I’ve done a fair bit of writing, but few topics have generated as many impassioned comments as this series. I’ve reviewed the comments I’ve directly received and those generated on various forums. While most of the readers have been very supportive, a few have been “less” so. Nothing divides like the truth of God’s Word.
I want to briefly glance back at the first three parts of this series. A short review will set the stage for this fourth instalment.
In Part 1, I laid out what I believe to be the proper standards of Biblical interpretation. A valid hermetic accepts that the Bible means what it says and says what it means. It is irresponsible to impose alternate meanings on a text when its literal interpretation does not suit our preferences. Those who do this disqualify themselves from productive dialogue.
In Part 2, the Hebrew term, b’nai Elohim, was studied in view of Genesis 6:1-4. The term’s original construct, its use in other parts of Scripture, and its consistency of application were carefully considered. It is only after the death and resurrection of Christ that believers are given this distinction, and at no point prior to this are natural humans defined by these terms.
Part 3 dove into the origins of the “sons of Seth” theory. Special attention was directed to the ways its proponents choose to spiritualise Biblical texts in order to achieve the interpretations they most covet. A frank assessment of the dilemmas this raises – including a review of the heresies of Replacement Theology, as an example – was provided.
With the content of these prior instalments in the rear view mirror, I believe it’s wrong to force a natural human interpretation of b’nai Elohim upon the Genesis 6:1-4 passage. And so the “approved” student of God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:15) is left with a burning question, “Why did fallen angels leave their first estate (Jude 1:6) to enter into unlawful sexual relations with normal human women and produce these gigantic hybrid “Nephilim?”
I believe the answer starts back in Genesis 3:15 where, following the entrance of sin into the human race, God pronounces specific curses upon the man, the woman, and the serpent. It’s here the first Biblical promise of the Messiah is given. We learn the Messiah will come from the “seed” (Hebrew: “zera”) of the woman, and of course we see this prophecy fulfilled in the Gospels when Jesus Christ came into this world by virgin birth.
But it’s also here in Genesis 3:15 that Satan is put on official notice. Now he knows a future Messiah is prophesied to defeat him. Now, he also knows that Messiah will come from a human source – the physical “zera” of a woman.
But that’s not all God pronounced in Genesis 3:15. He also laid out two other important facts. First, there would be a certain “enmity” or hostility that would perpetuate from that point forward, and second, that enmity would be expressed between the woman’s “zera” (“seed”) and the serpent’s “zera” (“seed”).
The same Hebrew term is used to describe both “seeds.” It’s here that some folks want to claim that the “zera” of the woman means “physical descendants,” but the “zera” of the serpent means “spiritual descendants.” They want to allegorise the text to suit their preferences.
Nope – sorry. You can’t make up the rules as you go. That’s being irresponsible with the Bible, but mostly it’s being disrespectful to its divine Author.
Remember, the first rule of proper Biblical interpretation says passages must be understood in light of their original Biblical meaning, and “zera” is used to describe the genetic seed of humans, animals, and plants. Genesis chapter 1 emphasises this “zera” reproduces “after its own kind.” It’s always worked that way, and it still does – – for sperm, ovum, mosquitos, and coconuts.
God underscores a key point inGenesis 3:15: the woman and the serpent will each produce descendants through their “zera,” and there will be a conflict between the two sides. This helps us to understand the behind-the-scenes situation with Genesis 6:1-4.
If Satan can derail God’s plans to bring the Messiah into the world, then He can also prevent his own destruction by that same Messiah. After Genesis 3:15, Satan knows the integrity of the human “zera” – or genome – is conditional for the Messiah’s arrival. Satan’s objective from that point onward is to corrupt the genetics of humans in order to prevent this.
The fallen angels’ agenda in Genesis 6:1-4 was therefore broadly directed against the human race. The sexual mingling of the “sons of God,” (the fallen angels, or the b’nai Elohim) with the “daughters of men” (normal human women) was an effective incursion into God’s divine order of Creation. The details of Genesis chapter 6 underscore a couple of important things:
“All flesh had become corrupted” ( 6:12). Bluntly, it was not just the human genome that had become affected by this fallen angelic incursion, but all life on earth. The Bible is clear. There was little left of God’s original order of things on this planet by this point.
Noah had remained genetically pure. He was found to be “perfect in his generations” (6:9). The Hebrew “tamiym” is used here to describe “physical wholesomeness.” It’s also used in Leviticus 22:21 to describe an animal sacrifice without physical blemish or imperfections. It’s a physical assessment of Noah and not a spiritual one that Gen. 6:9 is presenting.
In the details of Genesis chapter 6, we find Satan’s plan to genetically corrupt the human race was masterfully-executed. God’s omniscience and omnipotence was not in question here – but in human terms, the situation had become dire. Satan had made his moves and the Nephilim were now taking over the entire earth.
Now it was God’s turn. Enter the great worldwide flood.
Those who paint God as becoming so keenly frustrated with man’s sinful condition that in a brash and unguarded moment He chose to drown everyone like a bunch of rats, have subordinated Almighty God to a status no better than the pagan gods of any heathen culture. This is heretical and it makes no sense.
“You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”(Psalm 86:15). Many passages in Scripture make clear the fact that the One True God is not measured by the limitations of human understanding. He is also the same “….yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8) which places profound stress on any argument that suggests God had a momentary lapse of reason way back at the time of The Great Flood.
There must have been another motive for this global event. There was!
