Spiritual Warfare - Lesson 7

Genesis 6

From this lesson, you gain insight into the interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4, where the "Sons of God" are seen as angelic beings who sinned by marrying human women, resulting in the Nephilim. This perspective ties into New Testament passages and the act of baptism, symbolizing a victory declaration over the forces of evil. In essence, you'll understand the nuanced interpretation of these biblical passages and their significance in the Christian faith.

Gerry Breshears
Spiritual Warfare
Lesson 7
Watching Now
Genesis 6

I. Introduction

A. Genesis Four and the Echoes of Genesis Three

B. Augustine's Privation Theory of Sin

C. Sin as a Crouching Lion

II. Genesis Six: The Sons of God and Daughters of Men

A. Different Interpretations of the Sons of God

B. Angels and Humans Making Babies

C. The Disobedient Spirits Imprisoned

III. Biblical Significance

A. The Proclamation to Imprisoned Spirits

B. Baptism as Proclaiming Triumph

IV. Conclusion

A. The Complex Nature of Genesis Six

B. Theological Implications of the Sons of God

C. Podcast Reference: Exiles in Babylon

V. Final Thoughts

A. The Ongoing Debate on Genesis Six

B. The Relevance of Genesis in Modern Theology

Class Resources
  • Dr. Gerry Breshears discusses some of the main teachings of the Bible on Spiritual Warfare and then participates in a live question and answer.

  • Discover Dr. Breshears' journey from science to spiritual warfare, debunking scientific explanations for demons. Unveil a seminary student's anxiety battle, uncover curses, theological misconceptions, and inner demonic voices. Prepare for a course on spiritual warfare and staying loyal to God.
  • Gain insights into worldviews within Christianity, including polytheism, American monotheism, and Christian monotheism. Explore the nature of spiritual beings and idols.
  • Gain insight into powerful spiritual beings tied to nations in the Bible. Warning against intermarriage and foreign gods emphasized.
  • You'll gain insight into spiritual warfare through Genesis 11, where human defiance led to the scattering of nations and involvement of angelic beings.
  • You will gain insight into a distinct biblical interpretation that views the universe's creation as an act of shaping Eden within a pre-existing cosmic war, and the role of humans in this ongoing battle by cultivating goodness and order to combat evil and chaos.
  • In this lesson, the story of Adam and Eve is analyzed within the context of spiritual warfare, highlighting the serpent's strategy to question God's goodness and encourage independence, while God responds with a call to confession and hints at a future Messiah's role in redemption.
  • This lesson offers an insightful interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4, presenting the "Sons of God" as angelic beings who sinned by marrying humans, leading to the Nephilim, linking this perspective to New Testament passages and the symbolism of baptism as a victory declaration against evil forces, deepening your understanding of the nuanced interpretation of these biblical passages and their importance in Christianity.
  • The passages reviewed in this lesson reveal a unique portrayal of God's actions, using unconventional methods. Challenge common interpretations, caution against single-verse doctrines. Embrace the mystery of God's ways, avoiding rigid interpretations when context is unclear.
  • This lesson reviews a passage in Colossians, offering insights into spiritual warfare and the dichotomy between the kingdoms of light and darkness, emphasizing believers' rescue from darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God, forgiveness of sins, and the essential elements of faith, all of which are vital for confronting demonic accusations and oppression.
  • Learn the core of Ephesians: spiritual warfare, dedication to God vs. Satan, moral maturity, and becoming Christ's partner. Emphasizes unity, living in light, using God's Word, and the power of prayer in this battle.
  • Learn to resist the temptations of the world and the devil by humbling yourself, casting anxiety on God, being self-controlled, alert, and standing firm in faith as taught in James and 1 Peter, emphasizing the importance of using your strengths for God's kingdom and opposing pressures and distortions from the enemy to avoid being devoured.
  • This lesson highlights the significance of facing spiritual forces in Jesus' name, stressing that authority alone isn't enough. Faith, confidence, and prayer-driven competence are vital for effective spiritual warfare. It inspires you to confront spiritual battles like Jesus did, with authority and unwavering faith.
  • This lesson delves into a biblical narrative highlighting Jesus' authority over evil spirits. It emphasizes the transformative power of His deliverance and the profound change it can bring to those tormented by demonic influence.
  • This lesson provides deep insights into Satan's fall in the Bible, covering Old Testament passages (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28) linked to it, addressing their ambiguity. It also discusses withholding Satan's name due to his evil nature and how Jesus broke his authority in the New Testament, though he remains a threat to believers.
  • This lesson delves into the intricate dynamics between believers, demons, and the world in the biblical context. You'll uncover Satan's mysterious role in Judas's betrayal of Jesus, posing questions about the motivations and divine alignment in this pivotal event.
  • This lesson equips you with the knowledge of how Jesus confronted temptation and spiritual warfare, emphasizing three essential steps: quoting Scripture to the devil, commanding the devil to leave in Jesus' name, and shifting your focus from demonic attack to Jesus' provision.
  • This lesson explores 3 Deliverance Ministry models: 1) Classic - resist Satan's temptations, 2) Power Encounter - deal with sin before casting out demons, 3) Truth Encounter - dispel lies, reclaim identity in Christ. Dr. Breshears prefers the Truth Encounter model while allowing for diverse biblical approaches.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insights on dealing with the demonic from a biblical perspective, emphasizing the triumph of Jesus over Satan, the ongoing spiritual battles, the importance of faith in the midst of adversity, and the need to follow biblical patterns while avoiding unnecessary fascination with evil and excessive fearfulness.
  • This lesson explores demons and Satan's impact on believers, emphasizing that even righteous individuals can face their influence. It reveals how deception, curses, and accusations can create strongholds in belief systems, perpetuated by Satan. Demons exploit weaknesses, desires, and ignorance, leading to destructive behaviors. The lesson ends with the assurance that believers are never abandoned by the Holy Spirit.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insight into the Dr. Breshear's approach to identifying potential demonic influence in people's lives, focusing on areas like accusing voices, oppressive presence, and occult involvement. He emphasizes the importance of assessing these influences when individuals face issues like anxiety, addiction, or persistent problems. By probing into their experiences and thoughts, the goal is to recognize and address these negative influences, ultimately seeking to remove them from the person's life.
  • This lesson provides insights into assessing potential demonic influence in individuals' lives, offering strategies to distinguish personal issues from demonic influences and empower individuals to confront and overcome such challenges with the authority of Jesus Christ.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insight into the controversial topic of demonic influence and possession within Christianity. The lesson explores the various meanings of "possessed" and the debate surrounding whether a Christian can be dominated or influenced by a demon. It emphasizes that while ownership by a demon is generally denied, the extent of demonic influence remains debated.
  • You will learn a comprehensive approach to address demons in a pastoral setting, emphasizing individual empowerment, cooperation, and the transformative potential of confronting these malevolent forces to achieve freedom and healing.
  • This lesson delves into spiritual warfare, discussing curses, demonic attacks, and their real-life impact. It highlights curses arising from disobedience, similar to God's curse in the Bible. Instances like a cursed object in Africa demonstrate their harm. The lesson promotes rejecting curses and dedicating spaces to God while emphasizing that curses have power only when received, suggesting turning to Jesus for protection and deliverance.
  • This lesson explores demon nature, influence, and approach. It dispels the myth of immunity in the US, highlighting demons' subtle tactics. Demons' origin is unclear, and prayer and fasting aren't mandatory. Living as children of light and invoking Jesus' name is key. Mind-reading by demons is uncertain, but they exploit confessed sin. Whether they can inhabit believers is unanswered, but they influence through deception. Demons may dwell in specific places and require confronting with Jesus' authority. Believers engage in spiritual warfare to deliver the oppressed, empowered by Jesus.

There is an ongoing battle between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. Followers of Jesus, who are in the kingdom of light, have been given authority by God to command demons. By studying Jesus' life and other passages in scripture, we can gain insights into how to respond to the influence of demons effectively.


Spiritual Warfare
Dr. Gerry Breshears
Genesis 6
Lesson Transcript


Well, I would love to unpack more of Genesis. When I look at the Abel King story, there are echoes of the Genesis 3 story, but just one phrase I'll note here is Genesis 4:7 where Cain is responding to God preferring Abel's sacrifice and he's angry and God warns him of something that's relevant to us that is, sin is crouching at your door. He desires to have you, but you must rule over it. What this is doing is defining sin is like a crouching tiger that's ready to jump on you and eat you kind of thing. And there's a theology that I don't agree with and it's Augustine's privation that there's no ontological reality to sin. It's only a loss of good. It's only a privation of the good. And I disagree with that. There isn't a sin that's equal with God. I fully agree with that.

And sin is a replacement. It's what I think Satan does and what Eve, Adam do. Sin is an attitude of something, but this puts sin as a crouching lion that's ready to eat you. There's an active malevolent side to sin that the privation view does not get at. And the privation view is pretty common. There's no reality to sin, it's just what is not good. And I think Bible presents it a different kind of way. And the heart of sin, of course, is a spiritual being. Ultimately, the devil or Satan or whatever name you use. Of course, they're not names, those are titles, but it's crouching your door and it desires to have you. And I think that picture is a reality. That's that war we live in and our responsibility is we must rule over it. In my view, what that means is we are... Or can be, anyway, blessful, image bearing, covenant partners with God. And we partner with him and the two of us work together.

