Q&A: The Nephilim

Were the Nephilim in Genesis 6 angels or aliens?

The Nephilim (“great” or “amazing”) were the first “mighty men” of the Bible. They were the result of the intermarriage between the priestly sons of Seth and the rebellious Cainite kings. The text gives us a split genealogy after the murder of Abel, priests serving God outside the garden, and Cain’s false kingdom (Cain went and built a “fortress” to protect himself). So, humanity was divided into two camps: those who served God as their king and those who rebelled against Him.

The sin of the sons “of God” (God was their authority) was marrying daughters “of men” (man as authority), and we know this is what it is talking about because it happens over and over throughout Bible history. These women were unconverted. Marrying such women was forbidden in the Mosaic Law, especially for kings. This sin eventually brought about Solomon’s apostasy, which destroyed Israel under a Babylonian “flood.” His failure led to a splitting of the kingdom, and Omri in the northern kingdom also attempted to co-opt Judah through intermarriage. Ezra and Nehemiah deal with such intermarriage as well. Unconverted women and their children were to be expelled, to save Israel from another judgment.

Finally, Jesus said that His generation would soon be destroyed for such “marrying and giving in marriage,” as it was in the days of Noah. In the first century, the compromisers were the “rulers of the Land,” the Herods and their high priesthood, through their dependance on the state power of Rome. Rather than being an obedient priesthood, humbling themselves and being exalted by God, they exalted themselves and were finally abased.

There is nothing wrong with intermarriage as long as the move is towards God. God loves holy hybrids (just look at some of His angels!) Rahab and Ruth are prime examples. In the first century, this holy intermarriage was the union of Jews and Gentiles in Christ, pictured for many centuries in the Feast of Booths. They too were united, but by the Spirit through priestly obedience. This is true kingdom. Once united, nothing would be withheld from them.

But why were these men in Genesis 6 called “mighty,” the supervillains of the day?

James Jordan has a must-read article on this, aligning the intermarriage with events in our own day. [1] In summary, what he calls “the Enoch factor” is the habit of the unrighteous initially achieving more, culturally-speaking, than the righteous, because they are willing to resort to slavery and robbery (like Pharaoh, and Rehoboam). But this kind of kingdom is short-lived. It springs up quickly but fades because it has no true integrity. Paganism, left to itself, is unsustainable. The only way paganism can continue is by co-opting the strength and integrity of a righteous culture. This is exactly what has happened in western culture. This is what Jordan calls the “Nephilim factor.” The sanctimonious atheism we see today has no moral capital of its own. It has to borrow, or steal, everything from Christianity, including science, and then relabel this cultural integrity as the product of human reason. What results is a culture of great strength and technical ability, all the blessings of God co-opted, stolen by a corporate Adam. [2]

The serpent offered Adam a kingdom without priestly obedience first. “You shall be like God.” The Nephilim were simply a race of men who were “like god” (Genesis 3:4-5) in a bad way — “mighty men.” (Notice that David and Boaz were also “mighty men,” but in a good way.) The Nephilim were the fulfilment of this satanic offer, a race of Cains, a sin that was now full grown (as James writes to first century Jews) and ripe for judgment.

So forget the angels, and the aliens. It was the integrity of the Church co-opted and corrupted by a secular state with Messianic pretensions. [3]

[1] James B. Jordan, The Case Against Western Civilization.
[2] See also How To Be Really Evil.
[3] If the West Wing TV series was renamed “The Messiah Complex,” it would suddenly become the most brilliant satire ever.

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17 Responses to “Q&A: The Nephilim”

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Luke Welch has written a helpful post on this here:

  • Merced gooner Says:

    Mike, like the blog and much of what you say but I have to disagree with your ( and James Jordan’s) interpretation of the Genesis 6 passage. I’m note sure if you’ve heard, or heard of Michael Heiser. He is one of the lead scholars of the Logos Bible Study software. He’s got some great lectures and info on this subject. For those interested they can google him and check out his videos on you tube. Also Doug van Dorn on sermon audio, a reformed baptist preacher, in northern Colorado has som great stuff on this subject.

