The Nephilim


#1

Can anyone provide a good explanation for what the whole nephilim, sons of God, daughters of men ordeal is?


#2

I was going to post a similar question the same day you posted yours. I’m hoping someone will respond soon.


#3

Here is the explanation from the Catholic Echange scripture study on Genesis. “We know that there were at least two lines of human development from Adam and Eve, on through Seth and one through Cain. If Seth’s descendants were those who called on the name of the Lord, and Cain’s were those who lived independently of God, then it is possible that “the sons of God” were male Seth-ites and “the daughters of men” were female Cain-ites” This explanatin makes much more sense that those who assert the sons of God were fallen angels and the daughters of men were human females, especially since angels are spirit and mating with humans is an impossibility. Hope that helps.
:thumbsup:


#4

I always thought they were fallen angels myself. In pseudepigraphical (arrggg!!!) jewish works, such as Enoch, they were presented as such, with names and everything. They think that earth girls are easy and woo them. Then they produced super-humans with special abilities beyond those of mortal men. They then get busted big-time; angels don’t get the same priviledges(?) as humans. I thought that these were the same angels referred to in The Epsitles of Jude(13-16) and Peter (2pet.2:4) and even Sirach 16:7!
Anyways, I prefer to believe regardless of anyone else’s view, its a good story. Once upon a time, I thought they were space aliens. Maybe they were?!?!?!?!?!
All this brings me to other questions Which I already know the answers to. But for now, pretty crazy events.


#5

whowantsumadebo
I agree with you completely. Every commentary I read alludes to a myth but I kind of want to believe that this was true it makes the passages in the Bible to them all the more interesting.

What is noteful is that the Ethopian Orthodox Church. Includes the very literal reference to them in the Book of Enoch (its in their canon of the the Bible) relations bewteen the The Nephilim and the daughters of men. I kinda think of them of Angels with a miliatry pass who raised a lot of trouble. Whether impossible or not it makes it a lot more interesting. Anyway I would love to read a commentary from an Ethopian Orthodox perspective on this issue I think its likely their take is literal since Enoch is in their Bible and not in ours.
It is interesting that the Book of Jude quotes from the Book of Enoch and Jude and his community probably thought the book was scripture. Also many church fathers thought it was genuine but then suddenly it fell out of favor no explanation given and then forgotten it has an interesting history thats for sure.

Here is what the catholic encyclopedia says about part of its history in the church.

It influenced not only later Jewish apocrypha, but has left its imprint on the New Testament and the works of the early Fathers. The canonical Epistle of St. Jude, in verses 14, 15, explicitly quotes from the Book of Henoch; the citation is found in the Ethiopic version in verses 9 and 4 of the first chapter. There are probable traces of the Henoch literature in other portions of the New Testament. Passing to the patristic writers, the Book of Henoch enjoyed a high esteem among them, mainly owing to the quotation in Jude. The so-called Epistle of Barnabas twice cites Henoch as Scripture. Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, and even St. Augustine suppose the work to be a genuine one of the patriarch. But in the fourth century the Henoch writings lost credit and ceased to be quoted. After an allusion by an author of the beginning of the ninth century, they disappear from view.


#6

Nephillm – Genesis Chapter 6:1-4

Chapter 4 outlines the decedents of Cain. Chapter 5 outlines the descendents of Seth.

Chapter 6 starts with the transition to the flood story. It gives the reasons for the flood. The descendents of Seth who was in the likeness of Adam and in his image (Gen 5:3) joined with the descendents of Cain and by doing so corrupted themselves. The “sons” of these mixed marriages become worldly famous but no longer have the Spirit of God.

The introduction of fallen angels or space aliens while sexy, exciting and controversial, does not fit into the logical construction of the story.

Adam was created in the divine image, in the likeness of God. Adam was a son of God. Seth inherited that birthright. The sons of Seth rejected their birthright by concerning themselves with worldly undertakings and taking for themselves “wives as many of them as they chose”. In other words they started to practice polygamy which was contrary to Gods will. (see Gen 2:24)

Only members of the family line down to Noah “walked with God”.

