Mike Johnson

 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.” (Gen. 6:1-2)

This passage has been viewed as a very difficult passage throughout the years and has been often misunderstood.  Some people believe that the “sons of God” refer to angels, and believe that the passage is teaching that fallen angels came to the earth and cohabited with the daughters of men, i.e., human beings.  This union, according to the position, produced the giants mentioned in verse four.  It is true that there are times in the Bible when the expression “sons of God” refers to angels (note Job 1:6, 2:1).  However, this does not seem to be the use of the expression in Genesis 6.

With the position mentioned above, it would be said that the flood was the result of angels coming down to the earth and marrying women.  The result of this union, according to the position, produced wicked children which produced the devastating results of the flood.

This passage, as with others, is more easily understood when the context is considered.  In chapter four, the death of Abel and the descendants of Cain are recorded (vs. 16-24).  Chapter five tells of the descendants of Seth who was the third son of Adam and Eve.  The two lines seem to have gone in different directions being very different in character. We learn, for example, of murder among Cain’s descendants (4:23-24).  However, among Seth’s descendants, the people seemed to be different.  After Seth’s son was born, chapter four, verse 26 says, “then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.”  The problem came about when these two groups intermarried.  This is what is being described in Genesis 6:1-2.  Again, with the context in mind, the meaning is clearer.  The sons of God refer to the Sethites, and they appear to have been followers of God.  The daughters of men refer to the descendants of Cain, and it seems that they were generally unrighteous.  The descendants of Seth started choosing their wives on the basis of physical beauty (from among the descendants of Cain) and did not consider character, and the result was the wickedness which resulted in the flood described in the verses which follow.  The immediate context seems to demand this interpretation.