Sons of God Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Sons of God" in Genesis 6 are human, by using the following verses as background on the subject: Deuteronomy 9:18, Joshua 7:6, Psalm 112, Genesis 4:26, Numbers 13:33, Job 1:6, 2:1. The Sons of God referred to so briefly in Genesis 6 are indeed human, because they have the distinct human vice of "wickedness," which in the end seals their fate. They are Sons of God who came to Earth to create a race of "giants," but in the end, God removed them all for their wickedness, and replaced the population with the relations of Noah, whom He favored above all at the time. In Deuteronomy 9:18, the Bible alludes to this sin, when Moses beseeches his people not to bring down the anger of the Lord upon them. Implied here is the anger of the Lord that came before, when he flooded the land for forty days and nights that washed all the sinners of the world away, leaving only Noah and his family. Ultimately, the Sons of God are any who God smiles upon and who carry the Word of God throughout the world. They enjoy a special, spiritual relationship with God, but they are not of his blood. They are human, with all the very human qualities, from goodness to sin that implies.

In the Sixth chapter of Genesis, the Bible notes, "That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all they chose" ("Holy Bible" 4). Thus, the stage is set for a great debate. Were the Sons of God human, or were they heavenly creatures sent down from God to create a separate race? Both sides have been debated hotly, but it seems, as more research into the question occurs, that these Sons of God were indeed human, with the same human frailties and fallings that all humans have. One theologian writes calls this chapter of Genesis "the strange semi-mythological tale," and goes on to say,

Where as part of the general conception of the universe the 'Sons of God' are portrayed as attracted by the beauty of the daughters of men, and by commingling with them, producing a brood of giants. The story was originally told to explain the tradition, so common among peoples of antiquity, of a once mightier race that disappeared (Jastrow, Jr. 56).

They were the Sons of God in that they had some of the mighty traits of their Father, but in the end, they still fell like any other human. In fact, earlier in Genesis, in 4:26, the writer notes that "men began to call upon the name of the Lord" ("Holy Bible" 3), thus, even before the Sons of God make an appearance, men have begun calling upon him, and calling him their Father. Numbers 13:33 refers again to this race of giants who later disappeared. "And there we saw the giants, the sons of Amak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight" ("Holy Bible" 123). This reference comes after the reference to the "Sons of God" in Genesis, but seems to refer to the same race of "larger than life" men that God sent to the world, then found to be weak and full of sin.

There are many compelling arguments for both sides in this debate, but one of the most compelling is the actual meaning of the word "son." "Smith's Bible Dictionary" defines the word "son" in the Hebrew as "ben," and notes, "The word 'son' is used in Scripture to imply almost any kind of descent or succession, as 'ben shdnah', 'son of a year,' i.e. A year old, 'ben kesheth,' 'son of a bow,' i.e. An arrow" (Smith 659). Thus, the word son in this context could mean many things, and translated from the Hebrew, it connotes many close relationships, not just that of traditional father and son. The "Sons of God" might have been mighty men, but they were not the actual sons of God in the strictest sense. They were messengers of Him, and carried Him in their hearts. In addition, readers tend to insinuate their own meanings into what they read, and the Bible is no exception. A reader may put the modern connotation of "son" on the words "Sons of God," and read entirely too much into a passage that in reality simply denotes a relationship between God and men. Today, many people believe they have special relationships with God, and consider him the ultimate Father of all humankind. The Sons of God may have felt the same relationship, but they were still very much human.

In Arabic, the word for son is "Salil," and it can mean "sword," as well as "son." In addition, other Arabic words carry different meanings of the word "son." The word "walad" means "a physical boy born as a result of the marriage of a man and a woman" (Massey), and this is the meaning of the word most people recognize today. However, Jesus was referred to by another word, "ibin," or Ibin-Allah (Son of God), which "indicates a strong spiritual relationship between Jesus and God, a spiritual sonship in which Jesus was submissive and obedient to God as His Heavenly Father (Massey). Thus, Arabic translations of this great work could have actually meant these "sons" were the "swords" of God, coming to Earth to create, as others have thought, a race of superior humans who later disappeared, as author Jastrow noted, or they could mean a great spiritual connection. It is clear that each version of the Bible has its' own meaning, and that the King James Version is only one version of many that exist. A true study of the Bible and its' meaning cannot rely on only one translation. A true study must look at the early languages the Bible was originally written in, for a better understanding of just what the writers, and God, were saying. Using the incorrect definition of just one word, such as "son," can give a dramatically different connotation to passages, as these discussions clearly show. Therefore, the "Sons of God" referred to in Genesis have a spiritual relationship with their Father, but were decidedly human. God does not have physical relationships with humans; he simply guides them on their path, and creates strong spiritual relationships with them so that they in turn can guide others.

Throughout the Bible, there are references to the relationship between many of God's messengers and their Lord, such as Moses, Noah, and Joshua. Therefore, God had special and enduring relationships with many humans on Earth. These men could surely be called "Sons of God," even though they were not actual offspring. They carried his message and lived their lives according to the word of God. In fact, before Christ, they were God's word, and carried his work to the rest of the population. Again, the word "son" is the key here, for it can mean many things. However, there are many other references in the Bible to "sons" and the Son of God, most notably Christ. Most theologians today believe that even Christ was not the physical Son of God, for God does not have physical relationships with mortals. Writer Massey continues,

The Bible states that this conception took place through the power of God Himself, not through any human or physical agency. As it was explained to Mary by the angel, 'the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God' (Luke 1:35)" (Massey).

Thus, if Christ himself was not the "true" physical Son of God, then certainly the other "sons" mentioned in the Bible could not be the true "Sons of God." They were mortals, sent and created to do good work, but always linked back to humankind for their roots.

Of course, one must remember there are many interpretations of the Holy Bible, and each interpretation can have subtly differing meanings in words, phrases, and intent. The many definitions of "son" in Hebrew are just one classic example of these many interpretations. Many Catholics interpret the scriptures in far more literal terms, seeing "Sons of God" as a direct reference to God's own and cherished children. One Catholicism expert note, "Thus the 'sons of God' in Ps 2:7 are angels and not men, as is seen from the reference to clouds in the first part of the verse" (Bird 59). The author refers to the passage "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art by Son; this day have I begotten thee" ("Holy Bible" 433). However, in the King James Version of the Bible, the earlier passage refers to the Heavens, not clouds, and the passage seems to actually refer to men who carry God in their hearts and his message to others,…

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