My thanks to Billy Hallowell of The Blaze for taking the time to interview me about the origin of demons. Those who follow this blog will be interested in reading my short essay on that on the Logos Talk blog — and probably saddened by some of the comments to it. You may want to reply!
I found it humorous at the end of the Blaze article where Billy quoted GotQuestions.org about the nephilim. Their response is illustrative of how the theology of this topic is relentlessly unscriptural. GotQuestions.org notes: “The most biblically consistent explanation for the origin of the demons is that they are the fallen angels, the angels who rebelled against God with Satan.”
Biblical consistent? The nephilim and the sons of God are not the same thing — this answer conflates them. Nephilim are never called angels or fallen angels. The Nephilim were corporeal warriors of unusual height, traits they passed on to their descendants, the Anakim (Num 13:32-33). In fact, as I point out in The Unseen Realm, their descendants are called “people” (Hebrew: ‘am; ) and “men” (Hebrew ‘adam; ). To quote my book, The Unseen Realm:
Despite their unusual size, the biblical text is clear that the giant clan members were human. For example, the word ʾadam (“humankind”; cf. Gen 1:26–27) is used to describe the victims of the conquest in cities associated with giant clans (Josh 11:14). Arba is called “the greatest man (ʾadam) among the Anakim.” The generic Hebrew word for people (ʿam; i.e., human populations) is also used of giant clans: Deut 2:10 (the Emim); Deut 2:20 (the Zamzummim); Deut 3:1–3 (Og’s people); Deut 9:2 (the Anakim).
These passages show conclusively that nephilim and their descendants (Anakim, Num 13:33) weren’t fallen angels. And guess what else? There is no verse that connects them to Satan — zero. And of course the GotQuestions.org response doesn’t incorporate any of the recent re-evaluation of the cuneiform tablets that provide the point-for-point Mesopotamian analogy to Gen 6:1-4 — which aligns perfectly with everything I talked about in “Where Do Demons Come From”.
So what’s “biblically consistent” about their answer? Nothing. It’s a textbook example of doing biblical theology without the Bible getting in the way.