Categories
Belief in God hermeneutics History Physics Science

Giants are not mythological creatures

I have been told that the Bible mentions several mythological creatures. These include giants, unicorns, satyrs, cockatrices and dragons. But are they mythological? Or is the assumption that they are only due to a prejudice born from a disbelief that the Bible is an accurate record of not only history but also of science? Let’s examine one of the claims that giants are a myth. (Others will be examined in future articles).

Giants today

jackbean
Figure 1: Children’s story of Jack and the beanstalk with the giant descending the beanstalk.

When people hear the word giant they are immediately drawn to the likes of “Jack and the beanstalk” (see Fig. 1) and other such fairy stories. But real life giants do exist today.

macaskill
Figure 2: Angus MacAskill was born in 1825 on the Isle of Berneray in the Sound of Harris, Scotland. His height was 7 foot 10 inches (238.8 cm).

There are records of true giants in modern times. In 1981 the Guinness Book of World Records recognized Angus MacAskill as the largest true giant to have ever lived, the strongest man who ever lived and the man with the largest chest measurements of any non-obese man.

In adulthood, MacAskill stood 239 cm (7 ft 10 in) tall and weighed an astonishing 263 kg (580 lbs). His shoulders measured 112 cm (44 in) wide, the palm of his hand was nearly 30 cm (1 ft) wide and his shoes measured 48 cm (19 in) in length.1

MacAskill was able to lift a 1.27 tonne (2800 lb) ship’s anchor to chest height. Was known to carry barrels weighing over 136 kg (300 lbs) under each arm, was able to singlehandedly set a 12-metre (40-foot) mast into a schooner deck and was also known to lift a full-grown horse over a 1.2-metre (4-foot) fence.1

Categories
Biblical morality Creation/evolution God's sovereignty hermeneutics History Science

The Nephilim problem?

The word ‘Nephilim’ is found in the Old Testament Bible and some have suggested that their existence before the global Flood in Noah’s day was the reason God sent it to destroy all air-breathing life (nephesh chayyah) on the surface of the Earth. Certainly there is both biblical and archaeological evidence that giants, giant-sized people, have existed, but was there really ever a Nephilim problem? Could it be that that was at least part of the reason God sent the Flood?

Nephilim-1There is much written about this controversial subject, for example, in books,and on the web2-5 as well as online video discussions and documentaries6 and articles proposing that certain elongated ancient skulls are from the Nephilim.7  Some articles refer to a Nephilim problem and that “part of the reason for God sending the Flood was to stop the Nephilim problem”.5 But was there really a Nephilim problem at all?

The word Nephilim is derived from the Hebrew word נְפִיל/נְפִל nphiyl (nef-eel’), which appears in Genesis 6:4;

There were giants [nphiylim] in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. KJB (= King James Bible)

Various versions translate this as ‘giants,’ or not at all, leaving the untranslated Hebrew word, where the ending ‘im’ indicates it is plural;

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.  ESV (=English Standard Version)  ESV endnote #: giants.