I have no biases for standing up for one Holy book’s “belief” system over another. (In fact, I have discredited the Bible on many occasions in my blog.) I simply look at the facts, and share info with my readers. Unfortunately, when your worldview is led by (a cultural reading of) the Bible, sometimes you miss the author’s actual intent that often get lost in translation and time. And sadly, things that were never meant take on a whole other meaning to a crowd naive to the culture. For instance, if the title “God’s chosen people” can be claimed to be your ancestry, either by blood or spiritual “adoption”, and placed with the nowadays understanding of creation stories and presumed image of God, that makes a Christian or child of God pretty special! It makes you a son or daughter of the King! And even those who love or protect you will be blessed the Bible says!Many Atheists have sought to discredit Christianity and those “fool enough” to still believe in it by looking at the stupid sheep in mainstream Christianity for their sources of ammo. While there is no shortage of them in mainstream Christianity, those aren’t the intellects in Christianity. Honestly, the Bible has much good in it, that when properly understood, from a historical or non-embittered perspective, it makes a lot of sense. (At least as much as any ancient text can.)
Insecure Atheists and agnostics want to throw out the Bible as all fairy tale, so that they don’t have to believe any of it is not fairy tale. . .I think that this “all or nothing” mentality is bound to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” The understanding we can glean from the Bible about our origins isn’t as whacked out as we may first think . ..
Let’s go over what that ancient text actually tells us of our beginning. First God said, “let US make man in our OUR image “(Genesis 1:26).Christian’s think of God as 3 persons, or “The trinity”, so that’s why it seems logical to them to say that He is one God, and yet speaks as a group. . .the logic of which reasoning is rarely questioned of course. The only problem with that belief is that there is really very little evidence for a monotheistic belief in history. It was unheard of before the Old testament. So that in itself seems suspicious if those closer to the creation and Noah stories (similar in just about every culture of the world) wouldn’t have gotten their stories a little more clearly, then those further removed. . . do we really have the gall to think we know about God better then those who spoke directly to him/them?!
Without the “Holy Spirit” part of God the Israelites would have had no call to say that their “God” speaking in plural (terms like “US” and “OUR”) was a reference to the “Godhead” instead of more than one God. Yet we know that the Catholic church clearly added the “Holy Spirit” concept to make up for that issue of a plurality to God. In 1 John 5:7 it seems to be clearly stating that God is not only father, like all the other cultures claim, but that the son, Jesus, (“begotten not created”) and the very unclear Spirit are one. There, problem solved! The verse goes like this. “For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one.”When you take out the added “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one”, the Jews of the time are left with “God” speaking to or for a group of people, not being one. . .That verse is the only verse in the Bible regarding the Trinity, yet it is missing in many modern versions like the NIV, NASB, RSV, NRSV and Jehovah witness versions.
It is not found in the Greek manuscripts and for this reason it should not be included in the Bible.
So was the “us” and “our” way of speaking that “God” always used just a way royals use to talk, as some have said? Or was it possibly a group of peers he was talking to, as nearly every other ancient culture gave reference to with their concepts of many “gods”? And if so, do we now have to consider all the ancient texts in their writings of their gods as on par with the Christians rendering of God? Are they talking of the same ones?
Maybe we can find out by looking more closely at some of the most tricky and misunderstood verses in the Bible, and cross reference a little. . .So, besides the gods, the Bible also speaks of “sons of God” or “Angels” being in the beginning. Can we look at the ancient understanding of those terms to find some enlightenment on why the break off from many gods, to one? First, some context: “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and took them wives, all of which they chose. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men [had sexual relations with them], that they bare CHILDREN to them, the same became MIGHTY MEN which were of old, men of renown” (Gen.6:1-4).
The Apocrypha was a highly respected part of the Bible up until the last few hundred years, when it’s many implications were misunderstood as myth. Enoch 6:2 of the Apocrypha is a parallel passage to those very tricky verses in the Bible. Enoch puts it this way, “And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.'”Enoch also removes any doubt that the giants were the children of these “unholy” unions. Further, it is a fascinating read as it describes the angels, their children, and the punishments meted out on them. Enoch’s translation into heaven (which he came back from to write the book of Enoch) is also described in great detail and takes very little imagination to interpret what happened to him. . .In Bible college they bring up the difficulty of interpreting Genesis 6 and yet I wonder why the book of Enoch is never brought into the discussion, as it fills in all the gaps. I highly suggest checking it out online!
