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The watchers and genetic diversity

Published: 22 February 2014 (GMT+10)

Bob M., U.S.:

I am looking for the genetic footprint of the Watchers, passed to the children known as the Nephilim. I am not interested in fan clubs and realize what I am after you may not be able to supply. We are talking about footprints right? Is your knowledge in order chronologically to be able to at least get close to my question? I like the declaration below. You may have my question but just how far along in understanding are you? I don’t want to sound cynical I simply want to enjoy solid answers.

If the angels which left their first estate truly copulated with the daughters of man would there not be a genetic signature? Is this signature traceable as mine is? I am hoping to draw from your knowledge. With you or without you. What you do with this communication is yours. I am looking for answers that will produce understanding and knowledge. May God supply the wisdom.

, CMI-US, responds:

Dear Bob,

Thanks for writing in and for looking for answers to this difficult subject. There has been considerable debate over these topics for centuries, and it has only increased over the past few years.

Please take some time to consider the following even if it is not what you were expecting to hear.

First, a question: are you a Christian? If so, and this is important, I am going to implore you to apply a consistent biblical metric to the questions and to be willing to accept a straightforward biblical answer. [editor’s note: he replied in the affirmative in a follow-up e-mail]

If you are not a Christian, please accept this as an answer from a Christian. You can choose to disagree, but then you might be disagreeing with the very source of the original information (i.e., the Bible).

Second, where did you hear about this and are you allowing non-biblical, extra-biblical, or even anti-biblical, arguments to inform your opinion? It may be difficult to tease apart information sources, to critically examine assumptions and biases, and to see beyond what we want to be true, but it is certainly possible.

We have written many articles that explain our position clearly, including The return of the Nephilim? and Who were the sons of God in Genesis 6?.

That last article is the single best analysis of the biblical statements on this subject of which I am aware. Some have suggested that part of the reason for God sending the Flood was to stop the Nephilim problem. If it were to continue after the Flood through more angelic-human interbreeding, God’s purposes would have been to no avail and the statements of 2 Peter and Jude make no sense. If Nephilim genes carried through the Flood (on Noah’s Ark), there would be no way to separate people from Nephilim, for the necessary inbreeding among the three original families would have distributed even a rare genetic variant among all family lines prior to the Babel dispersion, and continuing intermingling of people groups would have caused these traits to continue to circulate everywhere (we are all very closely related).

Also, keep in mind that the Bible does not say there were female nephilim, not does it say that the nephilim could, in turn, interbreed with people. To believe there are nephilim genes in the modern human population is an assumption, a huge assumption, and it does not comport to the biblical details given in the previous paragraph.

You ask, “If the angels which left their first estate truly copulated with the daughters of man would there not be a genetic signature?” The answer is simple: no. There are strong reasons to say it should not be so, and only vague assumptions would make someone want it to be true.

You say, “I am hoping to draw from your knowledge.” Since I am a geneticist, I can, without any reservation, tell you that there is nothing in the original human genome project data, in the over two thousand humans genomes sequenced since then, in the tens of thousands of human genomes in which only certain letters have been sequenced (and that often includes over 1 million letters scattered across the genome), in the six Neanderthal genomes or the one “Denisovan” genome sequenced to date, that in any way says there is anyone alive today, or who lived in the past, who carries nephilim genes.

There are many today who are told they are a descendant of the "Watchers", but they, or those telling them such, are not appealing to the Bible for the answer. I also suspect there is no genetic data backing up the claim, or that if there is a claim to data it is easily explained by appealing to normal genetics.

You say, "I am looking for answers that will produce understanding and knowledge."

Many people reject an alternative answer because they are looking for confirmation, not critique. I have given you answers. Will you accept them?

"May God supply the wisdom."

The Bible is the very word of God, so where else would we turn for answers to these questions? Wisdom first comes in the form of biblical literacy. Additional wisdom can be gleaned from the pursuit of science. Applying both of these sources of wisdom leads one to reject the idea that there are descendants of the nephilim on earth today. You are a child of Adam, a descendant of Noah, and a normal human being, created in the image of God and with the capacity to respond to His loving offer of salvation. Let nobody tell you otherwise.

