Clinton church of Christ

“The Sons of God”

April 30, 2012

John Allan

In Genesis 6:1-5 reference is made to “sons of God” who married the daughters of men. Because of this interesting phrasing, some have supposed that the Bible is teaching that angels or even aliens are being described in this passage.

The purpose of this study is to determine who (or what) the “sons of God” is referring to.

If we are to have confidence that our conclusion on the matter is correct it must fit the immediate context and it must be consistent with the rest of the Bible. If our conclusion cannot fulfill those two criteria then we cannot have confidence that our conclusion is correct.

A careful study of this passage will lead us to the proper understanding.


In Genesis 6:1-5 we see several characters mentioned. We do not mean “characters” in the sense of mere story: these were historical, genuine individuals. A list of the characters follow:

  1. Men. (Genesis 6:1 says men began to multiply on the earth).
  2. Daughters of men.
  3. Sons of God (who began marrying the daughters of men).
  4. Giants (several commentators believe the word “giants” entailed not just large men, but also violent men).
  5. God (identified as “the LORD” in Genesis 6:5).

With the characters in mind, let us also consider the context.



Previous Chapters:

The Current Passage:

Why was God displeased? Was He displeased with the men of Genesis 6:1 for having daughters? This is not a reasonable explanation.

In the context it appears God was displeased with the sons of God. If this is the case (and the context certainly supports it) then why did God say “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever…” if the sons of God were angels or aliens or anything else other than humans?

With that thought in mind, we return to considering the context of this current passage (Genesis 6:1-5).

Notice from Genesis 6:6 that once again God’s displeasure is expressed, and once again the context points to it being people that God is displeased with. This is consistent with what comes in Genesis 6:7…

The events of Genesis 6:1-5 have prompted God to determine that man needs to be destroyed from the face of the earth. If the “sons of God” and the giants were not men (human beings), then why was God angry with men?

Other Passages in Scripture:

Having considered the relevant evidence, let us now draw our conclusion.


“Sons of God” in Genesis 6 is not a reference to angels.

“Sons of God” in Genesis 6 is a reference to human beings.

More specifically, the “sons of God” were righteous men on the earth who married the daughters of unrighteous men and were corrupted by them. Therefore, in Genesis 6 we have a warning about the danger of righteous people joining themselves with unrighteous mates. Israel was warned against this many times, and Christians do well to care enough about their soul to choose a marriage partner who will help them be faithful to God.

While it is true that there are some Christians who have married non-Christians and later converted them to Christ, statistics show that the far more common result is that such marriages result in the faithful Christian becoming weakened by their non-Christian spouse and pulled away from their faithfulness to the Lord. This is a danger that we ought not ignore! 


This entry was posted on Monday, April 30th, 2012 at 11:48 am and is filed under Give Me the Bible Radio.

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