    I used to hold the view you put forth, which seems to be the view that is most popular today, but after exposure to these gentlemens teaching I must say I most emphatically no longer do. I was hesitant for many years to even consider the ” supernatural” option, that these ‘sons of God’ could be fallen heavenly beings of some sort, because of all the crazy dispensational people such as chuck Missler that promote similiar views. These gentlemen, especially pastor van Dorn, as he told me, being reformed, can reach people with this view that others can’t ( as happened with me).

    Once I understood this passage in this way ( that the sons of God were fallen heavenly beings) it clears up, or sheds light on, many passages in the bible that otherwise make little sense. ( psalm 82,89, John 10′s you are gods reference…..the typical interpretations are pretty lame!).and more passages.

    I would just encourage those interested to be open minded and not to be stuck, as I was, in a tradition without having explored other possible interpretations. What seems like just a weird verse or two actually sheds light on quite a bit in the Old Testament, in fact it is part of the spine in the story of Gods plan of redemption for His elect. I have been really blessed by my endevouring to study the subject. A pleasant surprise.

    A great resource is pastor van Dorn’s ebook, available at amazon called Giants: the Sons of the Gods ( after purchasing your book’s that is!). Anyway, appreciate the work you do! Cheers!

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Thanks Merced (is that correct?)
    Feel free to offer a summary here.
    I’ll have a look at van Dorn’s book, too.

  • Merced gooner Says:

    Greetings mike, the basic storyline of the Bible is set out, in large part early on in Genesis 3 with the curse of the serpent and the announcement of the ” battle of the seeds”. While I hold to,what I believe, is the traditional and biblical position, of Christ as the seed of the women, ultimately crushing the head of the serpent on Calvary, it is the playing out of this ” battle of the seeds” in history, and in Gods revealed Word to us that is more clearly revealed ( I think) if we hold to what is often called the supernatural view of Gen 6.

    As hard as it is to imagine heavenly beings procreating with earthly women, we must accept that that is what happened if that is what scripture says. We believe in many unbelieveable things ( the virgin birth, the Trinity, the resurrection, talking animals– the donkey, not necessarily the snake–many things) but Scripture has revealed them to us, so we must accept them. I am no wooden literalist so I understand that context and original languages play no small part in our understandings.

    There is sooo much to say so if one is interested check out dr heiser’s site and YouTube videos. I wanted to say that cause you’ll probably think I’m crazy when I say God in the OT apparently has a council…Job, psalm 82,89.. Made up of these lesser gods ( elohim)..some of which rebelled ( the sons of God in gen 6) he wipes out man in the flood but these elohim continue and once again procreate and contaminate the seed of men and man tries to reach to heaven ie babel, God then disperses man over the face of the earth and we are told in gen 32:7-9, that God gave these nations over to be ruled by guess who the sons of God, whom he judges in psalm 82 for being bad judges…and gives there nations ias an inheritance to you got it Christ….but back to gen 32, vs 9 says but Jacob is Gods inheritance. Israel’s not around yet though.

    Remember this is an account of gen 11 ( babel), the very next chapter is , you got it, the call of abram, Gods people, his starting again….again. Dr heiser calls the babel incident the Romans 1 event of the OT, as he turns the people over to their sinful natures to serve the other gods as they refused to serve Him.

    Much if the rest of the OT is this battle of the seeds, which is manifested in isreal fighting the many people’s who were pretty dang tall! The amalekites,Amorites,the sons of anak..the nephilim! and many many more, Goliath being the easiest to remember of coarse, and how much more epic does that story become when you look at all the facts and types and shadows played out in that account.