What meaning does this story have for us today? Don’t we say that by Jesus we are the sons and daughters of God? Shouldn’t we be filled with the Holy Spirit? This story shows us what happens when we reject our birthright by clinging to the concerns of the world.


#7

Numbers2222, that does not explain the genetic tendency to be giants.
The logical progression that you spoke of is necessary if you preclude the possibility of beings, creations of God, who voluntarily gave up their first station to descend to earth and mate, and ignore the Biblical phenomena of the Nephilim.

The references here and other places to “angels” even concerned St.Paul when he admonished the women to cover their heads.

10 Therefore ought the woman to have a power over her head, because of the angels. -D-R I Corinthians 11.

Kark Keating, in another thread, gives the Catholic doctrine on angels as purely spiritual beings, but does not rule out another type of being that one Aramaic text of the pseudepigraphical Book of Enoch calls “Watchers”. Part of the rigid definition of angels in Catholic Tradition and Doctrine is a result of the somewhat wild speculations that Origen engaged in when he descended into apostasy and there was an official backlash. The book of Enoch lost credibility at that time, as in anyway useful as an extra-canonical reference, and St. Jude almost did not make the canon for that reason as well.

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob encountered angels, or some sort of physical beings sent from God, and Jacob even wrestled with one such. -Genesis 32.

Some have speculated that part of the reason for the flood was that the actual race of humanity was polluted and that very few were pure in blood as well as in heart, as was Noah and his family. That, from scripture, is pure speculation, but it has a certain rational resonance when we consider that God is a forgiving, kind God, not willing that any should perish. But if the race itself had been polluted? As I said, speculation.

But the references to Nephilim are not speculation and require an explanation, as do the archeological findings of giant skeletal remains and so forth.


#8

Ok Les Richardson lets say your explantion is a legitamte one. Like I said everything I have denies this explanation but I also know that not all apostolic christians went with the symbolic explantions as The Ehtopian Christians went the X files of scriptures the Book of Enoch as scripture. Does this explantion make Goliath and other giant Philistines descendents of these angels?

One thing that can’t be explained away is that Goliath was such a giant man that he would seem to be in the myth category and would that make the David and Goliath story mythic or literal in our understanding of the giants of old?


#9

On the issue of an angel being a son St Paul is clear, Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels did God ever say: “You are of my son; this day I have begotten you?” Or again: “I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me?”

On the nature of angels let’s have Raphael speak for himself. Tobit 12:19 Even though you watched me eat and drink, I did not really do so; what you were seeing was a vision.

Angels are pure spirit, they are not physical beings. The can react with physical beings, there are many stories of saints being physically accosted by demons. But angels themselves do not have physical bodies. Not having physical bodies they do not carry physical genetic code. So they can not carnally impregnate a women with their nature.

Genetic mutation or a problem with the pituitary would best explain “giants” and takes far less speculation than any mythological causes.


#10

[quote=Maccabees]Ok Les Richardson lets say your explantion is a legitamte one. Like I said everything I have denies this explanation but I also know that not all apostolic christians went with the symbolic explantions as The Ehtopian Christians went the X files of scriptures the Book of Enoch as scripture. Does this explantion make Goliath and other giant Philistines descendents of these angels?

One thing that can’t be explained away is that Goliath was such a giant man that he would seem to be in the myth category and would that make the David and Goliath story mythic or literal in our understanding of the giants of old?
[/quote]

It is unfortunate that most of the interest in the Nephilim in recent years comes from people such as Zacharia Sitchin with their wild ideas of alien seeding of humanity and so forth. It distorts any legitimate discussion.

I would suggest that it makes no difference to my faith whether you go with the Latin Church doctrine or tilt toward the “X-files” of the Ethiopian Church. To me this is not a critical issue.

