Chapter 1. Heroes of Old


The Nephilim were on the earth in those days and afterward, when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were heroes of old, men of renown.

—Genesis 6:4

The unexplained Nephilim narrative originates in the book of Genesis, during the time of Noah. Readers are not provided with any defining details or with appropriate context as to just what Nephilim were. Readers are only instructed that sons of God coupled with daughters of men, which curiously produced the renowned heroes of old.

But isn’t this a very strange anecdote in the preamble to the flood narrative? Why were Nephilim provided print just before one of the epic tales of Scripture? Why were these cryptic Nephilim people described as both heroes of old and men of renown? Surely, all this cannot be a coincidence. It is my contention that Scripture has been brilliantly diligent in its accuracy and historically precise in its application of text.

The ancient application to the appellation hero is not generally understood today in the same context that hero was applied and understood in ancient texts and thus, it is comprehended in a completely different connotation in the everyday life of the ancient epochs. The ancient recollection of heroes is more akin to our contemporary phenomena of superheroes, such as Superman and Spiderman. Indeed, these contemporary superheroes reflect allegories of forgotten secrets to epochs past, fond memories by some harkening back to an age of superhuman heroes. These contemporary cartoon characters eerily whisper something seductive, something secretive, and something sinister from the misty fog of prehistory that we dismiss at our peril.

Consider this: one definition provided by Webster’s New Format Dictionary (1986) defines hero as “a man of superhuman powers, a demigod.” If the original translation for hero then is applied to Genesis 6, we indeed have a cryptic enigma, in that a race of superhuman demigods is part of the flood narrative. Just as curious, and without explanation, all renowned men of antiquity were depicted as heroes that persistently and continuously bubbled to the surface from the murky depths of primeval history as part man and part god, reigning for long durations.