Chapter 6 of the book of Genesis is a very intriguing one. It speaks about special beings that had lived on Earth in ancient times. Who were those beings is the subject for many debates and very few opinions are able to shed some light on the issue.
“When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, ‘My spirit shall not abide* in mortals for ever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterwards—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.” (Genesis 6; 1-4 NRSV)
Who were “the sons of God”, “the daughters of man”, and the “Nephilin” in Genesis chapter 6, verses 1-4? There are three major interpretations of this expression circulating among the commentators and to which I want to add a fourth one which is probably the most convincing.
The combination between the ungodly Cainite with the godly Sethites.
The ‘sons of God’ are generally thought to be the godly men of the Sethite line. The ‘daughters of men’ are thought to be the daughters of the ungodly Cainite. The Nephilim are the ungodly men who are the product of this undesirable union. Chapter 4 from the book of Genesis describes the ungodly generation of Cain, while in chapter 5 we see the godly Sethite line. The premise of this line of argument is that Cain’s line of descendants and Seth’s line of descendants had to be separated because Cain was a criminal and Seth replaced Abel, the victim of Cain’s crime. No connections would have been adequate between the families of the criminal and of the victim.
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This version of interpretation is open to much possible criticism. In point of fact, humanity is seen by the Bible as a unity and not having two branches. God would have seen all humankind, not only Cain’s offspring, as having bad thoughts and as being unholy. Human beings were in unity and all were relatives amongst themselves.
Godly and ungodly are two notions applicable to certain individuals and not to whole families. Not all of Seth’s line would have been godly and not all of Caine’s line would have been ungodly. According to chapter 6 from the book of Genesis, few were godly in those days. Only Noah and his family could have been called righteous at the time of the Flood. If other people would have been righteous, they also probably would have been saved from the Flood, but only Noah and his family were deemed to be just by God.
Also, the “daughters of men” cannot be restricted to only the daughters of the Cainites. The “daughters of man” were not forced into this union with the sons of God. They would have been seen by the “sons of God” as suitable partners for them, they became their wives and they gave birth to children for them. The word “wife” is the key for this idea and this was a dignity attributed to the “daughters of man” by the “sons of God”.
If the sons of Seth’s line of inheritance had been married to Cain’s granddaughters, they all were relatives between them and they all started from the same set of DNA. Why would the product of such families have been giants? There isn’t any genetic explanation for such a phenomenon. Having the same DNA, all mankind had to be formed only from giants, but it wasn’t the case. Incest brings degeneration and not an increase in strength or other qualities. Nephilims were strong and courageous people, proving military prowess – they were not degenerates. A new set of genes had to be added to those of Adam and Eve’s in order to produce Nephilims.
The Despot Interpretation
In another interpretation, the sons of God are the sons of powerful rulers, identified by the languages of the Near East with “sons of God”. For example, in Egypt the Pharaoh was identified with the “son” of the Egyptian deity Re. The Hebrew word used in the O.T. for God, Elohim, was also used for men who exercised authority. In this view, “sons of God” should be understood to mean powerful nobles and kings.
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“1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgement:” (Psalm 82; 1 NRSV)
Some of the commentators who maintain The Despot Interpretation are also of the opinion that the main sin of those despots was polygamy. I don’t think that polygamy would have really been a problem as far as Abraham or David had polygamous relations and that didn’t produce a strong reaction from God, as a matter of fact, no critical reaction was recorded by the book of Genesis about polygamy. If polygamy was so bad as to determine God to wipe out the majority of the human population through the Flood, why did He consider David’s polygamous relationships acceptable? The idea that polygamy would have determined God’s resolution to send the Flood isn’t sustained by the biblical texts.
There is no reason for Nephilim to be different than other people if they were the offspring of powerful human rulers. Genetically they had to be similar to all other human beings because they inherited the same DNA. In the Bible Nephilim are identified through their giganticness:
“32 So they brought to the Israelites an unfavourable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, ‘The land that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are of great size. 33 There we saw the Nephilim (the Anakites come from the Nephilim); and to ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.’ (Numbers 13; 32-33 NRSV)
Someone probably would want to solve the dilemma of how the Flood destroyed the Nephilim and in spite of that, they have been recorded after the Flood as being existent on Earth. The “sons of God” had come to Earth before the Flood and Noah or his family wouldn’t have been Nephilim, any of them, because if they were they wouldn’t have been accepted on the boat.
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Nephilim couldn’t have lived on Earth after the Flood if the “sons of God” had come to Earth before the Flood and the Deluge had destroyed the entirety of humankind except Noah and his family, who by definition couldn’t have been Nephilim. That contradiction nullifies any validity of the story of the Flood by rendering it completely untruthful.
The existence of the Nephilim needed a new set of genes in combination with Adam and Eve’s genes, and they couldn’t have been provided by the usual human beings or by angels, either fallen or not. They could have been delivered only by another civilization very similar to humankind but different in the size of the body.
The fallen angels interpretation
According to this view in Genesis chapter 6 verses 2 and 4 the “sons of God” are angels, belonging to Satan’s crew with whom he came down to the earth. Those angels have taken the form of masculine human-like creatures. Those angels married women of the human race, either Cainites or Sethites, and from that union resulted Nephilim, giants with physical superiority who established themselves as men renowned for their physical prowess and military might. This race of half-human creatures would have been wiped out by the Flood, along with all other humans because all of them were sinners.
Some commentators reject the fallen angel interpretation because such a view is said to be in contradiction with reason and also with Scripture. In Mathew’s gospel Jesus said:
“29 Jesus answered them, ‘You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels* in heaven.” (Matthew 22; 29-30 NRSV)
The commentators who support this view don’t find any problem in harmonising the text with the idea that the “sons of God” are fallen angels:
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“We are told that here our Lord said that angels are sexless, but is this really true? Jesus compared men in heaven to angels in heaven. Neither men nor angels are said to be sexless in heaven but we are told that in heaven there will be no marriage. There are no female angels with whom angels can generate offspring. Angels were never told to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ as was man. When we find angels described in the book of Genesis, it is clear that they can assume a human-like form, and that their sex is masculine. The writer to the Hebrews mentions that angels can be entertained without man’s knowing it (Hebrews 13; 2).”
From my point of view there are many problems with the interpretation of the texts in this manner. In each and every text in which the angels took on human aspects, it is about good angels and not fallen angels. We don’t have any examples of fallen angels taking human form. If such a phenomenon would be possible we could be surrounded by devils in human form all around us, but the Bible discourages such a perspective. This would be more than an individual who is said to be possessed by the devil; this would be devils with human bodies. We are surrounded by human beings and not by fallen angels. This assertion is important for the way we see our world and we treat our fellow human beings. We should never consider them to be devils if we want to respect Jesus’s teachings.
The process of becoming similar in form to man is under God’s control and overcame Satan’s abilities. The angels sent to Abraham and to Sodom and Gomorrah were also assigned by God. They took human form even if they were spiritual beings. Probably, biologically those angels were similar to all human beings and there is no reason to believe that they were different. How do we know? If they could easily mix with other human beings they had to be similar to them. They were not giants as the Bible describes the Nephilim. If we consider the episode in Sodom and Gomorrah, if the ‘male’ angels had been giants the people in the city wouldn’t have seen them as a possible prey.
The point is that in order to beget giants the fallen angels had to have a biological potential of their own and not biology identical with the human beings impersonating them. When taking a human body, a fallen angel would have taken all biological characteristics of a human being.
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To speculate that behind a human body a fallen angel would have had his own genetic potential to procreate is absurd.
The angels in God’s Paradise don’t multiply and that is what Jesus clearly said in Mathew 22; 29-30 therefore they are not endowed for multiplication. Why God would have endowed angels with the possibility of procreation if they wouldn’t multiply? If the angels would multiply by procreation God wouldn’t have needed to create human beings in order to replace one third of the angels who had fallen. If God didn’t endow angels with the possibility of procreation but they multiplied with the “daughters of men” then the logical consequence would be that the angels had the power to change their nature from the procreation point of view, but that is unacceptable in the biblical context.
The angels wouldn’t have had the creative power which would have enabled them to recreate their morphological structure. Angels either couldn’t procreate or they could, both versions don’t go together. A mixture between the two versions isn’t based on the Bible. Its texts imply that angels don’t procreate because if they don’t marry they cannot procreate. Procreation outside a marital relation is unacceptable in the biblical context from a moral point of view. God has the same moral standard for everyone, angels or humans, and for human beings procreation is recommended within a marital relationship.
To say that angels took human bodies is only an attempt to escape from the problem. Human bodies couldn’t generate Nephilim without the aid of a specific set of DNA, the creation of which isn’t described in the Bible.
At the same time, the explanation given to the texts that fallen angels had become in love with ancient women is not plausible for many reasons. Let’s try to figure out a world in which sexually active males constitute a community of spiritual beings that never have had sex. Why would God have created only male angels with sexuality if there were not females to multiply with them? Sexuality is a means for procreation and where procreation isn’t a purpose sexuality is useless. The angels had been created immortal; they didn’t need to procreate in order to multiply. Did God create sexually active male angels in view that they would fall in the future and mate with women? That would be nonsense because God didn’t like that union between His “sons” and the “daughters of man”.
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When someone departs from logic anything can be justified by all sorts of fantastic explanations. Jesus said it clearly: “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels* in heaven”. Angels don’t marry and because they don’t marry they are sexless. Any sexual activity outside the marriage is prohibited under God’s moral standards therefore angels aren’t endowed with means of procreation if they don’t marry. Angels with sexual activity who don’t marry and, at the same time, sexual activity prohibited outside marriage, is absurd. The fallen angels wouldn’t have had the ability to procreate and to marry the “daughters of man”.
