I have long been familiar with the theory that they were offspring of evil angels and women. Here’s another theory: they may have been non-human hominids.
To provide background on this, my husband and I read a fascinating book last summer called The Science of God, by Gerald Schroeder. Schroeder is a Christian, and if I remember correctly, an astrophysicist (I lent the book out and don’t have it handy to check his credentials). My “Cliffs Notes” for the book are the following:
The passage of time is affected by gravitational force. You’re probably aware that time slows down as you approach the speed of light and supposedly at the speed of light, time stops. Time also slows down with increased gravity. I don’t recall the numbers, but given a specific period of time on earth, for example, time lags by six minutes on the sun.
Utilizing the data from the “echo” of the big bang, scientists can calculate the mass of the universe. The mass is the same now as in that instant – just much more spread apart. Taking into account the enormous gravitational force of the super compact universe, it can also be calculated how slowly time would pass relative to our earth-time. Scientists have estimated that the universe is about 16-18 billion years old (earth time) Converting this to universe time (the passage of time for a super compact universe), guess how old our universe it? 6 days. Do you have chills yet? This blew my mind! Throughout this book, he explains how the scientific record harmonizes perfectly with the six days of creation. And he explains a evolutionary mechanism that is MUCH different than Darwin’s version. It has the hand of God in it all the way. Through supernatural special creation, God placed all the DNA material that would be eventually expressed in today’s species in the first living cells. Evolution was not a random, million-tries process, but rather environmental factors triggered the expession of traits very quickly in just a few generations. This is why we don’t see any transitional species in the fossil record. This is why we see very similar organs in very unrelated species, like the squid’s and mammal’s eyes. The information was there from the very beginning.
God was preparing a creature that would love and worship him. When such a creature finally offered that potential, He created Adam. He placed a human spirit in a hominid, and animal became human. Eve was formed from Adam, and they were the first human couple. So for awhile, humans and hominids were both on the earth. The Bible seems to imply that humans sinfully had relations with these hominids, which was why He had to cause the Flood to occur. This animal species, so similar to humans needed to be eliminated.
There’s no way I can do Schroeder’s scholarly treatment justice in this short post. I would encourage anyone interested to read his book. Whether you agree or not, it is a fascinating read, and provides a God-glorifying and plausible explanation for many of the natural wonders of our world, as well as a very different interpretation of the scripture you reference.