    I have to sign off for now but the bible just as when read through’ new eyes’ or a ‘matrix’ gets taken to a whole new level of understanding so also I believe that accepting what the Bible says about these sons of God will do. One of the faults of manyof our great reformed fathers such as Luther and Calvin was a flipint dismissal of this view as ridiculous as if talking burros aren’t. To reject a view based on our own presuppositions is done at our own expense if in the process we put aside a great gift that God has for us.

    Thanks for the time mike and I will try to get back soon…I’ve got to get some sleep! I’m in California and still have a job so I need to rest. Blessings!

  • Merced gooner Says:

    One last thing, quickly followed the link you posted, I will read the article, but I watched the dw video…..gotta say one more reason to love mr. Wilson!!!

  • Ethan Russell Says:

    That elohim talk is sounding uncomfortably Mormonesque. I’m open to consideration on the subject because it is mysterious, but am unsure about the lesser gods topic.

  • Merced gooner Says:

    Yes I agree. The whole thing sounds very mormonesque, but upon further study it’s really quite different. But isn’t that what Satan likes to do, take the truth and just twist it a bit, often so that when we come in contact with that distortion we also might tend to reject the truth because it sounds somewhat too similiar to the thing we know is false!

    Here’s a good link to dr. Heiser’s site on the ” divine council of the gods”. ( sheesh that sounds crazy!). But there is a lot of good stuff on the word elohim.

    I think this whole study can help shed some light on some strange passages like lev. 16:26, duet 32:7, and just a couple of Elohim passages like job1:6 and 38:7.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Still not convinced. On its own it might be plausible, but it violates too many other very strong biblical themes, such as the council of God beginning with angels (servants) and ending with sons (glorified men as elohim). The “matrix” process is designed to bring Adam to judicial maturity so he can be an elder. The Revelation shows the angels retiring (casting down their crowns) and then vacating their place of ministry that the saints might enter in and be enthroned. They could not do this until Christ ascended and dethroned Satan from his place as prosecutor (sitting unrighteously in the “seat of Moses”).
    To say that angels and flesh could procreate is a strange twist on the seed of the serpent. The serpent had a seed before Genesis 6, and it was spiritual/ethical. The whole point of Satan trying to hijack Eve was that angels could only take on flesh (the serpent, the donkey, the shape of men) but only up to the point of an ethical choice. For angels there is no “resurrection body.” Every time we see angels take on flesh in the matrix pattern, it never goes beyond step 4. When we get to the fire, that’s it. We don’t hear about the two witnesses after the destruction of Sodom. The angel in the furnace did not come out with Daniel’s friends. The angel who appeared to Samson’s parents ascended in the fire of the offering. See http://www.bullartistry.com.au/wp/2010/12/01/better-angels/
    Also, I think this puts the call of Abraham on the wrong footing. Certainly it was to enable God to isolate the Messianic line, but there are further attempts to hijack the seed and they are not angelic (as listed above). They are simply “kingly,” that is, rulers who see no need for mediation before God, powers unto themselves. The demonic influence is still behind the scenes but it is fundamentally ethical, that is, Covenantal. As spirits, angels can temporarily take on flesh but they cannot produce it. They have no possibility of “Succession.”
    There’s lots more, but as I said, nothing in the Bible can be treated in isolation. To accept this theory not only gives the passage a very different character to the rest of the Bible, it messes up the idea of flesh and spirit being an “ethical” union of heaven and earth, a sacrificial combination of flesh and fire. The only time this happens, ever, is in the incarnation, because God the Father is not a servant. He eternally has “Covenant Succession” in His Son as His righteous fruit.

