Lorehaven’s mission is that it, “helps Christian fans explore fantastical stories for Christ’s glory” and the, “Lorehaven Guild community help fans discern and enjoy the best Christian-made fantastical stories” yet, in this case they tackled a real issue but since they were unwilling to discuss it, I thought to post this review for them.
The title of the show and article is, Fantastical Truth: 135. Why Are Some Christians So Curious About Nephilim? (October 26, 2022).
Lorehaven asks, “Why Are Some Christians So Curious About Nephilim?” and replied as per, “this giant controversy about these ‘monsters’” followed by a common parlance play off of a memeish slant on the Ancient Aliens show with, “I’m not saying our next monster for Monster Month was nephilim, but it was nephilim.”
It is noted, “You’ve heard about them in sermons” sure, but also, “You’ve seen their name in dozens of Christian-made fantastical books’ back covers…a starring role in many Christian speculations…in so many Christian fantasy novels” and, I will add, romance novels as well—by the truck load.
The, “Quotes and notes” section is populated with mostly unbiblical Nephilology sources (apparently unbeknownst to Lorehaven: Tim Chaffey, Michael Heiser, and further along, Brian Godawa).
It is noted, “we have only four short verses about the pre-Flood Nephilim” in terms of, “What does the Bible say about Nephilim?” versus what do pop-Nephilologists say, what do novels say, what does sci-fi say—and what does that which I term neo-theo-sci-fi Nephilology say?
Well, the key text is as follows:
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.
Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. (Genesis 6:1–4)
We are then told about, “one other reference (with a name inspiring a Star Wars villain)” which is:
… Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy [the land of Canaan], for we are well able to overcome it.”
Then the men who had gone up with him [to scout out the land] said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”
So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (Numbers 13:30–33)
The bit about the villain is that reference is made to the Anakim (yet, not in the LXX version) which is Hebrew male plural (“im) for the descendants of a man named Anak and the villain is Anakin Skywalker with the Aramaic plural (“in”).
Lorehaven rightly notes, “That’s it. That’s everything the Bible says about Nephilim by name” which makes me interested if they think there are other references to them by any other name.
Now, both quotes referenced the specific ancient Hebrew term “Nephilim” but now Lorehaven jumps to a vague, generic, subjective, multi-usage, and undefined modern English word, “In later Old Testament books, you do hear more about the giants” but, pray tell, what “giants”? Well, apparently Nephilim, as per Num 13:33.
This is directly followed by the assertion that, “These giants fight for the Philistines, killed by David and his mighty men.” Yet, at this point a key error has been made by those who chase the English word “giants” around (certain) English Bibles since the reference was to Goliath who was a Repha, not a Nephil.
We are then abruptly told, The same words, ‘mighty men,’ describe Nephilim and David’s soldiers” but we were not told which word is being referenced: it is gibbor(im) which is a descriptive term meaning might/mighty and is thus, also used of Angels, Boaz, God, etc.
We are told, “Just to be clear: there’s nothing here about Satan, demons, or creatures. On first reading, the Genesis text could be describing any kind of group” yet, there are two groups: the sons of God and the daughters of men—which certainly seems like a purposeful bifurcation.
Also, “On first reading, the Israelite spies could be likening giants to legends” but note two issues: it was not “the Israelite spies” in toto since there were twelve but the ten that outed themselves as being utterly unreliable, unfaithful, disloyal, contradictory, embellishers who presented an evil report and were rebuked by God were the ones who merely asserted having seen them and also, they “could be likening giants to legends” or inventing a legendary tall-tale of their own, on the spot.
Reference is made to, “the commentary of The ESV Study Bible” which notes that the term Nephilim, “occurs…in the OT only in Num. 13:33, where it denotes a group living in Canaan” but this is fallacious as it grants the ten’s evil-report-tall-tale.
The Study Bible makes the same error as Lorehaven did in speaking too generically about, “the Israelite spies” rather than distinguishing the ten vs. Caleb, and Joshua who sided with him.