Pastor Doug Bachelor aptly clarified:
“Angels are spirits; they are not flesh. They are all around us now, but we cannot see them.—they don’t go to school, get jobs, or raise families. They are here to “minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrew 1;14). Even if they wanted to marry and have babies, they couldn’t; they don’t have human DNA. It would be easier for a jellyfish to marry a mountain goat than for angels to marry people. Thus, it doesn’t make practical sense to believe that our passage in Genesis refers to the marriage of angels, fallen or holy, to humans.”
The “sons of God” explained by the fallen angels theory is seen by many commentators as the most likely theory which could explain those verses, but is the most absurd from a rational point of view. Angels are not constructed as human beings are; they have not the same morphological structure because they are spiritual beings. When they dwell in the mind of a human being, that person is not different from any other person from a biological point of view. If God’s angels and people were the same kind of beings, there would be no difference between the spiritual world and the material realm.
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“Sons of God”, the representatives of an extra-terrestrial civilisation
None of the explanations given by the evangelical commentators have sufficient merits in order to be validated, but there is another possibility very little discussed. The “sons of God” were material extra-terrestrial beings similar to human beings but greater in power. They had their own genetic potential compatible with the human one and together the “sons of God” and the “daughters of man” procreated the Nephilim. As I mentioned previously, God in the book of Genesis looks more like a special man than like a universal spiritual Reality. The way in which Adam saw his son Seth is described in Genesis chapter 5 and it is identical with the way in which God had seen humankind in Genesis chapter 1.
“When God created humankind,* he made them* in the likeness of God.” This description of the creation of humankind is like the way in which Adam saw his son Seth, and for this reason by extrapolation one can imagine God as a bigger “man” similar to the human beings but not identical. How such an extraordinary “man” could be eternal is another question. Maybe God who was revealed to Abraham is different than the philosophical and theological understanding of Him. Anthropomorphism may be the key to understanding God if we consider also that the Son of God, Christ, had taken a human body.
"3 When Adam had lived for one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.” (Genesis 5; 1-3 NRSV)
From my point of view this verse is very important for the understanding of the book of Genesis. God had created humankind in His likeness and mankind created and still creates other human beings, also in their likeness. The universal cosmic Man or Someone similar to man, Someone who would have been an extra-terrestrial Being, had created man. The book of Genesis can be seen to represent a continuation of the human anthropogenesis over the boundaries of the earth through the means of myths.
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Chapter 6 from the book of Genesis can represent the remnants of an ancient encounter between humankind and an extra-terrestrial civilization, but such an encounter doesn’t give us any understanding to how the cosmos was generated. To be more relevant such an extraordinary theory must be correlated with other possible evidence.
Probably, both Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2 contain plenty of anthropomorphic elements just because they intended to be anthropomorphic and to illustrate a possible way in which an extra-terrestrial human-like Being would have created the universe. The philosophical construction about an infinite Reality is only a late development. God of the O.T. looks more like an extra-terrestrial civilization trying to educate humankind, but an extra-terrestrial Being coming from another planet couldn’t have created the universe as the Bible says. God is not alone; He is amongst His sons, who also are gods. Monotheism and the biblical texts about the “sons of God” have been gathered in a unique vision but the relationship between God and His “sons” has many unexplained dimensions.
God could have generated more than one material world. Nevertheless, the Bible doesn’t speak about the creation of other intelligent civilizations by God during the six days in which He would have created the entire universe and humankind. According to the book of Genesis there isn’t any time during the creation week in which God could have created other intelligent civilizations, therefore in the context of the Bible the existence of such worlds is pure speculation.
In the beginning, God couldn’t have created other civilizations because those are based in the sky, and the dome of the sky was created only on the second day. After the second day of creation the Bible tells us every step made by God in the process of creation; the stars and consequently other planets would have been created only on the fourth day with the function of illuminating the earth. As a matter of fact, the Bible speaks only about the creation of the stars but not about other planets, as it is the earth which could host life.
Doug Bachelor identifies the “sons of God” as the administrators of other worlds than ours and explains a difference between what the Bible understands through angels and also through “sons of God”.
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“Adam was the son of God, created to have dominion over the Earth. Thus one definition for sons of God is those beings God Himself created to have dominion over the worlds He made. These beings were not born but were created directly by God. Job 38:7 tells us that when our world was created, “the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy.” The “morning stars” are angels, whereas “the sons of God” are the leaders of other worlds.”
Beside the texts of the Bible, we don’t have direct proof that such “sons of God” really exist. We can take few skeletons of large dimensions found on Earth and they could be some evidence that Nephilim truly had existed.
In many biblical texts we can find the expression “sons of God” for people who, being born again, became the children, sons, and daughters of the One from whom they are reborn.
