Nephilim: Angels Cannot Drown

Genesis 6:1 – The Nephilim

by Wayne Jackson

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The context of Genesis 6:1ff speaks of the “sons of God” who took wives of the “daughters of men.” Subsequently, the record reveals that in those days “the Nephilim were in the earth.”

From these phrases, it has been assumed by some Bible students that certain fallen angels (“sons of God”) mated with women of the earth (“daughters of men”), and that to these unions were born a sort of hybrid race called the Nephilim.

For this theory there is no evidence, and it runs counter to numerous biblical facts. Note:

  1. Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14). As such, they do not consist of flesh (Luke 24:39), hence, they are incapable of a physical relationship.
  2. Christ Himself plainly said that angels do not marry (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-35).
  3. There is, in fact, nothing in Genesis 6:4 that indicates the Nephilim were offspring of the marriages suggested in this context.
  4. The word “Nephilim,” usually identified as “giants” (ASV fn), is a term of uncertain meaning. Likely it suggests the idea of strength and prowess. It is used in Numbers 13:33 of certain inhabitants of Canaan whom the Israelite spies encountered in their survey of the land. The context indicates that they were merely “men of great stature” (32); they were not the progeny of angels.

The most reasonable view of Genesis 6:1f is that the allusion refers to the fact that some men, from the godly lineage of Seth, called “sons of God” (an expression denoting those in covenant relationship with Jehovah — cf. Deuteronomy 14:1; 32:5), began to pursue fleshly interests, and so took wives of “the daughters of men,” i.e., those who were unbelievers. (Is there any principle that we can learn from this?)

The subsequent context seems to suggest that it was this carnal trend that ultimately brought the Flood, which prompts this interesting question. If the “sons of God” were angels, how did the Flood serve as a judgment upon them? Can angels drown?

So, underline “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1, and in your margin write: Not angels, who do not marry. See Matthew 22:30.


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7 thoughts on “Nephilim: Angels Cannot Drown

  1. So how did Jacob wrestle with an angel? How did demons possess first a human then pigs? How can angels be punished by material means in other reports in the Bible, but according to you cannot be washed away by water? Regarding the Seth-line argument, how do you answer that angels and Adam were created by God (sons of God), while all others were from births (sons of man); and that language is consistent throughout the Holy Book?

      1. None of what you just said would refute that angels – these angels – were corporeal. Whether you see them as possessing the powers of Aquaman, it does not change that they were material beings capable of the crimes the Bible attributes to them, not the line of Seth.

        If you can wrestle an angel, that angel can probably have a roll in the hay with the daughters of men. And let’s not forget a whole depraved town chasing two angels for the town’s namesake specialty.

      2. ‘Corporeal’ angels, Michael. Well that’s a new one. It’s a total contradiction in terms. Angels are pure spirits, not corporeal. You have really created a metaphysical problem for yourself here.

      3. Says who? You? I’m just paying attention to the Holy Book, and the Word is angels took wives and begat the Nephilim, the Word is Jacob wrestled with an angel, the Word is that Sodomites tried to sodomize two angels, the Word is that angels even possess men at times. So, perhaps you could explain why the Bible gives accounts of physical interactions with angels, while you deem to limit their powers, like a Dungeon Master reading from the game character manual?

      4. Corporeal angels!
        You really lost me there, Michael.
        I suggest for you a basic course in Christian philosophy and theology (including angelology).

      5. Mr. Thorn, you are being ignorant. Instead of answering factual references, you are hiding behind illusory references to supposed dogma. I was a fan of your blog, but as professor and doctor myself, I recognize someone who has not opened a book. You lost a reader today because if you cannot be trusted to acknowledge the many instances of angels described as having physical form in the Bible, then what else do you misrepresent. Caveat emptor, followers.

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