Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Who are the "sons of God" in Job 38:7




Who are the "sons of God" in Job 38:7

Job 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth … 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
 
The question here is the identity of the “morning stars” and the “sons of God” in verse seven.

I will begin with the “sons of God.” Who are they?

I am aware of three primary interpretations that have been given to the plural phrase “sons of God.” Two of them have strong Scriptural support. The third, however, despite being widely used and very popular in Christian circles has in my opinion no real Scriptural support. We will take a look at each of them in turn and then determine which of the three fits in the context of verse 7.
 
Are the "sons of God" angels?
 
The first occurrence of the phrase “sons of God” appears in Genesis 6. Here is the reference in full context.
 
Genesis 6: 1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Now there are many who identify the “sons of God” in this text as angels, and teach that these angels took human wives and bore children by them, and that those half-angel/half-human hybrid children became the giants spoken of in verse 4. But the Bible forbids that interpretation. First of all, Jesus made it clear that Angels do not marry.
 
Mark 12:25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.
That statement in itself should have been enough to squash any idea that the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 are referring to angels. Jesus made it clear, angels do not marry. And if not among their own kind, then especially not with fallen humans. This is a case of tradition trumping Scripture.

Aside from the statement from Jesus in Mark 12:25, think of what would be required for angels to have children of human mothers. First of all angels are spiritual beings. Humans on the other hand are creatures of flesh, made of the dust of the earth. True angles can at times take on the form of humans, but they are still spiritual, not physical beings. To mate with humans they would have to have a cellular biology, with chromosomes and genes. And not just any set of chromosomes and genes, but “human” compatible chromosomes with “human” compatible genes. But cells, and chromosomes and genes are material substances, made of the dust of the earth - and thus presumably not part of the make-up of spiritual beings.

But more that, we also have this statement from the book of Hebrews, which clearly says that God has never called any of His angels “sons.”
 
Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"?And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"?
And so, I believe it would be safe to say (in spite of the popularity of such an interpretation in Christian circles) that both in Genesis 6 and in Job 38, and wherever else the phrase “sons of God” appear in Scripture, it is not speaking of angels.
 
Are the "sons of God" the faithful?
 
This brings us to the second of the common interpretations of the phrase “sons of God.”

In the context of Genesis 6, I believe the sons of God are better understood as being those people, descendants of Adam and Eve, who have remained faithful worshipers of God - as opposed to those who have followed after Cain in rebellion against God. There are a number of texts (shown below) that back up that identification:
 
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

So then, Who are the “sons of God?” We, the worshipers of God are the sons and daughters of God. Scripture seems to establish that point very strongly. This one is pretty much a no-brainer.

Now in Genesis 4 we read:
 
Genesis 4:25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, "For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed." 26 And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD
Here the Bible starts tracing the descendants of Adam through one line of Seth’s descendants. Seth was the first child of Adam and Eve to be born after the murder of Abel by Cain. It was at this time that “men began to call on the name of the LORD.” Now people had been worshiping God prior to this, and what is apparently intended here is that after the schism caused by Cain’s crime those who remained loyal to God began to refer to themselves as those who “call on the name of the LORD” [These would be “sons of God” of Genesis 6.] in contrast to those who following after Abel “went out from the presence of the LORD.” [From whom came the “daughters of men” of Genesis 6.] And so the true followers of God began to distinguish themselves from those who no longer truly followed God.

In the course of time as population levels increased those who remained loyal to God and those who followed Cain in his rebellion against God began to intermingle with each other, and of course - human nature being what it is - the results was a degrading of the spirituality of the children of God until at last the whole world was so corrupt that God was forced to bring on the flood. This probably did not happen all at once - but as the children of God mingled with the children of men they became ever more desensitized to evil - just one little step at a time - until they were totally corrupted in every way. A tactic that the devil still uses today.
 
Genesis 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
The word translated “giants” here is “nephilim” which means a bully or tyrant. It is derived from the root “naphal” meaning to fall, fugitive, overthrow, overwhelm, slay, smite out, throw down.

Think about it -- Bullies, fugitives, tyrants, people who overthrow, overwhelm, smite and slay, etc. They sound a whole lot like terrorist, petty oppressive dictators, and other really bad elements that we have so many of in our world today. To put it in one word, you might say they were the terrorist and gangsters of their age - which meaning far better fit’s the context of these verses (the ever increasing wickedness of man) than the word “giants” does.
 
Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually
And so - here, in studying Genesis 6, we find the first two of the three common interpretations of the phrase “sons of God.” The first, that the “sons of God” are angels in my opinion has no support from Scripture but is simply a story that has been told for so long that most people just assume it must be true. The second, that the “sons of God” are the faithful find strong Scriptural support. Now on to the third usage of the phrase “sons of God.”
 
Are the "sons of God" the Adam and Eve equivalentsof other worlds God has created?
 
A Plurality of Worlds?