“12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1 12-13 NRSV)
“25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” (Galatians 3; 25-26 NRSV)
Otherworldly beings who didn’t sin could be named children or sons of God but there is a problem. When they came to Earth they disobeyed God and that would have been a strong reason not to name them the “sons of God” anymore. If the expression “sons of God” had been suitable only for someone who obeys Him, this expression wouldn’t apply to beings that had come to Earth in spite of God’s interdiction. Did the “sons of God” have His approval before coming to Earth? This question can be answered negatively if we follow the story and see that God wasn’t happy with the result of the multiplication of the “sons of God” with the “daughters of man”.
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The consequence is that God sent the Flood over humankind for their inequities. The “sons of God” would have been powerful and respected beings and so were the Nephilim, their offspring, but something wrong happened with them and they displeased Him.
The Nephilim aren’t the offspring of the sons of God and of the daughters of man.
Another interpretation which must be taken in consideration is that the Nephilim aren’t the children born to the “sons of God” and daughters of men. If we attentively read the biblical passage we can notice that the book of Genesis doesn’t say that the Nephilim would have been the offspring of the “sons of God” and of the daughters of men.
“4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterwards—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.” (Genesis 6; 4 NRSV)
The Nephilim would have been on the earth in those days when the sons of God would have gone into the daughters of humans. If the Nephilim were already on Earth when the “sons of God” married the daughters of men, that means that they couldn’t have been the offspring of the “sons of God”. The children resulted from the union between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” were the heroes of old, warriors of renown. Were the Nephilim the same personages as the “heroes that were of old”? I consider that the book of Genesis says they are different characters. The Nephilim were neither Adam and Eve’s offspring nor the result of the marriages between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men”. How did the Nephilim come to Earth? They weren’t related to the “sons of God” but they are as difficult to be identified as are the former. In chapter 6 of the book of Genesis we have four different kinds of beings. The “sons of God”, the Nephilim, the heroes resulting from the marriages between the “sons of God” and human beings, and the human beings.
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The entire story is pretty confused. The “sons of God” coming to Earth without His approval, marrying the “daughters of man”, making children with them and only after a long period of time being destroyed by Him for their disobedience, seems an unlikely story.
A parallel can be made between Christ coming to Earth as the Son of God and embodying himself in a human being through the Virgin Mary and the “sons of God” who married the “daughters of men” and also generated human beings. It is the same idea of “sons of God” coming to Earth and multiplying with the “daughters of men” but in Genesis they were negative personages and in the N.T. Christ is the Saviour of humankind. What is strange is that the “sons of God” of old, in spite of being seen somehow negatively by the book of Genesis, they were beneficial for humankind, teaching them many professions. Probably, they were depicted as negative personages precisely because they helped humankind to increase their knowledge. Christ also is on the side of humankind, dying for the human beings and teaching them salvation.
The myth of Prometheus with gods on human’s side against other gods is a common motif. The “sons of God” were gods who helped humankind against God’s will. At the same time, the rebellion of the “sons of God” against their Father when they married the “daughters of men” and taught humankind their science, is in a way a repetition of both motifs of the tree of knowledge and of Satan’s revolt against Him.
What is the theory which could better explain the meaning of the expression the “sons of God” in Genesis chapter 6? This text is an insertion in the book of Genesis generated by influences made by different old stories about visits paid to the earth by alien civilizations. The following is a quotation which summarises this view:
“Most people believe in aliens - from ancient visitors to modern day extraterrestrials who visit Earth with an agenda. Clearly the creation myths of each ancient civilization discuss alien gods who descended from the sky for any number of reasons, some of who allegedly mated with human woman to create bloodlines, or created humans through biogenetic experiments ….. According to ancient alien theorists, most of whom have researched the topic for decades, extraterrestrials with superior knowledge of science and engineering landed on Earth thousands of years ago, sharing their expertise with early civilizations and forever changing the course of human history. researchers to this day look for evidence to support this theory.”
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In my opinion the text from Genesis chapter 6 cannot be understood isolated from the ancient culture of humankind. This very strange assertion must be put in a biblical context and also in a larger context of so many stories which indicate contact between humankind and aliens coming from outer space.
If angels are spiritual beings and not material ones, not having DNA and not being endowed for procreation, the only credible interpretation of the text from Genesis chapter 6; 1-4 have to be linked with so many other references of extra-terrestrial beings from other ancient texts.
“While the Book of Genesis contains references to the fallen angels as ‘Nephilim’, the Dead Sea Scrolls contain the original sources for this information. The Book of Enoch gives a highly detailed account of the activities of 200 fallen angels or ‘Nephilim’/’Watchers’ who were locked into a deep conflict with the ‘righteous angels’ or ‘Aeons’. The Nephilim proceeded to interbreed with humanity and created a race of giants that had much authority until the time of the Noah and the great flood. The Book of Enoch gives surprising validation to the theory of extraterrestrial visitation, and that this involved genetic intermixing with ancient humanity.”
After discovering the Book of Enoch in 1773 in Ethiopia, James Bruce writes:
“Amongst the articles I consigned to the library at Paris was a very beautiful and magnificent copy of the prophecies of Enoch, in large Quarto; another is amongst the books of scripture that I brought home, standing immediately before the book of Job, which is its proper place in the Abyssinian Cannon: and a third copy I presented to the Bodleian Library at Oxford, by the hands of Dr. Douglass, the Bishop of Carlisle.”
