Who Are The Nephilim?
They are the offspring of the sons of God who mated the daughters of Adam, as described in the Old Testament. They are the great Biblical giants, “the fallen ones,” also the Rephaim, “the dead ones”. These are the descriptors that apply to characters found within the Hebrew Bible, what Christians call the Old Testament, starting at Genesis 6:1–4, which tells the readers that the Nephilim, the “fallen ones,” were the product of mingling between the divine beings, called the sons of god, and human women, recorded as the daughters of Adam. The Nephilim are known as great warriors and Biblical giants, from what we read in Ezekiel 32:27 and Numbers 13:33.
We are told that the acts that created the Nephilim ultimately resulted in God deciding that a flood was necessary to purge the earth, which understandably have resulted in the Nephilim gaining a negative connotation for us. Specifically this is because Genesis 6:5 introduces the flood narrative, as well as the fact that their name translates as “fallen ones.” However, Genesis 6:4 says nothing but good things about the Nephilim and no sardonic undertone is present. It could further be argued that “fallen ones” refers to their divine paternity transforming—falling—into the human condition, albeit an almost superhuman condition.
The Nephilim In The Bible
References to the Nephilim in the Bible are scant, but prominent. Genesis 6, Ezekiel 32, and Numbers 13 are the only passages that mention the Nephilim by name, but their presence can be felt in other passages of the Bible. For instance, the term Rephaim, “the dead ones,” can be conflated with the Nephilim. The Rephaim refers to two groups in the scriptures. The first are dead people who have achieved an almost divine status, similar to what we now think of as saints. The second is a term that is applied to the races of Biblical giants, and it is this second usage that can be associated with the Nephilim.
Thus, the Rephaim appears in Deuteronomy 2:11; 3:11; 2 Samuel 21:19 and Joshua 11:22. It is notable that they almost always take the form of antagonists towards Israel, in the forms of Anaqim, Og, and Goliath. It has been pointed out that the Rephaim therefore live up to their name, as their purpose in each narrative is to die.
Because of the little that is talked about in the Bible, to arrive at a biblical Nephilim definition is to arrive at an ambiguous one, since it is not explained canonically what is meant by the “sons of God.” Some have understood the sons of God to be fallen angels, and the Nephilim are the offspring they produced with human women. For this we must look to the First Book of Enoch, a non-canonical Jewish text. Enoch, as the book describes Nephilim giants, which seems in accordance with the “people of great size” described in the Numbers passage. The apparent gigantism of the Nephilim is argued to stem from their supernatural origin.
A less supernatural view holds that the Nephilim were simply men who fell away from righteousness. Certain theologians hold that “sons of God” is a reference to the descendants of Seth, the righteous son of Adam, which would mean that the Nephilim were members of his bloodline who rejected God. This view, known as the Sethian view, was held by St. Augustine and other Church Fathers as well as by many Jewish theologians. The Sethian view is sometimes elaborated with the assertion that the “daughters of men” were the ungodly women of the bloodline of Cain, Adam’s murderous son. With the Nephilim as mere humans, their “great size” is variously taken literally or metaphorically, though they were undoubtedly considered great warriors, and this is analogously consistent with what other cultures considered “giant” to mean.
How To Recognize A Nephilim
So, should we know how to recognize a Nephilim today? Clearly there is no race of giants to be found walking the earth. Still, it remains a popular speculation in some circles. There are theories that believe that many Nephilim survived and their offspring live among us today.
Of course, The Nephilim of the Bible are very easy to recognize, being giants, but little other physical differences are described. But the Nephilim from the Bible would not be alive today, since they were reported to be killed by Archangel Gabriel before the flood.