© Tom Lethbridge 1967 
I had been interested in the problem of who were ‘the sons of God’ for many years and had sought enlightenment from archaeologists, anthropologists and theologians at Cambridge and elsewhere without getting the slightest satisfaction. Nobody knew the answer.
If my ideas had any sense in them, nobody could have known the answer before the present generation, for travel to other planets was unthinkable. Since this has now changed, it is obviously time that people did begin to think about these matters which clearly affect the whole meaning of life on earth. Is there more than one species of Man and is he found on many different planets?
I could not be expected to know the answer, of course, but it is worth throwing a stone into the pool to see what then moves in it. My wife, who is my great helper and best critic as well as carrying the burden of typing it all, seems to think I am not crazy in formulating these ideas and so I will throw the stone and hope for the best.
Let me quote three verses from the sixth chapter of Genesis and see whether anything we have heard of really provides an answer:
'And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives all which they chose.’
That was verses 1 and 2. Then follows verse 3 which seems to have no connection with the first two; and after that verse 4 takes up the story again:
‘There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.’
Now how does this piece of legend fit in with any known ‘ism’? It is not totemism, anthropomorphism or anything of that kind. It is a definite statement of fact that a race known as the sons of God intermarried with another known as the daughters of men. But who were the sons of God? This problem has puzzled me for years and I have met no one who can supply an answer.
There is the same kind of thing in Greek mythology where one race is apparently described as Gods. They have unions with mortal women and produce heroes. One finds it, too, in the northern lands. Many of our early Anglo-Saxon kings claimed to be descended from Woden, the same Odin of the Norsemen, who was the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, the chief of the gods.
Let us forget such terms as polytheism and see whether there is any other explanation which might fit this seemingly impossible situation. After all there are many people who believe that every word in the Bible is true and to them the sons of God must mean, not only that God had children, but that He also had a wife.
When I first thought abut this matter, it seemed obvious that the sons of God must have been some conquering race who thought a lot of themselves and to whom it was at first unthinkable that they should actually intermarry with the people they conquered.
The whole caste system was apparently based on such a situation. The race, formerly known as Aryans and now generally spoken of as Indo-Europeans, thought it sinful to mix their blood with that of the people they had vanquished. But they had gods of their own. If they had been or believed themselves of divine descent, they would have surely been called the ‘children of the gods’. Aryan appears to mean ‘noble’ and nothing more.
This problem is not entirely foreign to us in England. Very large numbers of people are known to have descended from Edward III. Edward III was descended in blood from Alfred. Alfred claimed descent from Woden. Are all these people then entitled to put ‘son of God’ after their name?
Of course, it sounds ridiculous when said like that but, funny or not, it is interesting to wonder whether they might be. Who was Woden anyway? Was he just the wandering chief of a barbarous war band, or was he something else?
So much difficulty lies in the meaning of words. A god to ancient Romans could be simply an outstanding man and he could be deified in his lifetime. We all know the unpleasant results of this process when Herod was hailed as a god by the populace! The practice of calling Roman emperors gods is also well known. It may appear strange to those who hold that the term only refers to the creator of the universe, but as a matter of historical fact it needs to be considered.
It is even more strange to find that the term ‘devil’ is simply a distortion of a word meaning ‘god’. The gods of one religious belief became the devils of another. Lucifer, the light bearer, a god to many races (including the Celts, who called him Lugh), was also the wicked angel who was thrown out of heaven.
Perhaps it is even more peculiar to learn that the original holder of the Greek title was the planet Venus and so female. Lucifer, Satan, devil, the dragon and the serpent all came to mean the spirit of evil, not only in the Christian world but in many others also, which brings us to the second curious puzzle: What was the war in heaven?
Unless the meaning is very obscure, I far prefer the language of the old James I Bible to that of the modern ‘told to the children’ versions and I think that there is nothing obscure in the following quotations which all bear on the same subject. The first is from Revelations, chapter 12, verses 7 to 9 and is the most complete statement of what was evidently, at the time of Nero, a very ancient legend.
‘And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was there place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called e Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.’
Also in St Luke, chapter 10, verse 18, Jesus himself is reported as quoting: ‘I beheld Satan as lightning fall from the heaven.’ These are not unique survivals in old Hebrew writings, for something similar is preserved by the Hindus, while the serpent or dragon is even found in old Norse mythology. There was a story spread widely in the ancient world that there had been a war in heaven and the vanquished side had been driven to live on earth.