Dr. Robert Carter

C.C., U.S., asks:

Hi, if we say Noah took 2 cats on the ark, and to acheive the amount of biodiversity we have today from an arkful of animals 6,000 years ago… isn’t that evolution? Because now you have species that came from the 2 cats or whatever those original kinds were at the beginning. And from what I understand, YEC do not deny speciation. How do you explain the rationale behind this?
And how is this different from Darwinian evolution? And would need to happen of Darwinian evolution was true?
Thanks for replying.


These are great questions, but you are not the first to ask them. First, please see our Speciation Q&A page for many of your answers. Next, we must properly define evolution. Since both creationists and evolutionists believe in "change over time", obviously this cannot be the definition. In fact, a definition must include the idea of common ancestry or we get nowhere in the discussion. Darwin did not demonstrate that species change. Lots of his contemporaries and predecessors, including many creationists like Linnaeus, were saying as much. What Darwin did was say, "I see no limit to the amount of change," which is a philosophical argument. Hence, the argument is in the limits to change, not to change as such.

YECs ["young earth" creationists, but the term is a double entendre and we prefer "biblical creationist" instead] advocate that God himself created species to be able to change and adapt over time to varying environments. In fact, if this were not so, most species on earth would be extinct already because most environments have undergone significant changes since Creation.

Evolutionists take the observed changes and extrapolate beyond the scope of the observable, and this makes the YEC scientifically uncomfortable, needless to say.

Are there limits to change? I believe so, but I cannot prove it so. Are changes unlimited? The evolutionist essentially believes such, but cannot prove it. So what are we left with? We are left with an analysis of the types of changes we see, and there is little or nothing in that accumulated data to suggest long-term Darwinian evolution from bacteria to people is possible (and note that we did not even begin to discuss the spontaneous origin of life, which is a prerequisite for evolution but which flies in the face of everything we know about physics, chemistry, probability, and information theory).


Robert Carter

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Colin C.
Andrew L mentions that there is no evidence that the line of Seth was godly and that of Cain ungodly. However it was only the line of Seth that terminated in Abraham, and we know this line led to the Messiah Jesus - the Seed of the woman. So calling the Sethites the "sons of God" has its merit. In this line men like Enoch and Noah 'walked with God'. These are the men who began to "call upon the name of the Lord" Gen 4:26 in public worship not the Cainites. Adam would have schooled these men in the truth of what happened in creation and in the garden of Eden and in the fall of mankind into sin and the promise of the Seed who would crush the head of the serpent. At his great age Adam would have been able to have had fellowship with Noah's father Lamech until Lamech was 56 years old - before Adam died. Thus Lamech would have been able to pass on all the details of the history of the creation and of Adam's life directly to Noah before the flood. So Noah had direct, inside information, from the highest authority which was carried to this side of the flood. It appears that what is mentioned as the "sons of God" were Sethites!
Lita Cosner
Thanks for these thoughts. However please see the article Who were the 'sons of God' in Genesis 6? which covers the relevant information.
Monty J.
I have not read all of the comments on the article but doesn't the bible say the Noah was "perfect" in his generations. So he and his family would have been a genetically uncorrupted group of humans. Since we all descended from them we have their DNA.
William B.
How would one know for certain if one was looking at angelic genome if one does not have a known sample of angel genome to go by? Maybe we are closer genetically to fallen angels than we realize. Just a thought.
Lita Cosner
One could not know for certain. There is not any indication that the DNA itself would be very different at all, and in fact, if something is capable of hybridizing with humans, its DNA would have to be indistinguishable from humans.
Kevin B.

I see what you're getting at and agree. Noah was likely "perfect" or "clean" genetically, and perhaps his sons too. Would his wife and his son's wives be clean?

How did we get more Nephilim after The Flood? This is something I struggle with. Did more angels traverse to here and contaminate the gene pool again?

There maybe an article here that explains this. I haven't looked into the articles Robert as pointed me to, yet.

I'm starting to realize, from external reading, that the world before the Flood, was far more fascinating than we've been lead to believe.