The comment continues with, “in Hebrew Nephilim means ‘fallen ones,’ the earliest Greek translators rendered it gigantes, ‘giants.’ This idea may have been mistakenly deduced from Num. 13:33; one must be cautious about reading it back into the present passage. The Nephilim were mighty men or warriors and, as such, may well have contributed to the violence that filled the earth (see Gen. 6:13).”
This is a very important point to make, even if not as detailed as it could have been. For unknown reasons, Greek translators rendered (did not translate: so that was an important qualifier), “it gigantes, ‘giants’” but that, “This idea may have been mistakenly deduced from Num. 13:33” is problematic due to a couple of factors:
1) The commentary did not inform us that gigantes means earth-born (as in born of Gaia) so that the usage of giants in some English Bibles implies nothing whatsoever about height at all.
2) Perhaps the Greek translators rendered it thusly by having mistakenly deducing it from Num. 13:33 but, for unknown reasons, they also rendered Rephaim as gigantes and also rendered gibborim as gigantes—which was a terrible idea. Thus, they rendered words as different in spelling and meaning as Nephilim-fallen/to fall/to cause to fall and Repha(im)-ranges from healing to dead, and gibbor(im)-might/mighty.
As for extra biblical references—wherein the evil-report-tall-tales really come to life (with extreme prejudice), we are told of 1 Enoch/Ethiopic Enoch which, “describes a parallel/expanded narrative about the Flood…It says angels took human women as wives, who gave birth to giants” quite literally since biblically we have no reliable physical description of them but 1 Enoch has them being 3,000 ells tall which is MILES tall: great folklore, poor reality.
It is noted, “Enoch is a wild ride, but it’s not in the biblical canon” to which I will add, “and it’s not in the biblical canon” for a few reasons including that it was written millennia after the Torah and contradicts the Bible, a lot—see my book In Consideration of the Book(s) of Enoch.
Interestingly, Tim Chaffey is quoted as noting, “I wrote a nearly 500-page book on the subject — Fallen: The Sons of God and the Nephilim. It includes a chapter near the end urging believers to avoid the fantastically speculative stuff. I think it’s important to teach the truth about the Nephilim, so it’s good to correct the sensationalism that is often tied to it.”
Now, you will find my name in his book because I provided a lot of references to him (and he, in turn, provided me a few) but his Nephilology is not biblical.
He is quoted thusly (“from personal correspondence”), “Scripture clearly indicates that the Nephilim were the descendants of the sons of God (angelic beings) and women. Nevertheless, this does not make them some sort of demon/human hybrid, as is often imagined” but how does that make any logical, theo-logical, or bio-logical sense? Actually, I agree that it would not make them “demon” human hybrids since that moved the goalpost from “angelic beings” but they were, by definition, Angel/human hybrids.
Well, his argument is, “They were still considered to be ‘mighty men’ and ‘men of renown’ (Gen. 6:4). They are described as large men in Numbers 13 as well, when the narrator tells us that the spies saw the Anakim (who are of the Nephilim) in the land. They were not aliens, urban fantasy critters, etc. How could they be the offspring of rebellious angels and women and still be fully human?”
He answers his own question, to which we shall yet get, but first let us unpack this:
Angels are not human but since they look just like human males they are referred to as man/men. Thus, a half hu-man is still a man just like we may say that Obama was the first Black President even though he was only half-Black. Thus, the gotcha question, “How could they be the offspring of rebellious angels and women and still be fully human?” is based on the faulty premise that man/men can only mean “fully human.”
Note also that he also speaks generically of, “the spies” and takes it for granted that if, “They are described as large” then it must, apparently, be so.
Now to his answer, “It could be that the angels took human form to accomplish this feat, which I think is very likely given that they married the women” yet, there is no indication anywhere in the whole Bible that Angles ever took human form—especially since they would not have to since, again, they already look just like human males.