Noah’s “zera” remained genetically secure – unadulterated by the corrupt invasion of fallen angelic “zera” into the sphere of humanity. The flood was God’s way of protecting Noah and his family in order to preserve the Messianic promise of Gen. 3:15. The Great Flood was necessary for our salvation.
In effect, God rebooted mankind in a boat. Noah went into the ark with his wife and his sons, and their wives. Eight folks embarked on the world’s first Mediterranean cruise and everyone else was left outside to tread water. There were no survivors in the latter group as Gen. 7:21-23makes abundantly clear.
It’s here things get quite interesting because the Bible makes it plain that the Nephilim returned after The Great Flood. Yes – the giants! Genesis 6:4 even says so. The questions here are “Why?” and “How?”
The first question is the easier to answer. The reason they returned is God had prophesied there would be an ongoing enmity between the two sources of “zera:” one from fallen angelic origin, and the other from human origin. One battle between the two “seeds” had been settled by The Great Flood, but the larger war was still ongoing.
Satan was still desperate to prevent the Messiah’s arrival, and this should not be hard for us to understand. The Messiah’s arrival meant Satan’s defeat, and Satan was not going to give up on his own plans. The Nephilim had already been a pretty good hand for Satan. He was going to try again – but this time, a bit more strategically.
It’s the “How?” question that’s harder to answer. “HOW DID THE NEPHILIM RETURN AFTER THE GREAT FLOOD?” There are two theories.
The first theory suggests there was a second incursion by fallen angels into humanity the same way the first incursion had taken place (Gen. 6:1-4). Proponents of this theory are inclined to say, “Hey, the Bible said it happened this way once before, so it must’ve happened this way again.”
Among the various problems with this notion is the fact God took strong action against the fallen angels that had “abandoned their proper dwelling” (Jude 1:6, 2 Peter 2:4). He punished them with imprisonment. In other words, God made an example of them.
It’s a stretch to me to suggest other fallen angels discounted God’s demonstration of just judgement and decided to “try it again.” Furthermore, the Bible never states that the dynamics of Genesis 6:1-4 repeated themselves.
The second theory suggests the fallen angelic “zera” somehow became a stowaway on the ark. I hold to this theory because I believe it makes the most sense. I also believe it’s the angle the Bible supports, and in no way do I think it means “Satan pulled a fast one” on God.
God knows everything and nothing gets by Him. He allows sin to find expression today and He did then too. But how do we explain this idea that “a bit of bad blood got on the boat.”
Going back to Genesis 6:9, we learned Noah was “perfect in his generations.” The original language and the greater context of Scripture makes the case this was a statement about Noah’s genetic – or “physical” – integrity.
We also know Noah was a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), so he had standards consistent with God’s values. It doesn’t mean he was a mistake-free person because we find out after The Great Flood that he was not (Gen. 9:21). Be that as it may, I believe it’s essential to conclude Noah chose a Godly wife, one whose “tamiym” was as his own.
In fact, we know this to be the case because Jesus descends through Shem, one of Noah’s sons (Luke 3:36), and for Shem to be genetically pure in keeping with the prophetic Messianic conditions of Gen. 3:15, that meant Noah’s wife had to be genetically pure too.
It also means Noah’s other two sons, Ham and Japheth, were also genetically-unaffected by fallen angel “zera.” That narrows things down to one of the sons’ wives. I conclude one of these gals was a “carrier.” One of them had the fallen angel “zera” hidden in her, and it is here that we need to take note of certain details in the Scriptures quite carefully.
It would seem that Shem’s line would be called out as the one to follow after The Great Flood. He’s the son of Noah that Jesus descended from, so it would be reasonable to find that Shem’s lineage gets the attention from this point forward. But it doesn’t. Neither Shem or Japheth get much genealogical limelight because the Scriptures want us to notice that God had not forgotten this “enmity” He first spoke of back in Genesis 3:15.
It is Ham’s lineage that the Bible emphasizes. Of Ham’s four sons, three are demonstrated in the Biblical narrative to produce Nephilim descendants, and of those three sons, it is Canaan that the Scriptures focus on the most. All said, we can reasonably conclude it was Ham’s wife that carried a latent Nephilim gene.
From the point Ham exits the ark in Genesis 9:18 to the point the Nephilim are once again mentioned by name after the flood in Numbers 13:31-33, it is the descendants of Ham that the Bible traces very precisely. Specific individuals within that lineage, and their activities, are expanded on (Gen. 10:6-11) until we get to the report of 10 of the 12 spies that Joshua sent to scout out The Promised Land in Numbers 13:31-33.
This report from the 10 spies mentions “….the giants, the sons of Anak,” and by all accounts they are a fierce and imposing lot. They are also traced directly back to Ham, and that’s the whole point of the detailed lineage that is given back in Genesis.
That ancient hostility between the two different “zera” was still simmering under the surface, just waiting for the right occasion to express itself once more. A new battle was being prepared, and with the arrival of the Israelites at the threshold of The Promised Land, it was about to erupt again.
I need to mention here that a superb detailed outline of the Nephilim genealogies can be found at: http://beginningandend.com/ . The research is phenomenal and worth reading fifty times. I won’t repeat here what is stated there, but I will urge each reader to explore it diligently since it backs up what I am saying.
In the next instalment of this series, we will see how the fallen angels’ agenda became more focused. We will see how Satan learns something after Genesis 3:15 which directs him to concentrate on a narrower target, and we see how that same focus plays out even in our time today.