Yes, I watch Trey Smith videos too.
Lita Cosner
Andrew, images/pdfs/articles/sons-of-god-genesis-6.pdf, an extract from Alien Intrusion. I have to say, it's a bit disingenuous to say you haven't read the articles, yet wonder if anything answers your question.

There were never Nephilim after the Flood--the spies' report was called an 'evil' report, or a 'lying' report. They claimed that the descendants of the Nephilim were there, but there is never any sign of them once the Israelites actually invade.
Sas E.
The Bible as we know is the written word of God given to us for our spiritual growth. If it is not written in the bible then God has a reason for it not been there. My guess is that God knew that it would not benefit us if it were there. In the case of Nephilim, what is written in the bible about them is what God wants us to know about them. Anything else is pure speculation and speculation can sometimes open the door to the devil. So always trust God at his word and lean not on your own understanding.
Andrew L.
The term translated "the Sons of God" is, in the Hebrew, B'nai HaElohim, "Sons of Elohim," which is a term consistently used in the Old Testament for angels, and it is never used of humans in the Old Testament.
There is no evidence that the Sethites were godly and the Cainites ungodly or that they kept their lines separate. Also, if this was the case then why did God wipe out all but Noah and his family? (ie. both lines)
Genesis 6:9 describes Noah as "...perfect in his generations...". The word translated 'perfect' here is the same word used in Leviticus 1:3 to describe a calf that is suitable for sacrifice: it means 'without physical blemish'. This suggests that Noah and his family had not had their bloodline corrupted by the nephilim. That would therefore preclude any possibility of there being a genetic signature - not to mention the other reasons already given. God acted when He did in sending the flood to keep the bloodline pure, because through it one day in the future would come the Saviour of the world. (Perhaps the nephilim was Satan's attempt to corrupt that bloodline, in which case he almost succeeded!)
Eugene Y.
Nephilim is pretty famous in ancient astronaut theorist (AAT) literature. As a Christian AAT is unbiblical. I am not familiar in this topic but I read some in Gary Bates book. Gary Bate is fair in terms of giving different views on this issue and allowing us to make a judgement on them. To all you readers and commenters, these different views on Nephilim is not the same as with different compromised views on Genesis because one argues from Scripture while the other starts from men. CMI at best is cautious in regard about this issue. Pray for CMI for wisdom and may God guide them through in answering questions eventhough it is outside of their position. In answering this issue Scripture must be the primary source whereas men be secondary. May God be with you CMI.
Roz P.
In Genesis 6:9 that Noah was "perfect in all his generations". Does this mean he was pure in his genetics??? No altered blood line?
Robert Carter
It could mean any of several different things. He could have been 'perfect' in his genetics or in his actions or in his faith. Either way, Noah was the only one to have been in that position. As an aside, note that 'generation' can mean different things. It makes little sense to say that he was the only 'perfect' person in the 10th generation from Adam, because there might have been 10th-generation descendants of Adam that were not contemporaries of Noah and because X generations removed from Adam is an irrelevant detail. More than likely, he was the only one found 'perfect' at that time, meaning among the people living at that point in time ('in that generation'). This would mean that Noah's living ancestors, like Methuselah, were not righteous people.
Greg A.
The “sons of God” are the line of Seth and the Nephilim (or mightily fallen ones) only serve to show that there would be “mightily fallen ones” both before and after the two lines of offspring are mixed; the needed “seed” would have to come from God Himself and would not come from man’s power/scarred image. After Abel’s murder and Cain’s casting out, we see, at Genesis 4:25, that a tension still exists about the need for salvation from death. At the original fall, God had promised a “seed” to Eve (and us all!) and now at Genesis 4:25 Eve says: “God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”. As we will see later, this “seed” will have to come directly from God’s image since neither Cain’s nor Seth’s line of lineage can produce the “seed” needed (man “is indeed flesh” Genesis 6:3). At Genesis 6:1, both lineages come together and still produce Nephilim; it is at this time that God says: “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3). Man is born into sin, “shapen in iniquity” (Psalm 51:5); God was going to have to do this as it could not come from fleshly man. The views on Angels’ bodies etc need much more study but for me the primary texts proving they can’t procreate and that they should not be considered like mankind are Hebrews 1:5 and Hebrews 1:14. To substantiate the above, I have very detailed notes interspersed within Genesis 4 – 6 and would like to share that with CMI. I love you all!
Robert Carter
Interesting comments, but you are advocating for only one position. See my reply to John Z. above. Note also that if Cain took a wife from among Seth's daughters (which I doubt, see my recent Creation magazine article) the two lines would have been mixed in that first generation. But why is anyone talking about "two lines" anyway? Adam and Eve had additional sons and multiple daughters. What about those lines? What was their status? Etc.
Denice L.
Man can procreate. Yet the Bible tells us that in Heaven he will be as the angels neither marrying nor giving in marriage.Perhaps in our glorified bodies we will not have the ability to procreate, perhaps we will.
Because there were giants before the flood mentioned in Genesis chapter 6, some have connected the Nephalim to the giants after the flood that David slew.
Demons can possess people, even the body of pigs.Perhaps they chose men who possessed superior genes and drove them to mate with the most desirable women.
We have accounts of aliens today abducting women and messing with their offspring. I believe this is demonic manipulation, either an illusion that frightens who it happens to, or reality with the demons actually trying to manipulate DNA for their own purposes, trying to create life they can control. Satan has to mimic God, because he has to prove he can do what God does, but he also wants to exalt himself above the most high God. So creating his own life form, may not be that far fetched, silicon based, maybe computer based sentient life. This of course is all speculation on my part, but I am trying to tie it to scripture as closely as possible.
Tony F.
Thank you for replying in the way you did.
Going by the flavour your answer I would say we are of the same mind.
I have foolishly engaged vigorously on this topic in times past lol
Nothing good has ever come from it, mostly both parties are dogmatically polarized in their beliefs.
Again thank you for your wise and considered approach to a touchy subject bro.
Glenn W.
When certain closely related species interbreed today, ie horses and mules, the resulting donkey is sterile. Perhaps this is why no genetic imprint could be passed on. The offspring were of the fallen angels were created but with no chance of having offspring themselves.
Richard M.
I have always thought that as Jesus said we would be like the Angels in Heaven neither given or taken in marriage that angels could not reproduce. However if they're in human form possibly they could, after all if we may have entertained angels unawares then they must be able to go into human form.

