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Thread: Lawrence & The Angel Theme.

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    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Lawrence & The Angel Theme.

    The reference to “the sons of God and daughters of men” in Genesis 6 must have stirred something deep in D.H.Lawrence’s thinking very early on, as there is a recurrence of angel figures throughout his writing.

    I first came across this when reading “Women in Love,” and it had somewhat sinister undertones to it; embodying as it seemed in some of its characters, a continuation of a line of Nephilim. I have in mind Gerald Crich, Rupert Birkin & Hermione Roddice. The origins of this theme go way back to the Old Testament, where the Nephilim were seen as the offspring of sexual relationships between the sons of God and daughters of men. There is much debate as to the identity of the “sons of God,” possibly fallen angels who mated with human females or possessed human males who then mated with human females. These unions resulted in offspring, the Nephilim, who were described, somewhat strangely as “heroes of old, men of renown”.

    As to motivation, one speculation is that the fallen angels were attempting to pollute the human bloodline in order to prevent the coming of the Messiah. God had promised that the Messiah would one day crush the head of the serpent, Satan (Genesis 3:15). The fallen angels in Genesis 6 were possibly attempting to prevent this and make it impossible for a sinless “seed of the woman” to be born. The Nephilim were apparently a race of giants, which combined with their fallen angel status made them a formidable force of evil. Their great size and power presumably came from the mixture of demonic “DNA” with human genetics. Thus, the progeny of a union between the “sons of God” and the daughters of men” was of such a character as to indicate a super-human union.

    What then followed was that the Nephilim were one of the primary reasons for the great flood in Noah’s time.

    “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them’'

    The flood of the entire earth occurred, killing everyone and everything other than: Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark. All else perished, including one would suppose the Nephilim. Or is there a twist in the tale; that it is possible that some traits of the Nephilim were passed on through the heredity of one of Noah’s daughters-in-law?

    What we must keep in mind is that originally the term “sons of God” denoted beings that were brought into existence by the creative act of God. Such were the angels, and in the Old Testament the title refers to angels. Men are not “sons” until they are redeemed and born again in the New Testament sense.

    The angels in heaven do not marry, nor are given in marriage. But, the “sons of God” in Geneses 6:1-4 were no longer in heaven, having left their own place, and came seeking after an unapproved alliance with the daughters of men.

    Lawrence also included in his writing more than just this type of angel. There is a school of thought that thinks in terms of modernist angels; spiritual placeholders, reminders that something has been lost, even if it is difficult to know exactly what this is. This can be discerned in “The White Peacock”, which emerges from the body of Lawrence’s work as unrealized manhood.
    Lawrence also introduces his collection of poems as the story of a man during the crisis of manhood, "crisis" bearing a double meaning of sexual fulfilment as well as a fulfilment of sexuality; the revealing of the experience of a man during the crisis of manhood, when he marries and comes into himself. The stages of this crisis appear to all be marked by the appearance of angels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MANICHAEAN View Post
    These unions resulted in offspring, the Nephilim, who were described, somewhat strangely as “heroes of old, men of renown”.
    I have a zany idea about the Nephilim, a surprisingly materialist-reductionist one for me. Well, not reductionist. The Nephilim can still do their thing in mythology and theology. But like you I find the "heroes of old, men of renown" remark unusual. The ancient Greeks sometimes came upon the fossils of extinct creatures (a gigantic femur here, an enormous rib there), which they took for relics the myth age--the bones of monsters and giants but also of heroes and great men. I wonder if the sons of the Nephilim being "heroes of old, men of renown" was just the Levantine version of the same idea. A Jungian wouldn't think much of that idea, but then, like you M., I'm not as Jung as I once was.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 07-23-2019 at 04:34 PM.

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