Weird Genesis verse. Anyone understand it?

The beginning of the Flood narrative begins with the odd little passage about Sons of Heaven having intercourse with daughters of man. I was wondering if anyone had any explanation. Bytheway. . .it was mentioned on a history channel special about Aliens which I doubt is what it really is talking about but it did peak my curiosity in the passage. Gen 6:1-4

When men began to multiply on earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of heaven saw how beautiful the daughters of man were, and so they took for their wives as many of them as they chose. 3 Then the LORD said: “My spirit shall not remain in man forever, since he is but flesh. His days shall comprise one hundred and twenty years.” 4 At that time the Nephilim appeared on earth (as well as later), after the sons of heaven had intercourse with the daughters of man, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.

First of all, that is a bad translation (NAB maybe?). Here is Genesis VI from the Douay-Rheims Bible (including commentary on the verses in question):

1 And after that men began to be multiplied upon the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 The sons of God seeing the daughters of men, that they were fair, took to themselves wives of all which they chose. 3 And God said: My spirit shall not remain in man for ever, because he is flesh, and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. 4 Now giants were upon the earth in those days. For after the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, and they brought forth children, these are the mighty men of old, men of renown. 5 And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times,

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 their choice by their carnal passion, to the prejudice of virtue or religion.

3 “His days shall be”… The meaning is, that man’s days, which before the flood were usually 900 years, should now be reduced to 120 years. Or rather, that God would allow men this term of 120 years, for their repentance and conversion, before he would send the deluge.

4 “Giants”… It is likely the generality of men before the flood were of a gigantic stature in comparison with what men now are. But these here spoken of are called giants, as being not only tall in stature, but violent and savage in their dispositions, and mere monsters of cruelty and lust.

It should read the Sons of God, not the Sons of Heaven. Either way, see commentary on verse two for clarification. Read the rest of the commentary for clarification on the other verses. I agree, when I first read the verses from that translation (I have checked; it is the NAB), I was confused as well. Even more terrible than this translation is the heresy provided in the “commentary” which states that this verse is stolen from ancient mythology! How impious, how evil, and how heretical is such a statement! It is disgusting that this is the “norm” for American Catholics; what a joke. The commentary on those four verses mentions mythology as the source a total of three times. It is quite disgraceful. I would recommend that you get a Douay-Rheims Bible. For more information as to why you should do this (other than the implicit heresy of the NAB translation and the explicit heresy of its footnotes), go to the link below. The link has all the information you would want on the Douay-Rheims, and you can order a very nice copy of it from that website. Also, you might want to get a copy of “Which Bible Should You Read?: A Short Comparison and Commentary on Modern Bible Translations” by Thomas Nelson, published by TAN Books. The information on this small commentary is found at the second link below and can be ordered from the same website. God bless.

marianland.com/bible20.html

marianland.com/tan_which_bible_we_should.html

Thanks for a great post, Amarkich.

You hear a lot of folks interpreting that passage as if the “Sons of God” were actually angels breeding with human women.

Hey, Socrates, wouldn’t that assumption conveniently ignore the fact that angels are PURE SPIRIT, no body? Angels don’t “breed”, by nature.

[quote=amarkich]First of all, that is a bad translation (NAB maybe?). Here is Genesis VI from the Douay-Rheims Bible (including commentary on the verses in question):…
[/quote]

JMJ

Excellent reference and notation. The Douay-Rheims Bible with its Church-approved comments is the best source available, unless you are a Latin scholar and have the Latin Vulgate available. It is the only bible I trust.

There are two interpretations.

The first is that the bible is drawing on other mythological sources which assert angels do have intercourse with women.
I do not know for what purpose (considering these stories to be false) that the bible copies them. It may not be meant to be taken literally, but in comparison or contrast to the original story - whatever its source.
( As an aside, God is pure spirit, and yet the holy spirit came on Mary and she concieved… )
( As for angels, see:Mt 22:30 )

The second explanation (which is the one I like), is that the title Son of God belongs to people. In hebrew -el- is ambiguous meaning any ‘divine’ creature Angel or God.
So Abel is possibly instance of this Ab-el.

Abel is often taken to mean “source of God” (breath), or “transitoriness” (oneness with God), or vapor, or vanity.
Cain = Gen 4:1 = man. (The word itself seems to mean gotten).

After Abel, Seth replaces him. Gen 4:25
Abel, and Seth are in the line from Adam, who is Son of God.
Cain (the biblical account implies man) has descendents which are the Sons of Man.

The two lines don’t mix well, for the mother raises the children.
So the passage may be interpreted that the Sons of God (Seth’s line), who have the blessing, are visually enraptured by the wiley women of the other side of the family (Cain’s line).

