The present state of the Moon and of Mars and other celestial bodies does not imply that in the past they were equally desolate. Concerning Mars and Moon we have the testimony of our ancestors, supported by modern observations, that these bodies were engaged in near-collisions only a few thousand years ago. It is not excluded that under conditions prevailing on their surfaces prior to these events, life could have developed there or elsewhere in the solar system to an advanced stage.
Working in the early 1940s on Worlds in Collision, which in its original form covered also the cataclysmic events preceding the Exodus, I wondered at a certain description that sounded like a visit from space.(1)
The sixth chapter of the book of Genesis starts this way:
The story told in Genesis VI about the sons of God (bnei Elim) coming to the daughters of men is usually explained as referring to an advanced priesthood that mingled with backward tribesmen.(3) When Columbus discovered America, the natives, according to the diary of his first voyage, regarded him and his crew as having arrived from the sky.(4) A similar occurrence could have taken place in prediluvial times, when some invaders from a remote part of the world came and were regarded as sons of God.
But if we are today on the eve of interplanetary travel, we must not declare as absolutely impossible the thought that this Earth was visited, ages ago, by some people from another planet. Or was this earth alone populated by intelligent beings? In my understanding this passage from the book of Genesis is a literary relic dealing with a visit of intelligent beings from another planet.
It appears that the extraterrestrial visitors made their landing as if in advance knowledge of the impending catastrophe of the Deluge.(5) It could be that Jupiter and Saturn were approaching each other ever closer on their orbits and that a disruption of one of them was expected.(6)
Possibly many centuries, or even millennia, passed between the landing and the Deluge. The mission could have been undertaken to ascertain the conditions on Earth. If it was an escape it could also have been from another catastrophe in the solar system, one of those that preceded the Deluge, like the one described as the dethronement and emasculation of Uranus by Kronos. If the ancient legends of a battle between the gods and titans, so persistent in the Greek world, but also in the mythologies of other civilizations, have any historical value, we may try to find what may have been the substratum of this fantasy. It seems that following great convulsions of nature observable in the celestial sphere, giant bodies were hurled on the earth. They arrived burned and were crushed by impact.(7) But at least one group of escapees suceeded in safely reaching the earth.(8) They descended on Mount Hermon or Anti-Lebanon.(9) Of the extra-biblical traditions dealing with the subject some reach hoary antiquity, antecedent to the composition of the Biblical texts. The Book of Enoch narrates that the group was composed of males only, two hundred in number, under the leadership of one by the name of Shemhazai.(10) The Aggadic literature says that the sons of God tried to return to heaven from where they had come, but could not.(11)
The new arrivals were probably of gigantic staturetheir progeny with women of the earth were giants:
Having fathered giants, they themselves must have been not of human size.(13)
The planet from which they came I would not know to determine. El would refer to Saturn.(14) The great size of the visitors would suggest a smaller body where the gravitational influence would be less.(15)
Ten thousand years is only an instant in the life of the cosmos; ten thousand years ago man was only in a rude stone age; today he contemplates to visit other planets. If such progress is made in a time as short as this, who knows what secrets are concealed in the past or in the future?