Some maintain that these verses assert that angels married women before the Flood and engendered a race of giants. This idea sounds like the sub-plot of a science fiction story! But can it be the truth?
It is true that verse 2 states that the "sons of God . . . took wives for themselves of all whom they chose." These "sons of God," however, were not angels. The fact is that angels do not marry. Jesus tells us this clearly: "For in the resurrection they [humans] neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven" (Matthew 22:30; see Mark 12:25).
Angels cannot cohabit nor reproduce with women. Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:13-14). Women are human beings. Angels and women, then, are two different kinds of being. Kind reproduces after kind, and different species cannot breed.
In his modern, perverted science—"falsely called knowledge" (I Timothy 6:20)—Satan encourages men to experiment with the crossing and mixing of the most unlikely creatures. For example, goats have been genetically altered by the insertion of a spider gene to produce silk products that God never intended in His original design. Right from the beginning, at the re-creation of the world (Psalm 104:30), God says that this is not to be. He establishes a strict law that each kind must reproduce only after its own kind (Genesis 1:11-12, 21, 24-25).
This rule is also backed up and made clear by the context of our difficult scripture. In Genesis 6:3, God says, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh." He is speaking of fleshly mankind here, not angels. Although it is true that the children of these couples were "mighty," like their parents, they were still only human.
It is true that angels are sometimes called "sons of God" (Job 1:6; 38:7). Remember, though, that angels "neither marry, nor are given in marriage."
Secondly, the phrase "sons of God" sometimes refers to Christians, regenerated by God's Spirit but still human (John 1:12; Romans 8:14, 19; Philippians 2:15; I John 3:1-2).
A third meaning refers to mankind in general, because all men are sons of God by creation: "I said, 'You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men . . .'" (Psalm 82:6-7). Although the King James and New King James versions have "children of the Most High," many other translations have "sons of the Most High." Additional verses use similar terminology to refer to humans (Malachi 2:10; Luke 3:38).
Through Adam, then, every human being is a child of God.
Since these "sons of God"—those who are the subjects of our difficult scripture—were obviously not regenerated Christians, and could not have been angels, it is evident that they were simply human members of mankind in general: Men who had forsaken God and were intermarrying in defiance of His law.
We should note one final point. Genesis 6:4 reads, "There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown."
This verse shows that giants and extraordinarily mighty men existed after the sons of God married the daughters of men and implies that they existed beforehand as well. It does not state that such huge and powerful men were the result only of these marriages. Giants have existed throughout recorded history, before and after the Flood and down to modern times.
Did Angels Marry Human Women?
This vignette deals with the prevalence of ungodly marriage practices leading to disastrous results. The gist of this section is that, after a few generations of multiplying, men as a whole began to leave God out of their lives. They chose wives—probably several of them, like Lamech—based solely on their physical beauty, not on their depth of character. Their children, though they became mighty, famous leaders, grew into wicked adults whose every impulse, thought, and plan was corrupt. Violence became a way of life. Once conditions reached this point, God decided to destroy them before they became so totally depraved that they could never repent, even in the resurrection.
The Bible pictures a society of unrestrained sin of every kind. The New Testament frequently mentions it in the same context as Sodom and Gomorrah and Israel's sins caused by Balaam and Korah. The underlying factor in all these situations is rebellion against and rejection of God. Cain, Lamech, and mankind in general never took God into account when they committed their iniquities. As Psalm 10:4 says, "The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts."
Has our present society reached this nadir of behavior?
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
'As It Was In the Days of Noah'
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Genesis 6:3: