 6:1-4 and Jude 1:6 talking about? Our they Angels, kings, godly men?
“Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, Whom ever they chose. Then the LORD said,’my Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years .’ The Nephilim were in the earth in those days and after, when the sons of God came into the daughters of man, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:1-4).
From the verses above there are three major interpretations of what the phrase “sons of God” means. The first being the sons of God referring to the godly line of Seth. Second the term referring to the kings and tyrants of Cain’s bloodline. The third and final interpretation indicating a group of angelic beings. All three interpretations have had scripture, history background, and cultural evidence that people have used to make there views known. We will look at some of the Scripture and facts that support these three interpretations.
In the text prior to Genesis 6:1-4 we see the development of the rebellious blood line of Cain and the godly lineage of Seth. Both Genesis 5:19 “Lamech took two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other was Zillah” and Genesis 5:23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, Listened to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; and a boy for striking me; If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” shows Lamech a decedent of Cain first taking two wives. The second verse shows him boasting of the people he has killed. Seth’s lineage on the other hand is seen calling or being called by the name of the Lord. Genesis 5:26 ” To Seth, to him also a son was born; he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.” Contextual evidence seems to lean toward the phrase “sons of God” referring to the so-called godly line of Seth. Another point supporting the Sethite view is, It appears that God sent the Flood because of what man did, not what angels did. “My Spirit shall not always strive with man…. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth… And it repented (grieved) Him the Lord that He made man on the earth’ (Gen. 6:3,5-6 italics mine). If this ‘fallen angels’ view is correct, God should have repented that He created angels!” (Wiersbe, W.W.(1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Jud 5). Wheaton, 3.: Victor Books)
However looking at Genesis 6 using good exegetical principles, (Observation, Interpretation, and Application) requires that the word “men” have the same meaning in verse 6:2 that it has in verse 6:1. The Hebrew translation for men is ha’adam, ha’adam is simply understood as humanity/mankind, referring to the entire human race including both the lineage of Cain and the lineage of Seth. If the daughters of men only indicates the immoral line of Cain, then the word ha’adam must therefor have a different more restricted meaning in verse 6:2 then in 6:1. This more restricted meaning would go against a good exegetical guided interpretation.
An additional point is that, on what basis can the whole line of Seth be called “sons of God”? How do we know that some Sethites did not fall into sin? It says in Genesis 1:26-27 that God made man in His likeness “Then God said , ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them”. So yes, Adam was created in God’s likeness and could well be called a son of God, but when Adam sinned he was no longer in God’s likeness, because God knows no sin. Corinthians 5:21 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”. You see when Seth was born to Adam, Seth was born in Adam’s image, Genesis 5:3 ” he beget a son in his likeness, after his image”. Both Seth and Cain were born in Adam and Eve’s image, fallen and by their very nature sinful at heart. However in practice Cain’s bloodline may have become more engrossed in sin then Seth’s line, neither apart from the grace of God could bare the title “sons of God”. The more obvious difficulty with this explanation is the reason why the union of these two families would result in the birth of unusual offspring as suggested by the words, “when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown” Genesis 6:4 also note the words from verse four : ” There were giants in the earth in those days.” These are called Nephilim, seen here and in Numbers 13:33.
Some scholars have sought to define the expression “sons of God” by paralleling it with other ancient cultures. It is fascinating to learn that in ancient Egypt some rulers were identified as sons of a particular god; son of RE, son of Horus, son of Amun, etc. Egypt was not the only civilization where this is seen, Ugartic writings also shows its kings, tyrants, and dictators also bore the title “sons of God” and were worshiped as such. According to this view the “sons of God” are kings and or tyrants, that hungered for power and wealth yearning to make a name for themselves by building a dynasty by ways of polygamy and intermarriage. One of the reasons people tend to like this view more than the Sethite view mentioned above is because the phrase ” daughters of men” is not restricted to a specific group of women, it is true to the Greek, ha’adam meaning the daughters of all men.
The three problems I see with ” sons of God” being translated as king, tyrant, or noble men is the use of the ancient text that it is paralleled to. We know that ancient Egypt did not worship God (Yahweh) so we can immediately tell that it is not a reliable parallel. Second the Ugartitc literature (Ugarit was a Phoenician city at the hight of it power around 1300 B.C and fell shortly after) Ugarit text has shed much light on what form and style the Bible was written in, it has also helped in many word translations in Psalms. I do not think it applies here owing to the fact that the Ugarit people worshipped many gods; Dagon, Tirosch, Horon, and Shachar. The Bible mentions some of these gods calling them false gods, idols made by man. They worshipped all these gods along side God (Yahweh). God was just seen as another spirit deity to call to in times of trouble. Yes, Ugarit and Egypt literature do parallel to the phrase “sons of God” meaning men of power of authority. But “the meaning of Scripture must be the controlling factor in our conclusion. To impose from other sources answers to the questions of authorship, text, interpretations,, intended recipients, of God’s desired response is to place the source above the authority of Scripture. (Understanding and Applying the Bible page 306). John Warwick Montgomery writes, “A passage of Holy Scripture is to be taken as true in its natural, literal sense unless the context of the passage itself indicates otherwise or unless an article of faith established elsewhere in Scripture requires a broader understanding of the text…Extra-biblical linguistics and cultural considerations must never decide the interpretation of a text; and an use of extra-biblical material to arrive at an interpretation inconsistent with the truth of a scriptural passage is to be rejected. Extra-biblical data can and should put critical questions to a text, but only Scripture itself can legitimately answer questions about itself”.
