Expert Answer Forum
Genesis 6:4 QUESTION from Ikari December 28, 1999
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.
We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.
Please explain? Where do these 'Nephilim' come from according to Catholic doctrine? In my last question, you stated that the bit about 200 Watchers descending to Earth was unequivocally not Catholic doctrine ; But I'm pretty certain the Catholic church embraces the verses of Genesis ; Do you have teachings on the origins of these odd figures?
Also, I understand that there was a split in the Vatican quite a few years back resulting in a 'Vatican' and a 'Vatican II' ; The Vatican II being far more stringent on rules regarding associating with other religious groups. May I ask which school of thought you attend, so to speak?
One more question (I know, I know - I'm always sending about three at a time) ; How did you become involved in Deliverance counseling? I know that oftentimes topics like that cannot be discussed publicly ; So I don't have my hopes up too high on this one, but I am interested.
I half get the impression that my inquiries may be unwelcome here. I have no desire to shove me foot in the door where I am absolutely unwanted ; But I have a lot of desire to learn. I'm not here to argue with you ; Though I undoubtedly disagree on some subjects, that is definitely not the point of communicating in this forum. If I ask you questions that seem to be leading, please forgive me ; I'm not trying to snare you into a debate (Although I get the impression it would be a well-matched one) - I respect the rules of your forum. I hope you will permit me to continue this correspondence.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on December 28, 1999 Dear Mr. Ikari:
Your inquiries are not unwelcome as long as they are honest questions to learn what the Catholic Church teaches about whatever subject you are interested in. What this forum is not for is to discuss your believes versus my believes or versus the teachings of the Catholic Church. That would be a debate and this is not a debate forum. But you can ask away if you are interested in knowing what the Church teaches for your own education.
I am not aware of the 200 watchers being in the Bible. If I missed that, you will have to give me chapter and verse. At the moment, I don’t recall the Bible ever mentioning such a thing.
As for Genesis 6:4 and the Nephilim, there is no definitive conclusion to what all that means. I can give you what the Navarre Bible Commentary says. (The Narvarre Bible Commentary is the best and more loyal commentary to the Catholic Church available today).
The Navarre says about Genesis 6:1-4:
(Concerning the Nephilim): Alluding perhaps to a myth in vogue in ancient times, to the effect that giants were the offsrping of women who mated with beings of a higher order, the sacred writer is stressing here the headway that sin and disorder have made. In this passage we are told that God put a limit on man’s lifespan as a punishment for sin. We cannot work out what the expression sons of God means here. Jewish tradition and some ancient Christian writers read it as meaning fallen angels; but that explanation does not fit in with the spiritual nature of angels. Therefore, it has been interpreted as meaning good men, the descendants of Seth who indiscriminately took as wives the descendants of Cain, here called the daughters of men. This is the explanation given by St. Augustine (De civitate Dei, 15, 23), St. John Chrysostom (Homiliae in Genesim, 22, 4), St. Cyril of Alexandria (Glaphyra in Genesim, 2, 2) and other Fathers. Mankind’s moral decline on account of pride and abuses of marriage prepares the way for the upcoming account of the flood.
You ask: I understand that there was a split in the Vatican quite a few years back resulting in a 'Vatican' and a 'Vatican II' ; The Vatican II being far more stringent on rules regarding associating with other religious groups. May I ask which school of thought you attend, so to speak?
There is no split. The Church calls what are called ecumenical councils every so often in order to resolve doctrinal disputes, deal with heresies and schisms, perhaps define infallible dogma, deal with pastoral issues in the Church, clarify teachings that may seem vague, etc.
Vatican II has called us to reach out to other religious groups, to find common ground where there is common ground, and to seek unity among our fellow Christians and to bring Christ to those who are not Christian.
In times past, usually due to threats to the Church, the pastors of the Church has taught their people to be wary of and to be exclusive of other religious groups. This was almost always within the context of a very real threat and thus such caution had to do with survival and preserving the integrity of the faith.
As we enter the third millennium, most of these threats are not present that would justify pulling back in an exclusionary way. Thus the Church affirms our duty to go out into the world to testify to Christ Jesus and to seek friendship and reconciliation where possible.
This outreach that seeks reconciliation and unity is NOT done, however, at the expense of truth. The Catholic Church will not compromise its teachings for the sake of unity. So for example, the Church will not relax its teachings on sexual morality just to get along with other denominations. Truth is truth and truth cannot be compromised. Jesus Himself said that He did not come into the world to bring peace, but division. What he meant by that was that when we stand up for Truth, some people will not like it and will depart from us. We can’t help that. It is their free will choice to reject truth if they want to. God doesn’t force anyone.
So Vatican II reminded us of our duty to be the light of the world and to seek reconciliation and unity where possible and to find common ground when possible so that we may dialog with all those on the planet earth.
As for a school of thought, there is only one kind of genuine Catholic -- a Catholic loyal and obedient to the Pope and Magisterium, and who submits his opinion to the wisdom and the authority of the Church.
You ask: How did you become involved in Deliverance counseling?
I came into Deliverance Counseling kicking and screaming – as do all other legitimate people who do this work. It is not pleasant work, and it is dangerous. I do it because God calls me to do it. He leads, I follow – even when the job is a difficult one.
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