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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Genesis the Book of Beginnings Part 23 - Giant Hybrids and Evil Supermen Corrupt the Earth (6:1-12)

In the previous two studies, we discussed a lot of genealogies, as they both revealed spiritual truth in the meaning of many of the names as well as establishing a bridge at this point between two parts of the Genesis Narrative - Creation and the Flood.  In this passage of Genesis 6, much of what is documented is occurring alongside the genealogies of the previous studies, and in looking at it that way, we notice two things happening in this passage:

1.  There is a population increase
2.  There is also an increase in moral depravity and wickedness.

We will get more to that momentarily, but first, many of us have grown up with tales of giants - we all know (except for some Millennials, whom I wonder even read at times at all due to the fact everything is about "reality TV" and perpetual moving fingers on small instruments of modern technology these days among that age group!) stories such as "Jack and the Beanstalk," where a cannibalistic giant gets a little ticked off with Jack trespassing in his house, which Jack discovered by climbing a magic beanstalk, and threatens to eat him for doing so - this is the old "Fee-fi-fo-fum" rhyme.  Giants make their appearance in folk tales and mythologies of practically every culture of the world, and in understanding that, it means that something had to trigger the proliferation of those stories.  What if I were to tell you that real giants existed, and the Bible tells us their origins and even how big they got?   Belief in giants has both been scoffed at by much of mainstream culture as a product of less-sophisticated imaginations, or in recent years there has been an upsurge in interest about finding remains of giants in different cultures, as some researchers and archaeologists (of note recently are the Viera Brothers in Massachusetts, who even had a series on History Channel about their endeavors called Search for the Lost Giants) are starting to understand that myths may hold more than what they originally thought.  Genesis 6 is one of the texts that alludes to the existence of these beings, and therefore in this study we are going to explore this a little more, based on some convincing evidence from other ancient writers as well.  In the Genesis 6 text, we first read about this in verse 4, which talks about an enigmatic group called the "sons of God" (B'nai Elohim) coming down and mating with the "daughters of men" and producing a race of "mighty men of old, of renown" (Hebrew Gibborim).  Later in this study, we will be talking more specifically about the giants mentioned here, but for now we will note that the etymology of the word "giant" is an English derivative of the Greek word gugantes, which literally translates as "earth-borne."  The Greek word is a combination of two root words - gaia, which refers to the earth itself and is the name of an ancient Greek earth goddess, and uranos, which is the proper name of the Greek god of the sky and rain, as the origin of the name implied urination from the sky (www.etymonline.com and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranus_(mythology)). The name gugantes therefore would refer to beings who were born of the earth but fertilized in essence by the sky;  looking at it from the literal word translations, what it implies is a sexual typology of the sky inseminating the earth and the earth conceiving these beings.  It is no accident that this imagery is present in the translation, as it also concurs with the Genesis 6 account of the "sons of God" descending from the sky and mating with the daughters of men, who came from Adam, whose name is also derived from "earth."  Unfortunately, in the process according to the myth Uranus was castrated.  Thus, you have a race of half spirit/half material supermen called Titans resulting from that union.  It is obvious that the Uranus/Gaia myth is a corruption of the truth, as the real story is in Genesis 6 - fallen angels messing around with human women and producing these huge hybrids.  This view has been debated for centuries among Biblical scholars and theologians, and momentarily we will address that, as two schools of thought built up around it.   At any rate, God said in his own Bible that giants existed, and He told Moses this story for a purpose, as it also relates to Genesis 3:15, the "enmity between the seeds."   These giants were the "seed of the serpent," and by corrupting the "seed of the woman," it was anticipated by Satan that her seed would yield little resistance if he corrupted the seed with his own.  But, as we see later, God has other plans. 

"...when the sons of God came into the daughters of men and they bore children to them..." (Genesis 6:4, NKJV)

Connected with this odd union of "sons of God" and "daughters of men" was also an increase in wickedness (verse 5) in which, as it documents, every intention of most men was evil, and this causes God to reconsider creating the earth and mankind (verse 6).  Regretting this travesty of the Creation He originally called "good" in Genesis 1, God vows in verse 7 to destroy both man and beast from the face of the earth.  But then, in verse 8, God takes notice of a man named Noah, and chooses to spare him from this destruction.  

We have Noah introduced in verse 9, and he was said to be a man who "walked with God."  He also is documented as having three sons in verse 10 - Shem, Ham, and Japeth.  The extent of the corruption on the earth is at this point, according to verse 11, so corrupt that the earth was filled with violence, and not just man, but all flesh (this would include animal life) was corrupted, but by whom?  To answer that, we now return to the "sons of God" discussion.

