|A140 : by Tony Garland |
First, let me state that some of the questions surrounding the Nephilim of Genesis 6 are almost impossible to address with certainty because the Scriptures (by design) give us just the barest of details concerning the matter.
If the Nephilim were produced by the disturbing union which Scripture appears to describea, then it becomes quite difficult to determine their status in relation to Adam. However, I would not necessarily conclude that the offspring did not have “spirit consciousness” as you put it. Angels are certainly conscious spirit beings. These offspring would also inherit an Adamic nature through the female line (who themselves were descendants of Adam).
Remember also that Jesus, born without a biological father, still fully qualified as a representative of mankind in order to redeem that which was lost by Adam. I'm not suggesting that Jesus' birth is similar to that of the Nephilim (especially since the Holy Spirit was involved—a mystery beyond our grasp), but pointing out that lacking a direct male father in the line of Adam is not necessarily reason enough to conclude that the offspring would not have spirit consciousness or differ fundamentally in human terms from other men.
Although it is impossible to know for sure, I would hazard that the offspring, other than their stature, certain physical characteristics, and apparent increased propensity toward evil, were indistinguishable from other men. As to whether they had what the Bible would consider a fully human nature (and were redeemable), we simply cannot say.
This is but one of the problems which attends this passage—which often drives interpreters to alternate explanations. However, as I mention elsewhere, the alternate explanations fail to account for parallel passages in the New Testament which also refer to this troubling event. This is an area where we will never have all the answers in this life because Scripture simply leaves much unsaid and we need to rest in that.