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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Werethe Sons of God the Godly Line of Seth?

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Don Stewart
If the sons of God were not fallen angels but were humans, then we are left with four possible answers as to their identity. They were either: (1) the godly line of Seth (2) ancient rulers or magistrates (3) humans who were demon-possessed (4) a reference to men as opposed to women.

THE Godly Line Of Seth

A popular view sees the sons of God as the godly line of Seth. The daughters of men would be the equivalent to the ungodly line of Cain or other ungodly people. Their sin was the marriage of the holy and unholy line. The evidence for this view is the natural progression in Genesis. In chapter four we have the ungodly line of Cain listed while in chapter five the godly line of Seth is given. In chapter six the two lines intermingle producing ungodliness. The ungodliness was so widespread that God had to judge the world with a Flood. Wayne Grudem observes:

It is far more likely that the phrase sons of God here (as in Deut. 14:1) refers to people belonging to God and, like God, walking in righteousness (note Gen. 4:26 as introduction to Gen. 5, marking the beginning of Seth's line at the same time as men began to call upon the name of the Lord). In fact, there is an emphasis on sonship as including likeness to one's father in Genesis 5:3. Moreover the text traces the descendants from God through Adam and Seth to many sons in all of chapter 5. The larger purpose of the narrative seems to be to trace the parallel development of the godly (ultimately messianic) line of Seth and the ungodly descendants of the rest of humankind. Therefore, sons of God in Genesis 6:2 are men who are righteous in their imitation of the character of their heavenly Father, and the daughters of men are the ungodly wives whom they marry (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, Zondervan, 1994, p. 414)


Those who reject this view argue that the expression sons of God does not seem suitable for the entire line of Seth. It is more likely to refer to believers in the line of Seth rather than the entire line. Some commentators wonder if the mere intermarriage between two lines would be sufficient cause to destroy the entire world with a Flood?

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