The Nephilim: Did Angels Have Children With Humans?

Found deep in the pages of Scripture is a passage that rarely makes it into sermon outlines or Bible class discussions. Many scholars and Bible students believe this passage refers to a time in history when fallen angels came to earth and produced offspring with humans.

Here’s the passage:

“When men 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. Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.’ 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.” (Genesis 6:4)

So whatever the “Nephilim” were, they came about “when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them.” Our question then is, to whom was the Bible referring when it said, “the sons of God”?

That question has sparked fresh debate for me recently since the release of my novel, “The Last Hybrid: Bloodline of Angels.” It’s about a man who is half angel and half human. If the Genesis 6 passage is referring to angels, when it says, “sons of God,” then a “Nephilim” would be the child of an angel father and a human mother.

Some contend that “sons of God” refers to the descendants of Seth (Adam’s son) and that the “daughters of men” refer to the descendants of Cain. In addition to the fact that there is nothing in the Bible that suggests this, I think the biblical evidence for the opposite is far more solid. For example, the first verse in Genesis 6 says:

When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them…

Note that the passage simply says “men.” It’s the same Hebrew word used throughout the Old Testament for males. This passage doesn’t even come close to saying that “men” is referring to an exclusive group of men who were descended only from Seth. It’s simply saying that men were multiplying on the earth.

Then we read:

…the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

So we’re back to “the sons of God” needing to be defined since we’ve already defined “men” as, well, men. When the Old Testament uses “sons of God” elsewhere, pay attention to what it says.

In Job 38:4-7, God says that “…the sons of God shouted for joy” when He laid the foundations of the earth. In fact, some translations, including the New International Version simply say, “angels” instead of “sons of God.” It’s clear here that the phrase refers to angels since no human beings existed when God laid the foundations of the earth. And certainly not the descendants of Seth.

It’s also used in Job 1:6.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

Again, the New International Version simply says, “angels.” The reason Genesis 6 doesn’t use the word “angels” is because the translators feared backlash if they allowed the verse to be so plain in saying that angels mated with women to have children. They’d rather be safe and use a phrase that wasn’t so obvious so they deferred to “sons of God” and figured people could simply debate it on their own. But in using “sons of God” we’re given enough information to determine that it’s angels who are being talked about.

How Could Fallen Angels Mate With Humans?

If you recall, the Bible gives examples where angels were on earth in a human-like form. In Genesis 18-19 we read about angels who looked like men. They even ate and slept.

A few chapters later we’re told that 2 angels went to the city of Sodom and the inhabitants simply considered them to be human visitors.

Furthermore, if angels couldn’t take the form of man or at least appear like men, how is it that some can “entertain angels unaware” (Hebrews 13:2)?

The Bible classifies some angels as “elect” (1 Timothy 5:21) or “holy” (Matthew 25:31; Mark 8:38). All angels were originally holy, enjoying the fellowship of God (Matthew 18:10) and the environment of heaven (Mark 13:32).

But at some point other angels opposed God under the leadership of Satan (Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Ephesians 6:12). In fact, we’re told that when the dark angels fell, they were cast to the earth.

“And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” (Revelation 12:7-9).

So we’re told that certain angels were indeed “hurled to the earth.” That’s why they’re often called, “fallen” angels. And if they can take the appearance of men and be able to eat and sleep, it’s not a great stretch to think that they have the capability, in that form, to mate with humans and produce children who would be half angel and half human. According to Genesis 6, those children were called Nephilim. Some of them were giants and were called, “heroes of old, men of renown.” The descendants of Seth and the descendants of Cain were simply humans, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to produce a type of “super human” offspring. But it would make since if angels had children with humans.

Furthermore, we read of more Nephilim in Numbers 13:33 which was after the flood took place. And the Bible tells us that there were only 8 survivors (Noah and his family) of the flood. So if the Nephilim were merely the result of the descendants of Seth and the descendants of Cain having children, all of those people would have been wiped out by the flood. The Nephilim being mentioned again after the flood suggests that it’s possible that fallen angels again had children with humans. Where else would they come from? After all, those who reported seeing Nephilim in the land of Canaan knew that there were only 8 survivors of the flood and that none of those survivors were Nephilim. So they would have looked pretty silly if they claimed to have seen a race of people that everyone knew died in the flood. But if Nephilim were the offspring of angels mating with humans, they could have been born after the flood even if all the other Nephilim perished.

Whether or not fallen angels still have relations with human women today is a different matter and one that, in my opinion, sits squarely in the realm of speculation. It does, however, make for interesting thought and sends my imagination wandering. So much so that my novel, “The Last Hybrid: Bloodline of Angels,” which is a paranormal romance about a modern-day Nephilim, is available here.

Suggested Reading:

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