Drinking Deeply

Monday, October 02, 2006 at 5:02 PM

Sons of God

In response to my previous post on the Nephilim and "sons of God" I received two comments disagreeing with what I wrote. I wasn't intending to respond since I didn't have anything else to add, but I came across a passage today that seems to settle it.

One claim echoed in both comments was that the phrase, "sons of God" is only used in the OT to refer to angels. I don't think this is sustainable when we actually do our homework rather than saying something simply because other people said it.

There are three questionable references in Job. Job 1:6, 2:1, and 38:7. The reference in ch. 38 refers to a time when the earth was created, so I am willing to conceed that in the book of Job, the phrase "sons of God" most likely refers to angels (as is no other class of beings).

Yet, that doesn't conclusively prove that the phrase "sons of God" always means "angels." I could easily give the example of James and Paul's usage of "justified" to demonstrate that it is possible that two different authors may use two different meanings for the same word.

Since the reference to "sons of God" is used in Moses, we should look to Moses and his usage first to determine the meaning of the phrase "sons of God." Doing a search on Biblegateway, I was able to find two references: Deuteronomy 14:1 and Deuteronomy 32:8

Deuteronomy 14
1"You are the sons of the LORD your God. You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead. 2For you are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 32
8When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he divided mankind,
he fixed the borders[a] of the peoples
according to the number of the sons of God.[b]
9But the LORD's portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted heritage.
Now, I will conceed that "God" in Deuteronomy 32:8 is footnoted saying that the Masoretic Text reads "Israel" so I'm willing to say that it is possible that it doesn't include the phrase "sons of God" but it is clear that Deuteronomy 14:1 refers to the people of Israel. It preceeds commands from God about preserving the purity of the nation and obedience in various forms. Which is exactly what Vos is claiming the children of Seth failed to do in marrying the daughters of Cain.

I still am firmly convinced that the "sons of God" refer to the children of Seth and the "daughters of men" refer to the daughters of Cain. Their intermarriage was displeasing to God's eyes because it resulted in sin and disobedience, people rejecting their Lord and seeking evil. This brought about God's just wrath and punishment through the flood.

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Blogger Shane said...

First, I would suggest looking at those other examples and see if they use the same hebrew phraseology - roughly speaking b'nai h'elohim or something like that. This is the phrase that consistently refers to angels.

Second, let's look at the sons of seth theory. Does the text say sons of Seth? No, it says sons of God. Adam and Eve had daughters, they weren't all descended through Seth.

The daughters of men. The text actually says daughters of Adam. It doesn't say daughters of Cain. And where did we get the idea that Cain was this evil guy anyway? Yeah, he screwed up and made the wrong offering to God. He was punished for it. On the contrary, he was protected by God, and his progeny were responsible for many discoveries and were blessed with some skill.

What it really comes down to is that this dichotomy requires that all humans fall into one group or the other. It doesn't hold water though because of one verse: Genesis 5:4. Adam had other sons and daughters. Are they of Seth or Cain? Neither. So how can we say that all these lines were mandated to be separate? The first time Scripture clearly sets people apart like you want to do is not until Abraham.  

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Blogger mxu said...

Shane -

You're just making claims now. You have yet to substantiate one example of the phrase "sons of God" refering to angels (I'm willing to conceed Job, but I don't think that supports you as much as you claim), and I have given an example where the phrase is the same. And the hebrew words are all the same. Deut. 14 has the same hebrew words. "Sons you (are) of the Lord your God" would be a literal translation.

Regarding Seth, I'll put that up in a future post. Don't have much to post on anyways.  

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Blogger Shane said...

I checked out Deut 14:1 and while it shares 2 roots in common, the phrase differs in that it has an additional word in the middle. The two phrases are not comparable.

The comparable phraseologies all fall in Job, which most scholars suggest is actually a work that predates Moses. As the two oldest writings in the Bible (the Tanakh and Job), they would share usage. So then the question becomes, what is the case for Moses' use of the phrase to mean "sons of Seth", when it doesn't even make logical sense to declare that the only God-followers were descended from him? Why not other sons and daughters of Adam? And again, what makes the daughters of men (actually Adam) equated with Cain? Both of these contestations require a logical leap based on conjecture, while to discount my view, you maintain that despite the ancient usage of the phrase in Job, which Moses would have been aware of, Moses actually meant something else.

Lastly, the angel view does appear to be corroborated with 1 Peter and Jude. How would you explain those NT references with the Sethite view? It renders them incomprehensible.  

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