As the “modern nephilim” claim and scriptural argument is peculiar to those who accept the “sons of God” to be angels in Gen 6, this series of articles on this assumes this stance for the sake or arguing what the rest of scripture would show, if this assumption was true.
According to the understanding of the concept of Paternal Spiritual Lineage, which we have covered, there are several things we can know right off the bat about Nephilim.
Jesus had a human body, but the spirit of God, and is God, but is a man and called such by the Bible, having a human body. In consistency, the same is true of the Nephilim. Jesus Christ is the only Biblical example by which to understand what these Nephilim were, and per that example: they had a fallen-angel spirit, but a human body, and are called men by the Bible.
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they [were] fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also [is] flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 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.” Gen 6:1-4
In order for the Bible to be speaking truth in calling the Nephilim “men” then they must have been “men” in some way, without exception. This is the same as Jesus is called a “man” and was human without exception. In both cases this is not a matter of the spirit, but a matter of having a purely human body. The Nephilim had human bodies with all that entails, human chromosomes, DNA, etc. To say otherwise, one would have to also deny that Jesus was human, and had a human body, and defy the internal consistency of the Bible.
Science also verifies that the chromosomes and DNA of a human mother put a huge amount of limitation on the DNA and chromosomes the fallen angels would have to use in impregnating a woman. Namely, that a human woman’s DNA and chromosomes could only pair successfully with the DNA and chromosomes that they were designed to pair with, that of a human male. The DNA and chromosomes these fallen angels had to use in order to impregnate these women must have been so matching that of a human male, as to have been indistinguishable from that of a human male.
While it is difficult to find a scientific commentary on fallen angel/ human interbreeding in Genesis 6, the same point about Genetics has been made about theoretical “aliens”:
“If alien and human DNA is so different, hybridization would be impossible. This is not only true on the sequence level, but the chromosomes have to pair as well.”
Dr. Robert Carter, Geneticist, An Analysis of the Genetics of the Supposed Starchild
The same science and principle of Genetics applies in the case of the fallen angels and the human women. In order for hybridization to be possible, the fallen angels had to pair the chromosomes and DNA sequences so as to match that of a human man, otherwise no offspring would result, at all. In order for these women to become pregnant, and be mothers to the Nephilim, the fallen angels had to take into consideration the egg of the woman and tailor the process to suit her chromosomal and DNA sequence requirements for what God designed to work in the science of biology and genetics.
The simplest explanation as to what fallen angels used in impregnating these women is that God created angels all male, and having some sort of residual sperm that came about while in human form on Earth, but sperm which God never intended them to use.
As such, it seems the DNA and chromosomes that the fallen angels bodies could produce was a human match, but flawed, containing genetic deterioration (in comparison to the God-designed perfect DNA of Adam), leading to malformation. It seems very likely that God built into the angels these genetic deteriorations, in how He designed their spirit-bodies to work should they take human form on Earth, but in any case they apparently could do no better than something which was flawed, however it worked. Yet it was correct enough to pass for human male DNA and chromosomes, when it came to combining with the DNA and chromosomes in the egg of a human woman.
But in this, we do know that the Nephilim looked human, and their DNA and chromosomes were human, even if they had miniscule flaws or deterioration in the sequences in comparison to the more ideal DNA of the humans living at the time. This is no different than humans today, who have DNA and chromosomes deteriorated since the time of Adam, or even the time of Noah. The DNA or chromosomes of a human do not have to be as perfect as Adam’s, the original, in order for a person to be considered to have a human body. Otherwise, none of us would qualify as being human, as all of us have some genetic flaws which have accumulated over time, which is just part of being in the fallen creation which has been subjected to corruption and decay.(Rom 8:20-22)
The Nephilim had bodies which were human enough for them to be called men (Gen 6:5) by God in the Bible, on the basis of their bodies being human, despite that they seemed to have a level of genetic decay more than the humans around them, in comparison.
In Gen 6:3 when God says “with man, for he also is flesh” this is also translated as “man is indeed flesh”. And so the same concept is referred to, that part of what makes a man to be considered a man is his flesh, his human body, and man “is indeed flesh”. Having a human body is enough for the Bible to say that someone is a man, and this is the same for both Jesus Christ, and also for the Nephilim.
From an understanding of Paternal Spiritual Lineage, we can understand that God was likely speaking in Gen 6:3 to the angels (sons of God) who took human wives. The chronology of these verses makes much more sense when one understands that after these angels took wives, God spoke up to say something to these falling angels.
