Genesis 6:1–8 is one of the most disputed, controversial passages in the Bible, filled with the intermarriages of the sons of God and the daughters of men, the Nephilim, and mighty men of renown. While I don't think this passage describes intermarriages between angels and humans, we are not given enough details to state decisively what is happening here.
But even if we don't know exactly what happened, the text gives us something better through using an important pattern of words, "saw...good...took": "...the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive [lit., "good"]. And they took as their wives any they chose" (Gen. 6:2). This word pattern has appeared significantly twice already in the book of Genesis.
First, we read seven times in Genesis 1 that God saw that his creation was good (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). Then, Eve's temptation also follows the pattern of "saw...good...took": "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food...she took of its fruit and ate..." (Gen. 3:6). Later, this same pattern appears in the sin of Achan's stealing of forbidden spoils from Jericho (Josh. 7:21), and in David's temptation with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:2–4).
What can we learn from this?
God Alone Evaluates the Good
As many have observed, Christianity is a religion of the ear, not of the eye. Christianity emphasizes hearing because we must passively wait to hear and trustingly obey what God has spoken to us, over which we have no control.
With sight, we control what our eyes gaze upon. Sight is a precious gift that we too often take for granted, but we misuse that gift when we trust what our own eyes see rather than what we hear from the word of God.
Who has authority to judge what is good—God, by his word, or you, according to what you see?
God Tells Us What is Good
Jesus tells us that God's criteria for defining good are simple: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:34–40).
But when we define good for ourselves, we look for something much lower: our own comfort, power, wealth, pleasure, etc. None of these things are necessarily wrong in themselves, but when we elevate them as the highest "good" rather than listening to what God has declared to be good, we follow in the footsteps of Eve, these "sons of God," Achan, and David into deep wickedness.
How do you evaluate the "good" in life—according to what God has spoken, or by some other criteria?
Our "Good" is Actually Wickedness
When we usurp God's authority to judge the good, inevitably we become willing to transgress any boundary whatsoever in order to take that good for ourselves. Then, the more we take, the more our consciences become seared (1 Tim. 4:2), enabling us to commit increasingly wicked sins to take more of the good that we see.
What are you willing to do to take what you deem "good" in your life?