Summary: When scholars disagree the best thing we can do is examine the evidence for each view and see which case is the strongest.
A modern book titled Sex After Sixty Five was written to encourage older
people to realize their is still sexual life after retirement. This would have
sounded like a joke to the people before the flood. In Gen. 5:21 we are told that
Enoch was 65 when he had his first son Methusalah. Then in chapter 5 we see
it ending by telling us that Noah after he was 500 had his three sons. Men had
an enormously long span of life in which they could father children, and so we
can understand why their was a rapid growth in the population, as it states in
verse one. After stating that there was a population explosion, this chapter tells of a
problem that resulted from it. The sons of God saw the daughters of men, and
they desired to have them as their wives. This does not sound too unlike the
world of today where women watchers finally see one they feel they can't live
without, and so they ask her to marry them. The problem here is in trying to
determine just who these sons of God are. It is not any easy task, for Bible
scholars of equal love for the Word of God, and equally skilled in interpreting
it have come to 3 different conclusions. Either they are angels, the line of Seth,
or the upper class of nobles.
When scholars disagree the best thing we can do is examine the evidence
for each view and see which case is the strongest. So lets look first at the view
that they are angels.
This view goes way back into the centuries before Christ. The book of
Enoch, which was written in the second century B. C. Says these sons of God
were wicked angels who lusted after the daughters of men. Josephus and
Philo, and most of the Jewish writers held this view. The oldest church fathers
like Justin, Tertullian, Cyprian, and Ambrose also held this view. The
arguments for it are very strong.
A. The expression sons of God is used in the Old Testament of angels. I Job 1:6
we read, "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present
themselves before the Lord."
B. This takes place just before the flood, and Peter in II Pet. 2:4-5 pictures the
angels being judged just before the flood. This seems to indicate they had
something to do with the flood. In Jude 6-7 we read of the angels again being
judged just before Sodom and Gomorah for their immorality, suggesting the
angels may also have been judged for sexual sins.
What appears to have happened according to this view is that the angels took
upon themselves the bodies of men in order to cohabit with human women.
C. This view explains the many legends and myths about divine beings
producing children on earth who were giants and great men. Greek mythology
is full of this type of thing.
Those who hold this view see this account as a strictly human affair of the
pure line of Seth (called sons of God), and the corrupt line of Cain (called the
daughters of men). They point out that there is no other reference to angels,
either before or after, and their is no reason to drag them in here. Leupold
points out that there is no reference to angels in the first 5 chapter of Genesis
and there is no basis for to suddenly introduce them here, when the whole
history is dealing with men only.
A. The view that they could be angels has to be rejected on the basis of words
of Jesus in Matt. 22:30 where he says, "At the resurrection people will neither
marry or be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." We
have no reason to believe that angels would ever have any desire to marry
human women. The text in Gen. 6 makes it clear that these were not just one
night stands and affairs. These were marriages that led to settling down and
raising families. If these were angels who had defied the laws of God, there
would have been judgment on them long before they raised families from these
B. The flood was the result of the wickedness of men, and there is no hint that
it was a punishment for fallen angels. Angels were judged by being sent to
hell, and not by being drowned in a flood. These sons of God were the pure
line of Seth who departed from the will of God and married the ungodly
women from the line of Cain. These intermarriages led to the complete
breakdown of the godly chain. Noah only was left.
C. The people of God are often called the sons of God. God said to Pharaoh in