Thursday, 28 October 2010

Genesis 6 to 9

Genesis 6 verses 1 to 8 are some of the strangest verses in the whole Bible; they mention the marrying of the Sons of God to human wives and the Nephilim in verse 4, the strangest phrase is that “Sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them”, as is shown below, it is very odd verse.

“ 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”

I personally believe that we could spend hours speculating about the verse, as it meaning seems to come from a previous document we do not know about, my belief is that the Old Testament is written from a set of previous documents that have been lost. The Nephilim are mentioned in the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, both works that were probably written before 200BC, but would have been widely known about at the time of Christ. We must remember that we are reading from a Jewish interpretation of stories from that area, we cannot exclude the influence of Egypt and Mesopotamia.

The wickedness of men comes to the story of Noah, God says he will destroy the earth and wipe it clean, all except Noah and his family, who then builds and ark and with his family is saved. Noah is an interesting tale in Genesis as unlike Abraham, he does not plead with God to save the world he just builds the Ark, in comparison Abraham pleads to save Sodom. Stories of a Deluge and a Flood from around the world, such as in Mesopotamia the Epic of Gilgamesh mentions the flood, Manu in Hinduism and Deucalion in Greek mythology, one theory is that a meteor hit the earth and caused a tsunami, it is interesting that the flood story exists in several ancient civilizations, this seems to show something probably happened that caused a serious flood.

In the Koran, there are large number of references to Noah as a prophet and being a man of God and trying to bring the pure monotheism of Allah upon the people. The main difference between the biblical account and the Quran is the absence of the account of Noah’s drunkenness and that Noah had fourth son who was drowned in the flood.


  1. I've been reading these chapters too recently, couple of questions.

    What do you make of the Nephilim being in Number 13:33?

    What do you make of the similarity between the start of Genesis 8 and the events of Genesis 1-2? A man at the centre of a formless, empty world, seems to portray Noah, a man with three sons, very much as a new Adam (likewise later Terah).

  2. Interesting you mentioned about the Nephilim in Number 13:33, I had never noticed that before, this seems to suggest giants or what are thought of as giants by the people of Israel, I know the Ethopian Church teaching says about the intermarriage between the descendants of Seth and Cain with the offspring being the Nephilim, it is a strange passage, I feel the Ethopian viewpoint seems more feasible.

    Intersting you say about Genesis 1-2 and Noah, I always feel Noah represents a new start in that man has sinned and brought destruction on himself and a new way must be found, certain people I know of a certain theological persuasion would say it all points to Jesus been the new beginning, as he will take the sin of the world and bring a new kingdom.

  3. The Nephilim certainly seem to be giants in Numbers. The intermarrying of the two lines is one mainstream theory, the other being that (from Job) the sons of God are angels intermarrying with women.

    Noah certainly seems to represent a new Adam, an attempt at new creation - a man on a mountain at the centre of a formless world where the spirit blows over the waters... not to mention all the Genesis 1-2 language in Genesis 6-8... all the repeated comissions, the "according to their kinds" language etc. And yet it's not a complete re-creation since man is still sinful to his heart... and it's curious that we then find that life is not just breath but blood, and that blood must be shed for evil done... it really doesn't seem very consistently to point forward to later events. Would take a real hermeneutic of suspicion to not admit that the line from Adam to Noah to Jesus.... and Peter and Jesus seem to think the same in Matthew 24 and in 2 Peter 2-3.

    I love Genesis, and loving working through it with various people at the moment.