  • Merced gooner Says:

    Mike, interesting points some I agree with others not so much. For example God takes his council among the elohim, or bene elohim, that is gods or sons of gods. I believe these are heavenly beings of some sort, not necessarily angels. I completely agree that man is to ultimately take his place in the council, as you said to replace those there. Scripture clearly says that angels were our teachers and that as you said that relationship shall change.
    As to the second paragraph, it’s pure assumption to say that these fallen heavenly beings couldn’t procreate with earthly flesh. If the sons of God were heavenly beings then we have to accept the Bibles teaching that they could.
    I wish I could comment about the matrix points you made but unfortunately I don’t have sufficient knowledge ( I need to buy your book I guess!). While I do agree that there is an ethical aspect to the rebellion that’s not it, the nephilim were not just giant sinners or rebels, they were a freakish physical anomaly. Six fingers on each hand, six toes on each foot, 13 to 9 ft tall. God commanded the Israelites to wipe out completely only certain races why? We’re they more ” giant” sinners then the rest….no. There is more there than that….that sounds like a setup for a shallow seeker sensitive sermon like ” slaying the giants in you life”!
    I don’t mean to be disrespectful by any stretch Mike, i hope it didn’t come across that way. I don’t think this position affects the purpose or result of Gods revelation to us of Himself or His purposes for us in this world. It may require us to alter the waywe understand certain passages in the Bible, perhaps a lot, but if that’s where the truth leads so be it.
    I know I’m not the best explainer of this position but the resources of Dr. Heiser and pastor Van Dorn, as well as Brian Godowa who wrote a fictional book series on this subject, are great places to start.
    Lastly I agree that all things in the Bible are connected and can’t be treated in isolation, thus I also hold to covenant theology and this perspective fits very nicely into such a system. Blessings !

  • Mike Bull Says:


    If they are heavenly beings, not angels but sons, they don’t seem to fit anywhere in the architecture. The angels administered the Old Covenant, and this included Satan and other evil spirits, unwittingly acting as “ministers” of God’s will (such as the one sent to Saul).

    It actually more of an assumption that they *could* procreate. The entire point of creating heaven and earth as separate places to be united through Adam’s obedience was to make “all flesh” acceptable to God. To invent a heavenly “flesh” or at least a being that somehow has human seed, rather than simply taking on the appearance of men, violates a lot of what is going on in the structure of things, including the sacrificial system and its substitutes.

    As for the physical size, we see similar differences today. Englishmen from only a few centuries ago would be astounded at the size of many young people today. The average foot size of western males has increased dramatically in on the last 2-3 decades. So I don’t find that convincing. And surely the point of bringing Israel against them was to display the might of an obedient spirit against the flesh.

    I haven’t read any of Godawa’s books, but from what I can tell he takes a “fantastic” view of Genesis and believes in evolution. So for him it would basically all be fiction anyway, or at least “myth” rather than history.

    Regarding Covenant theology, it doesn’t fit nicely at all. The pattern repeatedly has to do with a splitting of populations and either a godly or godless reunion. So it is flesh torn from flesh, and a reunion of flesh by the Spirit (or an evil spirit) and it is never an “intermarriage” of flesh and spirit as you assert. I hope that makes sense. The Spirit is the uniting force, not one of those being united.

  • Merced gooner Says:

    As to the point of them fitting in to the ” architecture ” , I don’t think I see why not, these sons of we’re given stewardship of the nations after babel…see Moses’s song in duet. 32:7-9, but he reserved/ created isreal as his own. A start over so to speak. Now yes the angels were to administer he old covenant but not to the whole world! They were given over to their rebellious wills and put under the rule of these sons of God. Who by the way get judged in psalm 82 in the heavenly( psalm 89) council setting, their judgement was that the nations were to be given over to Christ as an inheritance! Interestingly how many disciples did Jesus first send out? 70, the same number of nations listed out in the table of nations in gen.11 at this socalled dividing up of the nations among the sons of God!
    There is sooo much here that I can see as paradise “lost”…. Not only Eden but the world…..and the story of paradise “regained” through the righteous work of Jesus and his inheritance ala psalm 110. Seems like a pretty consistent storyline to me.

