I apologize for my absence, I have been out of the country the past few weeks. I shall try to be more regular in my production as it seems we have now grown in readership.
Last section we gave some different interpretations of the Holy Word as it has been handed down to us in the Book of Genesis. Creation’s beginnings were explained therein, and we were fortunate enough to have a look at the new Literal Translation and what it has to say regarding the actual words used. While theologians today argue about real and intended meanings, past metaphors, and esoteric versus exoteric interpretation of the Genetic account of Creation that is still our present subject here, we found out somewhat wisely that these well-meaning folks may in fact be dealing with the entirely wrong words, with which they have nevertheless justified their doctrines.
But the continuing Creation story as found in the Bible is not quite over yet. One could say, with some certainty, that Creation continues on until this the present day, that “God’s Creation” properly spoken about would be, more properly stated, an idea in the mind of the Maker. This idea’s “coming to be”, or blossoming, like the lotus, is an important point to remember as we discuss further the Creation as found in Genesis and the rest of the Pentateuch.
In the short run, however, meaning as in the Creation “proper,” and so when God was done placing his immediate Hand in the progress of the elaboration of his Idea of Creation (an excellent book by Arthur Koestler, by the way…), we find with some careful reading that this Creation Proper was not completed until AFTER the Flood, the famous flood which recurs, as we shall see later, in accounts of history from around the world, since ancient times. It seems to me that life on Earth before the Flood was a type of experiment, a sort of chaos while everything essential and the ordering thereof was being set first into place. With the flood, we find God pronouncing that he will never again so completely destroy (one could say, “cleanse”…) the inhabitants of this planet.
We learn, from when the early days of the world are discussed in Genesis, that there were “Giants in those days.” Whether these are the same as the “sons of God” who came down to Earth and mated with the daughters of Men is then a significant question, because then in the old days, before the Flood, there would be stated firmly that there was some “mingling” going on between different levels of human or human-like creatures. The Complete Word Study Old Testament (AMG Publishers, 1994) states that there are three theories to account for these “Sons of God”:
The first theory is that the “sons of God” are fallen angels and the “daughters of men” are mortals. . . The second theory [is that]…The “sons of God” are reckoned to be the godly line of Seth, while the “daughters of men” are the line of Cain. . . The last theory is one that is gaining popularity among conservatives. Recent archaeological evidence has suggested that the phrase “sons of God” was sometimes used to describe kings. . . (p. 17)
So the first possibility is that angels mated with the humans, the children of Adam and Eve—perhaps also with Adam and Eve. Fallen or not, this assumes that there was pre-existent to Man a whole other greater race of beings while like us, are far different from us. The second theory takes “Sons of God” to mean those of the line of Seth (Eve’s third child), while “daughters of Men” in takes to mean those of the lieneage of the ostracized Cain, slayer of his brother Abel. Finally, and based on archaeological evidence (and, one should say, written evidence…), ‘Sons of God” is taken to mean those of the Holy Lineage, perhaps Kingly or Pharaonic lineage.
Because of the problems involved in accepting the first possibility, we should for our present discussion dispense with it straightaway. It is inconceivable that only male angels exists so far as angels go, and also inconceivable that there are no allusions to “Daughters of God.” The second option is more believable, but since this “sons of God phrase recurs in the New Testament, we should be mindful that technically all of Cain’s, as well as Seth’s lines were, or should have been, destroyed in the flood:
According to St. Ephraim, the line of Cain ceased to be productive, and rather than bearing male offspring, it produced only female offspring. The line of Seth, on the other hand, continued to produce robust males who, though they were “the righteous people of God,” were at any rate “stirred to a frenzy” over the women in the line of Cain (source)
If this is deemed true, who then would be the post-flood era “sons of God” as the phrase is still being used today? And as for the third possibility, that may be true, but then we would have to reread the whole Bible as just another history, something written by the victors, the King usually being divine by royal decree rather than divine grace.
Three is always a good number for possibilities, but smells suspiciously clean; let us see if we cannot find another option. First the relevant passage in Genesis 6:14:
And 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 (benei ha-elohim) 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 a hundred and twenty years. There were giants (ha-nephilim) in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God (benei ha-elohim) came unto the daughters of men, they bore children to them, the same became mighty men (ha-gibborim) which were of old, men of renown.
It is interesting to compare this passage from the King James Version with others, just to see the amount of textual disagreements. Children’s Bibles routinely leave out this passage. But much MORE interesting is the amount of light textual evidence from other sources reveals about this important passage. For example, from the Book of Enoch and Dead Sea Scrolls:
It happened that when in those days the sons of men increased, pretty and attractive daughters were born to them. The Watchers, sons of the sky, saw them and lusted for them and said to each other: Let’s go and pick out women from among the daughters of men and sire for ourselves sons. However, Shemihazah, who was their chief, said to them: I am afraid you do not want to carry out this deed and I alone will be guilty of great sin. They replied and all said to him: We all take an oath and all swear under oath to each other not to go back on this venture until we have performed this deed. And these are the names of their leaders: Samlazaz, their leader, Araklba, Rameel, Kokablel, Tamlel, Ramlel, Danel, Ezeqeel, Baraqijal, Asael, Armaros, Batarel, Ananel, Zaqlel, Samsapeel, Satarel, Turel, Jomjael, Sariel. They and their chiefs all took for themselves women, choosing from among all, and they began to penetrate them and be defiled by them and teach them sorcery, incantations, and the cutting of roots and to explain herbs. They became pregnant by them and gave birth to giants, some three thousand cubits tall, who were born upon the earth in keeping with their infancy and grew at a rate of their growth and consumed the work of all the sons of men, without the men being able to supply them.