But I still find it hard to believe that there were half-breed angel-men on the earth.
Robert Carter
I also find it hard to believe. The only reason I would even entertain such an opinion is that the plain reading of the text here and supporting passages in other places seem to indicate this is the correct answer. As I mentioned in several of my replies above, each opinion has strong points and weak points. I used to hold a different opinion and was dragged, kicking and screaming all the way, into this camp by careful consideration of the textual evidence.
Robert M.
Nephilim also means bully, and tyrant. You do not have to take the other Hebrew definition "fallen ones" to necessarily mean fallen angels. The Bible teaches that there was violence on the whole face of the earth and that was one of the main reasons why God was going to destroy the earth.

Now the sons of God reference has to definitely do with angels. Question is, "Were the fallen angels at one time capable of mating with human females as it seems to suggest?" I think so but there is not enough to prove it in my book. One verse states that at least some of the fallen angels are disembodied spirits. Is it possible they found a way to somehow bring forth through some scientific means? Did they manipulate the genome?

The one thing I can't figure out is if you want to corrupt the human genome and you are a fallen angel, why in the world would you want them to be your wives? One wife is enough. Why not just rape them? I'm just trying to think this through logically. If you were out to show hatred toward God couldn't you corrupt the human race's genome much quicker by just raping all the women on the planet?

I guess we will have to wait till we get to Heaven and see all this on the big screen if we even care about these types of things at that time.

