I’ve been thinking about the idea of “son of God” for a paper I’m working on. Genesis 5:2 says that Seth was begotten in the “likeness” and according to the “image” of Adam, and we know that Adam and Eve were made in the “image” of God and according to his “likeness.” So just as Seth was the son of Adam, so too, Adam was the son of God, and Luke says this in his genealogy (Lk. 3:38). Of course it should be pointed out that to say that Seth and Adam are sons of God is not to suggest that they are eternally begotten, ontological sons of the Father in the way that the second person of the Trinity is.
But the thought that occurred to me (which others have probably also noticed) is that given this status of Adam and Seth and (by implication) the descendants and generations that follow in Genesis 5, the most straightforward reading of Genesis 6:2 in reference to the “sons of God” who intermarry with the daughters of men, is that these “sons of God” are the descendants of Adam and Seth, the original “sons of God.” I know that many people have suggested that the “sons of God” are Sethites based on the fact that the judgment falls on humanity and not others, but I’m suggesting that the “sons of God” are Sethites because Seth was himself the son of God because Adam was. I think the judgment on humanity (rather than angels for example) suggests the same thing. But if Seth is the son of God because he is the son of Adam then Seth’s son must be too and his son and his son and so on. When we arrive in Genesis 6 it’s difficult to think of anyone else when the phrase “sons of God” is used.
For the record, I know that one interpretive possibility in Genesis 6 is to understand the “sons of God” to be angels or demons of some kind, and in defense of this reading, the giants (“nephilim”) and the mighty men of renown that show up on the scene at the same time are pointed out. In principle, I have no problem with affirming that at some point(s) in history angels/demons and humans interacted sexually. Given all of the mythologies (e.g. Ovid) wherein gods copulating with humans figure so prominently and Jude’s reference to angels who did not keep their proper domain but gave themselves over to sexual immorality and went after strange flesh (like the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah), I think it very probable that such a thing has happened and that strange, mutant humans have been born. I have no problem with that. And I think it probably did happen. At the same time, I’m more and more convinced that this is not what is being referenced in Genesis 6, or it’s at least not the principle event that mankind is being judged for.