|Dr. Couch, Genesis 6 talks about angels coming down to earth to procreate with women. How can this be?|
ANSWER: First of all, where did you get the idea that this is what Genesis 6:1-5 is really about? You heard this from some Bible teacher who really didn't give any evidence that this is what the passage is all about. I have done a detailed teaching on this via Question 87 also I believe it can be listened to in our Archive section:
The Angelic World
Bible teachers who say is about fallen angels really have not thought it through thoroughly! The best scholars I know agree with me that this is not what's going on in the passage.
First, the Jewish rabbinical understanding in no way sees the passage speaking about fallen angels. In their Genesis commentary they write: "The mythological explanation of this passage was in all ages repelled by a large body of Jewish and non-Jewish commentaries, though it has been revised by many modern [liberals]. There is however, no trace in Genesis of 'fallen angels' or rebellious angels; and the idea of inter-marriage of angels and human beings is altogether foreign to Hebrew thought."
Without going into details here, because of limited space, I will simply quote two of the best Christian scholars available, such as H. C. Leupold:
"Verse 4 is really a simple verse, unless one proceeds from the misinterpretation of the preceding verses and tries to link it up with the idea of angel marriages, a misconstruction prevalent since the days of the Septuagint translation. The basic rules of interpretation merely have to be observed: the presupposition, namely, that the Scriptures make good sense" as is.
Leupold then asks, "Who are the Nephilim? ... They were the 'heroes' of antiquity, the men of renown (Heb. 'men of the name'). They achieved a reputation the world over by their violence, but a reputation better deserving of the term of notoriety. ... The translation 'giants' is most unfortunate. It originated with the Septuagint. It does not follow from Num. 13:33, even if there the 'attackers' should also happen to have been giants. Modern interpreters combine angel marriages and claim that the giants were the result of this union. But, in reality, nothing of the sort is found in the text. It is the result of a clever combination or of a mistranslation. ... Certain older translators were nearer the truth than the Septuagint. Aquila, who like Symmachus wrote to correct the Greek version, rendered Nephilim 'they who fall upon.'"
And Stigers adds: "The meaning of Nephilim is to be determined from the root naphal='To fall upon.' The nephilim occur among the Anakim of Numbers 13:32-33. Since they are tall of stature, the word cannot mean giant. We then need to look elsewhere for the meaning. Joshua 11:7 and Job 1:15 give a picture of falling on victims to tyrannize by such action, to do it by force of arms. The children of these mixed marriages became gibborim. The inference, therefore, is that these gibborim contributed to that increase of wickedness, so that the meaning of the words 'famous men' connote men honored by unbelieving men. So it can be said that the sons of these mixed marriages in their lives helped along the progress of iniquity. Here are the facts of the degradation of mankind when these mixed marriages came along."
Be careful not to just go about quoting people who don't know what they're talking about. The arguments from root words, and from the grammar is extensive, and I've not given all the material or the arguments that are necessary to prove the point. Sorry! Don't just be a "quoter" because you like some Bible teacher. And don't jump to the "ridiculous" because someone has "said it."
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch