Who Were The Sons Of God In Genesis 6? -- By: David Livingston

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 22:2 (Spring 2009)
Article: Who Were The Sons Of God In Genesis 6?
Author: David Livingston

Who Were The Sons Of God In Genesis 6?1

David Livingston

In Genesis 6:1-8 we read about some persons who may be a pre-Flood link between the Bible and the cultures of the ancient Near East. They are the “sons of the gods.” The Biblical reference to them should have some relationship with historical fact. If so, we should be able to lift these early chapters of Genesis out of what may be to some a foggy mysticism, and make connections with extra-Biblical historical accounts (http://www.ancientdays.net/creationstories.htm).

Suggested Meanings For The “Sons Of God”

Who actually were the “sons of god?” Some say they were fallen angels. However, to have children, they must have been sexual beings, and angels are not. From Matthew 22:30 we may conclude they are neither male nor female. Furthermore, if the judgment of the Flood was against the “sons of god” and they were angels, they would actually have escaped it since they are spiritual beings.

Another interpretation is that they were the sons of Seth, the godly line. Could this be so? Could the godly line become so totally corrupt that they were responsible for the Flood? It is difficult to imagine believers becoming that corrupt.

The third possibility is that of rabbinical Jewish interpretation. It is that “sons of god” were rulers or princes. What follows will be very close to this. The first two explanations have become the popular ones and most people have never heard of this third possibility. Even when considered, it is dismissed as untenable (cf. Keil and Delitzsch’s commentary on Genesis 6).

Perhaps a combination of the first and third is the best explanation. That is, that the “sons of the gods” may be demon-possessed rulers!

A New Interpretation

In 1962, Meredith Kline suggested a new interpretation in The Westminster Theological Journal. His thesis was that the “sons of the god” were tyrannical “divine” kings like those we know from historical times in the ancient Near East (http://www. ancientdays.net/nimrod.htm).

The fact that an historical theme so prominently treated in the Sumero-Babylonian epic tradition finds no counterpart [or connection with] Genesis 3-6 according to standard [traditional] interpretations is itself good reason to suspect that these interpretations have been missing the point (Kline 1962: 199).

If Kline is correct, then the You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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