I will take the viewpoint that was widely held in the world of the first century CE, and was supported by Flavius Josephus, Philo, Eusebius and many of the “Ante-Nicene Fathers,” including Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, Irenaeus, Athenagoras and Commodianus: the terms “angels”, “sons of God”, and “the children of heaven” are synonymous in these two passages.
Also, the Bible verses talking about “the sons of God”(otherwise understood as “Angels” or the “children of Heaven”) usually spoke of them coming from the heavens, which was always just referring to “above”. . . showing either their poor understanding of space and the solar system or the Bible just meant they came from the sky, or from a “mountain of God”, as every other depiction of the gods of other previous cultures.
Enoch describes these “children of heaven” as “descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon,” which seems to imply from the sky to the mountain to lower elevations.
The Bible also speaks of “the Holy mountain of God” trembling and fire coming from the top of it. This is consistent with other ancient texts depictions of their gods living on the tops of mountains in their houses. For instance, the gods at mount Olympus in Greek mythology certainly sound suspiciously familiar to the tales in the Bible.
These “Angels” having to “come down” often leads to the speculation of the “Angels” being “fallen” from these high places to have come down to the women, but there is no reference to them being in disfavor with God or the gods on the mountain, or in the sky before they started mingling with the woman.” The Bible speaks of Satan giving a report to these “God(s)” : And the LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” He certainly didn’t seem to be doing any harm, but he was apparently watching man.
The book of Enoch actually calls these same beings called “sons of God”, or “Angels”, the “watchers”. The Aramaic term “Watchers” is “peculiar to apocalyptic literature”.
Daniel 4:13“I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. In 1 Enoch the Watchers
- are ‘holy angels who watch’ (20:1)
- are of the higher class of angels like the archangels, cherubim and seraphim,
- are ‘the eternal watchers’ (41:1) in the presence of God
- belong to the Great Holy One (12:3)
- do not sleep but stand before the glory of God (39:12, 61:12, 71:7)
- never depart from the Great One (14:23)
- are known as “sons of heaven” (6:2; 13:8; 14:3)
- have been given the secrets of the heavens (9:6; 16:3)
- are appointed to fulfill certain duties (20:1-8)
There are usually 4 leader watchers: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael. Michael and Gabriel are spoken of in the Bible as good, “Arch Angels”, but the ones in Enoch are said to be a group of 200 watchers, led by Shemihazah/Semyaz (6:3) or by Azael/Azazel (8:1; 10:4; 13:1).
These Angels who “fell” bound themselves by an oath to leave “heaven” and descend to earth to marry the daughters of earth (Enoch 6:3-5). The Watchers also taught the people on earth the “eternal secrets that are performed in heaven” (9:6). The art of making metal weapons, arts, crafts, incantations, astrology, cosmetics and bracelets (8:1-4)
The concept of Heaven being in a mystical realm with only perfect spiritual beings, living in perfect bliss gets thrown out when you read that “weapons”, “incantations” (which was apparently well looked on then)”astrology” and such frivolities as make- up and jewelry are in “Heaven”. . .as that obviously doesn’t fit in with the picture that has evolved of Heaven. So the church threw Enoch out of the Canon. It is nonetheless consistent with other ancient texts.
Back to the “Watchers” or the so called “fallen” angels though; they are so filled with shame that they cannot speak or raise their eyes to heaven. (1 Enoch 13:5)They are said to be the cause of all the “evil” that entered the world. The Damascus Covenant of Qumran describes the two-fold “sin” of the Watchers of heaven:
- they follow the “eyes of whoredom” (2:16)
- they “walked in the stubbornness of their hearts”, following their own ways and rejecting God’s commandments (2:17-18)
Enoch also speaks of “the hardness of the heart” of the Watchers when they taught the mysteries of heaven to women on earth (16:3).
So who were these “sons of God” or “Angels” in Genesis 6:1-4? There have been several suggestions as to who they were and why the children they had with daughters of men grew into a race of giants. The three primary views on the identity of “the sons of God” are 1) they were “fallen” angels, 2) they were powerful human rulers, or 3) they were godly descendants of Seth intermarrying with wicked descendants of Cain. Giving weight to the first theory is the fact that in the Old Testament the phrase “sons of God” always refers to angels (Job 1:6;2:1; 38:7).
A potential problem with this translation is that in Matthew 22:30, it indicates that angels do not marry.