So, who were these "sons of God" mentioned in both verses 2 and 4?   Over the centuries two theories developed around this question, and they are as follows:

1.  The Sethite View - This position asserts that the "sons of God" were male descendants of Seth who messed around with female descendants of Cain, the "daughters of men."  However, the problem with that view is this - would "kissing cousins" produce the monstrosities we read about in verse 4?  Also, the other issue here is that there were both righteous descendants of Cain, as well as wicked descendants of Seth, so cursing Cain's lineage as "serpent's seed" doesn't bear up practically.  Initially, this view was entertained, but never dogmatically stated, by the Church Father Julius Africanus in the 3rd century AD, but it really gained prominence during the 18th century with the Enlightenment, which sought to discredit or diminish anything that could not be proven by nature based on Cartesian thought as well as the prevalent rationalism of the time.  Despite inconsistencies with this view, it is still widely accepted today even by orthodox Christian scholars. 

2.  The "Watchers" View - The position asserted by this view holds that the "sons of God" mentioned in Genesis 6:4 were in actuality the fallen angels who rebelled with Satan when he fell from grace. Although not quite suited to the modernist rational mindset due to its supernatural dimension, this view has much more Scriptural foundation than the Sethites possess, and in the early Church this was overwhelmingly the accepted view.   In Scripture, there are two places in particular where this view has support:

a.  Job 2:1 - The same Hebrew term used in Genesis 6:4 (B'nai Elohim) is also utilized here in reference to the angelic host, including Satan.

b.  Jude 6 - The phrase from this verse - "...the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode."  Jude's epistle also leans heavily on the Book of Enoch, and we will talk about that next.

c.  In Extra-Biblical Texts - 
(1) The Book of Enoch:  In Enoch 7:8, there is documentation of a group of about 200 angelic beings called "Watchers" who descend upon the crest of Mt. Hermon.  In Enoch 7:9, they are lead by chieftains whose names are revealed.  In verse 10 of this same passage, these fallen angels fan out from Mt. Hermon and take wives for themselves among human women, and these women then give birth to giants.  The size of these giants, according to verse 12, was a height of about 300 Egyptian cubits (a measurement God allowed because Moses would have been familiar with that at the time he was writing Genesis on paper), which can be converted to 450 feet in our measurements today.  These imposing creatures were also called ravenous.

Of all the chieftains of these angelic hosts, Azazel was considered the worst and most wicked.  It was he who taught men (perhaps even Tubal-Cain, Lamech's son we read about in Genesis 4) the arts of bronze-making and warfare - crafting weapons to kill people, in other words.  In Enoch 8, we also read that these angelic visitors taught men other things as well, and here is a partial list of those:

 - one named Amazarek taught sorcery to men, including the concoction of potions (farmakeaia
in Greek).

- another named Armers taught about removing curses, etc.

- a third named Barkayal taught astrology (or even a corrupt understanding of the legitimate science of astronomy maybe?).

- a fourth named Akibeel taught "signs" (whatever that means, although it could have been an illusion to reading omens and such)

- a fifth named Tamiel taught astronomy (probably in conjunction with Barkayal, or it could have been agricultural cycles too, which were later corrupted into fertility cults). 

- and a sixth named Asaradel taught regarding the movements of the moon (perhaps an early allusion to the moon goddess cults many civilizations would have later).  

The arrival of these angelic "teachers" coincided with the days of Jared, Noah's great-great grandfather, whom you may recall has a name that means "shall come down."  This means they had approximately 1200 or so years before the Flood to wreak havoc upon the earth. (These references to the Book of Enoch are from Richard Laurence, trans.  The Book of Enoch the Prophet.  London:   William Clowes and Sons, 1883.  pp. 7-8).  

So, the next question to address is who were these offspring it speaks of in verse 4?  The Hebrew word often used when studying this passage is the word Nephilim, which translates as "fallen ones," and if they were indeed giant in stature (as many writings seem to indicate), then what this means is that they were an earth-borne fallen hybrid race.  Looking at another extra-biblical source, The Book of Jubilees, we note something very interesting in Chapter 5, and utilizing E.B. Goodrich's 1888 Ethiopic translation, here is how it reads, beginning in verse 1:

And it happened, when the sons of the children of men commenced to increase over the face of the whole earth and daughters were born unto them, that the angels of the Lord saw them in one year of this jubilee, that they were beautiful to look upon; and they took unto themselves wives from all of them whomever they chose, and they bore them sons, and these were giants.  And injustice increased over all the earth and all flesh corrupted its way, from men to animals and to beasts and to birds and to all that walks upon the earth; all corrupted their ways and their orders and began to devour each other, and unrighteousness increased over all the earth...  
(George H. Schodde, trans.  The Book of Jubilees, Translated from the Ethiopic.  Oberlin, OH:  E.J. Goodrich, 1888.  pp. 20-21)

