Q: #140. Who are the "sons of God" in the Bible?
A: The term “sons of God” is used 11 times in the Bible (KJV), 5 times in the Old Testament (Gen 6:2,4)(Job 1:6)(Job 2:1)(Job 38:7) and 6 times in the New Testament (Jn 1:12)(Rom 8:14,19)(Phil 2:15)(1 Jn 3:1,2). It can refer either to men or angels.
In the New Testament, it always refers to people who belong to God and are His (adopted) children. (Also see: Gal 4:5-6, Gal 3:26, 2 Cor 6:18)
In the Old Testament, the sons of God are clearly angels when mentioned in the book of Job. However, the biggest controversy comes with who the sons of God were in (Gen 6:1-4). Were they men or were they angels? Scholars seem about evenly split on the issue. Those who believe it was men think it was the Godly line of Seth (sons of God) intermarrying with (and having sexual relations with) the ungodly (female) line of Cain. I hold to this view for 4 reasons.
First, and most importantly, ONLY God has the power of creation. If we give angels this power, then it makes them equal to God, and would give them the power to create ANYTHING! Angels in their natural form are invisible (2 Kin 6:16-17)(Num 22:22-31) and spirit (Heb 1:14). Jesus said that a spirit is not made up of flesh and bone (Lk 24:39). In order for an angel to go from the non-physical to the physical (needed to marry and mate), it would mean they would have to have the ability to create bodies at will. NOWHERE does the Bible show that angels can do this. Yes, some angels had bodies in the Bible, but GOD gave them their form. They could not do it on their own.
Secondly, (Gen 6:2) says the “sons of God” married human wives, which Jesus said angels don’t do (Mt 22:30).
Thirdly, angels are created beings (Ps 148:5)(Jn 1:3)(Col 1:16). They are not human, and the Bible makes clear distinctions between angels and humans in a number of places (Ps 8:5)(2 Pet 2:11)(Heb 1:14)(1 Cor 6:3)(1 Pet 1:12)(Lk 15:10)(Gen 1:26-27). The Bible also shows us that God created angels for one primary purpose, to carry out His will. (I discuss some of the ways angels do this here.)
Therefore, the logical question must be asked, “Why would God create angels with the ability to mate and reproduce?” Would they be mating with female angels (the Bible never mentions there are female angels)?” Would they be mating to create new angels? Would it be to give them the ability to mate with human females? I think we can agree that there is no logical reason for God to give angels the ability to mate or reproduce.
God did give humans the ability to reproduce, primarily in order to populate the earth (Gen 1:28)(Gen 9:1,7)(Gen 35:11). However, there is no such need for angels.
***Note: I should also add that even “if” angels had the ability to mate with human females, it seems highly unlikely that they would have human DNA, which would be required to create human life.
Fourthly, and finally, Satan and his demons tried a number of times in the Bible to destroy the genealogical line though which Jesus would later come. I believe this was one attempt. However, it was unsuccessful as Jesus’ lineage still came through Seth (Lk 3:37).
P.S. While these may not be related, I find it interesting that right after (Gen 6:1-4), where the “sons of God” married and had sexual relations with the daughters of men, that God decided to destroy the Earth in a flood. When Jesus refers back to the flood in (Mt 24:38), He says “For as in the days that were before the flood they (PEOPLE) were eating and drinking, MARRYING AND GIVING IN MARRIAGE, until the day that Noah entered into the ark.” (Caps emphasis mine)