Did angels marry human women?

In the various churches around the world, there are some bizarre teachings, and some strange interpretations of the scriptures.  It is true that some scriptures require more research and explanation than others, but God seems to have designed His written Word to be that way:

But the word of the LORD was to them, "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little," that they might go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and caught.  (Isaiah 28:13)

These scriptures that require further research and explanation, we call "difficult scriptures."  Although what might be a difficult scripture for one Christian may not be difficult for another, there are some passages that tend to trip up most new Bible students.  And, although most adults in the church of God today cannot be considered to be new Bible students, man is a forgetful creature and we all tend to need reminders every once in a while. (Isn't this why God has us repeat the observance of His Holy Days every year?)

In the days and years ahead of us, there will be those who will come against God's people and will attack us with charges that we do not understand the scriptures properly.  Many of us have already suffered through one round of this fight.  There will also be those who will come against us, claiming that the Bible is worthless and unreliable because certain passages seem to contradict one another.

But we know that the Bible is God's Word!  Despite some mistranslations and spurious additions and deletions, the holy scriptures are true and infallible. Herbert Armstrong used to say that the Holy Bible is God's instruction manual for man – His masterpiece of creation. God wants His children to be familiar with His Word and always to be ready to give an answer… when asked, of course!  

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  (I Peter 3:15 KJV)

The day might come when an enemy of God's church may try to trip you up by confronting you with one of these "difficult scriptures."  So let us get started by quoting this "difficult scripture":

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.  And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years."  There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.  (Genesis 6:1-4)

Some maintain that these verses state that angels married women before the Flood and engendered a race of giants.  This idea sounds like the sub-plot of a science fiction story!  But can it be the truth?

Does not say that angels married women

It is true that verse 2 states that the "sons of God… took wives for themselves of all whom they chose."  These sons of God, however, were not angels. The fact is that angels do not marry.  Jesus tells us this clearly:

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.  (Matthew 22.30; See also Mark 12:25)

Angels cannot cohabit nor reproduce with women. Angels are spirit beings:

But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool"? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?  (Hebrews 1:13-14)

Women are human beings. Angels and women, then, are two different kinds of being.

In his modern, perverted science – falsely so-called (I Timothy 6:20 KJV) – Satan encourages men to experiment with the crossing and mixing of the most unlikely creatures.  For example, goats have been somehow crossed with spiders, to obtain more silk products than God had originally designed.  Also, you may have seen the sickening photograph of the mouse with a human ear growing out of its back!  But right from the beginning, at the re-creation of the world, God said that this was not to be so.  He established a strict law that each kind must reproduce only after its own kind:

Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth"; and it was so.  And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind.  And God saw that it was good… So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind.  And God saw that it was good… Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it was so.  And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind.  And God saw that it was good. 
(Genesis 1:11-12, 21, 24-25)

This rule is also backed up and made clear by the context of our difficult scripture.  In Genesis 6:3, God states, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh."

God is speaking of fleshly mankind here, not angels.  Although it is true that the children of these couples were "mighty," like their parents, they were still only men.

"Sons of God" can have different meanings

It is true that angels are sometimes called "sons of God":

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.  (Job 1:6)

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?  (Job 38:7)

But please remember that angels "neither marry, nor are given in marriage."  Secondly, the phrase "sons of God" more frequently refers to spirit-begotten Christians:

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  (John 1:12 KJV)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God… For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.  (Romans 8:14, 19)

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;  (Philippians 2:15 KJV)

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  (I John 3:1-2 KJV)

A third meaning refers to mankind in general, because all men are sons of God by creation:

I said, "You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.  (Psalms 82:6)

Although the King James and New King James Bible versions have "children of the Most High," most other translations have "sons of the Most High."  Further...

Have we not all one Father?  Has not one God created us?  Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers?  (Malachi 2:10)

The son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.  (Luke 3:38)

Through Adam then, every human being is a child of God.

Since these "sons of God" − those who are the subjects of our difficult scripture – were obviously not spirit-begotten Christians, and could not have been angels, it is evident that they were simply human members of mankind in general: men who had forsaken God and were intermarrying in defiance of His law.  One final point on this:

Giants not exclusive progeny of these marriages

Note again verse 4 of Genesis 6:

There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them.  Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

This verse shows that giants and extraordinarily mighty men existed after the sons of God married the daughters of men and implies that they existed beforehand as well.  It does not state or imply that such men were the result only of these marriages. Giants have existed throughout history. In his discussion of the well-known biblical giant, Goliath, commentator John Gill writes:

Taking a cubit after the calculation of Bishop Cumberland to be twenty one inches, and more, and a span to be half a cubit, the height of this man was eleven feet four inches, and somewhat more; which need not seem incredible, since the coffin of Orestea, the son of Agamemnon, is said to be seven cubits long; and Eleazar, a Jew, who because of his size was called the giant, and was presented by Artabanus, king of the Parthians, to Tiberius Caesar, is said by Josephus to be seven cubits high; and one Gabbara of Arabia, in the times of Claudius Caesar, measured nine feet nine inches, as Pliny relates, and who elsewhere speaks of a people in Ethiopia, called Syrbotae, who were eight cubits high; the Septuagint version makes Goliath to be only four cubits and a span high, and so Josephus; that is, about eight feet.

John Middleton, who lived near Liverpool, England from 1578 to 1613 was said to have been 9 foot 3 inches tall. Middleton was known as "the Childe of Hale" and his huge grave can still be seen in the Hale village churchyard. After Cromwell's Parliamentary armies stormed Basing House in 1645, Puritan minister Hugh Peters wrote, "Amongst those we saw slain, one of their officers lying on the ground, seeming so exceeding tall, was measured; and from his great toe to his crown was 9 feet in length."  Finally, of course, giants still exist today. Measuring in at almost 7 foot 9 inches, Radhouane Charbib of Tunisia is reputed to be the tallest man alive at this time.

So we can see that God's holy Word interprets itself. We don't have to believe bizarre, man-made interpretations of these scriptures, even though their meanings may not be initially clear.

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This page last updated: March 05, 2012