Although the Bible is primarily concerned with the creation and subsequent history of the Earth, it does not imply that the Earth was either the first or only world God had created. However the Bible only makes only a few passing references to the existence of other worlds. In Hebrews for example we read of "worlds" (plural) that God has created.
 
Hebrews 1:2 (God) has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,

When God first created this earth that we live on he gave dominion over it to Adam and Eve. When Satan deceived them and they sinned they effectually gave the dominion of this world to Satan on the basis the principle "for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage." (2Peter 2:19). And so the bible styles the Devil as the "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), indicating that the dominion once given to Adam and Eve now belongs to Satan.

And this brings us back to the book of Job, and the “sons of God.” In the opening chapters of the book we find two additional mentions of the “sons of God.”
 
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it."

Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it."

And as the ruler of this world (having usurped the rightful ruler-ship from Adam and Eve) Satan attended the grand universal councils mentioned in Job as this earth's representative. I believe that the “sons of God” mentioned there in Job are most likely the representatives (the Adam and Eve equivalents) from all the other inhabited worlds that God has created. However, what I think is not what matters. Do I have any Scriptural support that the phrase “sons of God” is ever used in that manner. I believe so. If you look at the genealogy of Jesus as recorded in Luke 3:38 you will read the following:
 
Luke 3:38 The son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
Here Adam, by virtue of direct creation by God, being the first of humankind, is called the “son of God.” And as already noted, it is my belief that the other “sons of God” spoken of in Job 1 and 2 are the representatives, the Adam and Eve equivalents, of the other worlds that God had created.

Conclusion

And so we have our three possible definitions of the “sons of God.”

1> Angels
2> The faithful human followers of God
3> The Adam and Eve equivalents of God’s other inhabited worlds.

And so, returning to our opening text: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth . . . When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job 38: 4, 7 -- the question remains which of these three definitions of “sons of God” fit’s the context. The process of elimination is simple. I have to reject the first option out of hand as there is no scriptural support for such an identification, and strong scripture against it. The time frame rules out the second option too. When the foundation of the earth was being laid, we humans were not around to “shout for joy.” That leave only the third as a viable option. The “sons of God” shouting for joy at the laying of the foundation of the earth were the Adam and Eve equivalents of other worlds God had created. They were celebrating the expected soon arrival of a brand new member of the family.

Now, unless I have overlooked something, I have in this covered every text in the Bible where the phrase the “sons [plural] of God” can be found. But just for completeness sake, there are two other OT text that have slight variations of that phrase. The first is:
 
Hosea 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

Thus we find that even in the Old Testament the faithful were called sons of God. And with that you now have in this posting a complete list of all “sons of God” texts to be found in the Bible.

The second is a special case:
 
Daniel 3:25 "Look!" he answered, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." [or “a son of the Gods” as some translations render it].

In his fury Nebuchadnezzar had challenged God saying: “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” (verse 15). There was another king once upon a time who made a very similar statement. A king who by the way who had also held the children of Israel in captivity. “And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:2).
Like Pharaoh before him, Nebuchadnezzar did not realize the power he was opposing. In a matter of minutes Nebuchadnezzar got the revelation of his life. Suddenly all thought of his golden image was forgotten. The impossible had happened. Those three men were walking around in the fire completely unharmed. And they were not alone. Nebuchadnezzar saw the very God that he had defied walking in the fire with His three faithful servants. Yes, God did not prevent them from being thrown into the fire, but He was right there with them in that fire.

Now if you had looked in most any commentary, the standard interpretation given to Job 38:7 is that the “morning stars” and “sons of God” are synonymous terms, both references to angels. I agree that the phrase “morning stars” does refer to angels, but as you can see, I have a somewhat different opinion when it comes to the phrase “sons of God.” I hope I have shown good Scriptural support for my position here.

Now as for the identity of the “morning stars” While I agree with the standard interpretation that this is a reference to angels, it is ironically, the harder position to prove from Scripture. The evidence is much more circumstantial in nature. In the case of the “sons of God” we had such texts as Romans 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” and Luke 3:38 “The son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” to help identify who the “sons of God” were. We have no such texts regarding the “morning stars.” In fact, the only place in the Bible where the plural phase “morning stars” occur is right here in Job 38:7. Now the singular “morning star” can be found twice in Revelation - but both are clear references to Jesus.

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The Bible says nothing about God sending the flood because of what some angels supposidly did. It states very clearly time and again that it was because of the wickedness of man, not angels, that God sent the flood. Genesis 6 is all about the ever increasing wickedness of man, not about some imaginary angelic orgy with human women.
 
From the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary:
4. giants--The term in Hebrew implies not so much the idea of great stature as of reckless ferocity, impious and daring characters, who spread devastation and carnage far and wide.
 
Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually

Jesus said that as it was in the day of Noah so shall it be in this world when He comes the second time. Do we then have such in the world today?
 
2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Here are the Nephilim in these last days. They are people, not some half-angel/half-human hybreds. Thugs, terrorist, gangsters, despotic dictators and the like.