What did God say?
“And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is indeed flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” Gen 6:3
God made it clear that “man” is “indeed flesh” and that “man” would live only 120 years.
Who was God saying this to? The angels likely thought it possible that if they had children with the wives they had taken, that these children would live forever, as they did. As such it would make sense that in response God told them that this would not be the case, but rather that “man” would only live 120 years. The “man” referenced to here was first and foremost the Nephilim. The placement of Gen 6:3 after the angels took wives, and before the mention of their offspring, gives a clear context that God was speaking to the angels (and perhaps also their human wives) about their offspring to follow, the Nephilim. The placement indicates that God likely pronounced this once the Nephilim were conceived, but before they were born. This would have been at the time when God starting forming these Nephilim in the wombs of these women who were their mothers. (Is 44:2,24)
In those days it is recorded that the line of Adam, until the flood, on average lived 857 years. This is far longer than the 120 years that God said the Nephilim would live, speaking to their parents. The explanation for why these Nephilim would have far shorter-than-normal lifespans was that “man is indeed flesh”. This shortened lifespan was all very abnormal at the time.
The word here for “man” in Gen 6:3 is “adam”, which both referred to the “Nephilim” in that they had human bodies, just as human as any other “adam”. This also seems to have been a prophetic warning that all “adam” would only live 120 years in the future. This seems to be a case of a prophetic warning having a dual meaning, both that the Nephilim would only live 120 years, due to their flesh, and that all mankind would come to be like this also.
This prophetic warning of shortened lifespans to 120 years has come to pass. But as the Bible indicates God spoke this prophecy to the parents of the Nephilim, by the placement of this verse, it makes sense that their actions in interbreeding were going to be the cause of this change. The Bible seems to indicate that this change in lifespans would be coming through the Nephilim that followed in Gen 6:4, and then on to the rest of mankind.
What does the word Nephilim mean? To quote Dr. Michael S. Heiser,
“In the form we find it in the Hebrew Bible, if the word nephilim came from Hebrew naphal, it would not be spelled as we find it. The form nephilim cannot mean “fallen ones” (the spelling would then be nephulim). Likewise nephilim does not mean “those who fall” or “those who fall away” (that would be nophelim). The only way in Hebrew to get nephilim from naphal by the rules of Hebrew morphology (word formation) would be to presume a noun spelled naphil and then pluralize it. I say “presume” since this noun does not exist in biblical Hebrew — unless one counts Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33, the two occurrences of nephilim — but that would then be assuming what one is trying to prove! However, in Aramaic the noun naphil(a) does exist. It means “giant,” making it easy to see why the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) translated nephilim as gigantes (“giant”). Here is a screen shot (not good quality) of Aramaic naphil(a) from Morris Jastrow’s Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature (1903; page 923, or page 243 of 1061 of the online PDF of volume 2).”
Dr. Michael S. Heiser, PhD, http://sitchiniswrong.com/
The word Nephilim means giants, and so by definition the Nephilim were all giants.
Having human bodies, that were purely human, human chromosomes, human DNA, the Nephilim must have had human gigantism, caused by the same mechanisms as people who have gigantism today. This is the simplest answer for how the human bodies of the Nephilim were giant. The same processes that are required to take place in a human body today in order for gigantism to result, must have been the same processes that took place in the human bodies of the Nephilim in order for their gigantism to result.
As per modern medical understanding, pituitary gigantism today is caused by a tumor (cancerous growth in) the pituitary gland in the brain, which causes an overproduction of Human Growth Hormone. (1) While some cases of pituitary tumors like this occur randomly, others are genetically linked and pass down through families. (2)
One such case of this is FIPA, Familial Pituitary Isolated Adenomas, which causes both Growth hormone secreting pituitary tumors in childhood (resulting in gigantism) and in adulthood (resulting in acromegaly). FIPA is a hereditary genetic condition which is autosomal dominant with incomplete penetrance. That means it is not sex linked, and either gender can get it, and it is a dominant trait (overtaking recessive traits) but that it only does this some of the time, so people can carry the disorder without having it, and the result varies for those who have it (acromegaly up to full gigantism). (3)
Hereditary gigantism today, like in the example of FIPA, is likely the closest example we have to what the Nephilim had, because what they had caused gigantism, could be carried by someone who did not express the disorder, and because it is hereditary.
