The phrase ‘sons of God’ refers to faithful people in the following verses (among others):

“You are the sons of the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 14:1)

In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. (Galatians 3:26)

We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:12-14)

The similar phrase ‘children of God’ also refers to faithful people in the following verses (among others):

To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12)

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God (Philippians 2:15)

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…Beloved, we are God’s children (1 John 3:1-2)

So it is consistent to interpret sons of God as faithful people. Then the daughters of man are presumably by contrast unfaithful people. The phrase ‘children of man’ does indeed carry that flavour in several passages:

The faithful have vanished from among the children of man…On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man. (Psalm 12:1,8)

I lie down amid fiery beasts—the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. (Psalm 57:4)

The heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. (Ecclesiastes 8:11)

The hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. (Ecclesiastes 9:3)

“All sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter” (Mark 3:28)

Genesis 6:2 mentions only faithful sons and unfaithful daughters; this is not because there were no faithful women or unfaithful men, but because it is about marriage and marriage was customarily initiated by the man.

A rather odd but not uncommon suggestion is that the sons of God were angels intermarrying with humans. However, Jesus Christ vetoes this interpretation of Genesis 6:2 with his statement that angels do not marry (Matthew 22:30).

There were mighty men in those days, but that doesn’t mean they were offspring of angels. The Hebrew terms of Genesis 6:4 are used for many others at various times long after the flood: Nephilim (giants) in Numbers 13:33, men of renown in Numbers 16:2; 1 Chronicles 5:24; 12:30 and mighty men in Genesis 10:8-9; Joshua 6:2; 1 Chronicles 12:1,4,8,21,25,28,30, etc. None of these people were born of angels either.

God’s response in Genesis 6:3 is to warn of the coming destruction of man; it is man that is at fault, not angels (who cannot sin anyway (Psalm 103:20; Hebrews 1:14); if they could sin, they would also die (Romans 6:23), but angels cannot die (Luke 20:35-36)). So the context of Genesis 6 confirms these sons of God are people — people who had been faithful, but who compromised themselves by marrying ‘any they chose’ (Genesis 6:2).

This failure of God’s people is the lesson Jesus Christ draws from the incident as particularly relevant to people in the day of his return: there is more to think about in life than attractive women and other sensory pleasures.

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:26-27)

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  • Jesse

    Hmmm, disagreement here, Job 2:1 On the day the angels* came to present themselves to the Lord, Satan also came with them to present himself before him.
    *Angels- derived from the Hebrew interprets them as “sons of God”
    these angels who were with satan, obviously stood against God, so they have not been destroyed just as satan wasn’t.
    We humans are often referred to as the “sons of man” periodically throughout the Bible, very rarely are we referred to as “sons of God”
    Gen 6:4 The Nephilim were on the Earth in those days- AND ALSO AFTERWARD-when the “sons of God” went to the “daughters of men” AND had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

    We “sons of man” are called to judge “sons of God”
    1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that are pertain to this life?

    God sought to destroy the Earth the by a flood because of the sin being committed by the sons of God and by the daughters of men. He was gonna wipe it all out, until he saw Noah and his family were pure… not in the righteous sense. Because later Noah gets drunk and is discovered by his sons drunk in the vineyard. But Noah was pure by Blood. He was still fully human. The Nephilim were of course the offspring of angels and man, superhuman to say the least. But the opinion, my opinion, is that they had to have shown exemplary feats, which turned man away from God, because they had these awesome humans who would be something similar to hercules. (heroes of old) God wanted his people to turn there hearts back to him… but only Noah and his family were left so he destroyed the Earth with a flood to wipe away the offspring, but the scripture can be interpreted as the nephilim are still here studies of the great flood indicate that it was not all over the world but just in the middle east. which could mean the nephilim escaped to other continents. which allow them to still be here.

    • David & Kerry Alexander

      The Hebrew and Greek words for angel mean messenger, not ‘son of God’; see eg here.
      Another three clear references to humans as ‘sons of God’ are Deuteronomy 32:5-9; Matthew 5:9; Romans 8:15-16. There are no clear references like this identifying angels as sons of God.
      ‘Noah was a righteous man’ (Genesis 6:9), despite his failings. The world was destroyed because of wickedness, evil and violence (Genesis 6:5,13), not because of any angelic hybridisation.

  • Miles Wilson

    Conventional religious thinking says that the “sons of god” in genesis 6 are angels. But that is highly unlikely. First, Yahshua the savior said that the angels are “neither married nor given in marriage”. I agree. Angels may appear to be men when met by mortals, but because angels are immortal they have no need of procreation. Their bodies reflect this lack of procreation. Secondly, the Bible calls men “sons of god” but never angels. Knowing these 2 facts, it is more likely that the “sons” are the righteous men of ancient days who fell by marriage to the “daughters” of men, that is, unbelievers. Later, Balaam would instruct Balak to entice other “sons” to learn what would be a stumbling block to them. This is described as eating things offered to idols and sexual fornication. See Rev 2:14 Genesis says that their offspring were “giants” and men of “renown” but this is best understood to be figurative. Giants can either be in actual height or in relative status. While this explanation does not impress or excite the superstitious mind, it nevertheless satisfies my mind in a whole-Bible context sense. Later, the same issue would come to a head in Numbers 25. The factor we call “Satan” has a very predictable rulebook, if men would determine not to intermarry, or compromise their faith, Satan would be relatively powerless. For another Bible text which can be understood in a down to earth manner, see Job 1 where these “sons” of God appear before YAHWEH and Satan comes “with them”. Notice that it does not say that Satan was one of them. It simply says that He came at the same time. Also, it does not say that this happened in Heaven as some teach it. No, all it is is righteous “sons of God” appearing before YAHWEH as they are commanded to do 3 times each year. And, whenever you have this many fleshly men appearing, guess what? You have “Satan” appearing as well.

  • RAVI KUMAR PUJALA

    I firmly disagree with the analysis that is done here. How can the monsters be born to the unfaithful human beings? It should be as commented by Jesse. we are living in such a corrupted world, yet we are finding the Nephilim when the most unfaithful man married to a faithful women. So the “sons of God” that is mentions here are angels not the human beings.

  • vickeylynn

    I am confused … If angels cant sin, then why did Lucifer fall from grace? Wasnt he the most high of angels? Doesnt it also say that there were fallen angels and they came to earth , taught the people sorcery, magic etc…. things that we shouldnt know…so wouldnt these angels that had fallen be able to sin?