WHO WERE “THE SONS OF GOD?”

SonsofGodAnd for that matter… who were the ‘Daughters of Men?” 

That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. (Genesis 6:2)

      This verse and subject has always fascinated me.  In the past I kind of thought the “Sons of God” were mighty men that truly pleased God in magnificent ways and because of that were graced with some super-human aspects.  Over the last couple years, however, because of my study I have come to more sound decision as to who they were.  I have consulted many different commentaries on the subject of which I will put a few here.  Those commentaries listed here represent a small sample of all I consulted.  It has been interesting to see the views from ancient times until now which have not changed all that much.

      The first commentary I will mention is the Matthew Henry Commentary.  Matthew Henry says we see here a full account of degeneracy, apostasy and rebellion against God.  Men began multiplying on the face of the earth as an effect of the blessing but they abused the blessing and perverted it which caused the blessing to turn into a curse.  Through the mercy of God sometimes sin becomes exceedingly sinful. The more sinners, the more sin; the offenders continue to multiply.  Mr. Henry says the “Sons of God” are those that professed religion and were those that were called into the kingdom on the name of the Lord.  So they were all the believers and God’s chosen.  There were mixed marriages because the ‘Sons of God” married the “Daughters of Men”.  Mr. Henry says the “Daughters of Men” are those women that were profane; they were strangers to God and were un-Godly.  These “Sons of Men” began in the line of Seth and they did not remain pure as they should have.  They intermingled and mixed with the excommunicated race of Cain: They liked what they saw and they took it.  They chose by the eye and only what they looked at and they followed corrupt affections (lust) without taking any advice.  They became unequally yoked which was forbidden.[1]

     Now look at the second commentary which is David Guzik:: Study Guide for Genesis 6. There were days of rapid population expansion (there were long life spans in the pre-flood world) and it led to problems of intermarriage. He says it is more accurate to see the “Sons of God” as either demons (angels in rebellion against God) or they were uniquely demon-possessed men.  He looks at the “Daughters of Men” as human women.  He references the “Sons of God” being used in the other three times in the Old Testament as “angels.”  In the other references it clearly referred to angelic beings and not humans from the line of Seth.  He would not speculate as to the nature of the union.  He says that is not revealed, however we understand there is the occult which is filled with sexual associations with the demonic, and today there are those that pursue these associations.  In his answer to the objection of Matthew 22: 30, he says, “God never said angels were sexless and He was speaking of faithful angels and not rebellious ones.” His position is that Satan tried to pollute the genetic “pool” of mankind and make the human race unfit to bring forth the “Seed of the woman- the Messiah.  He says, “Satan almost succeeded.”  God had to start over with Noah and his sons.[2]

     Lastly I will leave you with another view from The Popular Commentary of the Bible, Old Testament Volume 1, by Paul E. Kretzman.  This source indicates the Cainites had long since forsaken the Lord and would not worship Him.  They lived according to the lusts of their mind.  During the course of time as population was growing their corruption spread over to the families of the pious.  The corruption reached the “Sons of God”.  It got to the believers by a beginning with a laxity of morals. Over the fifteen centuries there was a remarkable increase of the human family.  It became ever increasingly difficult to maintain the discipline the Lord desired.  The men belonging to the tribe of Seth permitted carnal thoughts and lust to guide them when choosing wives.  The “Daughters of Men” were the women that lived only for the world and had only concerns for enjoyment. Their goal was to get all that the world could offer therefore they made the development of their beauty the aim of their being.  Their beauty became the snare that captured the “Sons of God” who were the men from the generation of believers.  They took wives for the mere gratification of their sensual desires and not for helpmates in marriage and honor.  The corruption of the Cainites was brought into the Church of God before the Flood.[3] 

         Wow, when I read about the “Daughters of Men making their beauty the snare to capture the “Sons of Men” it sounds like what goes on around us today.  Have you ever taken a look at the “Young and the Restless” soap opera? 

      So my view on this subject is this: I find that the answer to who was the “Sons of God” to be absolutely impossible to determine.  One thought I have is that if God wanted us all to know exactly who they were He would have made it absolutely clear.  There are as many scholars indicating the “Sons of God” were beings other than human, angels or spirits as there are scholars indicating they were of the line of Seth.   I have consulted many more than three sources and have bridged this discussion in the past.  I consulted Chuck Smith’s Commentary in the C2000 Series on Genesis and he takes the position they are angels.  In the “A Commentary on the Holy Bible” by J. R. Dummelow from 1908 I found he took the stance that they were deities (angels) that mated with the women of earth.  I referenced J. Vernon McGee and R.C. Sproul who both believe it cannot possibly mean angels and speaks of the reprobate and apostate mankind.  Many years ago I read the passage and pondered it for months.  It was troubling to me and I wanted to find the answer.  The answer I came to was similar to some here.  I looked at the “Sons of God” as being the favored men of the Church of God.  I looked at it in way that said, “These men that God looked at as His champions had become corrupt and broken His heart.  I came to the conclusion that God had showered these Sons with blessings and longevity only to have them become corrupt.  I could feel the pain in my heart as I studied that small section of scripture over and over.”  Like J. Vernon McGee I came to the conclusion that these men were the outstanding individuals in the lineage of God from Adam to Seth.  I don’t think I can agree completely that they were all men from the line of Seth but I do think they were men very favored in the eyes of the LORD.   I never looked at the “Daughters of Men” being descendants of Cain because I was consumed with the thought of these men being held in high regard in God’s kingdom and becoming the biggest disappointment of his creation.  Each time this subject comes up we can come to no conclusive result and must continue in faith while accepting it for what it is.  For the record I will stand in the camp with Matthew Henry, R.C. Sproul and Paul Kretzman knowing that there are some very intelligent scholars out there who will disagree with us all.  

God bless your day,

The Tubthumper


[1] Matthew Henry, Text Commentaries: Matthew Henry (Blue Letter Bible: Genesis), http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Gen/Gen_006.cfm (accessed February 2, 2014).

[2] David Guzik, Text Commentaries: David Guzik (Blue Letter Bible: Genesis), http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide_Gen/gen_6.cfm (accessed February 2, 2014).

 [3] Paul E. Kretzmann, The Popular Commentary of the Bible, Old Testament Volume 1 (St. Paul, Minnesota: Concordia Publishing House, 1919).

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