Giants; not the San Francisco kind…

Posted: January 20, 2011 in Arguments, Bible Related
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Yes, the Bible says there were once giants on earth. In Hebrew they are called Nephilim. Genesis 6:4 pretty much sums it up the best; “In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.” They are also mentioned in Numbers 13:25-31 describes an Israelite scouting party that comes cross a large tribe of Canaanites with giants among them. From these passages many people draw one of two conclusions: Either they’re speaking of real giants to which most people will immediately label as folk lore. Or they’re just speaking of very large and tall men.

Circulating on the internet for a few years now are many photo-shopped pictures of giant skeletons recovered by archeologists. The claims are the same; LOOK, PROOF THAT GIANTS ONCE EXISTED ON EARTH! There are so many pictures like these going around it’s hard to keep track of them all!

I am all for supporting evidence that confirms the Bible, but not when the evidence is false and doctored. Sorry, but these photos do not prove anything other than the fact that someone logged in a couple hours on photo-shop to make them.

So, were giants in the Bible real giants or exaggerations of large men? Furthermore, whether Giant or not, where did they come from? Some speculate that they’re space aliens, but I’ll avoid discussing that theory for obvious reasons. If you read Genesis 6:1-5 it sounds as if fallen angels had intercourse with women, and the resulting offspring were giants. This coincides with the Hebrew word Naphal (which is where Nephilim came from). Naphal in Hebrew means “the fall.” This is called the Fallen Angel View. Others believe the Nephilim were descendants of the Sethites (descendants of Adam’s son Seth), since royalty in ancient times was sometimes considered Godly. So the Sons of God may be referring to Seth’s royal descendants. The last common view is that Godly men (Sons of God) had intercourse with ungodly women, and their offspring followed idols and false gods, and so were deemed “fallen.” This is known as the Fallen Man view.

Depending on which view you hold, the results are the same: A mixed offspring that committed to evils. Whether supernaturally evil from result fallen angels (demons), or naturally considered evil from worshipping false gods and idols. Both views would result in the Nephilim being considered evil. This is one of the very few things we can conclude about them.

Theories aside, there is just too little information to draw a sound conclusion as to exactly what the Nephilim were physically though. All the theories listed above have their strengths and weaknesses. The most popular is the Fallen Angel Theory. But the most logical theory is the Fallen Man theory.[1] Either way, referring to them as giants doesn’t necessarily mean they were 30 feet tall, but maybe just large men. Let us not forget that in ancient times most people were incredibly shorter than the average American is today. It wouldn’t take much to be considered a giant in those times.

As religious author J. Stephen Lang concludes, “Nephilim may not mean giants of supernatural origin, but simply a tribe of large-framed powerful men. When military strength was a man’s most important asset, such men, were of course, feared and respected.”[2]

Another factor I feel should be addressed is the reference of Nephilim prior to and after Noah’s flood. Some skeptics consider this a contradiction in the Bible. How could Nephilim exist after the flood, they should have all been killed. But once again we must read and understand how Biblical scripture describes the Nephilim. If they are the result of intercourse between godly men (or fallen angels) and ungodly women, then they could surely exist after the flood if these relations occurred again after the flood. Genesis 6:4, which was written after the flood even states that the Nephilim existed “in those days, and sometime after.”

This leaves us to one obvious question though. Where are the Nephilim today? If you believe in the Fallen Man View, then the answer is simple; they still can exist today. However, if you believe in the Fallen Angel View, it is not as easy to answer. Proponents of this view say that Jude verse 6 says that most of the demons are locked up in the abyss (hell) waiting until Judgment day. So it is concluded that the demons that were having sexual relations with women are of the demons locked away until Judgment day.[3]

As said before, other than the Nephilim being considered evil, there isn’t really anything else we can come to a solid conclusion on about them. However, skeptics should reframe from referring to 20 foot giants in the Bible to dissuade people from understanding the authenticity of the Bible, since the Bible does not specifically state that.


[1] Bodie Hodge, Who Were the Nephilim? www.answersingenesis.org, July 9th, 2008.

[2] J. Stephen Lang, 1001 Things You Always Wanted To Know About The Bible, (New York:NY Thomas Nelson In., Publishers 2010) pg. 461.

[3] Who/ What Were the Nephilim? http://www.gotquestions.org

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