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This is the third in a series of "Christian" fiction. I was not familiar with the earlier books in the series, about the Nephilim, the ancient heroes or giants mentioned in Jewish folklore. This book carries the story into the common science fiction genre of today.
The Legendary Giants
The term Nephilim appears to refer to the same entities also called Anakim (an ethnic name for them in Canaan) and Rephaim in the Old Testament. The -im is the Hebrew plural. This story ties the concept of these ancient giants to the modern concept of aliens and their flying saucers, built around the mystery of Roswell and the supposed crash of an advanced technology space ship. It is a little hard to tell just how seriously the author means to take this work of fiction.
This novel follows the great volume of popular literature dating back to the 200 years or more before the time of Jesus, which built up a whole mythology around one passage in Genesis 6. This passage says very matter-of-factly but mysteriously that the Sons of God began to marry the daughters of humans. Then it states that in those days the giants (Hebrew nephilim) were in the world.
The Sons of God
One theory, promulgated in a popular oral literature written down in Aramaic in the 200s BC, details the scenario that these "sons of God" are fallen angels. The short reference in Genesis 6 never says the Nephilim are the offspring of the "sons of God" and human women. But this scenario was so fascinating it captured popular imagination. The Nephilim were hybrid spiritual and human, who led the human race into evil.
Later even though everyone was supposedly destroyed in the Great Flood except Noah and his family, we begin hearing about the Nephilim again in later generations. They are one of the tribes in Canaan (under the name of the tribe of Anak. Even these supposed supernatural hybrid giants were afraid of the Hebrews and fled for refuge among the Philistines. Some propose that Goliath, a Philistine in the biblical story, was really a hybrid nephilim giant.
The story was circulated in the late Greek Empires and later Roman Empire through translation into Greek and other languages under the title Book of Enoch (also called the First Book of Enoch, because another "Book of Enoch" was written in the 2nd or 3rd century of the Christian era).
Alternative the Original Sin
The story produces an alternative explanation for the origin of evil in the world, blaming these fallen angels for introducing hidden knowledge into the world, which leads humans into evil. I have read this in two English translations, one from the 1880s and one in the early 2000s. This is an excellent example of the Jewish apocalyptic literature that influenced Christian thought in the first two centuries of the Christian era.
I have been surprised that this theory has been resurrected in recent decades, oddly enough within fundamentalist Christian circles, usually associated also with premillennialism. While these adherents purport to adhere to the traditional classical Christian doctrine of "Original Sin," associated with the disobedience in the Garden of Eden, they still promote the idea that fallen angels are the cause for sin, through the temptation and deception they commit upon humans!
The Devil Made Me Do It
This language of this thinking often sounds like a helpful rationalization to keep people from feeling responsible for their own evil and moral irresponsibility. Everything can be blamed on the Devil and his minions! It has always seemed to me that there is plenty of evil in the world created by humans, without our having to blame it all on the Devil!
Many seem unaware that this story comes from popular Jewish folklore from the late period after the Babylonian Exile. Many seem to think this idea of the fallen angels comes from the Bible. They seem to treat the Book of Enoch as actual Scripture. And in one sense they might not be too far off. Ironically, though Enoch never was considered as a candidate for the collection of Holy Writings of the Christians, two New Testament documents refer to it or quote from it, Jude and 2 Peter.
These New Testaments writings also seem to reference related stories in other popular Jewish literature that never got into the canon of either the Jews or the Christians. Nephilim will please world conspiracy theorists, who love to find "evidence" of sinister evil plans to subvert the world. It sometimes seems to me these popular stories seem to have unwittingly been absorbed by naive modern westerners. Sadly, they seem so fascinated fascination with evil that they focus more on evil than on God's work in the world!
The Nephilim and the Aliens
This story connects a great world conspiracy of the Nephilim who will take over the world management and economic systems. Excitement begins when a Nephilim skeleton is found in an ancient sarcophagus uncovered by archaeologists in a secret passageway under the city of Jerusalem.
Tests on the DNA show this is indeed non-human, or more than human. There are 5 nucleotides involved in the DNA sequencing. Humans have only four. Some characters in the story believe this is a representative of the aliens with sinister intentions. The story involves the obligatory alien abductions and impregnations by aliens, along with the stealing of the fetuses all figure in to this well-written story.
The Demonic Angels
Some characters, however, promote the theory that these Nephilim, now returned in a great "end-time" deception, are not from another physical place in the universe, but from another spiritual dimension, as angels up to no good. They have brought forbidden knowledge, which includes advanced technology, including space-ship-like transports.
So the story incorporates the alleged government cover-up in Roswell, and the dead bodies of the crash victims could be aliens or angel half-breeds. The story has body and character, whichever theory you follow, or if you just like to read imaginative science fiction. Either scenario fits the science fiction model. I alternated from fascination to impatience with the simple-minded ideas.
But then, it is not so far off from some of the Star Trek (and even Star Wars) stories we are so familiar with. This story fits right in with the New Age fascination with the Supernatural, benevolent or evil. Try it - you might like it! But to be sure, though this is billed as "Christian Fiction," it is Science Fiction.
There is no theological depth or sophistication here. No philosophical thought, no challenge to faith, though there is one personal conversion. Just the common foreboding of the final Doom to Come from the evil forces before the end of the world, with the expected mention of the Second Coming.
The story is a well written adventure mystery. Along the lines of some other End-Time features popular in recent years, this is entertaining Christian Science Fiction.
See related reviews and articles on this site:
A New Testament Window into First Century Jewish Literature
The Book of Enoch the Prophet, translated by Richard Laurence
Devils and Demons and the Return of the Nephilim
Review of Legends of the Bible, by Louis Ginzberg
More Speculation About More Speculation
More Speculation About Angels
Principalities and Powers: Notes On Demonic Hierarchies
Reading List Notes on Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis, by Robert Graves and Raphael Patai
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First written 17 March 2007 and posted on Thoughts and Resources 19 March 2007
Last edited 12 November 2008
Reviewed on Amazon 2 March 2009
Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright © 2007 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use. Other rights reserved.