    I think the differences in heights from our time to just a couple hundred years ago type comparison are a little weak! Are you saying Goliath was not really THAT big it was just symbolic of his rebellion against God! Once you begin to notice all the giant talk, nephilim anakim, rephiem, and other ” giant” people’s in the old testament it is like a storyline you never noticed and I don’t think we can just brush it aside because of our modern, enlightenment thought processes.
    Yes Godawa’s books are fiction , based on this perspective, but fiction no the less. They are supposed to be fantastical. It’s tool bad if he’s an evolutionist, thats news to me…too bad. But I’m pretty confident in saying he seems to hold this view as what the Bible teaches and that it’s not a myth…I’d check the source on th evolution bit?!
    I’m not sure I follow the last paragraph. Rather than look like too much of an idiot and try to comment maybe you could elaborate a little. Thanks!

  • Mike Bull Says:


    I don’t go for that reading of Deut 32:8. See

    I can’t see any reason to invent a race of ruling beings between angels and men. That’s what I meant by the architecture. Man is a little lower than the angels but destined to rule over them. They are merely servants. They are not wise, only obedient. When they judge, they simply carry out God’s orders. Man, however, is in Christ now privy to the mind of God. See http://www.bullartistry.com.au/wp/2012/08/30/images-of-god/

    So to have a group of angelic “judges” who can somehow impregnate human females sticks out like a sore thumb. I can’t see any reason to assume these exist when there are explanations that make more sense in the context of the whole Bible. We are to become “elohim,” that is, wise judges, by our obedience and experience. Angels cannot be “sons of Elohim” because “son” implies an inheritance, which angels are never said to receive. Paul makes a big deal of the difference between servants and sons. In fact, it was most likely this difference that was the reason for Satan’s envy.

    Regarding flesh and Spirit, the Spirit is a person, yet He is the environment of worship. He is the life between the Father and the Son. He gathers the Bride for the Son. He puts flesh together miraculously in the grave but He is never flesh. A race of angels who become actual flesh which can procreate is outside the realm of the Bible.

    As for giants being actual giants, I don’t dispute that. Size was probably a result of prosperity, as it is today. I really recommend reading Jordan’s take on the Nephilim. It makes a lot more sense, and has application for today’s western culture. A race of angelic jocks has no application at all.

  • Merced gooner Says:

    Mike I was really surprised by the kjv site you linked to. It appears to be a kjv- only site!?! …from their site…”This website shows that the KJV does not have any demonstrable mistake or error”…now I know that that doesn’t mean nothing true can come from there, but really?!? As to their argumentation it was very poor as the point was that at the time of the division of the nations their was no Isreal, nor sons of Isreal. It was before the call of Abram!

    As to inventing a race of beings….the Bible clearly uses the term elohim, which is the generic word for god, not angel or judge? Jesus interpreted psalm 82 as such in John 10. So apparently there are/were other beings, heavenly beings, other lesser ” gods” so to speak. As to angels being only obedient, mindless beings, what of the rebellion and those fallen ones?

    We are to become elohim, no I don’t think so, that is Mormonism, elohim means gods! Yes I agree we are to mature to a point of ruling over the angels. The whole language of us becoming sons of God is drawn it seems straight out of the OT, with man moving into that position by Gods grace. And interestingly enough as we know Christ is the only begotten Son of God, the unique Son of God, not like the others! Once you are willing to open up to the possibility of a “supernatural” view of the whole sons of God, nephilim stuff you can see how the language courses through both the old and new testaments!

    Angel could eat, touch, wrestle, etc. with apparently pretty authentic human like bodies, there is nothing there that says they couldn’t procreate. To say its outside the realm of the Bible, respectfully, I don’t think, comes from exegesis but from a system of understanding imposed on the Bible. The typical new testament passages in Peter, Jude and the head covering passage In Corinthians are made a bit clearer by this understanding as well as the gen 6 passage.

