Q: Who are the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2?
“Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose” (vv. 1–2).
Surprisingly, the phrase sons of God appears solely in reference to angels. Many people reject this interpretation because it would mean angels had sexual relations with humans—something abnormal and grotesque; and the offspring would be part angel, part human.
Others say the phrase refers to the godly line of Seth marrying the godless line of Cain (4:16—5:32). Still others believe the phrase refers to men (not angels) who were giants, mighty men, and men of renown (6:4). Thus they believe humans, not angels, married these women (v. 2).
However, there are good reasons to accept the view that the sons of God were fallen angels (demons) who “did not keep their proper domain”; left their habitation in heaven; followed Satan; against their nature, interbred with women; and are now chained “under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6).
1. The union produced a breed of humans whose offspring were “giants” (nephilim, Hebrew for “fallen ones,” not “giants”); “mighty men” (warriors of superior intellectual and physical ability); and men of “renown” (fame, prestige, distinction, and notability; Gen. 6:4).
2. The term sons of God in Jewish Scripture (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7) always refers to angels.
3. The context of Genesis 6:1–4 seems to be the major reason God destroyed all of humanity with a universal flood, except for the people inside Noah’s ark.
4. When Jesus referred to angels in Matthew 22:30, He was speaking of those in heaven, not of angels in general.
5. The angels who appeared to Abraham had physical, male bodies. They ate, touched things, washed their feet and hands, and were identified as men by the men in Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18—19).
6. Literature and Jewish scholars and historians (Josephus and others) all maintained that Genesis 6 refers to fallen angels having relations with human women.
7. Early church leaders, such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and others also held this position.
So it seems the sons of God were fallen angels who cohabited with human women and produced offspring with intellectual and physical abilities that gained fame in the antediluvian age.