Dr. Jack L. Arnold                                    Equipping Pastors International                                           Genesis


Lesson 23

Who Are the “Sons of God” and the “Daughters of Men?”

Genesis 6:1-4



A.  View #1: Godly Line of Seth and the Ungodly Line of Cain.  These two lines intermarried, breaking down the separation between the godly line of Seth and the godless line of Cain. The result was the judgment of the Flood.


a.  Context. There has been a discussion of the line of Cain and the line of Seth in chapter five. Then in chapter six is a discussion of the mingling of the two lines. Chapter seven brings the judgment of the Flood.

b.  Universality of Sin.  It was the total wickedness of man that brought about the Flood.

c.  Sons of God Implies Men.   While the specific term of God” is used in the Old Testament of angelic beings, there are other expressions which are akin and would express the fact of men rather than angels (Deut. 14:1; Isa. 43:6; Hos. 1:10; 11:1).

d.  Giants.   The giants are nephilim and it does not say that they are a result of what happened in verse two. These nephilim were on the earth both pre­vious (context) and subsequently (Num. 13:33). Why were they mentioned? Because the progeny of this relationship was like the nephilim they were violent men.

e.  Repetition of the Word “Man”.   In Genesis 6:1-6 the words “men” or “man” are used five times. The context is about human beings, not angelic beings.


a.  The context of Gen. 6:1-4 really gives very little evidence to take the “daughters” of men” as ungodly Cainitic women and “sons of God” as godly Sethites. NOTE.   In fact, the context implies that the “sons of God” may have been the Cainites. If this is true, it would be strange to call the Cainites sons of God, for they were ungodly.

b.  By what rules of interpretation can one limit the word “men” to a separate portion of the human race, when the word is race wide in its significance, and then go a step further and single it out as a distinctive part of the human race, the Cainitic line.

c.  The New Testament uses the words “sons of God” to refer to a believers but Moses wrote Genesis, and would hardly be using New Testament terminology.  Besides the words “sons of God” are specifically used of angels in the Old Testament (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7).

d.  How can we go so far to say that all the men of the line of Seth were saved and sons of God in that sense, and none of the men of the line of Cain? Then, too, it appears that the ungodly have only sons, while the godly have only daughters.

e.  Would the godly Sethites enter into such marriages, and obtain a plurality of wives, and do so by exercising force?

f.  Would the union of the lines of Seth and Cain produce beings of superhuman character and strength?

g.  How can this view harmonize with II Pet. 2:4-5; 1 Pet. 3:19-20 and Jude 6-7?

B.  View #2: Fallen Angels or Demon Possessed Men Cohabit with Sinful Women So As to Produce a Monstrous Progeny


a.  “Sons of God” are Angelic Beings.  This designation always refers to angels in the Old Testament and never to believers. (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:1). NOTE.  However, it must be admitted that the title refers to good angels and not bad ones.

b.  “Daughters of Men” is Universal.   This designation indicates the natural increase of the whole human family, not a special class.

c.  Why Such a Severe Judgment? The crossing of fallen angels and human flesh brought a monstrosity of beings; thus God had to destroy the human race to keep it pure. Why such a cataclysmic judgment if this sin was just sexual immorality by humans? The sin must have been great in nature to bring God’s judgment upon the human race.

d.  Meaning of Nephilim.  The word “giant” (nephilim) has as its original meaning the fallen ones and could refer to monsters or mixed human and angelic birth.

e.  New Testament (1 Pet. 3:19-20; 2 Pet. 2:405; Jude 6-7).   1 Pet. 3:19-20 says that Christ after death went to preach to disobedient spirits (angelic beings) and these spirits are connected up with the days of Noah. Second Peter 2:4-5 connects the sinning angels with the Flood in the days of Noah. Jude 6-7 seems to link the judgment of some bad angels with sexual lust and the words “strange flesh” really means “flesh of another nature,”

f.  Satanic Plot.   This was another Satanic attempt to destroy the human race; thus making it impossible for the God-Man, Jesus Christ, to come to earth. This coincides with the “seed” in Gen. 3:15. Had the human race been completely infected by fallen angelic nature, there would be no place for Jesus Christ, the perfect man.

g.  Explains Greek Mythology: This viewpoint may explain early Greek mythology, which speaks of the Titans who were partly of celestial and partly of terrestrial origin. These monstrous beings of mixed birth rebelled against their father Uranus (Heaven) and after a prolonged contest were defeated by Zeus and thrown into Tartarus.


a.  Angelic beings do not marry or have the capacity to reproduce (Luke 20:35-­36; Mark 12:25; Matt. 22:30). ANSWERS:

(1)  In Matt. 22:30 the angels in heaven (good angels) are specified and it says nothing about fallen angels.

(2)  Angels do not procreate within their own kind but because all angels are spoken of in a masculine gender they may have united with those of another kind. In Jude 6-7 it says the angels went after “strange flesh” and it literally means “a flesh of another kind.”

(3)  Angels do appear in human form and have eaten food. Why should they not have a sex function?

b.  The whole idea of angels uniting with humans is too fantastic. ANSWER: Perhaps this is a case of demon possession on a large scale. In Jude 6 it says these wicked angels (demons) did not keep their regular habitation (dwelling place). The implication is that they found another place of dwelling. In the Bible, the human body is often referred to as a habita­tion or dwelling place. Thus these demons took up residence in human bodies where they did not belong. Thus evil spirits, fallen angels, possessed the bodies of men, and these demon possessed men married women and produced a race of strange beings called here in Genesis 6 “Nephilim.” They were a race of giants and were known as the “fallen ones.” NOTE: This suggests that demonic possession has the ability to affect genetic structure. The chromosomes are changed so that the progeny are markedly different; a sort of mutation takes place and the result is a pronounced change in the children of such a union. We know today that certain drugs (LSD, thalidomide, etc.) have this kind of affect on genetic structure.  NOTE.   We are also told in this passage that this phenomenon (apparently on a smaller scale) happened “also afterward,” that is, after the Flood a similar incursion of demonic beings took place. This second invasion resulted in the presence in the land of Canaan of certain gigantic races which are called in our Bible, the Canaanites This is one explanation why God told the Israelites to destroy the whole Canaanite society. NOTE:  It is interesting that archeologists have now discovered the giant cities of Bashan, and they confirm the fact that there did exist in this area races of gigantic beings whose beds are ten, eleven or twelve feet long.

C.  Conclusion. The best explanation is to see the “sons of God” as demons, which possessed men, and the “daughters of men” as probably lewd women, which became so corrupt that they opened themselves to demonic activity. The result was a race of supermen, fallen ones. Thus God had to bring judgment upon men.



A.  The word “strive” is not a good translation for the Hebrew word actually means rule or abide in. A good translation would be, “Jehovah said, ‘My spirit shall not rule in men for ever; in their wandering they are flesh.’”

B.  This then is not a picture of God striving His hardest to save men but failing because of man’s refusal to repent. No, this portrays God as the Sovereign One, declaring to men that He will not rule in men’s hearts forever; thus men should call upon the Lord before it is too late to be saved.