Sons of God / daughters of men

Genesis 6:1-4 says:
‘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.’

It’s just before Noah builds the ark – does it mean that the men aren’t fully human but the girls are? Is it just a term that was used?

Does it mean something else entirely?

If so, why are the men Sons of God but the women are daughters of men? And why did their offspring become the heroes of legend? It sounds like the stuff of Greek mythology.

If I’ve read it before then I didn’t register it – and I was so surprised by it that I went to find the NIV to see if it said the same. (The one quoted above is NIV, so yes it did.) I’m reading through the Bilble chronologically in a year so this will probably be the first of many queries I have – what does it mean?

Any ideas?

5 Replies to “Sons of God / daughters of men”

  1. It’s pretty obscure, isn’t it. Some people think it’s talking about demons mating with women, which sounds pretty unlikely to me. My favourite interpretation is that it’s describing the disastrous intermarriage of the godly line of Seth with the ungodly line of Cain. This may sound unlikely too, but at least the Old Testament uses the term ‘son of God’ elsewhere for Israel’s kings, and Israel itself, so there’s something of a precedent…

    This interpretation has a straightforward account of why God sent the flood: even those who had been faithful to him turned away and mixed in with people who were rebellious against him.

  2. I think it means that angels came down to earth and had sex with humans. Their babies were different and some believe to be larger than most other humans. There is talk of the Nephlim after Noah as well so it must mean that this was going on for some time.

    Andrew

  3. I tend to try not to worry about things like this – I sort of think it’s a story handed down that is hard to understand what it means. Sorry if that’s quite unsatisfactory…

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