Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Nephilim Major Views

 

What are the major views and why?

 B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, October 14, 2014

There is a popular unbiblical view that the nephilim are space aliens [as a result of trying to mix Christianity with secular religions]. Of course, most Christians rightly reject this syncretistic view for multiple reasons, but that is not for this discussion.[1]

The actual identity of the nephilim ultimately hinges on the identity of the “sons of God”: for they are the fathers of the nephilim. The debate stems over the meaning of the “sons of God” and their ultimate origin. There are two camps on this foundational point within this debate. They are: 

1.       The “sons of God” are fallen angels.

2.       The “sons of God” are human (godly men).

From these two differences, we arrive at several different viewpoints. You can probably already imagine some of the outworking views of who the nephilim were just by understanding these two premises!  From an “aerial view” of this debate the various positions emerge as: 

Fallen Angels Views 

1. Fallen angels view: Fallen angels married and bred with women (daughters of men) whether by force or by choice and the resultant offspring were giant mixed race beings (half angelic and half human) who were mighty, wicked, and made a name for themselves (“men of renown”).

2. [Fallen] Angelic possession view: Fallen angels inhabited men (e.g., like demonic possession) and these men married women (daughters of men) and the children were nephilim [giants or possibly just human who were mighty, wicked, and made a name for themselves (“men of renown”)].

Fallen Men Views 

1. Generic fallen men: Godly men married ungodly women (daughters of men) and had  ungodly, fallen children (nephilim) who were mighty, wicked, and made a name for themselves (“men of renown”).

                2. Sethite

a. Generic Sethite: Godly men (“sons of God”) were specifically of the Sethite lineage (such as Adam who was the son of God per Luke 3:38 through Seth (who called upon the name of the Lord per Genesis 4:26) to Noah down the Genesis 5 lineage) and they married ungodly women (daughters of men) and had ungodly, fallen children (nephilim) who were mighty, wicked, and made a name for themselves (men of renown).

b. Royalty[2]: “Sons of God” were a royal line (e.g., kings, rulers, or heads of leading family groups) both pre-Flood and post-Flood that included Sethite “kingly” line in the pre-Flood world (Adam to Noah) and they married women who were ungodly and had children by them (nephilim) who were mighty, wicked, and made a name for themselves (“men of renown”).

3. Cainite (This rare view is not popular at all—I’ve never met anyone who has actually held it): The “sons of God” were supposedly of Cain’s lineage prior to the Flood and they were the ones who married ungodly women and had fallen children by them who were mighty, wicked, and made a name for themselves (“men of renown”).

As you can see, there are a multitude of viewpoints on this. Historically, the two most popular views are the Sethite and the fallen angel viewpoints.[3]  Though, fallen man, angelic possession, and royalty also shared some success as well. 

When it comes to ancient sources and commentators as far back as 2,000 years ago, many did not use these terms or go into great detail; but we try to decipher what their view was based on a handful of comments. So in some ancient commentators there may be cases where one may be appealing to a Sethite, fallen man, or royalty view and we can’t be certain and likewise some ancients may be referring to fallen angels view, or angelic possession view.

Also, there may be some other very minor viewpoints and variants floating about but these constitute the majority. And so these will be the focus of discussion.



[1] For more on this please see: The New Answers Book 1, Ken Ham, Gen. Ed., chapter by Dr. Jason Lisle: Are ETs & UFOs real?, Master Books, Green Forest, AK, 2006.

[2] Some may pull this out as distinct from the Sethite view, and I have no problem with that. But since it follows with Sethite kings prior to the Flood (and potential some others) and also, by default all kings post-Flood are Sethite, as a categorical viewpoint, it would be safe to give this as a Sethite variant.

[3] It depends on who is speaking but some think the fallen angels view is the most popular today and other say they Sethite is the most popular. I’ve found that it depends on which theological group one is speaking to. Many within the dispensational framework hold to the fallen angels view, but not all of course. Then regarding reformed, Lutheran, and covenant theology circles, most hold to the Sethite view which was the view of most reformers.

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