18 November 2021
I need to explain something in the Bible before I can offer a lesson based on what it says. So, this is part 1, and part 2 is the implication of what I want to establish here.
I've already posted several times about the problem with Western mythology leaking over into Bible teaching among Western churches. We end up with a lot of pernicious doctrine arising from people reading their pagan myths back into the Bible. It takes some work to strip that nonsense away and recover an ancient Hebrew understanding.
One stupid idea among some American Christians regards Genesis 6:1-8. They tend to read "sons of God" as if it were angels. We are dealing with a parable here (more precisely, "parabolic language") -- it's a symbol, not a literalism at all. Yes, sometimes the Bible refers to angels as "sons of God" but that's not the only way it's used. The context is how you know; context is everything in the Bible. It also uses the term elohim to refer to God Himself, to angels, and to godly men who judge and lead His people. These symbolic Hebrew words do not carry the precision we Westerners like. Hebrew isn't English, and the cultures behind them are radically different.
In this context, "sons of God" refers to those people who began calling on the Lord after humanity was kicked out of Eden. The "daughters of men" is simply a version of "sons of men" as a reference to those who didn't call on His name. The whole point is that we need to see this as a divergence in cultures. There were those who sought the Lord, and those who sought anything else.
How long would a culture of faith last if you mixed these two groups? A recurrent problem throughout the Bible is people of faith marrying people without faith. Under the Covenant of Moses, it was expressed in more pedestrian terms of law. A Covenant man could not marry a woman outside the Covenant. If she converted, as it were, then fine -- she was agreeing to live by the boundaries of faith. But as long as she retained her pagan commitments, it was an abomination. This figures large in the Restoration Period with Ezra and Nehemiah, along with some of the prophets, having to get pretty forceful with men who kept marrying pagan wives. It was cited as the single greatest failure of King Solomon.
And it begins in the Genesis narrative prior to Noah. We don't have a record of whatever covenant was in force before Noah, but a frame of law was there. When people of faith compromise their faith, faith dies.
To make sure you get this clear, Jesus said in Matthew 22:30 that people who have died and gone to Heaven are like angels in one specific thing: They do not pair up for marriage. That obviously implies they do not have sex. Sex as we know it is a feature of fallen mortal nature. It's just a poor shadow of genuine communion, but it does produce children to replenish the human population, replacing dying generations before them. In our eternal bodies, there's no need for any of that. And angels are in eternal form, having no use for any kind of reproduction.
So in this context, "sons of God" cannot refer to angels because these are doing things angels cannot do: They are getting married and having children. And in Genesis 6, those children are not firmly within covenant boundaries.
This kind of decline in faith is a moral disaster for the human race. Without the call back to the Flaming Sword and self-sacrifice, mankind will lose all knowledge of redemption. Is that not a terrifying prospect? Please understand that this is not some evil will of Satan. It doesn't work like that. Satan can only provoke what is in our fallen natures. It is the fallen nature of flesh to pull away from the revelation of God, to hide and bury it away from their sight, because it provokes the conviction of sin. The whole point of the story about Eden is to point out that the root nature of the Fall was choosing human capabilities over faith. The only remedy for the Fall is restoring faith, and killing the flesh to bring us back to the condition for which God designed us, and it for us.
Have you ever noticed that in Genesis 4, those who began building civilization were the ones who fled the worship of God? They went far away from those who began calling on the Lord's Name. Granted, the story expresses it in terms of the evil line of Cain versus the godly line of Seth, but the point is not their DNA, but their different orientation on their human existence. The Scriptures pointedly name the sons of Cain as those who build up civilization to replace faith, while the sons of Seth stick with faith and don't need all of that stuff.
The path back to the Flaming Sword at the Gate of Eden must not be cluttered with human aspirations and fraudulent replacements for faith. The image of drifting farther and farther from Eden, and trying everything under the sun to replace Paradise, is the image of dragging the whole world down to Hell.
All of this is the set up for explaining what the Flood was all about.
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