Rebellious, disobedient, defiant angels. According to the final interpretation the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2 and 4 are angels rebelling against God. Choosing to take on the form of powerful human-like creatures, these angels married “the daughters of men” women either from the line Seth of Cain (Gen. 6:2). The resulting children of these marriages were the Nephillim. The Nephillim are described as giants with physical superiority (Num.13:33) thus proving themselves as men of renown because of their bodily force and military might. This race of half human creatures were killed in the flood along all mankind, who were sinners in their own right. Genesis 6:12 “And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.”
In approaching the text of Genesis 6:1-4 we should let Scripture define its own terms. If Scripture does not define a term or phrase we should look at the surrounding culture and seek linguistic help. The Bible clearly defines the phrase “sons of God” for us in Job 1:6 “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan also came among them.” Job 2:1 ” Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord.” It is also seen in Daniel 3:25, Job 38:7, Psalms 89:6 mentioning “sons of God” in the context of angels. People who discard this standpoint willingly admit the fact that it is obviously defined in Scripture. The basis for abandoning this fallen angels perspective is that it is said as being in violation of reason, making Genesis 6 read as a mythology instead of a God inspired Scripture. One passage that seems to be controversial of this interpretation is found in Matthew 22:29-30 ” You are mistaken, not understanding the Scripture, or the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but like angels in heaven.” They use these passage to say that angels are said to be sexless (without gender). Yet is this the true interpretation. In Jesus’s teaching He compared men in heaven to angels in heaven. Neither men nor angels are said to be sexless in heaven but we are told that in heaven there will be no marriage. Angels where never told to be “fruitful and multiply” as was men. Some say that angels can not take on bodily form, how can this be when in Heb. 13:2 it said “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” In Genesis 19 we see the two angels that came to judge the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were clearly in male human form. Another thing Matthew 22:29-30 clearly says angels that are in heaven, the sons of God mentioned in Genesis 6:2 are no longer in heaven, they are on earth.
In the New Testament, two passages appear to make reference to this event in Genesis 6 supporting the disobedient angels view. ” For God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell ( Greek translation is Tartarus ) and committed them to pits of darkness reserved for judgment.”(Peter 2:4), and angels that did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under for judgement of the great day.” (Jude 1:6).
Studying Jude reveals some interesting facts about this particular group of angels 1) They abandoned their proper abode 2) they will be kept in eternal bonds under darkness for judgment day 3) they sinned. Paralleling Jude1:6, in different Bible translations reveals some more insight to the passage.
“who did not keep their own domain” Jude 1:6 NASB
“who did not stay with in the limits of their proper authority” Jude 1:6 TEV
“who did not keep their own position” Jude 1:6 NRSV
We see one thing that does not change, the angels did not keep their own position/domain/authority. The term domain is the Greek term archˉe, which means origin, beginning, authority or rule of something. The beginning of the created order (John 1:1 and 1 John 1:1), the beginning of the gospel (Mark 1:1 and Phil. 4:15), the beginning of assurance/confidence (Heb. 3:14) it came to apply to “angelic authorities” as seen in Cor. 15:24 ” then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.” also in Eph. 1:21 “far above, all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also the one to come.” This group of angels left where they were created their origin (heaven) and purposefully shunned Gods authority/rule over them and went to another domain (earth). Jude 1:6 “But abandon their proper abode.” This fits the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2 and 4 being interpreted as rebellious angels very well. This act was a willful rejection of God’s will and authority, an act of complete disobedience. “However, it is quite clear in the Bible that there are two groups of angels, one that have a certain freedom to oppose God and His people and another who are confined(2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6). Though there is considerable (and often needless heated) disagreement over why this second group is in prison, it seems that it is because they are the ones who committed the unnatural sin recorded in Genesis 6:2-4(Ryrie, C.C. 1995. A survey of Bible doctrine. Chicago: Moody Press)
We are often curious about things the Bible only hints at but are unclear. I believe that if this information was crucial to our salvation and walk with God, God would have provided it in a more clear complete form. So for now the debate is still on and the matter still unsettled.
I think one reason many of the events of Gen. 1-11 are found in other cultures (i.e similar creation accounts, similar flood accounts, similar accounts of angels taking women) is because all humans were together and had some knowledge of God during this period, but after the tower of Babel’s dispersion this knowledge was corrupted. A good example of this is Greek mythology where the half human/half superhuman giants called Titans are imprisoned in Tartarus, this very name used only once in the Bible (2 Peter 2) for the holding of angels that did not keep their abode.
Resources and Bibles used
NASB, NKJ, NRSV, TEV, ASV, The Message
Utley, R.J.D. (2001). Vol 1A: How it All Began: Genesis 1-11. Study Guide Commentary Series (70-76).Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.
Utley, R.J.D. (2000). Vol.11:Jesus’ Half-Brothers Speak: James and Jude. Study Guide Commentary Series (93-94). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.
Brand, C., Draper, C., England, A., Bond, S., Clendenen, E.R., Butler, T.C., & Latta, B. (2003). Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (1519-1520). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
du Toit, A. (1998). The New Testament Milieu. Halfway House: Orion
Duffield,G.P., & Van Cleave, N.M. (1983). Foundations of Pentecostal theology (480-481). Los Angeles, Calif.: L.I.F.E Bible College.
Knowles, A. (2001). The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed.)(680). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.
Evans, W., & Coder, S.M. (1998). The great doctrines of the Bible (Enl. ed.)(218-219). Chicago: Moody