I am saying that there has been a suggestion that the hard and fast exclusive doctrine on angels was a response to heretical ideas that Origen came up with on the subject, rather than a complete study and assessment of understanding regarding any and all mention of heavenly creatures and some sort of differentiation between them.

Nor do I think that some reasonable thought in this area, based on the Biblical accounts, necessarily takes one into heresy. My point about Karl Keating was that it seems he left that door open as well. If not, I presume he would clarify.

What you have identified is clearly a problem with ascribing all giants in the Bible to the parentage of fallen “watchers” or some such, because we have the flood event in between the time of the Nephilim and the Philistine giants, like Goliath.

I’ve heard *speculation *that they (the watchers) were at it again, after the flood. But according to Enoch, the offending angels were bound by God until the end of the world.

Some also have suggested that the reason God told the Israelites to eradicate some of the people in the promised land was precisely because they were corrupted and polluted, and there were more of the giants. Other people they conquered and allowed to live among the Israelites.

I would point out, that these are not my explanations. I have not made any hard and fast determinations. There are way too many gaps in all of this. Besides, I am not qualified to do that. But I do have difficulty understanding how one group of descendents of Adam and Eve could co-mingle and reproduce with another separate group of the descendents of Adam and Eve and produce any unusual offspring.

And, there seems to be evidence that the Jews at the time of Jesus were well aware of the “X-files” of Enoch a man who “walked with God, and was no more”, according to the Scripture.

Was Goliath mythical? Well, archeology has found clear evidence of giant men, so I don’t think we need to resort to myth. It doesn’t give us the explanation we want. Perhaps we’ll never have that. The inspired scripture doesn’t give us everything but it does have anomalies not covered by Catholic Doctrine on angels. I return to Jacob. Was the angel he wrestled with pure spirit, or did he have a physical body?


#11

Les Richardson
Considering old Jacob had a broken hip and wrestled with what appears to be a physical being I could see the possibility of an angel having taken a physical form whether it was the form of Nephilim or another type of (human?) being remains an open question. I think most of what we have discussed remains in that area of theology open to discussion and speculation. As I have also written I do acknowledge that the early church fathers and the ethopian church probably see the story as a literal one and not the mythical representation that the western church and modern theolgians favors today. But the church has never discussed any teaching on this as infalliable although by dropping the book of Enoch from the canon it is a good guess that the book and its theories fell out of favor with the church.

Your speculation suspects an overreaction to Origenism. I haven’t found anything but the mere fact it was cut loose with little documentation as to why I don’t know. But most theologians do acknowledge that Origenism and some of his wacky ideas were condemend and many of his works were simply destoyed by the church to discourage some of his heretical tendencies. But fathers such as Jerome rediscovered Origen as a great source of Orthodoxy when referring to scriptural interpretation only when he was in speculation mode did Origen tend to stray from what later became heretical. (It should be noted Origen died in good standing with the church and his speculation at such a early time history was completely allowed and probably healthy to allow for all sides to be considered before offical dogma was to be finalized, Origen never stood against the church where official dogma was known) THe book of Enoch in the Ethopian canon and the reference to it in Jude testify to the fact of its populrity and esteem it held in apostolic churches.
My referring to it as X files may sound demeaning. What I meant the book takes on the subject just sounds bizarre in comprison to accepted Orthodox take on the Nephilim. But I am open to any new discovery one would have on this issue as I have not found much.


#12

Well said **Maccabees. **You and I are closer on this than I first thought.

You, no doubt, experience the frustration that I do when you hear someone start with an area of Scripture that is not too clear, and hasn’t been closely defined by the Church, and then takes off into wild speculation about aliens and such, the purpose of which is only to supplant the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and ultimately our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thus, it is wise to be circumspect when evaluating sources of information and speculating, being certain at all times not to lead ourselves away from the truth that is clearly revealed.

I guess if we never get all the answers here, we may learn more on the other side. But, then again, it may not matter to us then.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.