Genesis 6:1 "the sons of God"


#1

What is the teaching on the pre-flood Genesis 6:1-2 and the understandng of the "sons of God" interpretation?

Some interpretations are :
1) Following the decscription of the descendants of Cain (Gen. 4) and Seth (Gen. 5) those mentioned in vv.1-2 are from the Sethite line.
2) They're angels in human form who procreate with humans, creating large progeny & incurring God's wrath.
3) They're merely giants, the "Nephilim", from a line of peeps who ate their wheaties.
4) It's a mythological story.


#2

Another interpretation I’ve heard, which might actually just be part of either interpretation 1 or 3 of your post, is that they were revered soldiers or barbarians. Big brutish men who were skilled in combat and were seen as heroes to some for their ability to conquer.

And there’s also the interpretation that they were men of God who married women who were not of God, possibly pagans.


#3

As one can also read in Job and in Jude, it's clear to me that "the Sons of God" are angels. Jude talks about their sin and condemnation for 'leaving their place'.

Also, it's a better explanation for just how huge these giants were, than to believe that they were genetic anomalies.

There are those who say, "Not possible! Angels are 'pure spirits' and can't fornicate/marry women or physically manifest themselves."

But, I say how, then, did they grab the hands of Lot and his family and lead them out of Sodom. Also, there's the archangel Raphael in the Book of Tobit who physically manifested himself and engaged the physical world.


#4

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich had a vision of them I believe. They were more like no. 2. How she described them was pretty scary, more on the creepy side. It’s a good thing that they are no longer around.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we never found any bones of them. I would imagine they would turn to dust quicker than average for their level of sin.


#5

Grigori watchers that sucumbed to lust for the daughters of cain, and created nephilim with them from what I have read in non biblical sources


#6

[quote="bsroufek, post:3, topic:338901"]
As one can also read in Job and in Jude, it's clear to me that "the Sons of God" are angels. Jude talks about their sin and condemnation for 'leaving their place'.

Also, it's a better explanation for just how huge these giants were, than to believe that they were genetic anomalies.

There are those who say, "Not possible! Angels are 'pure spirits' and can't fornicate/marry women or physically manifest themselves."

But, I say how, then, did they grab the hands of Lot and his family and lead them out of Sodom. Also, there's the archangel Raphael in the Book of Tobit who physically manifested himself and engaged the physical world.

[/quote]

Angels can take on the appearance of a body, but they do not have bodies.


#7

removed


#8

Here is the Haydock Bible commentary on Gen. 6:2
haydock1859.tripod.com/id333.html
Ver. 2. The sons of God. The descendants of Seth and Enos are here called Sons of God, from their religion and piety: whereas the ungodly race of Cain, who by their carnal affections lay grovelling upon the earth, are called the children of men. The unhappy consequence of the former marrying with the latter, ought to be a warning to Christians to be very circumspect in their marriages; and not to suffer themselves to be determined in choice by their carnal passion, to the prejudice of virtue or religion. (Challoner) --- See St. Chrysostom, hom. 22, &c. Some copies of the Septuagint having the angels of God, induced some of the ancients to suppose, that these spiritual beings (to whom, by another mistake, they attributed a sort of aerial bodies) had commerce with women, as the pagans derived their heroes from a mortal and a god. But this notion, which is borrowed from the book of Henoch, is quite exploded. (Calmet) --- The distinction of the true Church from the synagogue of satan, here established, has been ever since retained, as heretics are still distinguished from Catholics. (Worthington) (St. Augustine)

Understanding the expression "sons of God" as referring to those who follow God's ways certainly goes along with Jesus' use of the expression in His sermon on the Mount:Matt 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.


#9

[quote="Nita, post:8, topic:338901"]
Here is the Haydock Bible commentary on Gen. 6:2
haydock1859.tripod.com/id333.html
Ver. 2. The sons of God. The descendants of Seth and Enos are here called Sons of God, from their religion and piety: whereas the ungodly race of Cain, who by their carnal affections lay grovelling upon the earth, are called the children of men. The unhappy consequence of the former marrying with the latter, ought to be a warning to Christians to be very circumspect in their marriages; and not to suffer themselves to be determined in choice by their carnal passion, to the prejudice of virtue or religion. (Challoner) --- See St. Chrysostom, hom. 22, &c. Some copies of the Septuagint having the angels of God, induced some of the ancients to suppose, that these spiritual beings (to whom, by another mistake, they attributed a sort of aerial bodies) had commerce with women, as the pagans derived their heroes from a mortal and a god. But this notion, which is borrowed from the book of Henoch, is quite exploded. (Calmet) --- The distinction of the true Church from the synagogue of satan, here established, has been ever since retained, as heretics are still distinguished from Catholics. (Worthington) (St. Augustine)

Understanding the expression "sons of God" as referring to those who follow God's ways certainly goes along with Jesus' use of the expression in His sermon on the Mount:Matt 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

[/quote]

Great post! Thank you.


