Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Discovery of Chinese Burial Ground: The Nephilim Are Among Us!

Science Alert (among other outlets) is reporting a news story about a discovery in Shandong Province of a 5,000 year-old graveyard of individuals that are tall, relative to the people currently living in the area.  Peter Dockrill writes:
Archaeologists in China have made a stunning discovery, finding graves bearing the ancient remains of a 'giant' people buried approximately 5,000 year ago.

The bones, uncovered during an excavation in Shandong Province in south-east China, reveal at least one male individual who would have reached 1.9 metres (6 ft, 3 in) in height, along with others measuring 1.8 metres (5 ft, 11 in) tall – making them giants in their time who would have towered over their neolithic contemporaries.
The current residents of the area are the Han Chinese, who are, on average 5'7". There have been numerous migration waves out of steppic Asia over the last ten or so thousand years, so it is not out of the question that one of these groups would have undergone genetic drift if genes for increased height took hold.  So, is this unusual?  Yes.

But then, Breaking Israeli News got a hold of the story.

Here is the headline: Discovery of Biblical 'Nephilim' Remains Opens Questions Over Giants' Roles in End of Days

Here is the first paragraph:
Archaeologists have discovered a collection of 5,000-year old graves in China that contain remarkably tall skeletons, a description strongly reminiscent of the Biblical Nephilim who are believed to also play a significant role in the Final Battle on Mount Zion at the End of Days.

Throughout Eastern China in the Jiaojia village, archaeologists have been excavating the ruins of houses, graves, and sacrificial pits, unearthing more than 200 graves. The evidence of their discovery leads the experts to believe that the males in the village averaged a height of six feet, three inches.
First off, they don't even get their facts straight.  They didn't "average" 6'3".  There was one individual that may have been that tall.  Second, how can the village of Jiaojia be "throughout Eastern [sic] China?"  It is throughout eastern China or it is in the village, but not both.  Then there is this:
The skeletons found in China are consistent with the giants found in the Biblical narrative who were remarkably tall but still able to breed with human women. This is precisely the role Nephilim played in the beginning of the Bible preceding the story of the flood in the time of Noah. The text implies an unnatural sexual relationship between the Nephilim and human women.
The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. Genesis 6:4
According to the text, Nephilim survived the flood and later reappeared in the Land of Israel. When the spies were sent to scout out the land, they were met by Nephilim who were so large that they deeply intimidated the Children of Israel.
First off, no they are not consistent with the size of the Nephilim, unless my son Marcus is a Nephilim also. It is not unheard of, or even necessarily that unusual for people to be that tall.  It is estimated that the Lake Turkana skeleton of the 1.3 million year-old adolescent was close to six feet tall. 

The passages involving the Nephilim are terribly confused in the Bible.  First off, they are mentioned before the flood as being sort of demigods, which God then wipes out in the flood. The scripture is very clear in Genesis 6:
18But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

22Noah did everything just as God commanded him. [NIV]
So, no, they couldn't have survived the flood.  Not unless God meant “you, your sons and their wives and, uh, oh, these evil people over here that I am going to hold onto for now.”  The contradictions are stark.  Either God wiped out the evil people in the flood or he didn't.  If he didn't, why did he say that he had?  If he didn't, what was the purpose of the flood?

Now, one might argue that the word “nephilim” simply means ‘very large person,’ but the context from Genesis 6 is clear: these were the offspring of the daughters of men and the sons of God (upper case).  Further, the passage in Numbers 13 reads: “We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim.”  This passage indicates clearly that the Nephilim are a distinct group of individuals and that the term is not a simple description of size.

Now one might argue that they were not part of the flood narrative at all.  As Carol Hill notes, there is no evidence of a world-wide flood. It is possible that Joshua and his spies were simply mistaken about what they saw and that other people groups who were not affected by a more localized flood in the Mesopotamian hydrological basin were in the general area.  Given the specificity of the Genesis narrative, this might be a stretch, though. 

It is difficult to not see the set of passages in Genesis as being within some sort of mythological context.  Unfortunately, the hyperbolic prose from Breaking Israeli News is not atypical of much young earth creationist thought and would not be out of place on the Answers in Genesis web site. 


  1. "So, no, they couldn't have survived the flood. Not unless God meant “you, your sons and their wives and, uh, oh, these evil people over here that I am going to hold onto for now.” The contradictions are stark. Either God wiped out the evil people in the flood or he didn't. If he didn't, why did he say that he had? If he didn't, what was the purpose of the flood?"

    Verse 4 indicates that the Nephilim were on the earth both before and after the flood:

    4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

    So whatever caused the Nephilim was repeated after the flood.

    Dr. Michael Heiser has a lot of good information on this subject in his book The Unseen Realm.

  2. Genesis 6: 11-18:

    "11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress[c] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.[d] 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit[e] high all around.[f] Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you."

    The idea that being "Nephilim" is a condition, not a people group is belied by the passage I quoted in my post. The descendants of Anak came from the Nephilim. It does not say "these people became Nephilim."