God Bless,
Errol B.
CMI’s Gary Bates alludes to a connection between the Nephilim and the legendary Greek Gods / Titans; Alien Intrusion, Expanded & Updated, 2010, Appendix: p 395 / 396. Could it be that the Greek legends are a corruption of the true biblical account? Hades & Hell, Titans as half human & half God. Cronus / Nimrod rebelling against Zeus / God? The account of the Nephilim is dated pre-flood but Nimrod was born post-flood. If there were any Nephilim genes inherited, surely they would have ended their linage at the flood. The suggestion of the Nimrod / Cronus as a half God half human could be a corruption imbedded in Greek mythology spurred on by his warrior like reputation. I thought it worth a mention since ‘Percy Jackson’ has re-popularized Greek mythology. It would be interesting to see if atheists have responded to, or rationalized such a connection. Perhaps it’s all just another coincidence.
Robert Carter
Yes, I fully agree that at least some aspects of Greek mythology are a corruption of the original biblical account. There is a problem, however, with identifying which parts of Greek mythology derive from which parts of Genesis and with how much of that mythology derives from Genesis and how much was made up after the fact. There is no reason to suspect a straightforward association and there could be multiple different personifications of single biblical characters based on different elements of the backstory. See athena-and-eve as one example from our website [note: even though this appeared in our Journal of Creation, this does not mean this is an official position statement of CMI].
Kevin B.
What I have trouble with, and I don't know CMI's stance on the book of Enoch, but do angels have genitals? As silly of a question that may sound, the reason I ask is, I've always thought they didn't. Why would they need them? So if they didn't have genitals, how did they copulate with the women? Or did they possess a man and work that way?

This isn't a question of high importance, but in the last year I've been fascinated by the book of Enoch and although I take it with a grain of salt, I see a lot of plausibility in it. If they did directly copulate, you would have thought that they contaminated the gene pool, and that someone in Noah's family carried it into Ark. I seem to recall references to giants in following books.

Robert Carter
CMI does not have a position on the Book of Enoch other than to say it is not part of the biblical Canon and is, therefore, not authoritative. It is an interesting piece of history and it is interesting that it is referred to in the New Testament, but it is not something we can turn to for definite answers.

Regarding the physical make up of angels, first see my reply to a comment above. Then, consider the idea that we have no idea what makes an angel tick. We know they are powerful, but we do not know what 'parts' they do or do not have. If they do not have what is necessary, are they powerful enough to manipulate the elements in order to produce the desired effect? This gets very speculative very fast. I feel it is better to let the text speak for itself and not try to fill in what we cannot know.

Concerning the reference to 'giants' in other places in the Bible, see the links I included in the article.
Erik O.
I thank God for your ministry every day! This is a good opportunity to give you that feedback. Concerning Nephilim there is a fifth possibility besides the four in the chapter "Who were the sons of God in Genesis6?" in The book Alien Intrusion.

5. The first sons after Adam marrying women and having children.

When the sons of Adam and Eve grew up they, like every young boy today, began looking at young girls in a different way. Never before had that happened in history. What a discovery that women are beautiful! After this discovery the population growth took speed. Soon enough the young men began doing what they have been doing ever since, focusing on impressing on women and fighting and killing each other to get power, and wealth to offer women they like. They got the reputation of being mighty men, the Nephilim. Sure they exist today! Sadly enough it's enough with human genetics. But Christ saved us from ourselves!
Robert Carter
Interesting idea, but this does not really address why there is a distinction between the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men" in the text. C.S. Lewis used the phrase "sons of Adam and daughters of Eve" multiple times in the Chronicles of Narnia. This sounds more akin to your suggestion as you are saying that the nephilim could have come from normal human interactions.
John Z.
Nowhere in the Bible does it refer to the "sons of God" as angels. It does, however, refer to sons of God as children of God. This bad doctrine of angels and human intermarrying is based on an incomplete study of the Scriptures. Also, the idea that spiritual beings could produce offspring with fleshly creatures is as absurd as saying that elephants and rabbits could mate, or cockroaches and whales.
Robert Carter
The "Sons of God" in Job 1:6 are certainly angels, for Satan is among them. Please double check your Bible as there are other passages as well.

What you call "bad doctrine" is the near unanimous position of Jewish tradition and was the near unanimous position of the early church fathers. Most of the Reformers seemed to have favored the "Sethite vs. Cainite lineages" argument, but Christians today hold any of several varying opinions.