#10

[quote="4most4christ, post:1, topic:338901"]
What is the teaching on the pre-flood Genesis 6:1-2 and the understandng of the "sons of God" interpretation?

Some interpretations are :
1) Following the decscription of the descendants of Cain (Gen. 4) and Seth (Gen. 5) those mentioned in vv.1-2 are from the Sethite line.
2) They're angels in human form who procreate with humans, creating large progeny & incurring God's wrath.
3) They're merely giants, the "Nephilim", from a line of peeps who ate their wheaties.
4) It's a mythological story.

[/quote]

For Saint Augustine, the "sons of God" of Gen 6:1 means the "city of God" or assembly of the faithful. Its equivalent for Christians would be "the baptized".

"Sons of God" can refer to angels but in this case clearly not. Remember that "angel" is a teleological word - a thing that is called by what it does or the purpose it serves: I.e., what it is for (e.g., a (cigarrete) lighter): "angel" means "messenger" and usually understood specifically as a messenger of God. Ergo both men and immaterial spiritual beings can be angels; indeed, even non-living things could and sometimes were (in the history of salvation) used as angels, as, e.g., Saint Paul would use the rock that followed the Israelites in their wandering of the desert as being a messenger of God or sign of Christ's presence. The duty of the sons of God is to be angels of God in the sense of representing Him; the sons of God of Gen 6.1 apostatized and became fallen exactly when they ceased or failed to fulfill this duty.

"Nephilim" can be understood not only of physical stature, which was probably literally true (though we have no way of knowing to what extent or how relative the term was, but certainly it would do injustice to the word to pretend it didn't mean something very striking or significant) but it also can refer to or include renown (while not denying its more literal sense concerning physical stature). The Nephilim of Genesis may be an attempt by the author to explain the origins of the universal pagan myths referring to men (often the same men under different names) of great stature and who accomplished remarkable deeds.

Indeed, the Church's belief in the rebellion of the angels seems in part to be based on this theme of apostasy in Scripture combined with the allusions that there was such a rebellion at the beginning of Creation that did not include men initially but only later (i.e. when Eve was seduced by the serpent and Adam then with her). Our Lord certainly affirmed this belief in the rebelliong of the angels at least in part in the written records of the Gospel when He spoke of Lucifer's or the devil's fall specifically.

It is not a mythological story in a certain sense: the theme of the faithful apostatizing is continual and recurrent throughout the whole Bible from beginning to end, including the New Testament. It is scarcely mythology when we read the histories of the people of God/Israel (i.e., the sons and, in a certain sense, angels of God) apostatizing: this was obviously meant to be taken as literally true history in the Old Testament's history of Israel, without denying the other "layers" (as dear Brother JR would say) that scripture always contains.

Hope this helps!


#11

Thank you all for your input! I appreciate all of your cogitations, research & efforts to understand this historically difficult portion of Scripture. My initial request should have been clearer; I should have more specifically asked:
What is the official RCC teaching ... of this passage? If you've already answered, and you know of a difference in official RCC teaching than that which you've posted, will you please reply again? Much thanks.


#12

What I do know is that it is NOT a teaching of the Church that the “sons of God” were angels. Angels do not father children.


#13

[quote="Dorothy, post:12, topic:338901"]
What I do know is that it is NOT a teaching of the Church that the "sons of God" were angels. Angels do not father children.

[/quote]

Thank you for that input, Dorothy! Will you please point to where that perspective can be found on record? Maybe this is the part of CCC or some Magisterium offical positions website? Much thanks in advance.


#14

[quote="4most4christ, post:13, topic:338901"]
Thank you for that input, Dorothy! Will you please point to where that perspective can be found on record? Maybe this is the part of CCC or some Magisterium offical positions website? Much thanks in advance.

[/quote]

I did some searching but did not come up with an official record. I am not an expert by any means, but I do know that the Catholic Church does not have a definite record interpreting every line of scripture. Only some, such as official teachings (to clarify) on the Eucharist, and some others.

I do remember reading in several places that the scripture about nephilim is definitely not referring to angels fathering children with humans. If I can find interesting commentary on that I will pass it on to you.


#15

[quote="4most4christ, post:11, topic:338901"]
Thank you all for your input! I appreciate all of your cogitations, research & efforts to understand this historically difficult portion of Scripture. My initial request should have been clearer; I should have more specifically asked:
What is the official RCC teaching ... of this passage? If you've already answered, and you know of a difference in official RCC teaching than that which you've posted, will you please reply again? Much thanks.

[/quote]

There is no "official RCC teaching of this passage". It's rare that the Church officially teaches how a particular Scripture passage is to be interpreted. We are just not to interpret Scripture in a way that would contradict a Church teaching.

What the Church does is define doctrines. These doctrines are our protection against error - not only from falsehoods preached by others, but also errors that can result from our own faulty reasonings & interpretations. Our best protection against error is truth, the infallible truths of our Catholic faith..


#16

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