… the first and, arguably, most famous appears in the passage from Genesis that directly precedes the story of Noah and the Great Flood (an area of particular interest to Scott Roberts in the present text):
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
This passage is relatively vague, of course. We’re told that these Nephelim were with us in ancient times, resulting from the “sons of God” who took a liking to human women and proceeded with intermingling, as well as procreation with them. Many interpret the actual word Nephelim to mean “giants,” and this idea that beings of enormous stature were the offspring of godlike beings from ancient pre-history has been used as a phenomenological parallel to a number of modern day curiosities, including giant skeletons found at Native ritual mounds and burial sites throughout the Americas, especially toward the end of the nineteenth century. Reports of creatures such as the Sasquatch, Yeti, and Almasty seen throughout the world have also had proponents who insinuate this origin rooted in Biblical accounts. Even within various translations of ancient epics such as Beowulf, we recall that the beastly Grendel was believed to have descended from the Biblical Cain, a parallel that ties in with Scott Robert’s own rendition of the mystery. Granted, such overtly Christian perceptions of Grendel and other folkloric beasts likely had their roots in earlier traditions being “colored” somewhat by religious practices that were adopted later. Thus, our understanding of a Hebraic lineage of any sort is likely the result of Christian belief systems becoming prevalent with time, and then imposed upon later translations of Beowulf and other legends. What cannot be argued, however, is the intrigue that these alleged “giants” have maintained throughout history, and the influence they have had on mankind through our various mythologies.
But gigantism isn’t the only interpretation to be had of these beings, nor is it the only approach Roberts chooses to address in his book. In fact, Ronald Hendel, noted scholar and Professor of the Hebrew Bible and Biblical Literature at the University of California at Berkley, has offered that the term Nephelim is actually a passive form, and that its literal meaning would thus be closer to “ones who have fallen.” Here, of course, we think of angelic beings that, having fallen from grace, renounced their divinity to walk among the daughters of men and, eventually, impregnate them with their proverbial star-seed. The modern interpretation of beings who have “fallen”—that is, arrived here potentially from some place above—almost can’t escape being filtered somewhat through our modern notions of paleo-contact with extraterrestrial alien beings. …
Neanderthal man was “giant” in terms of strength and they also were “fallen” in terms of becoming extinct. No need to bring gods or aliens into it. See my previous post on the topic.