The weakness of views 2) and 3) is that ordinary human males marrying ordinary human females does not account for why the offspring were “giants” or “heroes of old, men of renown.” Further, why would God decide to bring the flood on the earth (Genesis 6:5-7) when God had never forbade powerful human males or descendants of Seth to marry ordinary human females or descendants of Cain?
The oncoming judgment of Genesis 6:5-7 is linked to what took place in Genesis 6:1-4. Only the marriage of “fallen” angels with human females would seem to justify such a harsh judgment. When the Bible speaks of “sons of god” who consorted with “the daughters of men”, it is looked on very unfavorably. These Angels were not allowed to return to Heaven for this act. These giants are referred to in the Hebrew as “nephilim.” The synonymous word “giants” means the following, from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible#5303:nephiyl (nefeel’); or nephil (nefeel’); from 5307; which means properly a feller, i.e. a bully or tyrant.
So it really doesn’t mean a giant, like the one in Jack and the Beanstalk, but rather a bully or tyrant, perhaps of larger stature. If we look in dictionaries like Nelson’s we will see something like the following: NEPHILIM, a word of uncertain meaning (Genesis 6:4; Numbers 13:33), (NIV, NEB, NASB, RSV translations), translated as “giants” by the KJV and NKJV. Some scholars believe . . . were descended from famous rulers, outstanding leaders, and mighty warriors who lived before the Flood.
The Bible speaks of these Giants/Nephilim before the flood as being wicked and full of evil, so God planned to destroy them with a flood. Again, this is described in The Book of Enoch.
Only Noah and his family had a pure bloodline from Adam the Bible tells us and consequently was given a warning about the impending flood to wipe out the wicked giants, whereas; the giants were not told.
The Bible puts it this way, “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Gen.6:9). God told Noah in Gen. 6:18 “But with thee will I establish my covenant.”The rest of mankind had become corrupted through intermarriage with the “Angels”.
The giants survived the flood though, as we see them again in Num.13:32-33 as the sons of Anak. And there we saw the “giants” reappear on the scene, “the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so were we in their sight” (The word for “giants” here is the same word used in Genesis 6:4 — the Nephilim.)
Obviously, therefore, some of them lived after the Flood. It was for the destruction of these giants, (Nephilim) that “the sword of Israel” and violence was apparently necessary, as the Flood had been before. Because the god(s) were not interested in having a world of violence again, but wanted to start fresh with Noah, who was apparently a true “son of God”. . .
Moses also talks of the land of Moab saying, “That also was accounted a land of giants; giants dwelt therein in old time. . . the Lord destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead” Deut.2:20-21
God clarifies though that, “It is not because of your [The Israelite’s or God’s chosen people’s] righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 9:5
The Scriptures tell us that young David slew Goliath (whose name means “an exile”) a giant supposedly over 9 feet tall! He was probably a descendant from the ancient giants, of whom a remnant took refuge among the Philistines making him stand out because he was an exile in the land. (Deut.2:20-21; II Sam.21:22).
The Anakim (‘anna -‘keem)- another race of giants descended from the Angels are mentioned ten times in the Bible, Duet 1:28, 2:10, 2:11, 2:21, 9:2, Josh. 11:21, 11:22, 14:12, 14:15, and Joshua 47:5. There were nearly a dozen different races of Giants during the time of Israel’s captivity in Egypt. . .If these many groups of (up to 30 foot) giants or tall men of legend were real, then they were likely not only in the middle east, but also associated earlier with Africa (more specifically Egypt), which could give a plausible explanation for the problem which has for ages perplexed engineers: that being, how those huge stone pyramids, temples and monuments were built. . . .
Giants are also a common tale in areas of Europe, and believed to be the origin of the Greek legends of “demi-gods”. “Giant-legends of this class are common in Asia too, where the big and “stupid” giants would seem to have been barbaric tribes.”
The Giants were apparently experiments of the Angels gone wrong, a product of their uncontrolled lusts. The first interbreeding of these ancient Angel type “gods” with man, according to many different ancient sources. Making public the many sites of these giant’s remains in Egypt, Asia, the Middle east, and Europe, and allowing scientists to analyze the DNA, blood type, and RH factor would likely lead to some very interesting conclusions. . . instead the powers that be tell us the pictures are a hoax, and the evidence of the giants is quickly whisked away. . .telling us they are just a myth?
The Bible speaks of these giants as historical though, and it is supported with many other cultures ancient texts, so it seems pretty likely that they were real. So let’s just presume that they were at least somewhat larger, and go from there. . .To be continued. . .