Of course it is possible to reject anything of this sort as pure imagination by men long ago seeking for an explanation of the reason for the conflict between good and evil. In almost every ancient religion of which we have record there is this story of conflict between the powers of light and darkness.
The ancient Greeks did not have it, but then their gods were quite frankly ‘not respectable’ in a Christian sense; neither were those of the Romans, Saxons, Norsemen or Celts. These had all the vices as well as many of the virtues of mankind. They were simply men and women with greatly enlarged powers.
If we take the view that all legends of this kind are no more than fiction, there is no point in going on with this study; but as the years go by, it becomes increasingly clear that many, if not all, have some foundation in fact. They may be greatly embroidered and appear as fairy stories, but there is something in them based on memories of events which really happen.
They are not the same as myths, which are the counterparts of religious ritual; although these themselves often contain genuine pieces of tradition. The long labours of Sir James Frazer which resulted in that ponderous series of books known as The Golden Bough brought this home to many readers. Tradition itself tells that he was locked up in his study for many hours a day by his ferocious French wife to compel him to write his daily quota. Certainly he seemed to wear a haunted look.
I am going to take it for granted that there was some truth at the back of the two scraps of legend which I have quoted and see whether we can find anything to suggest an explanation. It is a kind of exercise in detection, but it is not fiction. The guesses may be wrong, yet there is something to be investigated.
Our questions then are: Who were the sons of God? And what was the war in heaven?
If anybody reads the early chapters of Genesis with care, it becomes clear that some editor has linked together at least two traditional accounts of the Creation with remarkably little skill. The Adam and Eve story is the kind of thing you might find in the religious beliefs of an African tribe today and we need not bother with it yet. However the other, which in itself looks like a blend of more than one tale, has a lot of legend in it.
At the very start of this we meet another puzzle in Chapter 1, verse 26: ‘And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ Who did God say this to? We have always been led to understand that there was only one God and that He was absolute. He created everything from millions of nebulae and bacteria. Yet in the chief religious book of the early Hebrews he is pictured as talking to other of like form. Were they perhaps the sons of God? One can hardly assume that He was talking to Himself.
It is even more remarkable when we find a similar kind of story preserved on the other side of the Atlantic. There several descendants of God are reported as having more than one trial at making man like themselves. There were also failures of the same kind as described in Genesis. This is some world-wide traditional story and not confined to the Hebrews. It seems most unlikely that it is more than some ancient theory, but at the same time we must observe that it had once a very wide distribution. How was it spread from one continent to another before the days of efficient ships? There is a puzzle here which is not just a bee in my bonnet.
The question of who the Sons of God might have been is bound up somehow with the evidence for an extraordinary spread of people all up the western seaboard of Europe who put up a very great number of large upright stones for some apparently inexplicable reason. Single ones are perhaps not of very great interest, for they might mark the site where someone had been killed, or be the boundary between two different communities.
But when you find great rings and lines of stones set up in Brittany, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Ireland, the Outer Hebrides and the Orkneys, it surely means something of vast importance to the people who put them up. No one has the least idea why great rows of stones were set striding across Dartmoor, or why a huge ring was erected at Stennis in Orkney.
Only one thing is obvious and that is that a race of seamen must have done it for an important purpose. Why do seamen put up marks? As far as I know it is only for one purpose and that is to show themselves or other seafarers how to get to some place in safety. But many of these indicators are far inland and could not be seen from the sea at all. Although the suggestion may seem fantastic, could it possibly be that they were meant to be seen from the air?
No, I am not crazy, but although I have had no personal experience of the matter, I cannot fail to be impressed by the bulk of testimony that unidentified flying vehicles are frequently observed in our skies. Could it be that, in the Bronze Age, and before, they were also numerous and needed direction points?
Let us go back to the ancient Greek gods. Till the second half of this century, it would have been quite absurd to suggest that there might have been some truth in the flying chariots which the gods possessed and the thunderbolts which Zeus threw. Furthermore it would have been ridiculous to think that these gods might have come from an unknown part of the universe and sometimes begotten children on women of the earth.
It is no longer absurd - clumsy though our efforts may appear to be, man is already starting on his first tentative exploration of other planets and is there any reason to be sure that he is the first race to do so? Obviously the answer is ‘no’. We have really very little idea of what may go on in outer space and it is an impertinence to think that man on Earth is the most advanced of all creation.
