Who are the sons of God?

Genesis chapter 6 is one of the most mysterious chapters in the entire Bible. It speaks about sons of God taking daughters of men as wives and bearing Nephilim or translated in English as giants.

Who does the Bible call as sons of God?

We all know Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.

Matt 26:63-64 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

 But Bible calls some other people as sons of God as well.

Devil is never called as son of God in LXX but in Masoretic

Comparing Masoretic and Septuagint texts (LXX), reveal the following observations:

Job 1:6 And it came to pass on a day, that behold, the angels of God came to stand before the Lord, and the devil came with them (LXX).

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

The book of Job in LXX never mentions sons of God. There are other references including Job 2:1 and Job 38:7 as well, where Septuagint always translates as angels of God while Masoretic translates as sons of God. Hence, Masoretic text calls Satan also as a son of God.

Children of Israel are called sons of God

Deut 32:43 Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him; for he will avenge the blood of his sons, and he will render vengeance, and recompense justice to his enemies, and will reward them that hate him; and the Lord shall purge the land of his people (LXX). 

Deut 32:43 “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people.”

The above passage from the song of Moses is also echoed in Psalms.

Ps 29:1 (28:1) A Psalm of David on the occasion of the solemn assembly of the Tabernacle. Bring to the Lord, ye sons of God, bring to the Lord young rams; bring to the Lord glory and honour (LXX). 

Ps 29:1 GIVE unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, Give unto the LORD glory and strength.

David also uses the term sons of God to refer the children of Israel.

Matt 23:9 “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 

Mal 2:10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another By profaning the covenant of the fathers?

Jesus also confirmed we all the children of Israel have one Father who is in Heaven.

Adam could be a son of God

Luke 3:38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Strictly speaking, “the son of” is a translator’s addition and it doesn’t exist in original texts. Adam is of God but considering the other verses which implies “son of”, Adam could also be a son of God or simply from God.

Prophets as ‘gods’ (or sons of God)

John 10:33-36 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 

Ps 82:6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’

The law calls all to whom the word of God came as gods and they are all called sons of God.

Peacemakers as sons of God

Matt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

Jesus also calls the peace makers as sons of God

What does the Bible conclude?

If we take only the Septuagint, sons of God are God’s chosen people or His inheritance. It is mentioned for the children of Israel. If we take Masoretic text, sons of God represents angels which includes devils. However, Jesus said, to whom the word of God came (e..g, prophets) and peacemakers will be called sons of God. Based on what is found in the Bible, we have several options for son(s) of God:
  1. Only Begotten: Jesus Christ
  2. Based on Creation: Satan, Adam, Angels
  3. Figurative: Prophets, Peacemakers, Children of Israel

Son of God on Genesis 6

We have 3 categories who are called as son(s) of God and let us see if they fit the Genesis 6 chapter.
Son(s) of God Investigation
Only Begotten : Jesus Christ No. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, who is sinless and does not represent the sons of God in Genesis 6.
Based on Creation: Satan, Adam, Angels Possible
Figurative: Prophets, Peacemakers, Children of Israel No. While children of Israel are called sons of God, they were chosen much later. These sons of God in Gen 6 were wicked and evil who cannot be prophets or peacemakers.

There is only one possibility. The sons of God must be a created being by God who was not of Adam descendants.

Man alike or Angel?

    Peter and Jude comes to rescue:

    2Pet 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 

    Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;

    Hence, sons of God in Genesis 6 based on the apostle’s interpretation represents the fallen angels.

    Asking the authors themselves

    Either Moses or the scribes under the leadership of Moses wrote the book of Genesis and Numbers.

    Gen 6:4 There were giants (Nephilim) 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. 

    Num 13:33 “There we saw the giants (Nephilim) (the descendants of Anak came from the giants (Nephilim)); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

    We know the book of Genesis cannot be older than the book of Numbers because, God revealed to Moses by name YHWH and Genesis is full of His name YHWH. Hence, Genesis is written at the same time or later than the book of Numbers.

    The Nephilim and their descendants Anak are exaggerated here by the other spies:

    Num 13:33 “There we saw the giants (Nephilim) (the descendants of Anak came from the giants (Nephilim)); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

    The discouraging words spoken by the other spies are certainly not true.

    Deut 9:1-2 “Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?’

    Nephilim and their descendants called Anak where just tall people. If Anak were indeed the descendants or Nephilim as in Numbers 13, who in turn were dependents of sons of God as in Genesis 6, then there are two possibilities.
    1. Flood during the days of Noah may not be global
    2. Global flood didn’t kill all Nephilim and some were left out.
    Many believe the flood may not be global. However, ignoring the when the flood happened, there is compelling evidence for a global flooding.
    Ref: Wiki: Sea Level Rise
    All scientists agree by the end of the last ice age, when the ice began to melt, the sea levels rose to 140 meters (or ~500 feet) world-wide. We can clearly see this even in google map.
    Red – Ice-age coast line, Yellow – Today’s coast line
    Hence, there was indeed a global flood. It is also widely accepted that the end of last ice saw the greatest number of species extinction called Quaternary extinction event. Hence, the events described in the Bible are true except it is written by a prophet 3500 years ago with what he understood which is often very simple when compared to our increased knowledge in modern days. 

    Neanderthals? Denisovans? Sons of God?

    If we go by the interpretation of God’s man like other creations then yes, Neanderthals and Denisovans could be sons of God, for God created them. Because the Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA is sequenced and available for all of us to look into, there are some interesting parallels.
    Biblical Narration Scientific Evidence
    Sons of God interbred with daughters of men Neanderthals and Denisovans interbred with humans (ref). 
    Sons of God took wives for themselves of all whom they chose Based on recent research, due to mutations in Neanderthals Y chromosome, the human female will miscarriage. (ref) Also, the head size of male hybrid infant will be larger than the birth canal causing the female to die in child birth. This means, neanderthals must take more females to have very little success to have children who are often infertile. 
    Offspring of Sons of God and daughters of men are not humans but called Nephilim Neanderthals and Denisovans interbred with humans, they are incompatible. Several traits including diseases were inherited by humans from them because of interbreeding (ref).
    Nephilim were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. Neanderthals are much stronger (ref)
    Nephilim were destroyed in the flood Neanderthals and Denisovans are extinct today.
    These parallels suggest Neanderthals and Denisovans could be sons of God and/or Nephilim.

    If there was a global flood, how did the sons of God survive? No, they didn’t. Today we understand genetics and how genes can pass on from Nephilim and traits become activated in descendants who are involved in incest after the global flood. This happened in one of the descendants of Ham who became Anak. With God destroying those referred as descendants of Nephilims and Goliath being the last, no one living today will have any Nephilim traits.

    With lot of questions in our mind in today’s world of increased knowledge, we must always understand that Bible is not a science book but written by prophets thousands of years back in simple language for common people of all ages, for reproof, correction, and for instruction in righteousness that the God’s children may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.