There are two competing stories of the origin of fallen angels. The most familiar one is that Lucifer, prince of angels, out of pride led a rebellion against God and was tossed out of heaven with his followers.
This version of the story became the official view. An alternative narrative is that a group of angels lusted after mortal females and acquired their fallen state after they had left their heavenly abode and copulated with them.
This alternative story, which at one time was widely known, eventually disappeared from popular folklore because it
clashed with the official church position (or what became the official position by the late Middle Ages) that angels were beings of pure spirit and thus could not engage in sexual intercourse.
The latter version of the angelic fall story is laid out in the Book of Enoch, a book that was never incorporated into the canonical Scriptures. There is, however, what appears to be a brief allusion to the Enoch tale in Gen. 6:2–4, which states that the “sons of God” took the “daughters of men” as wives. “Sons of God” was taken to
indicate angels, though this was later disputed by church theologians.
Support for the view that “sons of God” refers to angels comes from the book of Job (1:6): “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.”
It would be difficult to determine who these “sons” might be if they were not angelic beings. Having lost the original context for interpreting Gen. 6:2–4, some contemporary writers have hypothesized that they were the alien occupants of flying saucers who performed genetic experiments on our distant ancestors, producing what
became human beings.
- Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels. 1967. Reprint. New York: Free Press, 1971.
- Godwin, Malcolm. Angels: An Endangered Species. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990.
- Prophet, Elizabeth Clare. Forbidden Mysteries of Enoch: Fallen Angels and the Origins of Evil. 1983. Reprint. Livingston, Mont.: Summit University Press, 1992.