Recently, I had a conversation with a friend on biblical topics and we had a discussion about the “nephilim,” who are barely mentioned in the Bible. Some Christian teachers think that the nephilim were the offspring of fallen angels and human women, and other secular theorists suggest that they were representatives of an ancient space-faring race which founded life on earth or at least visited our planet when it was more primitive. Let’s look at this topic from a biblically-based viewpoint as well as a scientific one, and see if either of the above viewpoints holds up under scrutiny.
Are the nephilim the offspring of fallen angels and human females? I see no basis in the Bible or science that such an assertion could possibly be true, for the following reasons. The main reason is that there is no evidence in the Bible that an angelic being can engender babies with a human being under any circumstances. Think about this logically. A human being is composed entirely of flesh and bone tissues nourished by blood circulating in a human body. An angelic being, while they can manifest to humans in a humanoid form, are composed entirely of spirit essence. Angels have no human DNA and no male-looking angel has any blood-nourished, physical sperm in its body which is essential to produce offspring with a human female’s egg. Since an angel has no physical sperm, it cannot produce offspring with a woman. The idea that angels can breed with human females and produce offspring has its roots in Greek mythology that the “gods” (i.e. angels in biblical terms) could copulate with human females and produce offspring. These offspring were called “demigods” in Greek mythology. The most famous such figure was most likely Hercules, who was reputed to be the son of Zeus and a human woman. Another such figure was Achilles, the famed Greek warrior in the Iliad’s description of the Trojan War. Achilles was supposedly the son of a human father and a sea-nymph (apparently a kind of aquatic goddess), and his wedding was attended by all the Greek pantheon of gods except one. I think it is clear the idea of spirit beings (angels) and human females producing offspring comes from ancient mythology, not the Bible.
What the Bible says on the subject is clear. When God made all physical species in Genesis’ Creation week, all forms of animals, birds and fish were originally designed and made with their DNA blueprinted into their bodies so they could produce similar offspring when a male and female of the same Genesis “kind” mated. In Genesis 1:20-25, all these types of creatures had limits put on them by the Creator. They could only produce offspring by the mating of a male and female within their own kind. You can’t directly mate an elephant and an antelope or a whale with a sea bass. Eagles and butterflies can’t directly produce any offspring either because they are outside each other’s Genesis “kind.” The Genesis “kind” is clearly broad enough to include all the species within a certain breeding population mature enough to produce offspring. We have the familiar equine, feline, canine, and bovine creatures which can produce offspring among the various modern species of the same overall “kind.” Then we get to Genesis 1:26.
Genesis 1:26-27 cites the Divine Elohim (yes, that word is plural) as deciding to make a physical type of being in the physical image of their own Elohim “kind.” That offspring was called man-kind, and its first members were Adam and Eve. Mankind is an Elohim-kind of being, but limited to a mortal, fleshly body. The Bible teaches that angels are not part of the Elohim-kind. Throughout the Bible, angels are depicted as ministering spirits who are servants of the superior Elohim Beings. Hebrews 1 makes it clear that no angel is part of the Divine Elohim-kind. Hebrews 1:5 states: “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, You are my son, this day have I begotten you (emphasis added)?” Hebrews 1:13 adds that no angel has ever been asked to sit at the right hand of God, a position reserved only for Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:13), who is described in verse 4 as being “so much better than the angels” after he was resurrected and restored to his pre-existent Elohim position at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12 and Hebrews 12:2 compare Jesus Christ to the Elohim Being described in Psalm 110:1-4 as sitting at the right hand of another Elohim Being). Can angels marry and have offspring in their spirit bodies? In Matthew 22:30, Jesus Christ clearly says the answer is “no.” Angels do not marry in heaven or have “baby” angels. In other words, angels do not reproduce. However, Elohim Beings can reproduce. Genesis 1:26-27 states that the Elohim (“God”) made mankind in their image. The Elohim can reproduce, and mankind, made in the image of the Elohim, can reproduce as well. Animals, fish and birds were made to reproduce via male-female unions, but they are not made in the Elohim form and image of the Divine Elohim, as is mankind. However, Mary could become the virgin mother of Jesus Christ because God the Father could engender a child in her womb via the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-25) because a human female is part of the Elohim “kind,” albeit in a physical, mortal body.
