Inconsistency with implications for the resurrection - Genesis vs. Luke

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by K Jentoft, Apr 21, 2019.

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  1. K Jentoft

    K Jentoft Puritan Board Freshman

    Here is the explanation that I have been considering.

    For now I am assuming that the sons of God are angels, that the sin of the sons of God was when these angels copulated with human women and, finally, the offspring of this sinful union were genetically corrupted fleshly beings called Nephilim. In some sense, the Nephilim were evil incarnate, fleshly beings fathered by wicked angels. This background is covered in great detail in the book by Dr. Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm, published by Lexham Press in 2015. Dr. Heiser presents a scholarly explanation of the spiritual worldview underscored by Genesis 6:1-4 and how it influenced much of the rest of scripture. Dr. Heiser is also the resident scholar for Logos bible software fir any on this blog use Logos.

    One key issue regarding the sin of the sons of God explanation described above or the "Sethite theory" is that according to Genesis 6:4, the sin of the sons of God occurred both in the days before the flood and also afterwards. In other words, the flood did not resolve or put an end to the “sin of the sons of God” described in Genesis 6 verses 1, 2, and 4.

    Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose…The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

    Nephilim existing “also afterwards” is problematic because the intent of chapters 7 and 8 is to convey that no flesh was left alive. Genesis details the flood covering the mountains for 150 days with Noah in the ark for over a year to emphasize that all flesh living in those days died.

    The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered. All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. Thus, He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.

    The idea being conveyed is that, except for Noah and his family, all of the human descendants of Cain or Seth perished as well as all the Nephilim, the corrupted flesh resulting from the sinful union of women with wicked angels. In other words, the passage is trying to convey that none of those living in Genesis 6 made it through alive to Genesis 9 except Noah’s family. In contrast, Noah was pure in his flesh and not genetically contaminated by the sin of the sons of God. He is referred to as having integrity or being perfect “in his generations” in both Genesis 6:9 and 7:1.

    Now here is the problem, the Nephilim reappear after the flood and their descendants are described as living in the region of Canaan from Genesis 14 through to 1 Chronicles 20. In Numbers 13:31-33, the spies Moses sent into Canaan describe the Nephilim they found living there. This passage clearly describes the “sons of Anak” as descendants of post-flood Nephilim living in Canaan immediately after Sinai and Israel’s exodus from Egypt.

    But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

    Because all the pre-flood Nephilim perished in the flood, this means that the sons of God (angels) actually continued to sin and copulate with women after the flood, creating new Nephilim. Regarding the "Sethite theory," there were only Noah's descendants, Sethites, the descendants of sinful Cain had all perished in the flood. Thus, Anak’s father, Arba, mentioned in Joshua 15:13, was either a wicked angel himself or the son of a wicked angel. In other words, the flood did not resolve the problem of the sin of the sons of God. In addition, the passage in Numbers is not the only scripture that refers to Nephilim present after the flood. Clans of Rephaim named in Genesis 14:5-7, are described in greater detail as Nephilim in Deuteronomy 2:10-11 and 3:11-13 when scripture explains the early history of Moab and Edom. In short, as seen in the passage below, the Anakim (sons of Anak) and Rephaim were both Nephilim descended from wicked angels and living in Canaan.

    The Emim lived there formerly, a people as great, numerous, and tall as the Anakim. Like the Anakim, they are also regarded as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim.

    Joshua mentions Nephilim often in the conquest of Canaan in Joshua 12:4, 13:12, 14:12-15, 17:15 and Judges repeats the story in 1:20. King David battles Nephilim beginning with Goliath and ending with 1 Chronicles 20:4-8 that documents their final destruction during his reign. The Hebrew term for giants in these verses in Chronicles is Raphah, a form of Rephaim, and linked to the Nephilim. The bottom line is that the existence of post-flood Nephilim is significant in the history of Israel up through the kingdom of David. Moreover, after the Nephilim’s descendants are exterminated by David and his men, they disappear from the narrative of the Old Testament; they become extinct in the biblical record.

    So why then and not now? What happened to prevent the sin of the sons of God from infecting the earth and humanity with incarnate evil? Why do we only find the descendants of Nephilim, like the sons of Anak, after Sinai? I believe the answer is found in Genesis 6:3 within the context where the sin is first described. It seems as if the statement made in Genesis 6:3 is God’s decree of judgment to resolve the sin of wicked angels corrupting flesh described in Genesis 6:11,12. Noah alone was found to be both righteous and have integrity in his generations, free from the genetic corruption of wicked angels. Here is God’s decree:

    Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

    At the time God made this decree, humans lived many hundreds of years; Noah lived 950 years. Immediately after this decree and beginning with Noah’s sons, the lifespan of men began to decline. The “lifespan genealogies” of Genesis are unique in scripture, documenting the lifespan of every father from Adam to Moses in each generation. Remarkably, Moses is the first man recorded to live exactly 120 years and after Moses the lifespans of his sons are not recorded. Their mission accomplished; the lifespan genealogies end with Moses as illustrated below.