Or in another version:
1 And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters.2 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 3 and beget us children.’ And Semjaza, who was their leader, said unto them: ‘I fear ye will not 4 indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin.’ And they all answered him and said:‘Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations 5 not to abandon this plan but to do this thing.’ Then sware they all together and bound themselves 6 by mutual imprecations upon it. And they were in all two hundred; who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of MountHermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn 7 and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And these are the names of their leaders: Samlazaz, their leader, Araklba, Rameel, Kokablel, Tamlel, Ramlel, Danel, Ezeqeel, Baraqijal, 8 Asael, Armaros, Batarel, Ananel, Zaqlel, Samsapeel, Satarel, Turel, Jomjael, Sariel. These are their chiefs of tens.
People became increasingly depraved through the black arts taught them. Raphael, Michael, Sariel, and Gabriel see this and report to God:
And to Gabriel the Lord said: Go to the bastards and the sons of whoring and exterminate the sons of the Watchers from among the sons of men; involving them in a war of attrition for there will not be long days for them. Absolutely no request in their favor will be granted to their fathers; for they hope to live an everlasting life or that each one of them will live five hundred years. And to Michael the Lord said: Go, Michael, and tell Shemihazah and all his friends who coupled with women to be defiled by them in their uncleanness that their sons will expire and they will see the extermination of their loved one; chain them up for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth until the great day of their judgment. . .
In the Genesis Apocryphon found as part of the Dead Scrolls, “Lamech becomes suspicious of his wife, for reasons now lost, that his own son Noah is the product of such a supernatural union” (ibid.):
Then I, Lamech, was frightened and turned to Bitenosh, my wife, and said: . . . Swear to me by the Most High, by the Great Lord, by the King of the Universe, . . . the sons of heaven, that you will in truth let me know everything, if . . . you will in truth and without lies let me know whether this . . . Swear to me by the King of all the Universe that you are speaking to me frankly and without lies. . . Then Bitenosh, my bride, spoke to me very harshly. She wept . . . and said: Oh my brother and lord! Remember my pleasure . . . the time of love, the gasping of my breath in my breast. I shall tell you everything accurately. . . I swear to you by the Great Holy One, by the King of the heavens . . . that this seed comes from you, that this pregnancy comes from you, that the planting of this fruit comes from you, and not from any foreigner or watcher or son of heaven. . . Then I, Lamech, ran to my father, Methuselah, and told him everything, so that he would go and ask Enoch, his father, and would know everything for certain from him, since he (Enoch) is liked and well liked. . .” (This having been done, Enoch responds:) “Go tell Lamech, your son. . .(see here for a different version of the text).
These Apocrypha are usually not considered canonical literature, which means not accepted by most people who use the Bible. Still, the elucidation it throws on this subject of the “sons of God” and/or Nephilim and Giants. At the very least, these supposedly 300 BC or so texts were very much aware of the Genesis account.
Our solution must somehow reconcile “Sons of God” with “Daughters of Men”. In Genesis 26: “God said: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth’.”
One wonders who God is talking to. This passage lends itself quite readily to an interpretation of the Sons of God, meaning human and so God-like beings actually existing prior to Human Creation. In fact it may be established, by what we have learned thus far, that God was not alone when he created the World. At the very least, he needed workers and, one could say, Watchers, to make sure his plan is executed properly. These Sons of God can be imagined as having been given some freedom to act alone, that is, without immediate direction from God himself, as utensils for God’s plan.
Titans, as the Greeks called such pre-Zeus types, who, we remember, were known as “giants”, were intermediate beings in the Chain of Humanity. The parents of elemental unions like the Earth (Gaea or Ge) and Sky (Uranus or Ouranos), they were not quite Giants like their parents the Sea or Nature, but huge by human standards nonetheless. They would dwarf even the Pantheon of New Greek Gods, led first of all by that relentless Chronos, or Time, which, or whom, once threatened to consume everything, and almost did.
I bring up now some Greek mythology in order to make more palatable the suggestion that while the Torah might be the Hebrew Bible, there are some big questions as to the authorship of these earliest texts, notably Moses apparently writes about his own death, in Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Pentateuch, later the Septuagint, although he is credited as the book’s author. My suggestion is that the first five books of the Bible known by these names is not a single story, handed down by God, as it is often relayed to be. It was, upon its inception, an idea based on numerous combined tales of Creation existing prior to the inception. Through each translation, Aramaic to Hebrew, Hebrew to Aramaic, Greek to Aramaic, Aramic to Hebrew, Greek to Hebrew, etc., there were added aspects of the host’s culture.
This is why, I think, there seems to be two Creation stories in Genesis, and a lot of misunderstanding about how to reconcile Sons of God and Daughters of Men, and Giants, or nephilim, in the old days. I am convinced that if its other, perhaps Sumerian or Egyptian elements were recovered more completely–since anathema to the Christian and Jewish interpretation, rejecting as they have all the apocrypha and several important and apparently genuine texts–we would find also Sons of Men and Daughters of God.
Next time, we get to the real Origin of Man according to the Bible, and that is, the Flood, and more importantly the three sons of Noah, whom I think we shall see must be, in the proper use of the term, Sons of Men.