Genesis 6:1-4 (Part 4)

Dear Reader,

This is the fourth on my series on these four verses on Genesis; can you believe it? Four posts on four verses and this will not be the last! You can and should read them in order. Here are the links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

I realized that there is one issue I have neglected to discuss. Since I am sure you will have taken my advice and read all the earlier posts in this series, I need not tell you that I would identify the sons of God in Genesis 6:1-4 as God’s holy angels who stand before Him and minister. While I think this interpretation best fits the plains sense of the Genesis passage itself and also the other OT evidence, I do understand that this can be a very hard pill for us to swallow. It fits well textually, but it raises a number of problems biologically and theologically. The theological ones will have to wait till next time. In this post I’d like to just talk a little about the biology of the whole thing.

None of the arguments I am going to now make are unique to me. While I haven’t (yet) read anyone else who says the sons of God here are good angels (someone may, likely many have; I just haven’t read them), many people do argue that they were fallen angels and the same biological issues apply.

To put it simply: How can non-humans mate successfully with humans? Well, first of all, it is quite clear that God’s messengers can take human form. They appear to people this way quite a bit and are mistaken for humans. The Sodomites are so deceived by their appearances that they want to have intercourse with them themselves. We can add to this that when they do appear, the sons of God always seem to appear as men (not women).

The counter argument is  usually Matthew 22:30 in which Jesus says that “‘For in the resurrection they [the redeemed] neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven'” (Matt. 22:30; ESV). Despite the vast claims made for it, however, this does not say that the angels can not marry only that they do not do so in heaven.

If then we admit that it is possible angels could take on realistic enough human forms to mate with humans, there is still the question of whether the two could produce viable offspring. This gets down to the level of genetics and DNA. I don’t really have  a good answer to this, but I will offer two thoughts: On the one hand, perhaps the human forms they took were so realistic that they included everything they needed (genetically) to make offspring. On the other, there is one case of a baby being born without getting genetic material from two human parents (and yet clearly not being identical to His mother) so it seems that more is possible than our science accounts for.

I think my next post will be my final one in this series. I hope to wrap it all up and maybe even make the whole thing more palatable and easy to swallow.



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