From Biblical mythology, we know of different mythical beings who once roamed the earth. The first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, talks about different creatures and how they came to be.
Among the different types of creatures that the Bible mentions, the Nephilim are a notable line of mythical beings. First mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, Nephilim were a race of demigods who were born from the “sons of God” mixing with the daughters of Adam.
The Nephilim are also referred to as the great biblical giants who once roamed the earth. They are also referred to as the fallen ones. With so many names used to describe them, what exactly were Nephilim, and how are they part of the biblical narrative?
When it comes to Giants, many people often ignore the part of the Bible that talks about giants or Nephilim in detail as they are an uncomfortable fit with later monotheistic doctrine and teaching. However, the biblical giants are an important part of the narrative and play a vital role in some Biblical traditions.
The Sons Of God?
The first mention of Nephilim occurs in Genesis 6:1-4. Here, the Nephilim are seen as the sons of God. They are spirit beings who intermarried with human women. These sons of God were totally different from the human race and are clearly stated as non-humans in the Bible.
While Nephilim is often seen as giants, it is not mentioned if they were actually giants because the Bible introduces them as “mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.” The parallels with Greek heroes with divine lineage such as Heracles and Perseus, both themselves sons of Zeus, seen obvious.
Therefore, there are opposing views about the Nephilim drawn from the Bible. Some people see them as a relic of earlier theological constructs. Some see them as a mythical race of giants, and some even see them as fallen angels who once inhabited the earth.
It is said that the Nephilim inhabited earth in the remote past during the pre-flood times. However, this hints at their existence and nature are far vaster than is captured in that one particular line.
Thus, the race of Nephilim has always been under a cloud of mystery, half-hidden to the eye. Searching for tangible explanations for these shadowy people, some researchers even believe that Nephilim could have been a race of aliens who landed on Earth and inhabited it some time in the distant past.
Ancient Aliens Who Caused The Flood?
Following this theory, from their occurrence and existence in the ante-diluvian times, it seems like the Nephilim were sent to earth to bring about the great flood in the Bible. Nephilim could have brought about the flood on Earth and thus, played an important part in taking the Biblical narrative forward.
In different languages including ancient Hebrew, Nephilim translates as giants, the race that humans saw as bigger than them, and that may have possessed stronger, magical abilities. The ancient Hebrews certainly believed Nephilim to be giants, and there are many illustrations to prove it.
According to some sources, it is also disputed if the Nephilim were actually sons of God or the offspring of sons of God. In any case, they were a non-human race who might have been supernatural beings like angels or demigods.
Some ancient texts, therefore, refer to them as fallen angels. The word Nephilim is difficult to interpret. However, many believe that the word may have taken root from a Hebrew verb “naphal,” which roughly translates into “to fall.” Ancient aliens could also have been observed to fall from the heavens.
The verb naphal may have been modified into Nephilim. This is another reason why we still believe that the Nephilim were a fallen species. Whether they fell from heaven or deviated from the way of God is a topic for a separate discussion.
Many scholarly beliefs about the Nephilim often converge on the possibility that Nephilim may have been physically different, greater in size than humans, but something more than that. For example, Goliath was a giant, but he was not Nephilim.
The ambiguity of Nephilim is what raises the question of their origin and final fate. Nearly all researchers agree that these mystical, supernatural beings were an important part of early mythology but fail to completely explain their origin and purpose on earth.
The Sethite View
Some biblical researchers believe that the Nephilim were descendants of Adam’s son Seth. The Sethite view combines with the view that Nephilim were kings and rulers of the Earth at that time and only some descendants of Seth were Nephilim.
The Sethites were seen as godly men, and when these godly men fell from God’s way, they went on to mate with ungodly women. Their offspring were called the Nephilim.
This view also aligns with the Fallen Men concept, where the men have turned away from the dominion of God. However the Sethite view is distinct, in that the fathers of the Nephilim were godly men, instead of celestial beings or angels.
The Book Of Enoch And The Fallen Angels
The Fallen Angel view traces the origin of Nephilim back to angels who fell from heaven. Thus, the Nephilim are a mix of humans and angels, and have supernatural powers. It could be possible that these creatures were easily distinguishable from ordinary humans because of their size and features.
This view requires several leaps of interpretation, most prominently in equating “angels” with “sons of God.” The book of Enoch, a much later text included in some Biblical traditions, confirms this interpretation and calls these people “the Watchers,” noting that these angels were attracted to the daughters of Adam.
A paragraph in the Book of Enoch mentions how after the sons of men had multiplied, men bore daughters. These daughters were beautiful and elegant, proving to be attractive for even the angels.
In the Book of Enoch, these angelic powers are referred to as the sons of heaven or sons of God. The book then goes on to tell how the angels decided to take wives from among the most beautiful daughters of men, and beget children from the union.
However, their leader Samyaza said that mating with the daughters of men could be a sin, and he would have to pay for it on behalf of the entire race of angels. Later on, the Book of Enoch goes on to tell the story of how evil fallen angels kidnapped the human women and had children with them. These half-human and half-angel children grew up to be known as Nephilim.
However the Book of Enoch is only included in the Bible in certain Jewish and Christian traditions in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and is outside the mainstream Jewish and Christian canon. While this ancient text offers an explanation, it is one that has been rejected by most of mainstream religion, who prefer to downplay the Nephilim.
The Angels Who Sinned
This claim of the Book of Enoch does have parallels elsewhere in the Bible, aligning with certain texts that talk about angels who have sinned. In the Book of Jude, the penultimate book of the New Testament and a canonical Christian text, there is mentioned those who did not keep their proper domain and left their own abode.