    Age Man Reference
    930 Adam Gen 5
    912 Seth Gen 5
    905 Enosh Gen 5
    910 Kenan Gen 5
    895 Mahalalel Gen 5
    962 Jared Gen 5
    365 Enoch Gen 5 (did not die)
    969 Methuselah Gen 5
    777 Lamech Gen 5
    950 Noah Gen 9, 11
    600 Shem Gen 11
    438 Apachshad Gen 11
    420 Shelah Gen 11
    464 Eber Gen 11
    239 Peleg Gen 11
    239 Rue Gen 11
    230 Serug Gen 11
    148 Nahor Gen 11
    205 Terah Gen 11
    175 Abraham Gen 25:7
    180 Isaac Gen 35:28
    147 Jacob Gen 47:28
    137 Levi Ex 6:16
    133 Kohath Ex 6:18
    137 Amram Ex 6:20
    120 Moses Deut 34:7

    If God’s judgment on the sons of God recorded in Genesis 6:3 means that the sin of the sons of God would cease when the lifespan of a man reached 120 years, then we would expect this to happen during the lifetime of Moses. It seems this is exactly what we find in scripture. After Moses, the sin of the sons of God ceased. After Sinai wicked angels no longer father new Nephilim. Only their “sin incarnate” corrupted descendants remained on earth to be exterminated.

    This same distancing of spirit from humans occurs with God and good spirits. Exodus culminates when God came down on Mt Sinai and met directly with His people, speaking His ten commandments to them in His own voice from the burning fire on the mountain. The people could not stand this tangible presence of God and declared they would die if it continued. God agreed with them. To speak to His people God implemented mediators, first Moses and then the prophets after him Numbers 12:6 Deuteronomy 18:15-22. Moses, unlike the prophets who followed him, knew God tangibly Deuteronomy 34:10 like Abraham, Noah and Enoch who all lived more than 120 years.

    These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly at the mountain from the midst of the fire, of the cloud and of the thick gloom, with a great voice, and He added no more. He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. And when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders. You said, “Behold, the LORD our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire; we have seen today that God speaks with man, yet he lives. Now then why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any longer, then we will die. For who is there of all flesh who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? Go near and hear all that the LORD our God says; then speak to us all that the LORD our God speaks to you, and we will hear and do it.” The LORD heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the LORD said to me, “I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken.”

    Scripture does not explicitly state how a 120-year lifespan actually stopped the sin of the sons of God, it simply ceased during the life of Moses. I believe, however, that the shortened lifespans are a clue that a genetic decay happened in humanity such that when the lifespan declined to 120 years, spirits (good or bad) were no longer tangible but became less physical to our human bodies. Now for the sin of the sons of God to occur, spirits have to be tangible in ways that our current bodies no longer genetically tolerate. In early Genesis spirits appear physical, God walks with Adam and Eve Genesis 3:8. Adam sees the Cherubim with flaming swords guarding Eden Genesis 3:24. God meets Cain and proclaims His judgment Genesis 4:9-16. God physically walks with Enoch and Noah Genesis 5:22, 6:9. God and two angels meet and dine with Abraham Genesis 18:1-33. The two angels dine with Lot Genesis 19:3 and wicked men of Sodom (allies of the Nephilim Genesis 14:1-9) attempt to physically assault angels echoing of the sin of the sons of God Genesis 19:5. Spirits physically grab Lot and his family to lead them out of Sodom Genesis 19:16. Jacob wrestles with an angel Genesis 32:24-32. In those days God and spirits can be tangible.

    After Moses, spirits interact with the physical world but are more distant physically. The angel that spoke with Gideon burned up the dinner that Gideon had brought him instead of eating it Judges 6:21 and the same is true for Sampson’s parents in Judges 13:16. The only angelic “touching” happens to people in visions like Isaiah Isaiah 6:7 or Jeremiah Jeremiah 1:9 or during their sleep as when the angel touched the sleeping Elijah 1 Kings 19:5-7 or when the angel grabbed the sleeping Peter in his prison cell Acts12:7 or even touched Daniel in both visions/sleep Daniel 10:9-21. After Moses, the “touching” by spirits is always linked to visions/dreams/or sleeping and not wakeful activity as seen earlier in Genesis. In conclusion, it seems that the means God used to stop the sin of the sons of God was linked to the 120-year lifespan decreed in Genesis 6:3. While wicked angels continued to sin with women and create new Nephilim after the flood; the sin of the sons of God finally ceased with Moses at Sinai in Exodus 20. Spirits, both good and bad, became less physical. After Moses died at 120 years old, only wicked descendants of the Nephilim remained on earth and these were destroyed by God’s people as they conquered Canaan.