Regarding the "spiritual beings", were the men in Gen 18:8 not angels and did they not physically eat physical food? And what about Gen 19:10 and, even better, 19:16? They were certainly acting like physical beings in these passages. I would not dare to guess what their bodies are like when standing before God's throne, but when here on earth they have physical bodies that can chew and swallow food, which also suggests they can produce saliva, expel air out of their lungs and across vibrating vocal chords, and seize hold of people and force them to move. What else they can do is anyone's guess, and that is where the arguments arise.
edwin M.
it has been mooted already that angles as created beings neither marry or given in marriage which logically implies they have no sexual urges and the capacity for sex or else God would be cruel to give them the libido yet deny them to satisfy such in righteous and faithful relationship which is marriage as in humans. another problematic implication would be when we are resurrected the same carnal, fleshy sexual urges in us would still be present and marriage would have to be enforced still in the new heaven and new earth, and would that mean continuing procreation? jesus implied it would not be so.In a nutshell there are more problems, inconsistencies and unanswered questions in the position you take than the position that angels as spirit beings are created to not enjoy sex and procreate as humans do today and will be in the resurrection.
Robert Carter
Note that, from context, I was answering a specific question about whether or not there are 'nephilim' genes in the current world population. Note that I also answered in the negative, which is the opposite of what many, if not most, supporters of the human-angel hybrid nephilim believe. Whether or not the nephilim were human-angel hybrids is a moot question. There should be no nephilim genes around today, but if there are any we would call that 'human'. Are there difficulties with this view? Yes! The same as all views on the subject. Yet I have no problem with believing that I will retain my human male anatomy in heaven while at the same time not have sexual desires, for Christ will be sufficient.
Dwight F.
Hi there, greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. With regards to fallen angels and daughters of men producing children, Jesus said that angels are not given into marriage. Therefore angels cannot have children as they do not have the sperm to go with the women's egg in order to produce children. In the book of Genesis there is a law that states that all living things must reproduce after it's own kind. Also in Genesis God states that it is the wickedness of man why He is going to flood the Earth. Also if angels could take the form of flesh it would that they would have a second chance of salvation (just like men). Also if the angels had the form of flesh why not wait until after the flood and get to know the daughters of men again? Also where did they get the knowledge to form flesh and to put life into their sperm? God bless you.

Regards Dwight
Robert Carter
First, please see the previous comment. You ask several questions that I answered in the article itself. As for the rest, there are obviously many unanswered questions, but there are unanswered questions on all sides of this issue.
Steve G.
It is my understanding that angels were created individually as Jesus said that angels neither marry nor are given in marriage. Surely this indicates that angels are sexless. God does not have one rule of conduct for Jews and another for Gentiles nor would he have one rule for angels and another for humans. If angels were sexual beings there would be no 'free love' in heaven but they would need to be married which they do not do. Imagine the fallen angels being able to procreate among themselves and produce more wicked angels. Impossible. Whoever the Nephilim were, they were not angelic beings.
Robert Carter
There are several positions on this subject that have been held by orthodox Christians over the centuries. It was not my place to confirm or deny either, but from the article you can certainly tell which way I lean. I would encourage anyone to read the links in the article that address this question. Each opinion, including yours, has valid points to make and you made several good ones, but the answer is not as straightforward as many think.
Warren L.
As any childhood fan of Winnie the Pooh who was born in the eighties, such as myself knows, the Nephilim actually survived the flood by sneaking on board the ark disguised as nephilumps, where they became good friends with the woozels during their year on board the ark. After the flood, the migration patterns of both groups were lost for several thousand years until they suddenly reappeared in a region known as The Hundred Acre Wood where they proceeded to pillage the honey stores of a certain Pooh bear named Winnie. They also tortured Winnie's good friend Eiore by pulling off his tail and the poor guy hasn't been able to get it stick back on right ever since and has had a severe case of chronic depression and melancholy as a result! This is about as suitable an explanation as any for explaining why Nephilim are supposedly still alive today!

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