Genesis 6:4 – The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
Get out your tinfoil hats for today’s devo as we continue answering some of the most difficult questions of the book of Genesis, coming from chapter 6. Today we get to one of the most obscure and debated topics in Genesis – who or what were the Nephilim?
After this word is used in Genesis 6:4, it’s again seen in Numbers 13:33 to refer to, apparently, a giant race of people, which has caused many to speculate that the Nephilim mentioned here somehow survived the flood. There are four possible answers regarding who the Nephilim were. We will consider them in order from the most supernatural to the most natural possibilities.
One, divine beings called the “sons of God” just a few verses prior came to the earth and impregnated human women called “the daughters of men”, which led to offspring called the Nephilim. If so, this would be a demonic counterfeit to the incarnation of our God Jesus Christ, who is fully divine and fully human with an earthly mother but a divine Father. The rejection of this view is largely centered around the sexual activity between divine and human beings, which Jesus may have spoken against after the resurrection but may not apply to the days of Noah, which were obviously pre-resurrection of mankind (Matthew 22:23-33).
Two, divine beings came in the form of human beings in a way that is similar to how God and other divine beings appeared to Abraham in physical bodies and ate a meal together (Genesis 18-19) or where Jacob wrestled with someone that the Bible calls both “a man” (Genesis 32:22-32) and a divine being or Hebrew elohim, also translated “angel” (Genesis 32:3-31; Hosea 12:3-4).
Three, demons possessed the physical bodies of human beings to create a people group called the Nephilim.
Four, the language is considered more generally in reference to an ungodly family line that is opposed to the family line of Abraham and Sarah by God supernaturally allowing the barren elderly couple to have a son that led to the nation of Israel. In this sense, God and Satan each “fathered” a family line through natural means of human offspring.
This is one of those instances of open and closed-handed issues that I’ve mentioned before. While topics like this can be fun to debate, they should ultimately not divide, and we can still be Christians and have different views of the Nephilim. I would encourage you to continue studying this topic and, if you’d like to learn more, check out this video I made several years ago on the topic.
Pray to ask God to help you have further understanding of complex topics like this throughout Genesis and realize that, ultimately, some things may need to be in your “question box” until you can ask God all your questions in Heaven.
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