Are The Nephilim Really The Offspring Of Sons of God And The Daughters Of Man?
Who were the nephilim? The word nephilim appears twice in the Old Testament of the Bible. They are first mentioned in chapter 6 of the book of Genesis and then again in Number 13:33. But their brief mention in the Bible has led to an ongoing debate as to who or what the nephilim were. Much of this debate stems from the passage in the Bible that states:
When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose.
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days - and also afterward - when the sons of God went in to the daughters of man, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown . Genisis 6: 1-4
The traditional definition of Nephilim is giant. Some dictionaries describe the nephilim as being giants who also possess super human strength. The Greek Septuagint, an ancient translation of the Hebrew Bible, refers to them as gigantes, which actually means "earth -born", a concept we will be coming back to as we continue. It is believed that the word Nephilim comes from the root word "Naphal" which means to fall. In biblical circles this definition has quickly put the Nephilim into the role of the children of the fallen angels. The word Naphal, however, is never directly associated with the concept of fallen angels. Its meaning in context is more closely associated with the idea of lying prostrate or of prostrating oneself. There are also ties in this word to the concept of failure, falling short or being cast down.
Over the years a mythos has developed around the concept of the nephilim. It alleges that these giants were the offspring of the "Sons of God" and the "Daughters of Man". Are the nephilim the children of the untoward relationship?
The connection between the biblical text and this claim, although commonly pointed to as the basis of this belief, is unfounded. The document in which we find statements that support this claim actually comes from the apocryphal Book of Jubiliees.
And it came to pass when the children of men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born unto them, that the angels of God saw them on a certain year of this jubilee, that they were beautiful to look upon; and they took themselves wives of all whom they chose, and they bare unto them sons and they were giants. The Book of Jubilees - Chapter V: 1
Is the claim that the nephilim were the offspring of the sons of god and the daughters of men supported by sources outside the Judeo-Christian tradition? In other words, does mythology worldwide support this belief?
The notion of giants roaming the earth can be found in cultures worldwide. Greek mythology tells us that the Titan Cronos castrated his father Uranus in order to gain control of the Greek pantheon. It is from the blood of the castrated Uranus that fell upon the earth that the giants, the "earth-born", were created. The Earth-born were, when compared to us, were giants. The giants, under the rule of Cronos lived during the golden age, in a time that was free from sorrow or care and everyone lived happy and joyous lives.
It was only after Cronos' son Zeus fought for control of both the heavens and the earth that everything changed. Zeus in his new role, according to Greek myth, put the giants to work. It was just a matter of time before the giants starting ignoring the god's mandates. They were no longer prostrating themselves to the will of the gods. Their lack of complete servitude and their failure to comply with the gods demands incited the "children of god" into a full blown rebellion against the heavenly gods. Heavy losses were taken on both sides, but their revolution was finally suppressed by the gods. A truce was declared. As part of their reparations to the giants it was decided to create a new race to handle the burdens that were cast upon the giants - man.
Padraic Column in his book entitled Orpheus, Myths of the World , relates this tale about the creation of man. Aztec legend recounts how the Earth-mother, Citlalicue, gave birth to a flint knife. When the knife was flung down onto the Earth, it was transformed into sixteen hundred "earth-gods". (Is there connection between the flint knife, flung down by Citlalicue, and the sickle used by Cronus to castrate his father?) These newly formed earth-gods lived as men and women and labored in search of food. After some time, the Earth-gods began to think that this work was below their station. They were, after all, the children of the Sky-father and Earth-mother. They asked their mother Citlalicue to make race who would serve them and bear the burdens they faced. With the help of Citlalicue, mankind was created.