Were the nephilim extraterrestrials?

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Some have claimed that the “sons of God” and/or the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4 were aliens.

The Bible, the revealed written Word of God teaches that life is only possible through a process of creation. Even if there were other galaxies with planets very similar to Earth, life could only be there if the Creator had fashioned it. If God had done that, and if these beings were going to visit us one day, then He would surely not have left us unenlightened about this.

God has given us rather specific details of the future—for example, the return of Jesus, and some details about the end of the world. The universe will, at some future point, be rolled up like a scroll (Isaiah 34:4, Revelation 6:14). If God had created living beings elsewhere, this would automatically destroy their dwelling place as well. Adam's sin caused all of creation to be affected by the Curse, so why would a race of beings, not of Adam's (sinful) seed, have their part of creation affected by the Curse, and then be part of the restoration brought about by Christ, the last Adam? All of this would seem exceedingly strange.[1]

Some have claimed that the nephilim, or the “sons of God,” both mentioned in Genesis 6:2-4, were aliens. This is a wild extension of a common view that the “sons of God” who married the “daughters of men” were fallen angels, and that the nephilim were products of those “marriages.”

“Sons of God” is clearly used of angels in Job 38:7. The Septuagint (LXX) here translates “sons of God” as “angels of God.” This need not mean that evil angels, or demons, actually cohabited with women—Jesus made it clear that angels do not engage in sexual activities, at least not angels in heaven (Matthew 22:30). Nevertheless, evil angels on Earth could have used the bodies of ungodly men, by demonic possession, to achieve their evil purpose of producing an evil generation of people (Genesis 6:12).[2]

There are other reasonable suggestions as to the identity of the “sons of God” and the Nephilim. Interestingly, the word nephilim is only used here and in Numbers 13:33, where it clearly refers to the descendants of Anak, who were big people, but still people. Furthermore, “sons of God” is not used exclusively of angels—the children of Israel are called “the sons of the living God” in Hosea 1:10.

Bible scholars such as H.C. Leupold believe that the “sons of God” were descendants of Seth, the godly line who are detailed in the preceding chapter (Genesis 4:25-5:32). Leupold wrote, “But who were these ‘sons of God’? Without a shadow of a doubt, the Sethites.”[3] In this view, the descendants of Seth became wayward and married the “daughters of men” indiscriminately, basing their choice only on appearance, without concern for godliness, and the nephilim were their offspring.

Egyptian (photo copyrighted) (Courtesy of Films for Christ).Rulers in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia often proclaimed themselves as “sons of God” to enhance their power and prestige. So, another view with much support is that the “sons of God” were power-hungry rulers and despots, who, in their hunger for power and influence, took many wives in polygamy. They, and their offspring, through tyranny, became “mighty men.” (Nimrod was described as a “mighty one” in Genesis 10:8.)

So, there is no need to resort to fanciful suggestions involving aliens to understand this passage of Scripture.

The purpose of the stars

The reason stars were made are given to us in several places in the Bible, not only in the well-known Psalm 19 but especially in the creation account. In Genesis 1:14 we read: “And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to divide between the day and the night. And let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years.”

Thus, God made the stars for mankind on Earth, not for another alien race “out there.” Add to this the sequence of creation (on the first day the Earth, and only on the fourth day the stars), and it is easy to see the thrust of the biblical testimony, that the purpose of creation is uniquely centered on this Earth.

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  1. Furthermore, Jesus dying for alien beings makes no sense, since Jesus took on human nature, and remains the God-man forever as our Savior. If He were to atone for Vulcans, say, he would need to become a Vulcan. The whole purpose of creation is focused on the race on Earth, of which some will be Christ's “bride” throughout eternity. Christ will not have multiple “brides.”

  2. H.M. Morris, The Genesis Record (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1976), p. 169.

  3. H.C. Leupold, Exposition of Genesis, Vol. 1 (Ann Arbor, MI: Wartburg Press, 1942), p. 250.

Edited by Don Batten, Ph.D. / Authors: Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland, adapted from The Revised & Expanded Answers Book (Master Books, 2000). / Supplied by Creation Ministries International

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