Question: Is the book of giants authentic?

Answer: I’m not sure what you mean by “authentic.” If you mean, does the Book of Giants belong in the canon — that is, with the sixty-six books of the Bible — then, no. But if you mean, is it an authentic piece of ancient literature based on the Hebrew Bible, then yes. But this does not mean that its stories actually happened in history. In fact, I’m quite sure that they didn’t.

The Book of Giants has similar content to 1 Enoch, another apocryphal Jewish book that probably predates it. Fragments of these were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls which gives them rare bona fides as ancient documents. But no matter what their pedigree, they are not God’s inspired word. So, although they draw from Genesis, they do not become inerrant by this association, nor does it mean that they contain reliable histories.

So, if the Book of Giants is neither canonical nor truly historical, why should Bible-believing people be interested in it? Because of what it purports to do. The Book of Giants offers a backstory for the biblical Nephilim (Genesis 6:4) by tying them to Enoch, Noah’s great-grandfather (Genesis 4:24) … and between Enoch and the Nephilim, there’s plenty that the Bible does not tell us! As such, the doorway for speculation and imagination is wide open.

A recent example of someone playing around in that gap is the 2014 movie Noah, starring Russell Crowe. It was called by its director “The least biblical movie ever made” … and that’s okay. It was entertainment, not a Bible study. But — and in spite of this obvious lack of a dilemma — many Christians are offended when their entertainment is not biblically accurate (… I know… poor us). But there is another problem, and this one is more serious.

The general public — who, by and large, are neither scholars nor biblically literate — too frequently assume that these entertainment products portray true biblical narratives. But this is rarely the case with studio releases, and it will be helpful to think of the Book of Giants in the same way. It’s ancient, but it’s not a whole lot different than a contemporary movie that takes liberties with the Bible.

There are scores of ancient documents similar to the Book of Giants that have the smell and taste of biblical books, but which do not make the cut as true history or holy canon. But why do they hover around Scripture? To borrow the Bible’s gravitas… and they can do this by stealing from its plot (as in, what happened to the Nephilim?) But sometimes they will coopt its characters and use them as actors (like Enoch) or as authors (as with the Gospel of Thomas) to create what we’d call today historical fiction.

These works are fun and imaginative — and they help us understand the ancient cultures and languages that spawned them. But if God wanted us to know more about the Nephilim, he would have given us more in his word (… or perhaps a related archaeological find).

God made us as curious beings, and I can’t help but wonder where atheists think this curiosity comes from. In my opinion, God made us this way so that we might find him in our analyses, in our philosophy and in our art… and this is why I think God was baiting us when he revealed just enough about these giants to make us hungry for more. So now, I’ll bait you.

To learn more about the Nephilim, visit this link. (https://www.gotquestions.org/Nephilim.html)

And for a Christian review of the movie Noah, visit Got Questions Ministries at this link… because the rock giants are waiting! (http://www.blogos.org/gotquestions/Noah-movie.php)

I pray that these brief comments have helped you.

For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at ep@mainsailministries.org.