People with gigantism today typically have a greatly decreased lifespan. Many giants throughout recent history only lived to their 20s. This closely parallels with the Nephilim-giants that God indicated would only live to be 120 years, when 857 years was the average recorded lifespan. As such there is some parallel in both the gigantism of the Nephilim-giants and the decrease in their lifespan (compared to normal), although these two issues are not shown to be strictly genetically linked, more like two separate genetic problems. If so then it makes sense that as humanity today only lives about 120 years at most, because the genetic problem of the Nephilim’s shortened lifespan spread throughout humanity’s genetics, effecting lifespans of humans from that point forward, separate from the genetic problem of pituitary gigantism, only affecting some.
How would this work? According to an understanding of Paternal Spiritual Lineage, the spirit of the child comes solely from the father of the child. The Bible seems to specify that the first generation of Nephilim were all male (Gen 6:4), but at the same time specifying the nephilim were “men” (Gen 6:5) therefore having human bodies, therefore being capable to reproduce as the bodies of human men do. Understanding that the Nephilim-giants had purely human bodies, and are called men by the Bible, it makes sense that they were virile and also capable of having children. There is nothing that suggests the Nephilim-giants were sterile. As such, if a Nephilim-giant were to marry a human woman, the children would all also have demon-spirits, but human bodies. While the Nephilim-giants are all described by the Bible as male, their children with human women could have been male or female. As the Bible calls the Nephilim-giants “men” on the basis of their human bodies, there is every reason to think that their bodies were capable of the same things as that of any human male body, which includes the production of X-sperm, leading to female offspring.
The Bible does indicate in the OT that people sinned by making offerings to demons, and to other gods (Deut 32:16-17), and that people worshipped demons when they worshipped idols (1 Cor 10:19-20) and that one of these whom people made offerings to was known as “the queen of heaven”(Jer 44:25). As all of the angels in the Bible are referred to as male, including the fallen ones, there is some reason to think “the queen of heaven” was a female demon. If there are female demons (as is claimed about succubus) then this would imply there must have at one time been female demon-spirited Nephilim.
A daughter of a Nephilim-giant would herself have a demon-spirit (and at death become a demon) but if she had children, her children would have the same type of spirit as their father, not her. If their father was human, the children would be human. At the same time, the children could genetically inherit the traits of her body, including gigantism and a shortened lifespan. If she married a human man, with a human spirit, the children could inherit the genetic traits of gigantism or a shortened lifespan, while they would still have human-spirits.
After the flood people had about 400 year lifespans, which gradually decreased to 120 years over 11 generations. This indicates that it was not any external changes in the earth after the flood which caused decreased lifespans, but rather decreased lifespans must have been caused by internal genetic changes. (4) However, the Bible makes clear that these genetic changes were related to the Nephilim-giants by the placement of Gen 6:3, which is the verse that specifically talks about the issue of decreased lifespans, right after the fallen angels took wives, and right before the Nephilim-giants are first mentioned. So we know these Nephilim events are connected to the shortened lifespans of all humanity today, as the Bible indicates such.
The concept of Paternal Spiritual Lineage logically shows that a Nephilim-giant could have a human-spirit human-body granddaughter. And understanding of the hereditary genetic disorder of gigantism (such as FIPA) shows that such a granddaughter could be a carrier of the genes that cause gigantism, but not herself be a giant effected with the disorder. As such this human-granddaughter of a Nephilim, who herself had a Nephilim-daughter for her mother and a human father, could herself carry the genes for gigantism without being a giant herself. She also could be effected by genes causing a shortened lifespan, and pass these on to her human children, along with genes that cause gigantism.
As the first mention of a shortened lifespan is related to the Nephilim-giants, the fact that we all have shortened lifespans today indicates that this very scenario took place. The first mention of gigantism in the Bible is with the Nephilim-giants, and the fact that gigantism exists today also indicates this scenario took place. Gen 6:3 was spoken to the parents of the Nephilim, as the Bible indicates, about the Nephilim, as the Bible indicates by the placement of the verse. An understanding of paternal spiritual lineage and the human bodies of the Nephilim, is shown by the Bible in the case of both Adam and Jesus Christ. Therefore, the evidence for the scenario of a human grand-daughter of a Nephilim is the shortened lifespans and gigantism the Bible teaches occurred after the flood.
Continue on to the next part in this Series!