Previously, I talked about a pretty selfish answer to the interview question, “if you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be.” When I thought about how to introduce my thoughts for today, my ideas circled back to job interviews. So I apologize if this introduction seems like it is from the Department of Redundancy Department.
If someone were to ask you, “If money was no option, and you could do anything with your life, what would it be?” What would you say? When I interviewed for my current teaching position, I went with the textbook answer: travel. I said that I would love to see the world, and experience different cultures. That sounds very open-minded and exciting, but there was a problem. I lied.
I wouldn’t travel. I would be a cryptozoologist.
Cryptozoology, as defined by Webster’s, is, “the study of and search for animals and especially legendary animals (as Sasquatch) usually in order to evaluate the possibility of their existence.”
That’s right, I would be out searching for Bigfoot, the Chupacabra, the Jersey Devil, Ghosts, you name it! Well, except the Loch Ness Monster… Big sea monsters scare me. I digress.
Knowing this about me, it is easy to understand why one of the most intriguing verses in Genesis to me is in Genesis 6. Genesis 6:1-4 says, “When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans forever, for they are mortal[b]; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”4 The Nephilim were on the
earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”
I have my own presuppositions about this passage, but let’s try to break it down the facts.
The Hebrew word ‘naphal’ means “fall”. This could be a direct reference to the fallen angels.
“Sons of God” and human women and married those women. Who are those Sons of God? Many people (including myself) believe that these were demons, fallen angels, who took the form of human flesh so that they could produce a race of Giants. There are a few problems that I cannot reconcile. Marriage is an institution God began in the garden of Eden. There is never a mention in the Bible about angelic beings taking wives. You can also look at what Jesus said in Matthew 22:30. “For when the dead rise to life, they will be like the angels in heaven and will not marry.”
There is, however, evidence for the idea that the Sons of God are fallen angels. Jude 1:6 reads, “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.” This would mean that the fallen angels had relations with women. We know that angels can appear as humans (Hebrews 13:2) and are exceedingly powerful, so it is rational that they might reproduce beings with heightened capabilities.
Some scholars have even cited Job 4:13-18 as evidence that Angels and humans had relations. These verses state, “13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:16 It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly.” The term ‘folly in the Old Testament is used to describe sexual sin. There are several examples of this same translation in Genesis 34, Deuteronomy 22 and 2 Samuel 13.
Harper’s Bible Dictionary says that the Nephilim are “people of the pre-Flood generation, the offspring of daughters of men and divine beings.” Their generation helped provoke the great flood. Thus, they would have all been whipped out after the flood, right? Well, there is a reference to the Nephilim in Numbers 13;33, “We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” There are two possible answers for this reference: 1) There could have been additional fallen angel / human relations that produced more nephilim or the term “nephilim” could have been a common term used to describe anyone who was of a larger physiological build. Genesis 6 says that there were Giants in those days, and also AFTER that. Therefore, one can conclude that Giants existed after the flood as well.
The Bible provides information on the post-flood bloodlines of the Nephilim as well, tracing back to the sons of Noah. The Nephilim were known to be wicked creatures; Ham was the most wicked of Noah’s sons. Ham’s sin against Noah was so severe that his son, Canaan was cursed. The Bible is full of lineages and in Genesis 10, King Nimrod was cited as being from the lineage of Canaan. The Bible says, “And Cush begat Nimrod, he began to be a mighty one on earth.” The Nephilim were the heroes and mighty ones of that day. Nimrod was the first murderer and conqueror of the post-flood world. He founded Babylon and himself was worshiped as a God. Furthermore, the same Hebrew word, gibborim, used to describe the Nephilim was used to describe Nimrod. Matthew Henry, in his commentary, said that “The same spirit that actuated the giants before the flood now revived in [Nimrod].”
Now, it is important to note that all of this evidence is somewhat circumstantial.If someone looks hard enough, they can find evidence for almost any claim. Scripture does not outright say that the fallen angels begat a race of giants. Scripture does not outright say that a race of giants lived in the post-flood era.
It is up to you to look at the evidence and draw your own, Biblical, conclusions.
The adventurer inside of me desires to believe that there was a race of giants that lived on the earth in the post-flood world. I believe that the Nephilim are the offspring of fallen angels and human women, and their wickedness was a major reason for the flood recorded in Genesis.
Maybe one day I will be a cryptozoologist. Maybe one day I will find indisputable evidence.
Until then, it will remain one of the most intriguing mysteries in the Bible.