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Lyman Abbott also notes:
“Reverting to the second century of Christianity, we find Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria citing the Book of Enoch without questioning it’s sacred character. Thus, Irenaeus, assigning to the Book of Enoch an authenticity analogous to that of Mosaic literature, affirms that Enoch, although a man, filled the office of God’s messenger to the angels. Tertullian, who flourished at the close of the first and at the beginning of the second century, whilst admitting that the ‘Scripture of Enoch’ is not received by some because it is not included in the Hebrew Canon, speaks of the author as ‘the most ancient prophet, Enoch,’ and of the book as the divinely inspired autograph of that immortal patriarch...”
There is no doubt that Genesis chapter 6; 1-4 is not singular to the old religious texts belonging to the Judeo-Christian tradition and that the idea of an extra-terrestrial civilization is not foreign to those texts. This conclusion is in contradiction with the fact that the book of Genesis doesn’t give any hint in the description of the week of creation, about the apparition of such entities in the cosmos. According to the book of Enoch, these civilizations had taught mankind certain technologies:
“And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjâzâ taught enchantments, and root-cutting, ‘Armârôs the resolving of enchantments, Barâqîjâl (taught) astrology, Kôkabêl the constellations, Êzêqêêl the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiêl the signs of the earth, Shamsiêl the signs of the sun, and Sariêl the course of the moon. And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven...”
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Much knowledge which would have been offered by the “sons of God” to humankind didn’t enter the book of Genesis and the proof is its naïve cosmology. The first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis hadn’t been inspired by God, not even by its “sons”, about whom the book of Enoch says imparted knowledge to humankind.
If extra-terrestrial beings had come to the earth, it doesn’t matter how we name them, angels or otherwise, they weren’t spiritual beings but material ones. They mixed with “daughters of men” and it is possible that a race of giants would have been generated. Probably the extension of that mixture was not as important as the book of Genesis presents it, and the end of the giants could have been determined by environmental motives. The following is a very brief synthesis of the theory of the ancient aliens:
“As first came to Earth many millennia ago. They were beings whose biology was similar to modern humans. They created modern mankind by mixing their genetic makeup with that of sub-humans. The purpose of mankind was to serve the AAs, principally by providing food and mining and construction labor. The AAs did not allow humans to view them – only their symbols (idols), suggesting that their appearance was frightening; however humans were occasionally permitted to see their emissaries, e.g. “geniuses” and “angels”. They also would not allow humans near them, except priests who had cleansed and covered themselves and spread a germicide, suggesting their susceptibility to earthly diseases.”
What explanation can be found for the presence of the text in Genesis chapter 2, in which are described the valuable materials of the Garden of Eden? The only reasonable explanation is that some extra-terrestrial beings in the past were ones interested in some material elements found on Earth and they used human force in order to extract it. This could be seen as bearing a very loose connection with possible ancient civilisations visiting the earth.
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Genesis chapter 6; 1-4 can be understood as having a certain relation to a possible reality. This is not proof that the book is inspired by God but it is a hint that the book of Genesis is a collection of texts influenced by many sources. Some of those sources are the stories about the possible encounters between ancient civilizations and humankind.
The Watchers in the book of Enoch did a similar thing as Satan did in Genesis chapter 3. They taught humankind different professions and the knowledge they provided would have been considered to be the root of all evil. Knowledge gives power and the power of men was seen as a threat for God. Knowledge would have been perceived as a threat only by the representatives of an extra-terrestrial civilization, but not by God who is eternal and Almighty.
Is it possible that some ancient astronauts created humankind from inferior beings through genetic engineering in order to use them for work, and after a while the latter emancipated and became independent? God in the Bible is different from the “sons of God” and He wasn’t happy when His “sons” offered knowledge to humankind. The point is that an extra-terrestrial civilization is something different and cannot be confounded with God. The existence of extra-terrestrial civilizations as a source of inspiration for the book of Genesis is only a speculation which theoretically isn’t impossible, but God in the book of Genesis is seen as the Creator not only of humankind but also of the universe. No extra-terrestrial civilization could have created the universe if it dwells in it. At the same time, there are many reasons to believe that God didn’t create the universe in the way described by the book of Genesis.
Starting with Adam and Eve, humankind wanted to be knowledgeable like God. The book of Genesis tells us that some otherworldly forces were favourable of humankind acquiring knowledge and gave it to them, but God saw this thirst for knowledge as being sinful, the expression of disobedience. God in the book of Genesis didn’t want to share knowledge with mankind and punished severely whoever helped humankind to get knowledge. Such a punishment would have been given to the “sons of God” who allegedly had been destroyed by the Flood.
The knowledge was a way of emancipating from God’s authority. That is a constant idea in the book of Genesis.