    I have read Jordan’s commentary on this, with great anticipation I dug it out, but was a little disappointed in his view. Remember it was not written or inspired in the western world and as such shouldnwe not seek out the original intent, as they would have understood it? From my research, limited as it is, the ” supernatural” understanding was pretty much the only view up until the second century ad! To sacrifice truth on the alter of application is wrong even if that truth requires us to alter our understandings. I don’t mean any disrespect in that, I also must say that to myself.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Hi Merced – thanks for responding once again.

    - KJV site: even hyperpreterists get some things right because they are constrained to certain views by their limited viewpoint (such as on Romans 9-11). There are seventy nations in Genesis 10, and according to Genesis 46:27, “All the persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt were seventy.” Surely this is a much simpler explanation. My main point here is that in every case these super beings are supposedly mentioned there is another perfectly good explanation. It’s a list of unlikelies strung together into weak maybe.

    - Jesus called the Jews to judge themselves and others according to God’s standards, that is, to be elohim, or “gods.” I can’t see anybody else referred to here.

    - I didn’t say angels couldn’t rebel, or were mindless. The station of man begins with servanthood which leads to greatness, including offspring, a territory, and blessing for future generations, that is, kingdom. Angels, like men, can obviously grasp for kingdom, but it was never planned that they could inherit, or have offspring.

    - In the Covenant structure, which is actually what courses through both testaments, it is not supernatural nephilim, but the outcome of the lie of the serpent, that is “YE shall be as god.” So the nephilim were the multiplication, the offspring, of Eve and the serpent, nobody else. That this included physical greatness as well as cultural greatness should be no surprise. It was exactly what was intended by God, yet it was achieved by usurping His authority, so it had to be destroyed.

    - There’s nothing that says angels could not procreate. But there is nothing that says they could. Just like we never see an infant baptized. Procreation only ever comes with a directive from God, as we see in Genesis 2. It is tied up with marriage, the reunion of flesh and flesh. This simply cannot be made to work within a biblical framework.

    - Jesus says that the Herods and Jewish rulers would be committing the same sin before the destruction of the Temple, that is, marrying and giving in marriage without reference to God. The truth doesn’t need to be sacrificed on the altar of application. Jesus interpreted it for us.


  • Merced gooner Says:

    Mike, it’s been great “talking” with you about this! It’s a subject most people just flippantly dismiss. Although I don’t think either of us is convinced of the others position I’ve appreciated your thought process and communications. I understand your position about the ethical battle and struggle between the seed of Satan and the seed of Eve, with it’s ultimate fulfillment in the final seed, Christ and His victory over death and satan. I completely agree, but just think there is more there then just a simple ethical battle, there is physicality to it also in the form of the nephilim, etc.

    It wasn’t too long ago that yours was the basic position I held, it took me years before I came to where I’m at now. It was all too fantastical to me. But after listening to Michael heiser’s videos on YouTube and reading some of his papers and also pastor Van Dorn on sermonaudio as well as his book ( I would hope by putting those out there that those interested would check them out ;) ) I have a better understanding of how this can fit into the biblical worldview and I don’t have to be a premillenial dispy that’s waiting for some crazy last days stuff to happen, ala Chuck Missler or others.

    Anyway I know your probably getting tired of jabbing about this so unless you want to keep discussing it we can stick a fork in it! I’m not admitting defeat , only not wanting to hijack your time and seem like a hyperpreterist, in that I’m driven to debate, debate, debate, to get you to my position! Although I can tell you that I was always checking the blog to see responses! It’s great to be able to interact with those who I’ve got respect for!

    Your site is one of my favorites, although I need to do a bit more reading on your matrix perspective. I’m a big fan of AV, Doug Wilson, jordan, etc. so yours is always on my list of stuff to blogs to check.

    Thanks again!

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Thanks Merced, it’s been fun.

  • Ethan Russell Says:

    Hey I resemble that remark!

    “As for the physical size, we see similar differences today. Englishmen from only a few centuries ago would be astounded at the size of many young people today. The average foot size of western males has increased dramatically in on the last 2-3 decades.”

    Hit my head on everything.