The Bible here does not include any direct mention of the Nephilim, or even of angels who mated with women, but it does draw parallels between the sins of the angels and the sins of men. In deciding on the canon, the early Christian church clearly wanted to include passages in the Bible that talk about how angels and men are similar in going after strange flesh and practicing sexual immorality.
However, some biblical researchers believe the angels were not capable of sinning to such an extent. Given the inclusion of another race of beings superior to man, but distinct from God (and those who oppose Him), this would have risked creating alternative subjects for humans to worship.
Can Angels And Humans Intermarry?
Thus, there are multiple pieces of evidence to the sons of God being angels and Nephilim being a half-human and half-angel hybrid. However, there are other opinions that oppose this belief. One of the opposing beliefs is of angels being spiritual creatures who lack a physical, human-like DNA that can combine with a human woman’s DNA.
There are many who believe that although the angels could take the form of a human, they were inherently spiritual creatures who may or may not have reproductive capacity. They might have mingled with men, but the chances of them having a physical DNA or a hybrid DNA with human women are slim.
Of course, the greatest story of the New Testament offers just such an example. The Holy Spirit had the power to father a physical child despite being a spiritual power. However, whether angels had the same power or not is not clearly stated in the Bible.
The Bible is also clear that angels in heaven were not allowed to marry. Even as fallen angels, they would have to marry the women. However, the Bible in the Genesis section is clear that only human men and women would marry.
This again brings us back to the possibility that Nephilim was born when fallen angels took human women for their sexual desires outside of marriage. Although the belief is a popular view among some Bible scholars, there is a need for greater research in this area.
One of the strongest arguments against Nephilim being children of Angels comes from Christ himself. Jesus Christ was resurrected after his death and went on to say that spirits do not have flesh or bones, which robs all the possibility of them materializing as physical beings.
Since angels are spiritual beings, it is nearly impossible that they could have possessed a physical body that could reproduce with humans. Saying that angels bore children with humans to create the Nephilim race would completely refute what Jesus Christ said.
Other Sons Of God
To further confuse the situation, In the Bible various creatures are called the “sons of God” depending on their virtues and behavior. Thus, simply calling the angels as sons of God and determining them as the fathers of Nephilim may be an oversimplification, or misinterpretation.
These creatures came after the flood, and therefore seem to be distinct from the Nephilim. But the Book of Genesis leaves open the possibility that the Nephilim may have lived on Earth during the post-flood times as well.
Another fact to mention is that the line “men of renown” in Genesis uses the Hebrew word “iysh.” This word has been used elsewhere in the Bible to only refer to men or humans. Thus, one can argue that the Bible would not deviate from this and use the word “iysh” uniquely here for angels or the angel born.
The only time that “iysh” is used for anyone other than a human was when angels took their human form. However, this refers to their appearance, and the word is never used for fallen angels. Therefore, the Nephilim may never have been children of fallen angels and humans. There is a stronger possibility that they were children of godly men, not angels.
Did Fallen Angels Possess Men?
There is yet another view referring to the relationship between angels and men and how Nephilim came to be. According to this view, these men, called “sons of God” were being controlled by fallen angels and demons. So, these “sons of God” would create Nephilim under the influence of these spirits, but the offspring would be completely human.
Men being influenced by Satan, Demons, or other spiritual entities is not unusual in the Bible. In fact, some spirits have even entered the body of men. In such a circumstance, the person who is under the influence of spirits would not be aware of his actions.
This view has many arguments against it. However, it falls in line with the conviction that Nephilim existed in pre-flood times, were wiped out, and then reappeared in post-flood times. This view also establishes Nephilim as 100 percent human.
Further, this would mean that the Nephilim were children conceived in sin, as the spirits are usually malevolent fallen angels or demons. However, like humans, they are eligible for salvation if they embrace their faith in Christ and ask for his mercy.
An opposing view to this belief is that this would mean Nephilim are still created today, maybe every day. This would demystify the entire concept of Nephilim. But the Bible also does not say anything about the Nephilim being born in later periods of time, references being restricted to the pre-biblical flood times. Additionally, the creation process of Nephilim being influenced by spirits and fallen angels completely contradicts how they are depicted in Genesis.
Classical Demigods, Fallen Angels, Aliens or Demons?
The status of Nephilim, from the Bible to the Book of Enoch, is very ambiguous and complicated. How we see Nephilim depends on how we interpret the term “sons of God” in Genesis and our approach to the canonical status of Enoch.
Popular belief still puts Nephilim as mythical creatures who were different from man and may or may not have existed on earth. But, angels, demigods, giants or aliens, the Hebrew God (perhaps aware of their dubious status in the canon) washed them all away so he could start again.
Top image: Demigods or aliens? Bred from fallen angels? Source: Alexandre Cabanel / Public Domain.
By Bipin Dimri
Nephilim: who were they? Available at: https://answersingenesis.org/bible-characters/who-were-the-nephilim/
Nephilim – World Of Giants | Book of Enoch | Fallen Angels. Available at: https://matrixdisclosure.com/nephilim-giants-enoch-fallen-angels/#:~:text=The%20Nephilim%20%28Hebrew%3A%20%D7%A0%D6%B0%D7%A4%D6%B4%D7%99%D7%9C%D6%B4%D7%99%D7%9D%20%E2%80%8E%2C%20Nefilim%29%20were%20a,%E2%80%9Cdaughters%20of%20men%E2%80%9D%2C%20and%20are%20described%20as%20giants
GIANTS IN THE LAND: A BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF THE NEPHILIM, ANAKIM, REPHAIM (AND GOLIATH). Available at: https://knowingscripture.com/articles/giants-in-the-land-a-biblical-theology-of-the-nephilim-anakim-rephaim-and-goliath
Who are the Nephilim? Available at: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/hebrew-bible/who-are-the-nephilim/