The same idea entered the Judeo-Christian tradition and followed an insidious path which generated mistrust in science during a long period of time. The stories of creation from the book of Genesis contain in them the supposition that human knowledge is dangerous and it isn’t seen as favourable by God but this, in my opinion is very false. Humankind’s knowledge opens the gates for the understanding of God because He is also Knowledge and every step in the direction of knowledge is a path toward Him.
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 www.world-mysteries.com › ANCIENT WRITINGS
All human beings are the product of incestuous relations, according to the Bible. This is wrong from medical and from moral perspectives. In the book of Genesis, all humankind is based on interrelations between Adam and Eve’s children. The Bible which is considered by some a moral guide gives mixed indications about the morality of incestuous acts. All Adam and Eve’s children were brothers and sisters and their offspring further down the lines were cousins and this aspect wasn’t seen as having moral consequences for the writers of the book of Genesis.
“4 Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced* a man with the help of the LORD.’ 2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground.” (Genesis; 4; 1-2 NRSV)
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Many read those verses considering that they are the most normal thing on the earth, but this isn’t the case. If Adam and Eve were the only human beings at the time they had to give birth to male and female children and their children formed couples and produced other children and so on. Why is the incest wrong? I had taken advice from a large amount of documentation and I have chosen a few quotations which express a strong view about incest:
“Incest is something we, as a society, should discourage. Not because of any genetic reason and not because of any religious reason, but because incest is harmful to the family unit. The family is where children learn to love and trust. Injecting this atmosphere with sex and sexuality is harmful. Even if we limit our example to consenting adults, allowing it at all may still let sexuality flow into the family unit. We don’t want fathers “waiting” for their children to grow up or sisters waiting around to seduce their brothers once they come of age. It’s just harmful all around.”
Another opinion shows us why some people rightfully consider that incest is something wrong, having many negative implications:
“Yes, consensual incest is wrong. To take it one step further, all incest is wrong. Nobody should be having sex or doing any type of sexual activities with family members. It is very wrong and in my opinion, it is absolutely disgusting. They really need to make this stuff illegal.”
Even animals avoid inbreeding and a group of animals will take measures to ensure incest can’t happen in their families. If there is a natural protection against this phenomenon why would God have conceived the human species in such a way that the only manner of their multiplication would have been inbreeding?
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The answer is that it wasn’t God who built the human species through inbreeding, but the naivety of the authors of the book of Genesis didn’t take into consideration this aspect, neither from a moral point of view nor a medical one.
The medical point of view is very convincing and the following quotation summarises well the arguments against inbreeding:
“Since lots of people today ignore morals, let’s look at biology. Inbreeding produces problems genetically that can ruin gene pools and produce the increased likelihood of genetic diseases within a line. This would mean that if a family has a history of diabetic or heart problems, inbreeding in that line will promote a greater likelihood of those problems appearing in the future. Animals, specifically mammals (which we are), go to great lengths to avoid inbreeding. Primates exile females to other family groups so that the fathers don’t start going at it with them. Lions drive away males after they get older to ensure there isn’t a fight for dominance between them and their father. In the cycle of life dead ends occur regularly, and the quickest way to do that is make the gene pool much smaller.”
I have chosen mostly the opinions which also reflect my views about incest and I didn’t transform this study into a debate about the moral aspect of incest, because this material is not a part of a controversy pro and contra incest but is about the moral value and the logical consequences of the biblical texts. Whoever wants to see all opinions can visit the site indicated in the references or other sites or materials. There are also views that consider consensual incest between mature people acceptable but even they don’t dispute the medically harmful consequences which prohibit it, only the moral reasons. Nevertheless, according to the Mosaic Law, incest between brothers and sisters wasn’t admissible. Despite that, in the biblical narratives children were produced through incest and this is a huge medical and moral problem, and the morality promoted by the Bible is supposed to be at the highest level.
Almost everyone agrees that having babies in an incestuous relationship, in other words inbreeding, is medically wrong and as far as the babies will suffer medical consequences is also morally unsound.
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In the book of Genesis both aspects, the moral and the medical, aren’t taken into consideration. It is worth hearing the voice of specialists about the medical problems generated by inbreeding. The following quotation explains the medical consequences of inbreeding:
“Every person has 46 chromosomes and each chromosome holds a bunch of genes. Each gene has the directions for one small part of you. So there is a gene that determines if you’ll have red hair, one that gives color to your skin by making melanin, another one that helps blood to carry oxygen, and so on. You actually have two sets of 23 chromosomes. One set of 23 comes from mom and the other 23 comes from dad. Since each set of chromosomes has the same set of genes*, this means that you have two copies of most every gene. What is important for making us each unique is that the copy you get from your mom can be very different than the copy you get from your dad. So for example, the gene that causes red hair comes in a red version, and a not-red version (these different versions are called ‘alleles’). And the gene that makes a pigment called melanin comes in a normal version that makes melanin and a broken one that doesn’t. If you only have the broken one, you will end up with albinism. Having two copies of everything is actually a really great system. This is because if one copy is broken, you still have a second copy to use as back up. This is the case for the gene that makes melanin. People with just one broken copy don’t have albinism, because their good copy makes enough to keep albinism away.”