We can do good that will crush the enemy. What Satan and evil want to do is have us rebel against God or separate from God, do our own thing. And that means leaguing with him. But that little phrase, Genesis 4:7, I think is helpful in understanding this. Sin is an active monster crouching at your door, ready to devour you. You must rule over it. And that's the way of warfare and the way of warfare is partnering with God and joining with him in his agenda. A lot of stuff there. Anyway, Genesis 6, another bizarre story. Why did God put these in here and give us four verses that are full enigma? Why didn't he just put in two chapters with details anyway? But this is Jewish wisdom literature must ponder and think about. So when human being began an increased number on the earth and daughters were born to them, good.

The sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful and they married any of them that they chose. If you remember the sin pattern from Genesis 3, this is it. The sons of God, see and judge that the daughter of men are beautiful and they took as they chose. That's the sin pattern. Now the question is, who are the sons of God and who are the daughters of men? But then it goes on, my spirit will not continue humans forever for their mortal or days will be 120 years. And the Nephilim on the earth in these days and also afterwards, when the sons of God [inaudible 00:04:10] the daughters of humans and had children by them, they're heroes of old men of renowned.

Well, let me give a couple of possibilities. One possibility is that the sons of God are angelic beings. And we find that in Job, for example, Job 1:6, the sons of God come into the presence of God and Satan is among them, that appears to be angels, not humans. And Job 38:7, is the sons of God are rejoicing to see creation. And so they're early in creation and NIV translate, they're not sons of God but angels and they interpret as angels and sons of God could be good guys or bad guys. But these are angelic beings. And since they're acting in sinful ways, I'd say that these are either fallen or will soon fall, angels. So that's one interpretation. Sons of God are angels, daughters of men are humans and somehow get together and make babies.

Can angels of humans make babies? Boy, that's a problem. I thought angels are a whole different category of being than humans. Well, that's the ancient view and still has a lot of followers today. But isn't it? That's like a big problem. How can angels and humans make babies? And the Nephilim here, it says we're on the earth in those days. It doesn't say that they're the children, but it could be. But that's one view, is these are angels with human women's. And so the sin here is a demonic invasion crossing the boundary between the heavens and the earth and trying to achieve immortality in their own way probably. A view that comes as a reaction to that is that the sons of God are descendants of Seth, the third child, the good guy, third child of Adam and Eve. And the daughters of men are descendants of Cain, the bad guy, surviving child. So sons of God are good guys. Daughters of men are bad guys... Bad girls. And the sin is intermarriage of the godly line of Seth and the ungodly line of Cain. So the problem is you get the two lines coming together. And so my question for that is what is the biblical support? And the answer is, none whatsoever. There's nothing.

The only good thing about this is it avoids angels making babies with women. There's nothing in there about... There's no forbidding of intermarriage until much later, but it just avoids the angel thing and that's a problem. Can angels and humans make babies? Well, no, it's just... Frankly, I really don't like about it, daughters of men become bad and sons of God become good and men are good, women are bad. That just grates on me big time because both are image of God. I'll let that go. I'm not in favor of that view at all. Another view is the biblical view. And so if I go back to Bible and I go to Matthew 24 starting in verse 36. So this is all of that discourse. Jesus talking about the coming of Son of Man, he says about that there are no one knows, not even the angels in heaven nor the son, only the Father.

As it was in the days of Noah, timestamp, days of Noah, in the days before the flood, people are eating, drinking, marrying, and giving a marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark, they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood took them away. And so in this view, this is a commentary in Genesis 6, because Genesis 6:1-4 is just before the flood. So in the days before the flood, what's going on? People like having parties, they're getting married, they're having babies. Life is good. And so in this view, sons of God are guys, daughters of men are girls and they're getting married. Oh, what's the bad thing? There isn't a bad thing.

Accept that, that is not the sin that sons of Gods and daughters of men are doing it. The sin is the violence that's there everywhere. The sin and problem is not sons of God and daughters of men. That's normal life. That's what Jesus describes is their eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage. But the background to life is good is the violence that's going everywhere. So that's just saying life is normal if you look at it from the front side. But back behind there's this incredible violence that prompts the flood. The Seth I view I'm completely opposed to, but angels and humans, that's a problem, making babies.

And it seems back in Genesis 6, it's a little more than just life is good and there's violence in the background. So where I come out on this is I do think the sons of God are angelic beings because that's where they're identified in the Old Testament in several different places, particularly in Job. So sons of God are angels, human women. So somehow... And this we just don't know, is they're able to do some sort of [inaudible 00:10:10] stuff and form babies. And those may be the Nephilim, the giants, but Genesis doesn't say that. But inter testament literature certainly does and that God brings the flood. And what he's saying is, your days only be 120 years is say you'll not achieve eternal life. You might get back to the tree of life this way. You're still going to die.

