Last week’s post, “Giants—Myth or History,” generated some excellent questions. These questions will be addressed in this and subsequent posts.
Question: On identifying the “sons of God” (Gen. 6:1-4) as angels:
Is it not the clearer indication in Matthew 22:30 from our Lord that angels are sexless? Is there any Biblical reference to the ability of angels to have sex at all, let alone match human chromosomes? Where does it say that the sons of God were fallen angels? Where does it say that angels can impregnate?
There are three theories on the identity of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1-4, all of them controversial.
Theory 1: Fallen Angels
Theory 2: Godly descendants of Seth
Theory 3: Dynastic Rulers (Dynastic Rulers is the weakest, biblically.)
Identifying the “sons of God” as fallen angels has been a widely held position throughout church history.[i]
This has been challenged in recent times, based on the theory that angels are sexless, incapable of interbreeding with humans. Billy Graham popularized this theory in his book, “Angels: God’s Secret Agents.”[ii] He interprets Matthew 22:30 to mean: “The Bible teaches that angels are sexless.” Here is the passage:
Matt. 22:30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.
This verse actually says nothing regarding angel gender or biology. What Jesus teaches here is that there will be no marriage ceremonies among the resurrected people of God, just as there are no marriage ceremonies for angels.
To assume this means that angels and resurrected humans are sexless goes beyond the meaning of the text. The Bible teaches that God designed the male / female nature of mankind as an “image” in the created realm of God, who is Spirit (Gen. 1:27). Nowhere does Scripture suggest that humanity becomes gender-neutral in the resurrection.
Additionally, the term “sons of God” is used only of angels in the Old Testament (Job 1; Job 38:7; Ps. 29:1; Ps. 89:7). The Septuagint (Greek translation) of Genesis 6:1-4 translates “sons of God” as “angels.” In the New Testament, Jude 6-7 specifically mentions “…the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”
Only Genesis 6:1-4 matches Jude’s description of angels committing immoral acts similar to that taking place in Sodom and Gomorrah.
Peter also refers to these disobedient “spirits” that God has since ”imprisoned”:
2 Pet. 3:19-20 “…the imprisoned spirits—to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.”
Finally, angels often change into human form in Scripture. Who is to say that genetic duplication is not involved, especially given the biblical evidence above supporting the interpretation that the “sons of God” are fallen angels?
How appropriate that Jesus “…has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him” (1Pet. 3:22).
[i] Supported by Philo, Josephus, Justin, Ambrose, the apocryphal book of Enoch, Delitzsch, Driver, Cassuto, Henry Morris, von Rad, Speiser. See: Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament, 1978, The Zondrvan Corporation. Pg. 35
[ii] Angels: God’s Secret Agents. Billy Graham, Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City, New York. 1975. pg 33