Angels and Demons
By Rick Hoar, Managing Producer
January 1, 2010

There’s an account in the bible (Genesis 6:1-4 & Numbers 13:32-33) of an ancient time when angels came down to the earth and subsequently fell in love with humans. Against God’s will, they coupled with our ancestors and spawned offspring known as Nephilim. History records these Nephilim as being giants among men, extremely powerful and influential in their time.

I was thinking about this story the other day, and particularly, the name given to that rare breed of half-man, half-angel. I know that in modern biology, we use a taxonomic system to classify life that everyone learns in grade school growing up. All life in the Animal Kingdom is identified as a Species belonging to a Family in a Genus of an Order in a Class of a Phylum.

Now, it can certainly be linguistic coincidence that the ancient bible would refer to a unique form of life on earth as Nephilim – or “No Phylum,” and as the biologic taxonomical system was not adopted until the 1700’s, its quite a stretch to make this connection between the two terms. In fact, the Phylum designation is really only used to distinguish between different groups of worms and invertebrates.

But, if you drill-down to the origin of the word Carl Linnaeus employed in his Systema Naturae, you find that the Greek origin of Phylum is “phylon,” simply referring to tribe or stock. So, in pre-scientific terms, the Nephilim may not have simply been men of legendary Herculean stature, they may have been beings truly unlike their peers: of an altogether alien tribe.

More importantly, if the Nephilim were not merely myth, their basis in reality might serve as evidence of angels physically interacting with living human beings in our history. Take that implication for what you will, but it certainly violates the divide between our physical world that we define in science, and the spiritual world that we acknowledge in our hearts. I often find that those two worlds are not incompatible – they just require some degree of independent thought to rationalize.

There are various interpretations as to the origin of the Nephilim in biblical study, and this hypothesis in no way claims to be authoritative on the subject. For a related etymology study, refer to the 1996 PC game, Drowned God, published by Inscape. One story arc in the game posits an alien origin of the title, Genesis, as referring to the “gene of Isis,” the Egyptian goddess of fertility.