The second reason which pleads against interbreeding is that people need a lot of variety from each parent to be able to fight off as many diseases as possible.
“Having diverse DNA is important for having a strong immune system. This is why inbreeding can make for some sickly children. And it is why laboratory mice and some farm animals get sick so easily. The immune system depends on a very important part of DNA called the MHC or Major Histocompatability Complex region. This is a lot of big words, but basically the MHC region is made up of a bunch of genes that help you fight off disease. The MHC region’s secret to fighting off disease is to have as many different types of alleles (or versions of genes) as possible. The more variety you have, the better you are at fighting disease. Diversity is important because each MHC gene is good at fighting a different set of diseases. You can think of it like a lock-and-key system. Each disease is a different shaped lock, and each MHC gene is a key. The more keys you have, the more diseases you can unlock and destroy.”
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According to the Bible all human species and all animals would have developed through inbreeding. All human beings would have had initially only one set of DNA transmitted generation after generation to all human offspring. Adam and Eve would have had the same set of DNA because Eve practically was taken from Adam. A part of Adam’s body carrying Adam’s DNA would have been the basis for the creation of Eve. The texts of the Bible imply the idea that humankind was from the beginning condemned to become very sick. As a matter of fact, humankind is not as sick as it should be if it had been created as the book of Genesis says.
What genetics says about the possibility of humankind coming from one single pair, Adam and Eve, is very complex but also is clear in asserting that mankind does not ensue from only one pair of human beings. One article from Economist is worth quoting:
“A trickier controversy has been triggered by findings from the genome that modern humans, in their genetic diversity, cannot be descended from a single pair of individuals. Rather, there were at least several thousand “first humans”. That challenges the historical existence of Adam and Eve, and has sparked a crisis of conscience among evangelical Christians persuaded by genetic science. This is not an esoteric point, says Michael Cromartie, an evangelical expert at the Ethics and Public Policy Centre, a Washington think-tank: many conservative theologians hold that without a historical Adam, whose sin descended directly to all humanity, there would be no reason for Jesus to come to Earth to redeem man’s Fall.”
There are many arguments advanced by creationists through which they try to contra-balance the logical consequences of the scientific findings.
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In some of them the differentiations in the human DNA are seen as rather small. Science also considers that it was a small number of human beings from whom all humankind developed but much more than one pair. They were probably several thousand “first humans” and that explains the small differentiations in human DNA. I found many of the arguments advanced by creationists unconvincing and artificial.
What would really have happened if for six thousand years people continued to multiply from the same set of DNA? The lack of diversity would have been disastrous for human development. In such a case a permanent decline in the value of the initial genetic material would have happened and that would have been combined with an extremely low resistance to diseases. In this situation, the way in which the creation of man and woman was done by God, not the human sin, would have been responsible for the genetic and even moral degradation of humankind. Weak humankind from a genetic point of view would have generated less than strong human beings from a moral point of view. All human adaptations and mutations during the time must be seen as anomalies generated by the unhealthy inbreeding if we accept the biblical principle of creation of humankind through an initial pair.
There also are other explanations given by creationists in respect to the acceptability of inbreeding for the development of humankind. Adam and Eve were seen as very healthy genetically, and for this reason inbreeding could not have been a problem for them. This cannot be an acceptable explanation. Starting with a healthy set of DNA, in time through inbreeding this would have become less and less healthy and God would have known that.
God would have created human beings with a project for their evolution in time; He didn’t realise static entities with a totally unchangeable biology. At the same time, the book of Genesis maintains that God would have created humankind with the potential for genetic decay. The proposition that human beings would have lived for hundreds of years before the Flood is doubtful if we take into consideration the way in which the human species would have multiplied. The multiplication through incest would have shortened human life; it wouldn’t have been the basis for long lives.
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The Bible says that after Adam and Eve’s Fall humankind lost all its privileges and the process of birth became painful, hence the so-called genetic health of the first human beings is a pure invention.
As a matter of fact, the Bible says clearly that humankind could have become ill even in the paradise. We can suppose that from the presence of the tree of life in paradise. The leaves of the tree of life would have been medicines for human illnesses. The same tree of life which would have been present in the Garden of Eden will be present on the new earth also. Adam and Eve wouldn’t have been that healthy because having perfect health based on an exceptional set of DNA would have made the presence of a cure for diseases given by the tree of life useless.
“Then the angel* showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life* with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22; 1-2 NRSV)
One can prove me wrong if one can demonstrate that the trees of life from Genesis and from Revelation are two different trees with two different qualities, but I trust that this is an impossible demonstration. In order to give sense to the story, no matter how loose, there has to be one tree of life prohibited in the beginning and made available at the end of days. Notwithstanding, this is the sense of a myth, not a real chain of events.