In the new testament geneology of Jesus ( Lk 3:38 ) this understanding is affirmed where Adam is called the “son of God”.
Jesus was by birth “Son of God”, but it is interesting that he calls himself merely “Son of Man”. :slight_smile:

[quote=Socrates]Thanks for a great post, Amarkich.

You hear a lot of folks interpreting that passage as if the “Sons of God” were actually angels breeding with human women.
[/quote]

I second that Amarkich! Great Information…I always go to the Douay Rheims when in doubt it has such excellent commentary.
Annunciata:)

A more important reason for His use the phrase “Son of Man” is his reference to Daniel 7:13, pointing to Himself as the one of the prophecy.
"I saw one like a human being[5][Aram “one like a son of man”] coming with the clouds of heaven.
Dan 7:13 (NRSV)

[quote=amarkich]First of all, that is a bad translation (NAB maybe?). Here is Genesis VI from the Douay-Rheims Bible (including commentary on the verses in question):

1 And after that men began to be multiplied upon the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 The sons of God seeing the daughters of men, that they were fair, took to themselves wives of all which they chose. 3 And God said: My spirit shall not remain in man for ever, because he is flesh, and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. 4 Now giants were upon the earth in those days. For after the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, and they brought forth children, these are the mighty men of old, men of renown. 5 And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times,

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 their choice by their carnal passion, to the prejudice of virtue or religion.

3 “His days shall be”… The meaning is, that man’s days, which before the flood were usually 900 years, should now be reduced to 120 years. Or rather, that God would allow men this term of 120 years, for their repentance and conversion, before he would send the deluge.

4 “Giants”… It is likely the generality of men before the flood were of a gigantic stature in comparison with what men now are. But these here spoken of are called giants, as being not only tall in stature, but violent and savage in their dispositions, and mere monsters of cruelty and lust.

It should read the Sons of God, not the Sons of Heaven. Either way, see commentary on verse two for clarification. Read the rest of the commentary for clarification on the other verses. I agree, when I first read the verses from that translation (I have checked; it is the NAB), I was confused as well. Even more terrible than this translation is the heresy provided in the “commentary” which states that this verse is stolen from ancient mythology! How impious, how evil, and how heretical is such a statement! It is disgusting that this is the “norm” for American Catholics; what a joke. The commentary on those four verses mentions mythology as the source a total of three times. It is quite disgraceful. I would recommend that you get a Douay-Rheims Bible. For more information as to why you should do this (other than the implicit heresy of the NAB translation and the explicit heresy of its footnotes), go to the link below. The link has all the information you would want on the Douay-Rheims, and you can order a very nice copy of it from that website. Also, you might want to get a copy of “Which Bible Should You Read?: A Short Comparison and Commentary on Modern Bible Translations” by Thomas Nelson, published by TAN Books. The information on this small commentary is found at the second link below and can be ordered from the same website. God bless.

marianland.com/bible20.html

marianland.com/tan_which_bible_we_should.html
[/quote]

If the Douay-Rheims is the most reliable english bible translation, why is the NAB translation used in the Lectionary for the Mass readings? I have a NAB that is well worn and am thinking about purchasing a new bible…considering New Jerusalium (sp?) Bible…Any suggestions?

Bless you,

Newby

The non-Scriptural Book of Enoch deals with this particular episode in-depth. It’s important to remember, also, that the Book of Enoch is quoted in 2 Peter and in Jude, with the quotes by Peter refer specifically to the outcome of this particular event, namely angels being cast into Hell. The story from Enoch tells of angels not only breeding with humans, but encouraging them in utilizing their human knowledge for sinful activities. These sinful activities, and the creatures produced by these unholy unions, were the leading cause of the “wickedness” destroyed by God in the Flood.

Personally I believe in the story of the Nephilim (the creatures produced by angels and humans), but it’s not a dogma or anything. You can read a partial Book of Enoch here:

heaven.net.nz/writings/thebookofenoch.htm

i’ve not heard catholic teaching on the subject, so i submit my thoughts for correction if they’re found heretical. but i’ve always read it, and have read studies on it, to mean that they were indeed referring to relations between angelic beings and humans.

the verses even mention that these are the ‘heroes of old’ or ‘men of renown’. i’ve always thought that it referred to alot of the ideas from greek and roman mythology, of men coming from ‘gods’. not that the Bible got its ideas from mythology, but that they both got their ideas from the same source - truth. that there really WERE relations between the spiritual world and humankind, and this produced ‘giants’ or ‘nephilim’, and that these were ‘superhuman’ type beings, like achilles, who fought and lusted and generally mucked things up for awhile before the flood came and cleaned it all up.

or…something like that.

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