The book of Job tells us that the sons of God came to present themselves to God and Satan was among them. Who were the sins of God and how Satan was able to see God when the Lord is Holy?
@IrinaPG Great question The peoples of the ancient near east had the idea of a council of heavenly beings surrounding God’s throne called the “sons of God”. The word “satan” in Hebrew means “adversary”, so in Job we see a character called “the satan” or “the adversary” who was able to attend this heavenly council. The Biblical text does not tell us much about exactly what type of being “the satan” is or where such a being came from in my opinion.
Regarding how “the satan” could see God and live, are you referring to verses where it says no one has ever seen God (John 1:18) and that no man can see God and live (Exodus 33:20)? If so, there are a few possible explanations:
- there is a difference between seeing God and seeing Him in all of His glory - God can reveal more or less of Himself as He pleases. For example, in the burning bush God revealed Himself to Moses, but not in all of His fullness.
- Jesus has clearly been seen, so these references could refer to God the Father and since God is a Trinity it could be that it was the preincarnate Christ in these passages
- These texts do not say anything about angelic beings not being able to say God and live - I think you could argue that in context they are referring to humans
Defining “sons of God” in Job
v. 6 - The “sons of God” refer to the angelic host (cf. Job 38:7). They constitute the heavenly council, God’s courtiers surrounding the throne ready to obey His every command. See also 1 Kings 22:19 and Daniel 7:9-14. With them was " the Satan ". Everywhere this word appears in Job it has the definite article (“the”; cf. 1:6,7(2),8,9,12(2); 2:1,2(2),3,4,6,7). Hence, it is a title, descriptive of his function and character. The word “Satan” literally means one who opposes at law, an adversary (seeZech. 3:1-2).
The “sons of God” in the OT is generally taken to refer to angels. They are not actually “sons” of Elohim ; the idiom is a poetic way of describing their nature and relationship to God. The phrase indicates their supernatural nature, and their submission to God as the sovereign Lord. It may be classified as a genitive that expresses how individuals belong to a certain class or type, i.e., the supernatural (GKC 418 §128. v ). In the pagan literature, especially of Ugarit, “the sons of God” refers to the lesser gods or deities of the pantheon. See H. W. Robinson, “The Council of Yahweh,” JTS 45 (1943): 151-57; G. Cooke, “The Sons of (the) God(s),” ZAW 76 (1964): 22-47; M. Tsevat, “God and the Gods in the Assembly,” HUCA 40-41 (1969/70): 123-37.
The NET Bible
Sons of God in Genesis 6
The term ‘sons of God’ also appears in Genesis 6 and has three possible interpretation:
1 - descendants of the line of Seth
2 - angelic beings
3 - tyrants
Personally, I find the line of Seth argument the most reasonable, though I can see why people might think they were divine beings (the heavenly council in Job is called the ‘sons of God’).
When we consider the context of this text we can better understand what Moses is explaining. In previous chapters we are given a glimpse of two competing lines, the godly line of Seth and the wicked line of Cain. Having established the antithesis in the garden, after affirming that there would be a constant struggle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent we are given snapshot pictures of each of these armies. We see Seth’s line about the business of exercising dominion, in submission to the Lord. We see Cain’s line dishonoring the law of God and making names for themselves. But the future is not mere co-existence between the two lines. The drama builds toward the great crisis of Noah’s flood right here in chapter 6. The great change, what creates the great downward spiral of humanity on the earth is that the two lines come together as one. That is, the godly line of Seth, the sons of God, seeing how attractive are the daughters of men, the wicked line of Cain, decide to take them as wives. The end result, however, isn’t mere dilution. It’s not that the now joined line becomes morally lukewarm, but that evil spreads, grows, deepens. This shouldn’t surprise as for as Chuck Swindoll reminds us, if you drop a white glove in the mud, the mud doesn’t get all glovey.
The angels view also assumes that angels can have sexual relations with female humans. Bruce Waltke points out, however, “This interpretation…contradicts Jesus’ statement that angels do not marry (Matt. 22:30; Mark 12:25). It is one thing for angels to eat and drink (see Gen. 19:1–3), but quite another to marry and reproduce.”2 Some interpreters respond that Jesus was referring only to the marriage contract and not to the marriage bed, but this makes Jesus’ statement nonsensical in its own context. Jesus was responding to the question about having a marital relation resulting in children, and He clearly denied that heavenly angels can have sexual relations.