Damien F. Mackey
Presuming that the “sons of God” of Genesis 6:2 were actually angels of the fallen variety, as many commentators will insist, then a comparison of this verse with the situation recorded in the Book of Tobit, of a very perverse kind of demon, Asmodeus, falling in love with the beautiful woman, Sarah, might help to throw some light on what this may all mean.
In my latest article:
Archangel Raphael – Binder of Demons and Healer. Part Two: An Antediluvian Visitation
I had noted that some major players in the Book of Tobit parallel some in Enoch 1, whose account of the Watchers appears to be, in turn, a recalling (albeit apocryphal) of that period described in Genesis 6, when the world prior to the Flood went so bad that God decided to destroy it (vv. 1-8):
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years’. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them’. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
There are some elements I find common to Enoch 1 and the Book of Tobit.
The angel Raphael, of course.
The particularly evil demon.
The female object of desire by the demon(s).
The holy man, observer and scribe.
and I continued with this attempt to make sense of those enigmatic verses of Genesis 6:2, 4:
Angel Raphael in the
Book of Enoch
Whitney Hopler has written about Enoch 1, the angel Raphael, and the demons, as follows in her article, “The Watchers and Nephilim Damage Earth and Archangel Raphael Heals It”.
I give relevant parts of it here with comments
The book of 1 Enoch, which is part of the Christian and Jewish apocrypha (non-canonized books of the Bible and Torah), describes how demons (fallen angels) called the Watchers corrupt the people on Earth by teaching them a variety of sinful practices and having sex with them, creating giant offspring called Nephilim.
Mackey’s comment: The philosophically-minded (and myself as well) have great difficulty with the notion of fallen angels (demons) “having sex” with human beings. (Cf. Genesis 6:2)
It seems metaphysically absurd.
The demon Asmodeus, in the Book of Tobit, does not attempt to have sexual intercourse with Sarah, with whom he has fallen in love, but he does terminally prevent Sarah’s husbands from consummating their marriage (6:14-15):
Tobias replied to Raphael, ‘Brother Azarias, I have been told that she has already been given in marriage seven times and that each time her bridegroom has died in the bridal room. He died the same night as he entered her room; and I have heard people say it was a demon that killed them, and this makes me afraid. To her the demon does no harm because he loves her, but as soon as a man tries to approach her, he kills him’.
And I think that there may be a parallel here with the situation in that most intriguing verse of Genesis 6:2: “The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose”. The Hebrew word, nashim (נָשִׁים), translated as “wives”, appears to have a broader meaning, including e.g. “females”, “girls”.
Sarah had to suffer demonic obsession from Asmodeus, but, in other cases, the “sons of God” – presuming that this most controverted phrase actually refers to angels (gone bad) – may have possessed women at will, perhaps indicating a willingness on the part of the women. The mystical Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (d. 1824) claimed to have witnessed in vision this widespread demonic possession of antediluvian womanhood, these women being apparently willing accomplices (Life of Jesus Christ, Vol. I):
I saw Cain’s descendants becoming more and more godless and sensual. They settled further and further up that mountain ridge where were the fallen spirits. Those spirits took possession of many of the women, ruled them completely, and taught them all sorts of seductive arts. Their children were very large. They possessed a quickness, an aptitude for everything, and they gave themselves up entirely to the wicked spirits as their instruments. And so arose on this mountain and spread far around, a wicked race which by violence and seduction sought to entangle Seth’s posterity likewise in their own corrupt ways. Then God declared to Noe His intention to send the Deluge.
[End of quote]
Rather than the “sons of God” being the physical (impossible) progenitors of those “very large” children, presumably the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4: “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown”, they were more realistically the demonic driving force behind the human procreation of an extraordinarily different type of human being – extremely strong, clever, cunning, capable, violent and wicked.