The account in Genesis 6, along with parallel accounts in the extra-biblical texts of Enoch and Jubilees, all correlate the same conclusion - the birth of these giant hybrids mysteriously corresponded with the corruption of the earth in those days.  As the angels fell with Satan at his rebellion possibly between Creation and the fall of man in the Garden, it is possible that these angels were already operating on some level, and gave into do what they should not do.  It must be understood at this point that nowhere in Scripture suggests that angels could not procreate or engage in other "human" activity, but the implication was that they should not.  Therefore, these angels were already in open rebellion that conspired with Satan, and therefore did pretty much as they pleased. However, despite what a few have taught on this subject, this is the only incursion of this sort to happen, although two classes of these giants did exist - one was antediluvian and one post-diluvian (the latter will be talked about more in the study on Genesis 11). To give an idea of the massive size of both classes of these Nephilim, I am including a chart below, courtesy of Rob Skiba's research:


The two classes of giants had different origins, and in the case of the post-diluvian giants it is possible that recessive genetic information slipped through the cracks onto the ark via one of Noah's daughters-in-law, and if so, the question was why?  Ultimately, God may have allowed the recessive gene to slip through in order to fulfill another aspect of His plan, and when we get more into Noah's story, we'll deal more with that aspect of it. Also, Kent Hovind and some other Creationist researchers suggest that possibly the whole pre-flood population was of greater size just as they were of greater age, and on this my verdict is still out, although in lieu of 450-footers being around pre-Flood it is definitely something to look into more for sure.  However, in due time, the giants did cease to exist, and it appears that King David may have killed some of the last of them when he slay Goliath and his five brothers several centuries later.  But, Satan is even today up to his old tricks, as he never does anything original but rather re-packages the same old scheme - biting the heel of the "woman's seed" - in other ways.  Momentarily, we will discuss those manifestations of this scheme in recent times. 

Now, the second question we are faced with in this passage is if the "mighty men of old" were synonymous with giants, or were there different type of Nephilim?   Mythology is chock-full and rich with tales of half-human/half-god personalities which became in essence "mighty men of old," and two in particular that stand out are Gilgamesh and Heracles.  I am of the opinion that these figures were actually real people who existed, and that over time mythology and legend embellished their stories to make them into the "heroes" they became.  If that be the case, this would establish that perhaps there were two major branches of this Nephilim race, and one was more average-sized but possessed superhuman abilities.  This is all speculation, and again, I could be wrong on that as well.  However, many myths talk about these themes a little too frequently, and if one takes an euhemerist approach, it means that at the core of that mythology, once the onion-like layers of embellishment are stripped away, is a fact that could be a corruption of what we read here in Genesis.  If that is the case, many of the "heroes" of old were in reality not very good people, and their own lineage cursed them.  

In conclusion, this was a detailed study, and what makes this one different from the other lessons in this series is that it provides an overview to another possible study that could be done specifically on this subject in the future.   Therefore, I apologize if it seems incomplete, and at some point we'll address this more in greater detail, as much more could be said. 

That disclaimor given, there are a couple of things that we do need to remember about this passage.  First, to understand Genesis 6, one has to understand what happened in Genesis 3:15, as they are connected.  This is a classic case of "enmity between the seeds," and the first attempt of Satan to circumvent that judgment against him.  Also, natural law buttresses natural theology, because God created nature and perfects it through His grace, as we learn from reading St. Aquinas.   Satan's corruption, therefore, of nature is a violation of God's natural order, yet he still works at his schemes.  In modern times, we see more scientific and technological-based variants of this scheme we read about in Genesis 6, and they include the following:

1. Transhumanism

2. The UFO subculture

3.  The LGBT agenda and other acts against God's natural order that seek to disrupt the traditional family and corrupt the marriage covenant God ordained.

4.  Abortion and eugenics

5.  Evolutionary teaching

These things are just some of the ways Satan is still trying to further his own agenda by diminishing the God-ordained personhood of human beings as individuals in order to upset the natural order God created and has ordained for our good.  If we support these types of agendas as professing Christians, we have an inconsistency in our worldview that also imperils our eternal salvation if we act on such things.  This is not exactly the most "politically-correct" thing to say, but it is the truth, and in the end God is the author of truth and His will prevails.  

God also preserved Noah and his family from the destruction humanity brought upon itself, and in doing so it shows us that the level of corruption that was on the earth just before the time of the Flood was not mere sin, but was a deeper problem - sin can be forgiven, and it is unfortunately a consequence of the Fall that we have the attribute of concupiscence to sin in the first place, so if God was destroying the earth because of that, He would have done so. There was something more sinister and subtle going on, something that threatened the very definition of the word "human," and that is what God was about to purge.   Noah, therefore, because of the fact he somehow escaped the effects of this corruption was preserved by God to carry the salvation legacy to all his descendants, and it would be Noah's son Shem's lineage who would also be the lineage of the Messiah, and that sets up the next lesson as we will begin to talk about Noah's story.