Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wickedness in the World – Genesis 6 vs. 1 - 8

Someone sent me this wonderful poem (original author unknown) the other day that I want to share with you and keep in your mind of God’s promise and hope in Jesus:

I have in my hands two boxes, which God gave me to hold.
He said, "Put all your sorrows in the black box and all your joys in the gold."
I heeded His words and in the two boxes, both my joys and sorrows I stored. 
But though the gold became heavier each day, the black was as light as before.
With curiosity, I opened the black, as I wanted to find out why.
And I saw, in the base of the box, a hole which my sorrows had fallen out of.
I showed the hole to God and mused, "I wonder where my sorrows could be!" He smiled a gentle smile and said, "My child, they're all here with me...”
I asked God, why He gave me the boxes … why the gold and the black with the hole?
"My child, the gold is for you to count your blessings and the black is for you to let go."

GEN 5: 1 – 2…  When man began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

They increased in number just as God had commended but here we see that it started taking on a negative ungodly view.  It also leads to increasing wickedness on the earth.  The problem does not start with the coming together of the sons of God and the daughters of man but is intensified by it.

GEN 5: 3…. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

Well at first I interpreted this verse to mean that this was the reason God started to decreased the age of mankind and that it means that human being lived no longer than 120 years. While it is true that this is one of the interpretations that some expert have, one must bear in mind that some of those born after this period exceeded this age (e.g. Abraham).  So upon further study it actually seems to mean that God gave humanity 120 years to change their ways before the flood was to come. Here we learn a different thing about God that previously in Genesis we have not seen – God is patient. How does this apply to us? Well time is running out for us too as we all eventually die therefore we need to turn out eyes upon Jesus and not let go.

GEN 5: 4… The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

In Genesis 3 we discovered the heavenly being called the Cherub and now we are encountering a Nephilim.  So what is a Nephilim? Well this I can tell you, this one tiny word can give you an epic headache.  Well not so much the “what” but the “how”.  There are so many different opinions out there and arguments and counter arguments that it hurt my head to think about.  I will only be listing the different interpretations and not going into depth about the arguments and counter arguments of each.  If you are interested Google Nephilim – there is so much on the internet.  I will however share which argument I tend to believe in after all my research.

Firstly what is a Nephilim?

1.    The offspring of the “sons of God” and “the daughters of men” as Nephilim existed before and after the flood
2.    Later in Ezekiel they become known as uncircumcised men that went to the grave with their weapons of war (i.e. wicked men / an indication of how wicked the earth had become)
3.    In Amos they are described as reaching the height of cedar trees. (I.e. a powerful race of giants).  These are the giants who will come to inhabit Canaan in Numbers (time of Moses) and also the Giants in the time of David.

However, in Genesis it is a bit ambiguous.  The sentence read as a whole in context makes it unclear who the “sons of God” are.  Therefore, experts have the following interpretations of this verse (some of them are weird):

1.    The Nephilim were already on the earth and created a powerful race by mixing with the daughters of man.

2.    Satan was trying to thwart God’s plan (as he always does) and so tried to create giants in order to overtake God’s chosen people. There are several ways he could have done this:
a.    Brought aliens to impregnate woman thereby giving birth to Giants aka Nephilim
b.   Fallen Angels (demons) or satan himself possessed men and caused them to breed with woman thereby mixing the correct DNA
c.   Fallen Angels themselves took the form of man to breed with humans

3.    Men were naturally large due to large amounts of oxygen at that time (even huge dragonfly fossils have been found).  Then for some reason one race became extra-large and these already giants were called the “sons of God” and they married the daughters of normal men

4.    Kings, princes or other rulers – The Bible sometimes calls kings and other leaders “sons of God.”  Or “children of the Most High”

5.    Offspring of Angels – A number of early sources (i.e. the Dead Sea Scrolls) often refer to the “sons of heaven” as angels and a few early Christian writers agreed with this view thus creating a superhuman race.  In fact the words “the sons of God is used only twice outside the Genesis chapter and in both instances (Job 1:6 and Job 2:1) the phrase explicitly references angels.  However in Matthew, Jesus did say that angels have never taken wives – but does not specify if fallen angels have taken wives. Anyway it brings us to point 6.

6.    Offspring of Seth – This is the view I tend to agree with most. Seth was the child of Adam and Eve that began to call on the name of God (it is also his line that gave birth to Noah, Abraham and eventually Jesus i.e. the chosen line) and his descendants were the ones that became repentant of sin. The assumption is that they had much wisdom (unlike Cain and his descendants).  Therefore the interpretation is that Seth’s offspring are referred to as the “sons of God” and some revelled and married outside the faith thereby having offspring with the “daughters of men” who were that of Cain’s descendants hence mixing the two tribes and strengthening DNA so they produced giants.  In actual fact other commentaries and translations may read “sons of nobles” or “sons of rulers” or “sons of judges. Also some translations actually say the word “wives” which may suggest more than one wife (i.e. polygamy).  So this view summed up actually means the unholy alliance between God’s people and idol worshipers and it also brought great evil.

So how tall were these giants anyway?  Well from several bones and skeletons found around the world and from the Bible itself (see also Deut. 3:11), experts put these giants at between 9 – 16 feet (2.5 – 5 metres). Then the question still is were 2.5 metre men the exception or were people really big in those days.  Maybe 5 metres were the giants and 2.5 metres were normal men.

As I said this one word Nephilim gave me a headache of epic proportions. Anyway there are some things we will never know but they are not all that important. There is however very important things that God does want us to know and that is in the Word of God. So let’s continue.

Though it would be difficult to determine which of these views may be correct, it is clear that the kind of relationship described here involved some form of grievous sexual perversion wherein the “sons of God” took any woman they wanted.  The verse further implies more than 1 wife hence Polygamy as up to that point man had only taken 1 wife.

It is also important to note that this is a similar situation to that of the original sin:


In both cases something good in God’s creation is used in a sinful and disobedient way against God, with drastic consequences.

GEN 6: 5-8… The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain (deeply troubled). So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and the creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

This concisely describes the worldwide intensity and extensiveness of human wickedness.
God is grieved over his creation which he at first saw was “very good” but which is now filled with sin.  Only through Jesus were we washed clean of the sin and seen once again as “very good”.
Only Noah stands apart from the previous mentioned sin.  I am not saying that Noah was perfect but he did find favour in God’s eyes (perhaps it was his faith – we’ll learn more about Noah in our next study)

Anyway, God was so grieved that by the time of Noah, that He decided to wipe out all of humanity and try to start over with the one remaining godly family – the family of Noah.  Not only was mankind to be wiped out but animals, birds and every living creature suggests that it was to be a total reversal of God’s creative work.

Imagine if Noah had not found favour with God? What would have happened then? Would God have totally wiped out the whole of humanity and started over from scratch from the Garden of Eden?

So … if God was so grieved he had made humans, then did he regret making us? Well no because God doesn’t make mistakes and doesn’t change his mind (1 Sam 15:29).   Instead he was just expressing sadness and disappointment just like a parent would with a rebellious child.  God never stopped loving us but sin breaks God’s heart – it always has and always will but it’s our willingness to repent and our faith that makes God find favour with us.


  1. I believe we hurt God every time we sin. God bless you.

  2. It's interesting that when the Lord spoke of this He didn't refer to great sins as we might think of them. "they ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them" but they did it apart from God. We don't realise how it affects God for us just to go our own way apart from Him.

    Interesting thoughts on the Nephilim; were the heroes of the Greek myths, etc. folk memories of that period?