|Forum Home > The Arena > The Sethite View|
The Sethite view pertains to Genesis chapter 6, which talks about the "sons of God" and "daughters of men."
It actually did not come about until 5 centuries after Christ’s resurrection and ascension. The view that these beings were fallen angels having intercourse with women was taught and understood for centuries by both the ancient rabbis and the Early Church fathers, yet is completely excluded. Most seminary students do not even know there are two views.
Celsus and Julian the Apostate used the traditional "angel" belief to attack Christianity. Julius Africanus resorted to the Sethite interpretation as a more comfortable ground, rather than defending the Word of God, and what had been taught for centuries. Cyril of Alexandria also repudiated the orthodox "angel" position with the "line of Seth" interpretation. Augustine also embraced the Sethite theory and thus it prevailed into the Middle Ages. It is still widely taught today among many churches who find the literal "angel" view a bit disturbing. There are many outstanding Bible teachers who still defend this view.
The Sethite view basically teaches that the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 were not fallen angels, but rather were the “godly line of Seth.” And that the “daughters of men” were the “wicked daughters of Cain.” There a number of problems with this view, however.
For one, it was clearly, when you read the text, the "sons of God" who initiated this union. The "daughters of men" were clearly the victims. If this was the "line of Seth," it doesn't go to far in showing they were godly. Also, they would have had to seek out the these women if they were the daughters of Cain. Remember, Genesis 4:12, God told Cain he would be a wanderer, and verse 16, Cain went out to the land of Nod (which means the land of wandering). If this is the line of Seth, they aren't appearing to be too godly.
Also, Genesis 4:26 states that, "To Seth, to him also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord." The Hebrew term here for "call upon" means "to defile." This was not "calling upon the name of the Lord" in a godly way, but rather defiling His name. Such taking His name in vain or using it as a curse word. This was Seth's own son, Enosh. That's not too godly, and by the way, the name Enosh means "mortal, frail, weak, sickly, or incurable."
Then, one has to remember that if the "sons of God" were the sons of Seth, then a lot of godly and good people perished in the flood. Remember, it was only Noah and his family who were allowed onto the Ark. So, if they were so godly, why did they not get to go aboard the Ark and be saved?
One argument people make against the "sons of God" being fallen angels is they say that Jesus said in Matthew 22 that angels do not have sex. But, this is not what the text says.
Jesus said in Matthew 22, verse 30, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”
Now, let’s look at the context of this verse. The Sadducees came to Jesus and asked Him who a certain woman, whose husband died, would be married to in heaven if she remarried. They never say anything about sexual relations, but only marriage. In Jesus’s response, He never says anything about sex, but He speaks exclusively of marriage.
He never says the angels do not have the capability of sex, but only that they do not marry in heaven. Also, notice that it says, “angels IN HEAVEN.” The angels in heaven do not marry, and therefore choose not to have sex. This is not talking about fallen angels.
It’s also interesting that Jesus would make this distinction between angels by stating the “angels in heaven.” If no angel ever had sex, why did He not just say that we would be like the angels? Because the fallen angels do not abide by the same rules that angels in heaven abide by. That’s kind of why they are fallen.
The Hebrew term for "sons of God" in Genesis 6 is "Bene HaElohim" which is consistently used in the Old Testament to mean angels. It literally means a "direct creation of God." In our natural state, we are not sons of God, but instead, sons of Adam. Adam was a direct creation of God, and besides Jesus Himself, Adam is the only man referred to as a "son of God."
The term used for "daughters of men" in Genesis 6 is "Benoth Adam" or "daughters of Adam." This is not a segment of humanity (e.g. Cain), but rather humanity as a whole that the sons of God were creating hybrid offspring (giants, "Nephilim") with.
In Job 38:1-7, we read that "when [God] laid the foundation of the earth... the sons of God (Bene HaElohim) shouted for joy." Obviously they could not be humans, as at this point, Adam had not even been created.
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart
and lean not unto thine own understandings.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall
direct thy paths."