Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Bible and the Supernatural: The Nephilim, Part 2

Scripture: Genesis 6:1-4

Observations: If we take this passage as referring to supernatural beings and humans, what can we learn? For while the speculation can be fun, in of itself speculation has minimal value. So what can we learn about the supernatural from this passage?
  1. At least one race of supernatural being (beyond God) exists. Moreover, this supernatural race is able to interact with the natural realm, including humans. These beings are a created race, just like humans and animals, as implied by the idea of “sons of God,” and the gender of sons implies a masculine gender, or at least masculine characteristics and a masculine appearance to humans. These beings are also very powerful.

  1. The supernatural and the natural can intermingle—but that doesn’t mean we should. These “sons of God” could and did take wives from among the “daughters of men.” But God’s response in verse 3 reveals His displeasure at such an arrangement.

  1. The Nephilim are an  impressive result of this intermarriage. While fiction sometimes portrays the Nephilim as brutish, repulsive, and even grotesque, none of the terms describing them in verse 4 are inherently evil. They were mighty—a Hebrew term used to describe David (1 Samuel 16:18), his mighty men (2 Samuel 23:8), Messiah (Isaiah 9:5), and God Himself (Psalm 24:8). Their other designation, men of renown, is much the same way (e.g. 1 Chronicles 12:30). This implies that the Nephilim may have seemed truly heroic at times. 

Significance: For us the implications of these observations are many. We live in a universe inhabited by not only the natural, but also the supernatural: This supernatural race didn’t just swing by for a brief visit from an alternate universe. They live here and dwell here, sometimes quite visually and interactively with us. Denying this reality or ignoring it will not change that fact. Now we don’t need to panic or obsess over it either, but denying and ignoring the reality of supernatural beings also makes us easier to prey on, use, or manipulate.

At the same time, the lines between the natural and the supernatural exist, and they should not be crossed willy-nilly. God gives us boundaries to keep us safe. This applies to the supernatural as much to any other area of our lives.

Finally, this reminds us that wrong doesn’t always or instantly produce a distasteful result. That is a part of evil’s appeal. The outcome of wrong can look beautiful, desirable, and even good/right. But the end doesn’t justify the means, nor does a good “effect” confirm that the cause was right. 

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