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What does the Bible mean in Genesis 6:4 when it refers to giants?

Scripture: Genesis 6:4,Numbers 16:2
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What does the Bible mean in Genesis 6:4 when it refers to giants? Were they the result of Seth marrying the daughters of Cain, why would they be giants? The Hebrew word can also be interpreted "mighty".

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Caller:  Hi there, thanks for taking my call.

Pastor Doug:  Hi.

Caller:  I was calling in reference to—I called just a few ago about the mixing of the sons of God with man.  This is something that I have always struggled with.  I’ve always been fifty-fifty on the meaning of that.  And I was wondering if you could give me a definition of and I might be wrong on this—I don’t have a reference I’m on the car phone right now but what were they referring to, and is there talk of unnatural offspring and giants in the land? 

Pastor Doug:  Well, the word there used in Genesis 6:4 is Nephilim.  It means a steller, a bully, a tyrant, a giant is the Hebrew translation.  Mark, I hate to cut you off.  If you don’t mind waiting on the line, then when we come back from our break we’ll address that with a little more depth.  Actually, I can’t add a whole lot more to it, but hang on….

Co-Host:  On the line with us is Mark in Portland, OR.  Are you still there, Mark?

Caller:  I’m still here, yes.

Pastor Doug:  Alright.  Thank you for standing by.  You know, in the interval of the break, I took a breath and I thought through your question.  I think what you might be asking, correct me if I’m wrong, is if these giants were the result of simply people like the children of Seth or the sons of Seth marrying the daughters of Cain, then what would make them giants? 

Caller:  Yes.  Unnatural offspring and giants.  Exactly.

Pastor Doug:  Well, the word Nephilim is not necessarily—doesn’t mean necessarily a freak or a giant.  It could mean mighty men, steller, sometimes bully, tyrant—there’s many ways the word is translated.  If we read through the rest of the verse, it says ‘They were mighty men of old, men of renown’. 

And there are other places, and if you ever want to understand something you go to the other places in the Bible, it tells us, for instance in Numbers 16:2 that there were fifty princes in the assembly of Israel that were famous in the congregation, men of renown—same word.  So renown doesn’t always mean a giant.  Now there is a genetic truth that when people intermarry within their clans, and then they marry a new gene pool, and breed across that pool, you can have unusual traits that become prominent, that sometimes they’re even stronger. 

They’ve done studies and found out that mutts are often the most intelligent animals its called high bred vigor, and, for instance I hope John doesn’t mind my saying this but John Lomacang who co-hosts this program, is one of the most talented people I know.  He’s very bright.  He’s self-taught.  He sings.  He teaches himself instruments. 

Well, John is a mixture of about three different races.  His mother is from the Philippines and she was about four feet tall and John is like six-four, I think, and so I can’t figure it out—he’s taller than anyone in his family, but he is what is called a high bred vigor.  It’s a genetic fact and this was a case of that.

Caller:  Interesting Okay

Pastor Doug:  Okay?

Caller:  Thank you very much.

Pastor Doug:  Thank you very much.

Co-Host:  Thanks for the call, Mark.

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