The “Sons of God” [part 2]


David Jeremiah offers another possibility for the identity of the sons of God in Genesis 6, which I had never heard of before I began reading more for the purpose of this study. Pastor Jeremiah suggests that the language used in Genesis six could be simply a poetic reference to men and women in general.[1] God formed Adam out of the dust, but He molded Eve from the rib of Adam. Therefore, Adam is viewed here as a son of God,[2] while Eve would be a daughter of man, since she was taken from man (Genesis 2:23). Jeremiah then suggests[3] that when Genesis six speaks of the sons of God marrying the daughters of men, this is an idiomatic expression referring simply to regular men marrying regular women.[4] Michael Wechsler also holds to this view, and discusses it in much greater length than Jeremiah. Wechsler argues that only this view is “consistent with both the context and language of the passage.”[5]

However, there are a number of problems with this interpretation. First, this interpretation is not consistent with the language of the passage, because, as has been pointed out before, the phrase “sons of God” clearly refers to angelic beings where it is used elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures.[6] Another problem with the “idiom” view is that it does not give a morally satisfactory response as to why God would desire to wipe all of mankind off the face of the earth. Wechsler posits that as the world’s population continued to grow, God had to take action to destroy mankind (save Noah and his family) in order to let mankind “start over.” What’s more, this seems to have been simply because of the evil thoughts of mankind—apart from any wickedness they had actually committed. Wechsler also believe God sent the flood, not as a punishment, but primarily for the benefit of mankind. As he states it:

God determined to blot out man… from the face of the land, not merely because he had offended God’s righteous standard, but because such action was necessary for the welfare of man himself, to preserve man from the full effects of his unmitigated depravity.[7]

However, the context seems to indicate that the judgment of the flood was in fact connected to the transgression committed by the sons of God and the daughters of men.[8] This interpretation also fails to explain the origin of the spreading vileness of man. It does not seem to be merely the reproducing of human beings, because God commanded the multiplying of humanity both before (at Creation) and after the flood (Genesis 1:28; 9:1).

The “idiom view” does not provide a sufficient interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4 in my opinion. This view must ignore the normal usage of the phrase “sons of God.” The view fails to give a sufficient reason for God reacting against the whole of mankind, or to adequately connect the marrying of the sons of God and the daughters of men with the spreading of the vile wickedness to which God reacted. This last point is one that the next view at least does a better job of answering. We’ll look at that view next time.


[1] Jeremiah, David. What the Bible Says About Angels: Powerful Guardians, a Mysterious Presence, God’s Messengers. Sisters: Multnomah Books, 1996. 195.

[2] It is worth noting that in Luke 3:38, in the genealogy of Jesus through Mary, Adam is referred to as the “son of God.”

[3] It is not entirely clear whether this is the view Jeremiah himself holds to, but it appears to be so.

[4] Sailhamer, 115.

[5] Wechsler, Michael G. “Genesis.” In The Moody Bible Commentary, edited by Michael Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2014. 55.

[6] Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Daniel 3:25; Ps. 29:1; Ps 89:5; I’ll make another point about this phrase as an established technical term in the next post.

[7] Wechsler, 56 (emphasis original).

[8] MacArthur, John. Christians and Demons. Panorama City: Word of Grace. 3.


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4 Responses to The “Sons of God” [part 2]

  1. Pingback: Who Were the “Sons of God” in Genesis 6? [Part 1] | The Tavern

  2. Pingback: The “Sons of God” [Part 3] | The Tavern

  3. BucketheadBaptist says:

    Thanks for this post…

    I was looking for something on this by Dr. Jeremiah since he’s well respected in S. Baptist ranks… however… now I’m somewhat disappointed (that he doesn’t share MY views of COURSE!! ha ha ha ha)


    • The Tavern says:

      I’m glad you found this post about it then! In fact, the note on Genesis 6:1–4 in Pastor Jeremiah’s study Bible reads: “This is a difficult passage, but the likely meaning… is that fallen angels took on the human form of men and married human women… This illicit marriage of spirit beings and human beings was an affront to the divine order of reproducing according to one’s kind (1:24).”
      So, it seems he may have changed his mind more recently!


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