Dennis JWB hasn't forgotten this thread, have you had a chance to look at replying to #33?
My mistake. I was thinking about your question last night and wondering why I hadn't gotten to it yet because I remember reading it.
What is your understanding of the Nephilim mentioned in Genesis?
"Now when men started to grow in number on the surface of the ground and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of the true God*+ began to notice that the daughters of men were beautiful. So they began taking as wives all whom they chose. 3 Then Jehovah said: “My spirit will not tolerate man indefinitely,+ because he is only flesh.* Accordingly, his days will amount to 120 years.”
4 "The Neph?i·lim* were on the earth in those days and afterward. During that time the sons of the true God continued to have relations with the daughters of men, and these bore sons to them. They were the mighty ones of old times, the men of fame.
Let's start with the identity of the "sons of the true God". I understand that these were spirit sons of God. They could not have been human worshipers of Jehovah because only Noah and his family had God's favor and were preserved through the flood. If they were humans then the question also arises of why were their offspring "men of fame" moreso that other humans? Also, why mention their marriages with the "daughters of men" as if it were something special? If they were humans then there would be nothing special about that.
That they were spirit sons of God is consistent with other scriptures. For one, "sons of God" is used in the scriptures in reference to heavenly angels (Job 1:6; 38;7) so calling them that is not out of place. Others scriptures seem to make reference to them and they are referenced as spirits.
"And in this state he [Jesus] went and preached to the spirits in prison,+ 20 who had formerly been disobedient when God was patiently waiting* in Noah’s day,+ while the ark was being constructed,+ in which a few people, that is, eight souls,* were carried safely through the water. (1 Peter 3:19, 20)
"And the angels who did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place,+ he has reserved with eternal bonds in dense darkness for the judgment of the great day." (Jude 6)
"Certainly God did not refrain from punishing the angels who sinned,+ but threw them into Tar?ta·rus,*+ putting them in chains* of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment." (2 Peter 2:4)
That is how I understand the "sons of the true God". The Nephilim I have always understood them to be the offspring of these spirit sons of God and the daughters of men. It has always seemed like the most logical conclusion to me. However, there are other beliefs and here's where things get a little scholarly. I am not a scholar so I will quote jw.org to more thoroughly answer your question.
Bible commentators, considering verse 4, have offered several suggestions as to the identity of these Nephilim. Some have thought that the derivation of the name indicates that the Nephilim were ‘fallen angels,’ angels who sinned. Others, using a remarkable line of reasoning, conclude that the designation Nephilim itself indicates that they ‘fell from heaven’ in that they were ‘begotten by heavenly beings.’ Other scholars, focusing their attention particularly on the statement “and also after that” (vs 4), have said the Nephilim were not ‘fallen angels’ or the “mighty ones,” since the Nephilim “proved to be in the earth in those days” before the sons of God had relations with women. These latter scholars hold the opinion that the Nephilim were simply wicked men like Cain—robbers, bullies, and tyrants who roamed the earth until they were destroyed by the Flood. Still another group, taking into consideration not only the meaning of the name Nephilim but also the context of verse 4, conclude that the Nephilim were not themselves angels, but were the hybrid offspring resulting from materialized angels having intercourse with the daughters of men.
Certain Bible translations adjust the location of the phrase “and also after that,” placing it near the beginning of verse 4, thus identifying the Nephilim with the “mighty ones,” the gib·bo·rim?, mentioned in the latter part of the verse. For example: “In those days, as well as afterward, there were giants [Heb., han·nephi·lim?] on the earth, who were born to the sons of the gods whenever they had intercourse with the daughters of men; these were the heroes [Heb., hag·gib·bo·rim?] who were men of note in days of old.”—Ge 6:4, AT; see also Mo, NIV, and TEV.
The Greek Septuagint also suggests that both the “Nephilim” and “mighty ones” are identical by using the same word gi?gan·tes (giants) to translate both expressions.
Reviewing the account, we see that verses 1 to 3 tell of “the sons of the true God” taking wives and of Jehovah’s statement that he was going to end his patience with men after 120 years. Verse 4 then speaks of the Nephilim proving to be in the earth “in those days,” evidently the days when Jehovah made the statement. Then it shows that this situation continued “after that, when the sons of the true God continued to have relations with the daughters of men,” and describes in more detail the results of the union of “the sons of the true God” with women.
I hope this answers your question.