The Nephilim

The Nephilim (“fallen ones, giants”) were the offspring of sexual relationships between the sons of God and daughters of men in Genesis 6:1–4. There is much debate as to the identity of the “sons of God.” It is our opinion that the “sons of God” were fallen angels (demons) who mated with human females or possessed human males who then mated with human females. These unions resulted in offspring, the Nephilim, who were “heroes of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:4).

Why would the demons do such a thing? The Bible does not specifically give us the answer. Demons are evil, twisted beings—so nothing they do should surprise us. As to a distinct motivation, one speculation is that the demons were attempting to pollute the human bloodline in order to prevent the coming of the Messiah. God had promised that the Messiah would one day crush the head of the serpent, Satan (Genesis 3:15). The demons in Genesis 6 were possibly attempting to prevent the crushing of the serpent and make it impossible for a sinless “seed of the woman” to be born. Again, this is not a specifically biblical answer, but it is biblically plausible.

What were the Nephilim? According to Hebraic and other legends (the Book of Enoch and other non-biblical writings), they were a race of giants and super-heroes who did acts of great evil. Their great size and power likely came from the mixture of demonic “DNA” with human genetics. According to the movie Noah, starring Russell Crowe (reviewed by us here), the Nephilim were fallen angels encased in rock. All that the Bible directly says about them is that they were “heroes of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:4). The Nephilim were not aliens, angels, “Watchers,” or rock monsters; they were literal, physical beings produced from the union of the sons of God and the daughters of men (Genesis 6:1–4).

What happened to the Nephilim? The Nephilim were one of the primary reasons for the great flood in Noah’s time. Immediately after the mention of Nephilim, God’s Word says, “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them’” (Genesis 6:5–7). God proceeded to flood the entire earth, killing everyone and everything other than Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark. All else perished, including the Nephilim (Genesis 6:11–22).

Were there Nephilim after the flood? Genesis 6:4 tells us, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward.” It seems that the demons repeated their sin sometime after the flood as well. However, it likely took place to a much lesser extent than it did prior to the flood. When the Israelites spied out the land of Canaan, they reported back to Moses: “We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Numbers 13:33). This passage does not say the Nephilim were genuinely there, only that the spies thought they saw the Nephilim. It is more likely that the spies witnessed very large people in Canaan and in their fear believed them to be the Nephilim. Or it is possible that after the flood the demons again mated with human females, producing more Nephilim. It is even possible that some traits of the Nephilim were passed on through the heredity of one of Noah’s daughters-in-law. Whatever the case, these “giants” were destroyed by the Israelites during their invasion of Canaan (Joshua 11:21–22) and later in their history (Deuteronomy 3:11; 1 Samuel 17).

What prevents the demons from producing more Nephilim today? It seems that God put an end to demons mating with humans by placing all the demons who committed such an act in isolation. Jude verse 6 tells us, “The angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.” Obviously, not all demons are in “prison” today, so there must have been a group of demons who committed further grievous sin beyond the original fall. Presumably, the demons who mated with human females are the ones who are “bound with everlasting chains.” This would prevent any more demons from attempting such sin.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

2 thoughts on “The Nephilim

  1. This is a pretty good article so I will just offer a few details to make it more accurate.

    “The Nephilim (‘fallen ones, giants’)”: we can’t know what that means until you define the vague, subjective, generic, and multi-usage modern English word “giants”—FYI: in English Bibles it implies nothing about unusual height but merely renders (doesn’t even translate) “Nephilim” in 2 vss. or “Rephaim” in 98% of all others.

    The concept of “fallen angels (demons)” is a tricky and detailed one: it’s better to say they were fallen Angels with demons being a very nuanced other yet related issue.

    Perhaps “According to Hebraic and other legends” Nephilim were “giants” meaning of “great size” but biblically, we’ve no reliable physical description of them.

    Indeed, “The Nephilim were not aliens, angels, ‘Watchers,’ or rock monsters; they were literal, physical beings produced from the union of the sons of God and the daughters of men (Genesis 6:1–4).”

    Indeed, “All else perished, including the Nephilim (Genesis 6:11–22)” but that actually is the biblical end of story.

    You ask “Were there Nephilim after the flood?” and reply “Genesis 6:4 tells us, ‘The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward’” but did you notice that the verse doesn’t say anything about the flood?
    In fact, the flood isn’t mentioned for the very first time until a full 13 vss. later, v. 17.

    The “days” were when the sons of God married and mated with the daughters of men and so “afterward” is merely after they first did so (see v. 1 for when they first did so): thus, they did it and kept doing it but that is all pre-flood.

    If “Nephilim were one of the primary reasons for the great flood” but “demons repeated their sin sometime after the flood as well” then that implies that God failed: He meant to be rid of them but couldn’t get the job done, they just came right back and the flood was much of a waste.

    You un-specifically say, “the Israelites spied…they reported” but that is too generic. Rather, it was 12 spies, a reliable report was presented but then 10 of those spies—the unreliable, unfaithful, disloyal, contradictory, embellishers—presented an “evil report” and were rebuked by God.
    Thus, they just made up a tall-tale due to fear, lack of faith in God, etc.

    If you believe them then you have to invent ways to get Nephilim past the flood, you have to get them related to Anakim (something that is not found in the LXX version of that verse, BTW), etc.

    I wouldn’t even say that “The passage does not say the Nephilim were genuinely there, only that the spies thought they saw the Nephilim” but that it records a deception, they were claimed to have seen them (note that the original report lists whom they saw and doesn’t include Nephilim).

    As for “very large” well, that’s as subjective a term as is “giant” or “big” or “large,” etc. so if they were “very large” then we must note that the average Israelite male was 5.0-5.3 ft. in those days.

    Opting for “some traits of the Nephilim were passed on through the heredity” also implies that God failed: He missed the genetic loophole.

    See what I mean? One has to literally invent stories to artificially insert into the Bible just to validate what a few utterly unreliable guys whom God rebuked merely asserted.

    You say “these ‘giants’ were destroyed by the Israelites” but that is not the case since by “giants” you meant “Nephilim” but “these ‘giants’” who “were destroyed” were “Rephaim.”

    It’s interesting that you as, “What prevents the demons from producing more Nephilim today?” since if all it took was demons to possess men then it could very well happen again—it’d be another failure by God.

    You get very close when you refer to “committed such an act in isolation” and while Jude (and also 2 Peter 2) do not tell us when they were put in isolation, since the flood was when God was cleaning house, as it were, then it makes sense that it was then that He would have locked them away so that “This would prevent any more demons from attempting such sin” at any time post-flood.

    Like

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: