Blogging the Bible
I have been reading a fun blog by David Plotz on Slate who is reading the Bible for the first time and blogging his synopsis of it along with commentary. I have never read the whole bible though I have started it at least twice and this saves me the trouble of ever trying again. I remember as a teenager having the intent of reading the bible in an effort to be "good" I sailed along nicely in Genesis until 6 1-2. There I found information that sent me into a quandary from which my religious belief has never fully recovered. I was a nice Christian girl you see, plagued by hormones and some acne and I was coming to the bible for help. What I found was not help. What I found was impossible conflicting mind boggling erotica!
GENESIS 6:1 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they lay with all whom they chose.
Sons of God!!!! Daughters of man!!!! Lay with!!!!!!!!
3 And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." 4 There were giants 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.
Now it used to be, when I asked questions about the Bible and God like "How could Jesus rise from the dead?" or " How could they live to be 600 years old?" or "how could there be giants?", I would get the answer "Things were different then" which notified me that the discussion was over. But I had never come across on my own something so well..... mesmerizing and haunting as genesis 6. and if every word of the bible is true then!!!!!!! but how could it be true???
I was scandalized. Of course I did not ask "How could the sons of God....lay with..." since those topics were not ever addressed in my family, such thoughts, feelings, actions were what I had come to the Bible to get rid of. So my efforts at reforming myself came to an end. Once I went to college, I left my small town faith of for a mandatory sortie with atheism. Years later when I tried the Bible again, I was stopped by the same passage, only this time greeted it with quite a bit of pleasure. Not only did the idea delight me, I sensed the perfect question to ask those pesky Jehovah's Witnesses the next time they came downriver. Because if every word of the Bible is true then sons of God means sons of God. Period. Don't quibble.
I googled sons of God to find out what the bible scholars say and discovered there are several different explanations and no consensus. Quibbling galore. #1. The sons of God are fallen angels and after they lay with the daughters of man, the daughters give birth to bunch of nephilim or giants. Some have it that the nephilim were bad and others that they were just large. #2. St. Augustine felt angels even fallen ones would never have sex with anyone let alone the daughters of man, so he proposed that the sons of God were the descendents of Seth who lay with the descendants of Cain and thus corrupted the bloodline of humans. Seth being the good son of Adam and Cain the bad. #3. The Jewish version is that the sons of God were pre flood rulers or magistrates and a 2nd century Rabbi actually cursed anyone who believed otherwise. Here the nephilim are good and quite possibly Noah is one of them.
All of this exegesis seems to me to be trying to explain away this quite wonderful foray into sexual bliss. I am a strict word for word interpreter of the bible in this passage. For once, God, that old chausvinist, or at least his sons, lets the women have what is due them. None of that Rachel, Rebecca, Naomi, Ruth obedient modest schtick. Sad to say Plotz does not even mention this verse. Perhaps it is only intriguing to a woman. I mean, did the sons of God find the daughers of man beautiful? You bet! Did they want to lie with them? Of course they did. In my younger years I would say," Hey, sounds like fun to me." Things were different then, oh yeah!