26 February 2017

Marriages Made in Heaven

The section of Genesis subtitled the “Generations of Adam” concludes with a very unusual development. Angels, apparently expelled from heaven, began to take human women as wives.

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Genesis 6:1-2

The phrase sons of God most commonly denotes angelic beings (Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7; Dan 3:25).

The text does not explain how spiritual beings could engage in carnal relations with humans. Medieval Christian philosophers distinguished animals, humans, and angels according to the following scheme: animals were bodies without minds, humans were bodies with minds (or minds with bodies), and angels were minds without bodies. Just how do minds without bodies engage in sexual relations? Perhaps the text assumes angelic or demonic possession; but that seems to be a New Testament phenomenon.

Interwoven with this story is God's disgust with human evil and impending judgment through a worldwide flood.

“And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3

God warns that in one hundred twenty more years, he will no longer strive against man to restrain his evil ways.

As a result of the trans-dimensional sexual intercourse between angels and women, a race of giants roamed the earth who became men of renown.

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4

The phrase giants means “fallen ones,” perhaps derived from the idea of fallen angels.

The text returns to the theme of impending judgment.

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5-7

Although not explicitly stated, the context suggests a relationship between the wickedness that displeased God and the fallen ones.

God impending judgment, however, seems unjust. If the flood intended to destroy this race of fallen ones, it failed. Centuries later, when the Hebrews left Egypt for Canaan, they encounter more of these giants. Apparently another outbreak of trans-dimensional intercourse occurred. (This might be implied by the phrase “and after that” in Gen. 6:4 above).Moreover, it the destruction of non-human animal life appears to be a misdirected expression of divine anger. Finally, it is difficult to believe that the imagination of every human being was of only evil continually. Some humans, however, were spared:

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:8

These supernatural suitors made quite an impression.  Women have been singing about them ever since.

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