The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God went to the daughters of the human beings, and had children by them. These were the heroes of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4, TNIV)
There were giants in the earth in those days: and also after that, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (KJV)
So who exactly are these ‘sons of God’, daughters of men, and their offspring, the Nephilim, in the time of Noah?
I’ll briefly cover the primary theories, the ones discussed in Biblical circles anyway. There is an alien invasion theory that has a following, too, but I won’t go there in this blog.
I. Fallen Angel View (most popular view)
The ‘sons of God’ are angels that chose to leave heaven, often called ‘fallen angels.’ They bred with human women and the Nephilim were the offspring.
a. Other uses of ‘sons of God’ in the Bible refer to heavenly beings (Job 1;6, 2:1, 38:7, Ps 82:6, 29:1, 89:6)
b. Angels are able to leave heaven and sin. Some are ‘in chains’ because of their sin in Noah’s day. Their sin seems to be associated with sexual misconduct. (I Peter 3:18-20; 2 Peter 2:4-10, Jude 6).
c. The word nephilim is related to the Hebrew verb ‘to fall.’
d. The Nephilim are described as ‘mighty men, men of renown.’ The word is translated as ‘giants’ in the King James Bible. The half angel, half human idea lends itself to this idea.