Interestingly, he goes on to say, “I think one could make a strong case that angels are also made in God’s image (try thinking of one attribute we cite about man being made in God’s image that couldn’t also be applied to angels).” I would go further and note that since Angles look just like human males, we were made, “a little lower” than they (Psalm 8:5), and we can produce offspring with them then, by definition, we are of the same basic kind.
Lorehaven refers to Nephilim as, “evil Andre the Giants” correlating them to a wrestler and actor known to have been unusually tall yet, again, such a correlation is fallacious due to the missing data point on the Nephilim side of the supposed equation.
We are rightly told, “This is a Bible cameo, not starring role…Genesis 6 only touches on the ‘Nephilim.’ It’s like a postscript” and gets into the flood issue:
Scripture says they were there, “and also afterward.” So: after the Flood?
Was Nimrod (Gen. 10:8), a “mighty hunter before the Lord,” also a Nephilim?
This seems to rule out worse demonic activity that the Flood destroyed; if the demonic Nephilim only popped up again post-Flood, God’s judgment for that evil failed.
Speculators make much of verse 1’s phrase “sons of God.” But that need not refer to angels who sinfully took human women.
It could mean, simply, men. And later we also read what is surely a clearer definition of Nephilim: “These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.”
Demons! It must be about demons?
No. “Nephilim” could be a warrior tribe.
Let’s avoid insisting that Nephilim = demons beyond all doubt, then parade any “evidence” from either the book of Enoch (it’s fascinating, but isn’t in canon) or elongated fossil skulls.
“So: after the Flood?” no, the flood isn’t even mentioned for the very first time until 13 vss. later, v. 17.
“Was Nimrod…also a Nephilim?” no, for two reasons: 1) the question is asking if he was more than one person: a grammatically accurate question would be whether he was a Nephil since the im portion is the Hebrew male plural.
2) the only correlation between Nephilim and Nimrod would be that they where gibborim and he was a gibor. Yet, merely referring to them and he as mighty correlates them about as much as that some of David’s soldiers were gibborim or that Boaz was a gibor or that God Himself is the Gibor.
But we are told that (what turns out to be a misreading of Gen 6:4 and a basic error about Nimrod), “seems to rule out worse demonic activity that the Flood destroyed; if the demonic Nephilim only popped up again post-Flood, God’s judgment for that evil failed.”
Indeed, that is something that I am constantly telling post-flood Nephilim believers: no matter what tall-tale story they literally invent in order to get them past the flood, they end up implying God failed: He meant to be rid of them but could not get the job done, missed loopholes about them surviving genetically or just returning, somehow, etc.
An argument is proposed that goes thusly, “…‘sons of God’…need not refer to angels who sinfully took human women. It could mean, simply, men. And later we also read what is surely a clearer definition of Nephilim: ‘These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown’…‘Nephilim’ could be a warrior tribe.”
Yet, what was wrong—wrong enough to be the premise for the flood—with mere men marrying women is not elucidated: nor is why such as not resulted in multiple floods since mere men have married women all throughout history.
When personal pronouns are used of Angels, they are always referred to as man/men since such is how they look. Thus, the offspring of these men and wo-men would rightly be called men—like unto how we refer to Obama as, “the first Black President” even though he is half Black.
As for, “‘Nephilim’ could be a warrior tribe”: it is a non-sequitur and false dichotomy that they are either half-Angel/half-human or else warriors since they could have been both.
I take it as somewhat tongue-in-cheek that it is also noted, “Let’s avoid insisting that Nephilim = demons beyond all doubt, then parade any ‘evidence’ from either the book of Enoch (it’s fascinating, but isn’t in canon) or elongated fossil skulls.”
“Nephilim = demons” is folklore from millennia after the Torah, from the pseudepigraphic texts Jubilees and 1 Enoch.
And as for “elongated fossil skulls” well, since we do not have reliable physical description of Nephilim then, by definition, we do not know what their skulls looked like.
Interestingly, under subsection, “What Nephilim do we find in fiction?” we are told, “Nephilim stories can take us far from even the Enoch theories” indeed, since that is all that 1 Enoch appears to contain—recall the great folklore about Nephilim being MILES tall.
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