“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 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, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:1-7)
Here’s a fun one that I really like, that, I humbly say, MOST of the Bible commentators and preachers in this world have got it completely wrong. Thank God there are some “good guys” from Dallas Theological Seminary that have got it RIGHT. (Now don’t take me as ultra-conservative even though I have credited these guys in this way!)
The “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” in Genesis 6:1 (above) is none other than a ROLE reference to real, live, human men and women of this earth.
Now the previous chapter — chapter 5 — is all about death. Repeatedly, we read the following statement: “… and he died”. (Genesis 5:5,8,11,14,17,20,27,31). Any Bible scholar has to confess, “God is trying to make a point.” What’s the point? (I got this from an Old Testament professor, by the way). The point is: God’s word is true. If you sin, you will die. The “promise” of this goes right back to Genesis 2:17: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)
So, to recap. If you sin, you will die. Adam and Eve both sinned. And God wanted to make a point about the effects of sin — how these effects can and do get passed on from one generation to another (especially this thing called death!). So, in Genesis 5, there you have it, repeated over and over again, “… and he died … and he died … and he died … and he died … and he died … and he died … and he died … and he ………………….. died!!!” (Phew! I hope you got the point!)
Now we come to the top of Genesis 6 (which really is the continuation of Genesis 5, because chapter divisions came LATER and were NOT inspired!).
God’s comical, humorous, almost cynical description of men in Genesis 6 (remember — he is about to wipe them out and he is quite angry at them!) is that they can, and should, be described as “sons of God”. This follows right on the heels of Genesis 5:1, where we read: “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him” (Genesis 5:1)
According to this verse, whose likeness is Adam made? God’s. And then what? Then, Adam begets his offspring, who are also in Adam’s image … who is in God’s image. Friends, they are all “sons of God” — or “descendants of God”, just like Jesus Christ is said to be the “Son of David” (or “descendant of David”). The term is entirely biblical, for example, Matthew 12:23: “And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?” (Matthew 12:23) (And there are many more like this.)
Then there’s the term “daughters of men” which is God’s way of saying “women”. But he says it this way, I believe, because of a point that he is trying to make (that he wants us to grab hold of and “catch”).
Son’s of God = the men.
Daughters of Men = the women.
Here’s the point. (Now don’t get blown away by this, but it is DESERVING of some prayer and consideration, once you have caught it.) Ever since the garden of Eden, Eve (the woman) was to be in perfect submission to Adam, the one who was her “head”. Now the same is to be said of Adam, with respect to God: He was to be in perfect submission to God, the one who was his head. The Scriptures confirm this: “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.” (1 Corinthians 11:7)
Now that is a description of submission with respect to ROLE, but it has NOTHING to do with RESPECT or EQUALITY IN GOD’S EYES, for, the Scriptures declare, with respect to EQUALITY, and SELF-WORTH, DIGNITY, RESPECT, and VALUE to God and in God’s kingdom, each committed believer is the SAME.
Thus, where there is love, there is a beautiful senses of humility, dignity, self-worth, which includes a proper degree of submission. This is order, and it is God’s order, and it makes everything work “just fine” (husbands, don’t use this against your wives, because it won’t work. Just pray that you yourself will be in submission to God, and deal with your wives gently, like they deserve, and THEN they will respect you.)
Now back to Genesis 6:1.
Son’s of God = the men.
Daughter’s of Men = the women.
The reason, I believe, the Scriptures “put” it this way — and it is God’s intent for us to be somewhat baffled by this at first, to be sure (so we can dig in and learn, I believe, and fully appreciate it) — is because that is the way it SHOULD be, in terms of our ROLE before God.
Men, in terms of your fundamental ROLE before God, you are to be SONS OF GOD. You are in submission to HIM.
Now what exactly the “daughters of men” part means I’m not 100% sure, but suffice to say, it has SOMETHING to do with the fact that women, in general, are to be “under” men in terms of their authority (thus, for example, they are not to try to “seduce” men, which is the type of thing that might be promoted in a society where men were continually lusting after women).
But, in Genesis 6:1-7, the roles were reversed, to say the least! God judged them all, and they were wiped out, on account of three things, I believe: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. (1 John 2:16-17) “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:16-17)
In Genesis 6:1-7, the lust of the flesh and the the lust of the eyes are both denoted by the statement,
“the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose” (see above for full quote). This statement does not refer to anything that was RIGHT with man at the time, but to that which was NOT right! For we see here that men simply “chose whomever they wanted” to marry. They did so based on the eyes — “the sons of God saw the daughters of men”. This term shows up in Genesis 3:6, where we read:
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Genesis 3:6)
Does it make you think?
The men choosing “whomever” was not good. It denoted lust — the same lust that got Adam and Eve into trouble way back in the garden.
What about pride?
That is denoted in Genesis 6:1-7 where we read,
“There were giants in the earth in those days … the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”
You might say, these “men” were the “baseball and football and hockey” players of their day. They were olympic champions, so to speak. They were the “talk of the town”. And it was all too much for God, who was being robbed of his own “renown”.
It was wrong with the men who were lusting after women instead of being in submission to God.
It was wrong with the women who were seducing insecure, frail, ungodly, men — and they had little else to do because there was little or no real leadership to be found in the land, everyone was lusting and “seeing” (cg Genesis 3:6) instead of “obeying.”
Now doesn’t this deserve some consideration in our day?