As you may be aware, today’s passage is difficult to interpret. Therefore, Pastor Jim explains this important hermeneutical (interpretive) principle: “The best interpretation [assuming it is already consistent with the rest of Scripture] is the one that explains the most and leaves the fewest problems.”
The primary issue concerns what the term “sons of God” means. There are several possible options that Pastor Jim explores, but each has drawbacks. In the end, he concludes that a hybrid view (of options 2 & 3) is the best option.
Option #1 “sons of God” means Sethites.
Option #2 “sons of God” means fallen angels
Option #3 “sons of God” means a dynasty of Lamech-type tyrants or giants (the Euhemerus view)
Hybrid 2 & 3 view: Lamech-type men or giants who were demonically possessed:
“mighty rulers of gigantic stature and strength, epic warriors, who were extraordinarily lusty and demonically occupied and driven. That explanation seems to explain the most and leave us with the fewest problems.”
[By the way, Pastor Jim makes reference to “a famous OT scholar” and later, “some scholars,” in this program. In both cases, he is referring to Dr. Bruce Waltke, whose commentary on Genesis was a resource in preparing this study. As explained in a previous Study Guide, this work is sound, but Dr. Waltke recently embraced evolution, so his name has been deleted.]
In v. 4, Moses expands on verse 1. “Nephilim” comes from a Hebrew that means “to fall,” then evolves into this noun form which refers to those who fall upon (others).
Also in v. 4, Moses uses the Hebrew word “giborim.” The word means strong, mighty. Then it comes to mean in the more positive sense, a chief, a military leader. Finally in the negative sense, it meant a proud tyrant, i.e. a heavy-weight criminal dictator who pushes everybody around, and takes what he wants from whomever.
v. 7 The Hebrew word for regret, “nacham,” means to lament, grieve. Human transgression grieves the heart of God. And God is not the author of sin, which is contrary to His holiness. But God was not surprised or “sorry” in a self-critical way.
v. 8 The name ‘Noah’ sounds like ‘comfort’ in Hebrew
v. 9 “This is the [toledoth] account of Noah and his family.” This word means “generations,” and this is the third such structural marker by this name in Genesis; first was the account of the heavens and the earth, then the account of Adam and Eve, and now the account of Noah and his family.
In v. 11, the Hebrew word for corrupt means “destroyed” or “ruined” morally.
The English term, post-Diluvian, means “after the flood.”
In v. 12, the Hebrew noun for “the earth” includes not only animal life but the physical appearance and features of the earth as it then existed.