Now here's the significance of that view. When I look in the New Testament, and I want you to look at a couple of places. One was 1 Peter 3. So 1 Peter 3, Peter is calling people to verse 17, "For it's better if God's will to suffer for doing good than doing evil." There's our warfare thing is to do good. And the example is for Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body, but made alive in the spirit. And if you compare translations, there are about five different significant translations of made alive in the human Spirit, made alive by the Holy Spirit, made alive in the Holy Spirit, difficult to translate the poetry. And after being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the spirits in prison.

And I'll skip all the detailed translation. Who are these imprisoned spirits that Jesus preaches to after his death and before his resurrection apparently? Well, a common view is these are the Old Testament saints and they've been waiting in a Sheol, not a bad place, but not heaven. They're waiting for atonement to be done. Your sins are paid for. And the proclamation is, "Okay, I did it. We can go to heaven now." So this is the harrowing of hell. He goes and takes all the Old Testament saints and takes them up to heaven with him in his resurrection.

The only problem here is when he talks about the imprisoned spirits, it says to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently. So these are not Old Testament saints, these are disobedient spirits. So I think this rules out the idea that this is talking about Old Testament saints waiting in Sheol for atonement to be done so they can go to heaven. I just don't think that's what its talking about. These are disobedient saints. So another view here is that the same spirit that animated Jesus is the spirit animated Noah in the days before the flood. So he proclaimed gospel in those days and people ignored it and were killed. So today we ignore the preaching of gospel. So the same spirit that proclaimed through Jesus is the same spirit that proclaimed through Noah. And the message is trust God or face judgment. So it's the same message. That could be 1 Peter 4, tends to go that direction a little bit, but I'm inclined to think there's a different way yet.

If we take these imprisoned spirits to be the sons of God, from Genesis 1... Sorry, Genesis 6:1-4, the spirits are disobedient long ago when God waited patiently, they don't know while the arc was being built. So this is pre-flood time, which would point us to Genesis 6, one through four that what he's saying is, the imprisoned spirits are the sons of God who are imprisoned. So take a look over at 2 Peter. 2 Peter 2. I know that's a lot of Bible. This is the biblical theology section of this course. "There'll be false prophets among the people," 2 Peter 2, "They'll instruct heresies, many will follow the depraved conduct." But looked at verse four, if God did not spare angels... God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to literally Tartarus.

And if he translates hell, putting them in change of darkness held for judgment. And then if you do not spare the ancient world and the flood, so apparently the angels are pre-flood. If God did not spare angels, well, who are the angels there? Sons of God, Genesis 6 would be a very natural interpretation. And those sons of God, Genesis 6, he sent them to Tartarus hell and held in darkness for judgment when Satan, his angels would be thrown in the lake of fire. So that's saying the angels are imprisoned. And if you go to Jude 1... Jude 1:6 has a very similar kind of thing. Angels who did not keep their positions authority but abandon their proper dwelling. These is kept in darkness, bound an everlasting change for judgment on the great day, if that's the same thing. And it sure appears to be, it's talking about the sons of God being imprisoned until the dead judgment. Now come back to 1 Peter. This is where the significance comes out for us today.

If those imprisoned spirits in 1 Peter 3, are the spirits of the sons of God that transgress the boundaries of the daughters of men, whatever happened there, and they're imprisoned in Tartarus or wherever until the day of judgment, when Jesus goes and makes proclamation to those sons of God who are trying to achieve divine immortality on their own terms. He's saying to them, he's proclaiming to them, "You lose, I win. I have died to bring forgiveness of sin. I've died to bring honor instead of shame. I've died to become cleanliness instead of filth. I win. You lose." He's proclaiming triumph and judgment to the sons of God in Genesis 6.

And then he talks about people are saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism, which saves you. Now here's the thing, in this interpretation, which I think is correct, every time we baptize somebody, we are proclaiming to the dark forces, you lose, we win. Another person has been saved from the clutches of the other gods. Another person's brought into the kingdom of light. Another person has come back into blessful, image bearing covenant partners with the Lord most high. And is using an example of Jesus proclaiming the sons of God, you lose. I win. And every time we baptize somebody, we're saying the same thing to Satan, "You lose, we win." And I think that's a part of what should happen at our baptisms, is that proclaiming of triumph against the domination of the evil powers that we've released another captive from the chains of worship of the other gods.

I think that's what he's talking about here. I think he's proclaiming triumph to the Genesis 6, sons of God who transgressed the boundary and somehow trying to bring humans back to the tree of life, but on their own terms. Complicated, messy, but I think it's right. If you go to our podcast, Exiles in Babylon at Western Seminary, in the first season, Patrick Schreiner, unpacked this and used the same interpretation and I think he's right. That's a good place to look for it. Genesis 6, that sells everything, doesn't it?