    Let me contrast the physical interaction between humans and spirits before and after Moses another and even stronger way. In Genesis 18 God and two angels visit Abraham who invites them to dinner and they dine with him Genesis 18:8. In Genesis 19 the two angels visit Lot and dine with him Genesis 19:3 and they physically grab Lot and his family to drag them out of Sodom Genesis 19:16. Even more dramatic is Genesis 32:24-32 where Jacob wrestles with angel as confirmed in Hosea 12:4. It is very clear that spirits can eat with, physically grab and even wrestle humans before Moses.

    After Moses, during a dramatic event in Jerusalem in Luke 24:36-43, we find Jesus seeking to prove to His disciples that He is a resurrected man and not a spirit. Jesus tells the apostles, “Touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Jesus Himself claims that spirits are not tangible with flesh and bones to be felt at that time. When they still did not believe Jesus then goes further to prove He is not a spirit by asking for something to eat, implying that spirits do not eat food. This is consistent with the two angels that simply burned the meals offered to them after Moses Judges 6:21, 13:16. After Moses, spirits do not eat or touch humans except in dreams, sleep or visions.

    The decree of Genesis 6:3 implemented with Moses seems to be the best explanation to reconcile the certain evolution of spirit/human interaction from where spirits touch and eat to where they neither touch nor eat.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor


    The evidence that Jesus had a bodily resurrection is indeed an important matter. So when you ask, in essence, "Wait, couldn't that locked-room appearance have been a theophany or angelic visit similar to some appearances in the Old Testament, so that the eating proves nothing if the disciples had just thought about it further?" you ask a good question.

    However, your proposed solution requires you to jump through several difficult hoops. You have to sell the ideas that angels stopped eating and poking people around the time of Moses, and/or that there's a difference between angelic visits experienced in a dream and those experienced while awake, and a specific explanation of the Nephilim, and that the disciples clearly knew these truths and applied them in the moment.

    Well, few people are going to buy those conclusions because, frankly, those hoops you are jumping through are a stretch.

    As I've thought more about your apparent contradiction, I am starting to see that although I don't like your proposed solution, it's a valid question. Given the events that followed in the years to come, there can be no doubt that the disciples did think this through very thoroughly at some point. Even if initially they only thought in terms of a ghost (which I still say is not the same thing as an angelic visit), eventually they would have considered passages like Genesis 18 and the possibility of an angelic visit—and they still came to the conclusion that Jesus rose in his body.

    Perhaps part of the solution is that we are giving too much importance to the fact that Jesus ate the fish. He did it to help his disciples believe in the moment, but it is not meant to be an ultimate, prove-beyond-all-doubt bit of evidence. In the end, although the empty tomb and the eyewitness encounters and the eaten fish all help us greatly, we believe the resurrection is true because we believe the word of God. Jesus said he was alive in the body. He is more trustworthy than any leftover fish bones. The fish helps us to believe, but it does not have to bear the weight of being incontrovertible evidence.

    What do others think?
  3. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    Please reread the text in Acts (see post 4). I am fairly certain that it said Peter initially thought it was a vision, but then realized it was all happening for real. And so him being touched to be made awake, actually did happen.
  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Exactly. All of that happened in real life
  5. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Am I the only one who is scratching my head at this point? What is the problem here? I am not trying to sound trite or rude, @K Jentoft, but are you considering even for a moment that God has the ability to make things which are ordinarily one way to behave another? I could say, "Donkeys can't talk," and that would be an absolutely true statement, because I am speaking in regard to the ordinary, not in regard to God's extraordinary working. Therefore, my statement "Donkeys cant' talk" is in no way contradictory to Scripture's account of Balaam's donkey speaking to him. Could this not be the way Jesus is speaking? Would you rather him have said what he said about spirits not touching or eating, and then giving an entire systematic-theological treatment of spirits to the disciples, or what?

    Again, I am not trying to be rude here, but the "issue" seems either to be 1) a non-issue or 2) an easily-solvable issue.
  6. K Jentoft

    K Jentoft Puritan Board Freshman

    Here is the text:

    And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he *said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.

    The "striking" happened while Peter was sleeping because it was after this happened that he woke up. In addition to seeing/hearing the angel, Peter witnessed guards sleeping and the door opening of itself in the presence of the angel - these he thought were part of a vision. Oddly, while the angel obviously interacts with the iron gate and opens it, he does not even physically touch the gate, unlike the angels in Lot's home in Genesis 19:10. It makes me wonder how the angel rolled away the stone of Jesus' tomb? Did it simply move when the angel appeared like the iron gate that imprisoned Peter?