It is important to remember that not only the human beings would have multiplied through inbreeding, according to the book of Genesis, but also the animals. The idea with very healthy genes at the beginning of their creation and a diminishing of genetic quality over time which attracted the prohibition through law of inbreeding for animals, doesn’t make sense because animal behaviour cannot be influenced through laws. The Mosaic Law which interdicted inbreeding makes sense for human beings but couldn’t have had any effect on animals hence the continuation of inbreeding as a way of multiplication would have completely destroyed the animals on Earth. In reality, contrary to what the book of Genesis maintains, animals always take care to avoid inbreeding.
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The most inexplicable discrepancy in the biblical texts is the way in which the Bible says that God has treated the problem of incest in human history. On the one side, we are told that the entirety of humankind came through incest from one human pair, but on the other side the Bible condemns very harshly the incest in other texts. If incest was a horrific thing in Moses’ time why would it have been acceptable for the multiplication of humankind? God’s view on incest would have changed radically from acceptance to harsh condemnation. Why would inbreeding have been the only possibility found by God for human multiplication? The explanation can be found in theological reasons, not in scientific ones.
From Noah to Moses only approximately 1,500 years would have passed. During this 1,500 years, incest was still all right, being the manner in which humankind would have multiplied and after that it became an abomination condemned by the Mosaic Law. Without knowing that it was abomination, humankind would have been in the wrong for a very long period of time and this situation was caused by the way in which God would have created human beings. Moreover, other nations than the Jewish would have continued to live in a moral abomination even after the apparition of the Mosaic Law. In other words, God would have determined people to live in an immoral way for a long period of time.
If the multiplication of human species is based on incest, according to the Bible, why was incest condemned so drastically after a while by God? The only explanation given by biblical apologists that I found following research was that at the beginning incest was acceptable because the first human beings were healthy but after a while, in Moses’ times, humankind became more afflicted with ill health and a change in the pattern became necessary. Not too many explanations which would include the moral aspect can be found. Why did human races multiply in a way considered an abomination by God? There isn’t any reasonable answer for that question with a connection to reality if one considers that God has unchanging moral opinions.
Did not humankind become sicker as a consequence of the way in which it was created? If more than one man and one woman were created at the beginning, the spreading of human beings on Earth through inbreeding would have been avoided and humankind wouldn’t have been pushed to commit the abomination of incest.
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Any explanation for a possible acceptability of incest as a mean for the multiplication of humankind is absurd. The effects of the genetic disaster were not removed by Moses’ laws because their application was restricted only to the Jewish people. It was too little too late. The overwhelming majority of nations didn’t receive the Mosaic Law so looking to the wide picture the incest would have continued to be damaging for the majority of humankind despite its incrimination through Moses’ laws.
In other words, if God had created human beings in such a way that multiplication would have been done through incest the condemnation of inbreeding by the Mosaic Law wouldn’t have had a real effect on humankind’s health. Even if the damages caused by incest would have been identified in Moses’ times the cure on the global level was inefficient. For this reason the Mosaic Law condemning the incest couldn’t have been a helpful way of improving all humankind’s health therefore it would have been mainly a moral condemnation.
According to Genesis chapter 1, God had planned from the beginning for humankind to multiply from one pair. The problem is that the multiplication from only one pair is more a curse than a blessing and that for medical reasons but that kind of multiplication was seen initially by God as a blessing.
“27 So God created humankind* in his image, in the image of God he created them;* male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’.” (Genesis 1; 27-28 NRSV)
Blessing humankind to multiply through an abomination is an insurmountable contradiction of the Bible which completely disqualifies the value of the narratives of creation from the book of Genesis. Humankind were “blessed” to multiply from one pair and fill the earth and this commandment will have created huge genetic problems both in case of obedience to God and in the case of the Fall.
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Probably, some creationists would reply that if Adam and Eve were not in disgrace they and their offspring could have eaten from a tree in the Garden of Eden and could have become healthy at any time they wanted, but I would reject such an idea because I do not see any reason to create something deficient only to repair it all the time. Such a creation could not be said to be good as Genesis chapter 1 professes that it was.
Does God’s moral law change? Is God’s moral law a collection of universal principles or only an adaptive and flexible set of practical measures? Why is incest wrong? Is the critic of lust one of the pillars of God’s moral law or not? Jesus let us know that even looking lasciviously at a woman is sin. This is a problem because regarding incest, we cannot find in the Bible an unchanging principle of God but the evolution of the moral law. From necessary incest, the moral law developed through permitting polygamy and after that evolved by harshly condemning incest through Moses’ laws, and ended in prohibiting the guilty look. Incest and polygamy would have been approved by God in a certain period of time but in the end reprimanding them became one of the most important elements of God’s moral law according to Christian teachings. There aren’t any arguments which can justify from a moral point of view the multiplication of humankind through incest as far as marriages between brothers and sisters were considered an abomination in the Mosaic Law..
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