The book of Genesis contains some of the most famous origin myths in Western culture: God's creation of the heavens and Earth, Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, and God commanding Noah to collect two of every animal to survive the great flood.
But hidden among these better-known stories is an intriguing and somewhat confounding account of fallen angels and a race of superhuman giants roaming the Earth. The whole wild story is contained in just three verses at the start of Genesis, chapter six. The King James Version goes like this:
In the original Hebrew, the term for these giants and "mighty men" is Nephilim, which is derived from the Hebrew naphal meaning "to fall." In that sense, this race of giants, born of unholy unions between divine "sons of God" (i.e., angels) and mortal "daughters of men," are better translated as "the fallen ones."
While the giant Nephilim are barely mentioned in the Genesis narrative, they were the subject of great fascination in later apocalyptic literature, especially the Book of Enoch. In that text, which didn't make it into the Bible, a group of lusting angels conspires to sleep with human women, giving birth to a race of giants that spoil God's creation so completely that he has no choice but to send the floodwaters and wipe Earth clean.