    When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  7. K Jentoft

    K Jentoft Puritan Board Freshman

    Again, you bring up a great point. Because donkeys to not speak, the text explicitly tells us that God made or created an exception Numbers 22:28-31. God can do anything, including making iron float 2 Kings 6:6, but the normal pattern of a miracle or anomaly is to have it attributed to God. God could have made us, our memories and all things yesterday and we would not know it unless He told us. It seems to me that it is easier or more straightforward to simply take Jesus at His word. If the explanation of everything is that God can do it, I agree with you, but it leaves us little room to learn and grow.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  8. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    Luke said he struck Peter ( and he struck Peter’s side). Is this statement mitigated because Peter is asleep?
  9. K Jentoft

    K Jentoft Puritan Board Freshman

    Luke also said that an angel struck (same word and it only appears 2x in the Bible) Herod in Acts 12:23 and like Peter the effect is physical. The waking touch could just as well as been something like the angel opening the iron gate. The angel impacted the physical gate and it opened, but not directly.

    Ultimately, all I am saying is that the touching done by angels after Moses (all that I am aware of) happen when people are sleeping, in visions or in dreams. This is different than the physical interaction with angels before Moses that happened in wakeful activity. In addition, while there was interaction with angels after Moses including Joshua, Gideon and the parents of Sampson to name a few, there is no physical touching recorded during these instances.
  10. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, and all of this is the answer to this "problem," for which you are looking. Jesus' statement is correct, because it is a true statement without consideration for the extraordinary things we see in the OT. I am very confused as to why this is not an acceptable answer...
  11. K Jentoft

    K Jentoft Puritan Board Freshman


    It seems to me that the Genesis 18 and 19 accounts almost go out of their way to describe the appearance of God and angels in human forms that touch and eat as something "normal." It is odd that the men of Sodom singled out the tangible angels as targets for something very similar to the "sin of the sons of God" and would give additional meaning to Jude's condemnation of them along with the wicked angels who sin with strange flesh in the time of Noah Jude 6-7. Tangible physical spirits did not shock either Abraham, Sarah or Lot, at least by what is written. While Abraham knows it is God (because he has seen Him before?) Abraham simply accepts it and offers some food in hospitality. Jesus' words would seem to state that what we find to be seemingly normal in Genesis 18 is actually impossible because spirits cannot be touched and don't eat.
  12. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    You keep equivocating between angels (malakim) and the Greek view of spirits. The Bible isn't endorsing the type of spirit beings that were in the popular worldview. Jesus is just saying, "If I am a spirit [like you think I am], then how can I eat?"
  13. K Jentoft

    K Jentoft Puritan Board Freshman

    The Jewish view of angels as spirits was well developed before the Greeks. I already pointed out Acts 23:8-9. Luke had the opportunity to use the Greek word for ghost to describe the resurrected Christ but he didn't, Luke used the word for spirit instead. I understand that you feel that Jesus is just pandering to a heretical Greek view of spirits embraced by His disciples, and perhaps you are correct. For me I do not find that in the text. It seems more likely to me that Jesus simply meant what He said.
  14. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Depends on when. In any case, the Greeks long predated Acts 23.
    With all due respect, no one finds your "evolution" in the text, either.
  15. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    Ultimately, I am just not seeing this distinction. I like @BayouHuguenot "Angels assume the property of materiality when they interact with us" which I take to mean just them interacting with us implies some sort of material (maybe that is a wrong intrepretion) and @Jack K with " Jesus said he was alive in the body. He is more trustworthy than any leftover fish bones. "

    I do not think I have anything more to say. Peace.
  16. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I give up.
  17. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    The view of, e.g., Calvin is that God creates a body for angels in places like Genesis 18:8 so that they can interact with the material world. If the Jews had a well-developed sense of immaterial spirits, then it would have been obvious that only a miracle from God would allow them to interact materially. It is only a short step from there to have a miracle of God create them a body so that they can interact materially. That Jesus could eat was part of the proof that he had a body. That his body had the same scars was further proof of not only having a body but the same body that was crucified (but now resurrected). The disciples could still doubt and think that they were being deceived, of course (how do we know that any person we are interacting with is genuinely the same person, and not a look-a-like or enchantment of the devil [supposing one held to a worldview of devils being able to do such things on their own power]? we could get hyper-skeptical if we really wanted.), but it is supposed to function as cumulative evidence their doubts--especially concerning whether they were seeing a spirit or a body; it should also be remembered that this is not the first time Christ appeared after his resurrection (and the eleven supposedly believed in Luke 24:34).
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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