By Hank Hanegraaff
Genesis 6:4 is one of the most controversial verses in the Bible. As with any difficult section of Scripture, it is open to a wide variety of interpretations. It is my conviction, however, that those who hold consistently to a biblical worldview must reject the notion that women and demons can engage in sexual relations. For, says John of Damascus, angels (and thus demons) are “incorporeal, and are free of all bodily passion.”
First and foremost, the notion that demons can “produce” real bodies and have real sex with real women would invalidate Jesus’ argument for the authenticity of His resurrection. Jesus assured His disciples that “a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39 nkjv). If indeed a demon could produce flesh and bones, Jesus’ argument would be not only flawed but also misleading. In fact, then it might be logically argued that the disciples did not actually see post-resurrection appearances of Christ but rather a demon masquerading as the resurrected Christ.
Furthermore, demons are nonsexual, nonphysical beings and, as such, are incapable of having sexual relations and producing physical offspring. To say that demons can create bodies with DNA and fertile sperm is to say that demons have creative power—which is an exclusively divine prerogative. If demons could have sex with women in ancient times, we would have no assurance they could not do so in modern times. Nor would we have any guarantee that the people we encounter every day are fully human. While a biblical worldview does allow for fallen angels to possess unsaved human beings, it does not support the notion that a demon-possessed person can produce offspring that are part-demon, part-human. Genesis 1 makes it clear that all of God’s living creations are designed to reproduce “according to their own kinds” (v. 25).
Finally, the mutant theory raises serious questions pertaining to the spiritual accountability of hypothetical demon-humans and their relation to humanity’s redemption. We have no biblical way of determining what category the demon-humans would fit into—whether they would be judged as angels or as men or, more significantly, whether they would even be among those for whom Christ died.
I believe the better interpretation is that “sons of God” simply refers to the godly descendants of Seth and “daughters of men,” to the ungodly descendants of Cain (St. Augustine). Their cohabitation caused humanity to fall into such utter depravity that God said, “‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:7–8).
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
Genesis 6:4 NASB
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, The Covering: God’s Plan to Protect You From Evil, available for your partnering gift to the ministry. see also Gleason L. Archer, New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982), 79–80.
***Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming. When available we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***