With that introduction, let’s evaluate the theory that the nephilim are the offspring of fallen angels and human females. The very concept goes utterly against the Genesis 1 Divine Law that all creatures must reproduce via male-female unions within the same Genesis “kind.” Man-kind and angel-kind are not of the same Genesis “kind;” therefore, they cannot reproduce via any kind of sexual union. Also, Jesus taught that angels do not marry at all in the heavenly realm (Matthew 22:30), nor is there the slightest biblical evidence that they can reproduce baby angels. When a portion of the angels followed Lucifer and rebelled vs. God and were hurled back to earth (Isaiah 14:13-14, Luke 10:18, Jude 6), it is impossible that the fallen angels would suddenly gain a new power (to reproduce with human females) that they did not have prior to their fall and dis-empowerment. No angel (righteous or fallen) has any DNA or any human sperm in their bodies to fertilize an egg, so the entire idea of angelic-human reproductive unions is a non-starter. It can “happen” in Greek mythology or in science fiction, but not in the real world. For insights into the angelic world and how this earth was the angels’ “first estate,” please read my article, Is the Earth 6,000 Years Old? (first link).
Another point should be made. All physical beings mentioned in Genesis 1 (including human beings) exist within the physical dimension on our physical earth. Angels exist in a spiritual dimension. Therefore, not only are humans and angels not part of the same Genesis “kind,” they do not even exist in the same dimension! Therefore, those who propose the nephilim are the offspring of angels and humans violate two biblical and scientific laws. God does not allow reproduction among different Genesis “kinds” via direct mating, and it is folly to suggest that offspring can come from any union of beings living in entirely separate dimensions! I also reject theories that mankind was “seeded” on the planet by an alien race from somewhere else in the galaxy. The Bible teaches that all humans on the earth have descended from Adam and Eve. For clear evidence that the existence of gender differences and sexual reproduction completely debunk the theory of evolution, please read my post on the subject included as the second link.
Now let’s consider the actual definition of the term “nephilim” for more information. As noted earlier, the term “nephilim” (a Hebrew word) occurs only three times in the Bible, and in each case it is translated as the English word “giants.” It is first mentioned in Genesis 6:4 where they are mentioned as “giants.” Let’s check that verse carefully. It reads: “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” The word “giants” is derived from the Hebrew word, nephilim, but it is not used afterward in the verse. Note also that the verse includes a separation in its context. After mentioning there were giants in the pre-Flood world, the next words are “…and also after that…” indicating a new topic is being discussed in the rest of the verse. Remember the original Bible manuscripts and scrolls do not have verse divisions–translators and scholars guessed where verses should start and end. The wording “…and also after that…” really should have started a new verse because it shows a break in the context of what is being discussed. While in English-language Bibles the word “son” is used often, the Bible’s use of the word “son” comes from eight different Hebrew words meaning “son,” and even if the same word is used, the context may reveal different meanings are intended. Genesis 6:4 says giants (nephilim) existed, but it does not say the nephilim giants produced the offspring of men being discussed. The verse says “the sons of God” (not “nephilim”) mated with women and produced those mighty men. Given that Hebrews 1:5 says angels have never been the sons of God, so the “sons of God”‘ mentioned here are not angels or nephilim…they were simply human giants. The only other time nephilim is used in the Bible is in Numbers 13:33 where it is referencing human giants who were the sons of a man named Anak. There are many more references to giants in the Bible, but the word, nephilim, is not used in any other reference. The Hebrew word, “rapha” is almost always used elsewhere where you see the word “giant.” Is there any biblical evidence the Hebrew word, nephilim, means angelic beings? The answer is “no.”
Now let’s examine a “proof text” used by some who say angels can mate and produce offspring via human women. It is Job 38:7 which is found in a discourse wherein God himself is speaking to Job about the earth’s creation. God states that after the earth was created, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy (emphasis added).” The subject is “the morning stars” which clearly means angels (“stars” can reference angels as in Revelation 1:20, 8:12, etc.) because at the creation of the earth itself, mankind had not yet been created. This earth was the “first estate” of angels for an unknown number of eons before Lucifer fell and many angels followed him in that act of rebellion (see first link). Notice Job 38:7 says nothing about these “mornings stars” or “sons of God” producing any offspring or having any ability to reproduce. Given the clear meaning in Hebrews 1:5 that no angel can be a “Son” of God (note the capital “S”), Job 38:7’s mention of “sons” of God (note the lower-case “s”) applies the word differently than it was used after the creation of mankind.
Let us close by examining the many possible meanings of the Hebrew word “nephilim.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible lists “nephilim” (#5303) as having the meanings of “a feller, bully, tyrant or giant.” It comes from the root word “naphal” (#5307) which has far too many possible meanings to list here, but it includes the following: die, fail, fell, cease, inferior, be judged, lie down, lost, overthrow, rot, etc. Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible includes all the above possible definitions and more. Not one possible definition that I could see in either concordance applies to reproduction.
Putting all the above together, it is clear that the word “nephilim” is just the plural form of a Hebrew word that applies to human, mortal giants. They were not angels. There are no scriptures that say: “The nephilim were angels and after their fall they were able to copulate with human females and produce offspring” yet that is the meaning some try to “read into” the very few scriptures that mention them. There is more that could be said on this subject but I think the above is sufficient for this topic at this time.