Question:

Please explain Genesis 6:1-8. Who were the sons of God?

Answer:

"There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown" (Genesis 6:4).

The world in Noah's day was very corrupt. Even back in the days of Noah, mankind recognized that wickedness was a matter of the heart. What a person does or does not do depends upon their internal thoughts and feelings (I Chronicles 29:18, Proverbs 19:21, 23:7).

Righteous people ("Sons of God") intermarried with the wicked ("Daughters of Men"). The result was a decay in the overall spiritualness of the people. This is a theme that appears frequently in the Scriptures. When people are not careful to marry faithful people, the result is often a decay in the moral standard. A wicked spouse is more likely to cause a righteous person to leave his or her faith than for the righteous person to persuade his or her spouse to follow after God. As an example, take a look at what happened to King Solomon in I Kings 11:4. Be careful to choose a spouse that will encourage you to be a better servant of God, instead of a spouse who will try to persuade you to leave your God.

Once in a while, you will find an author claiming that "sons of God" refers to angels and that they intermarried with men to produce a super race. Such speculation cannot be true. Jesus said that angels do not marry (Matthew 22:30), implying that they are not male and female as men are. It is true that angels are called "sons of God" in Job 1:6, but righteous people are also called "sons of God" in Hosea 1:10. Even in the New Testament we find, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26). Understanding Genesis 6 to refer to righteous men gives a simpler meaning to the verses than to reach for a fanciful meaning of angels marrying women.

Notice the mention of "giants" and "mighty men." This can be read one of two ways: they were physically large or they were giants among men in the sense of leaders. But notice that the giants existed before and after the sons of God married the daughters of men. The giants were not a product of the sons of God marrying the daughters of men.