Q.

If the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 came from the lineage of Cain when fallen angels supposedly entered their bodies and married the daughters of men, and if all was destroyed at the time of the Flood, then who are the “Sons of God” that we find mentioned in Job 1 and 2? More of the same fallen angels?

A.
Noting the Genesis passage first, I do not believe that the “sons of God” here are fallen angels. Several views exist concerning this passage. The view you have mentioned is that women on earth enticed the angels fallen from Heaven (“sons of God”) and thus cohabited with them. However, angels are sexless and don’t marry; as Jesus pointed out in Matthew 22:30 and Mark 12:25. In addition, many argue that evil angels wouldn’t be called “sons of God.”

A second view is that the “sons of God” came from the godly line of Seth and the “daughters of men” came from Cain’s descendants. The problem with this view is that the context suggests something happening that was far more serious than just people marrying one another. An unbelieving couple is not particularly an object of God’s judgment. In fact, marriage is a divine institution among unbelievers as well as believers.

Also, the Old Testament uses the phrase “sons of God” to refer to angels, not people (for example, the Job passage you refer to). Still another view considers these “sons of God” to be powerful demon-influenced rulers of that period. But wait; didn’t I say the term refers to angels? In this case I believe the term, if seen properly, should be rendered “sons of the gods.” Ancient history would bear out this position—the heathen rulers of that time were called sons of gods. For example, in ancient Egypt the king was called the son of Re, the sun god. The wicked tyrants we are referring to were called nephilim. They had a great influence on the corruption of the race and ultimately upon God’s judgment, that is, the universal Flood of Noah’s day. These individuals were the forerunners of powerful dynasties, and they are recorded in the histories of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and other places.

Other strengths and weaknesses of these views could be cited if space permitted. But the latter view seemingly has the least problems, considering Scripture. Or, as one Bible teacher noted, the arguments against it seem weakest.

Now to the reference to “sons of God” in the book of Job. If we take the third view above concerning the problem passage of Genesis 6, we are freed to take the position that the “sons of God” in Job were angels. So we have a scene in Heaven where these unfallen angels (that is why they can be termed “sons of God”) came before God. This was a routine of theirs. The idea is that God had jobs for them to do and that they would go before Him to report. But on the occasion recorded in Job 1 and 2, Satan also appeared before God. He didn’t come from Hell, as that won’t be his domain until the Millennium (Revelation 20:1‒3). No, his domain then and now is planet Earth. This is what Job 1:7 indicates when it says that Satan told the Lord he had been “going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Actually it is not surprising that Satan appeared at the time of Job, since he is known in Scripture as the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10), who has been accusing God’s people day and night throughout the ages.

So this scene in Job is in keeping with the truth found in 1 Peter 5:8 and 9: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” We note, too, that Satan himself is cited in Scripture as an angel, a fallen one: “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (January 2006).
© 2006 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.