The Greek gods passed with great rapidity from their home on Mount Olympus to anywhere they wanted to go and if they were said to go in flying chariots, this only described the fastest things that man had by that time invented. It was all rather fantastic and even a little comical, but why did men believe anything of the sort unless sometime, somewhere, something of a vague resemblance to this picture had once existed?
It was not only a product of Greek imagination, for there were Hindu stories too, of godlike personages who actually had remarkable flying machines and destructive weapons. Nobody knew how they worked, of course, and it was all long ago. So was the chariot of fire, which took Elijah up into the heavens.
I do not believe all this, of course, for there is very little to go on; but I do think that there is enough to make us wonder whether there is a possibility that for a short period long ago there may have been visitors to this earth from another and that they were so relatively advanced in technology as to be completely bewildering to the earth men of those days.
If there were visitors of this kind, it is more than likely that they would need landing signs here and there. Supposing that they were beginning to investigate an unexplored world, which was completely unmapped and they were putting down a few parties of explorers, it would be necessary to have indications where these parties had been dropped. What would be more natural than to enlist native help to set up such marks?
It is hard for us today to visualize the Britain of, for instance, five thousand years ago. The vast extent of natural woodland is unknown today, except in tropical vegetation. Brambles and fallen trees made pathways through it extremely difficult and it covered the bulk of the country. Only on some downlands was passage relatively easy and that was not free from large patches of juniper trees, thorn bushes, gorse and bramble.
The wide vista of rolling grassland did not exist. One can assume that exploration parties would be dropped at the edges of all this and traces of them would be found, if at all, in the kind of situations where we do find these stone set rings and alignments today. A stone ring would be noticeable from the air, just because such things do not often happen in nature. Neither would straight lines be frequent.
But there may have been another reason for setting up the stones, even if its object were the same. For untold generations it has been believed, especially by the devotees of the old witch religion, that by means of exciting people to execute wild circular dances, power could be generated and stored in stone and trees.
Actually this appears to be scientific fact. It has been demonstrated by Mr P Callahan in America that moths generate bio-electricity by the heat caused by the movements of their wings and they use this to locate their mates or food supply. I have described how I detected the same thing with beetles in an earlier part of this book. This is observed fact and no longer something on the fringe of knowledge.
Now if you have a large number of people dancing wildly round in a ring, you obviously generate a great deal of this bio-electricity, living electricity. If you carry out this performance in rings formed of stones with gaps between them, you have a form of dynamo.
It has been shown that the electro-magnetic fields of stones, trees and water will absorb bio-electricity from outside and this is the probable reason why some people see ghosts in situations which were favourable to such impressions being preserved. I have elsewhere suggested the names of oread fields for those of stones, dryad fields for those of trees and naiad fields for those of streams in accordance with the Greek belief that nymphs with these names were to be found in such places.
We now apparently see why my wife and I experienced electric shocks when trying to date the stones of the circle of the Merry Maidens in Cornwall. The bio-electronic force has been stored at one time by the exertion of dancers in that circle and it had never been taken out again. The circle is still complete. But why did anybody wish to store up electronic power in such places? What possible use could it be put to?
Well, experiments with the pendulum have shown that the electronic fields about an object are double cones of limitless height and depth. It has also been shown that a pendulum length of the same radius as the base of the double cones ill register contact with that cone.
If, then, you had an apparatus in a flying machine set to the right wave-length, you could pick up the rays from the stored energy in the stones and home in on it like the moth to its mate. These rings of stones could have been used both as visible and invisible navigational beacons.
This suggestion sounds absurd to those who have got no further than believing that the stones were set up by shaggy and uncultured savages whose only aids to life were stone tools and soft, badly baked pottery. But what if there were two completely different races of people involved, the sons of God and the daughters of men?
Of course, I may well be talking complete rubbish, but before the reader dismisses it as such, perhaps he will tell me why the stones were set up at all. In the whole of western Europe, it used to be done and in the same area the excited ring dances were once commonplace. No one can give a reason for either.
When explorers get up tributaries of the Amazon, they find the naked women of unknown tribes dancing in exciting rings in forest glades. It is no answer to say that primitive man does this as a primitive religious rite and you did it in a sacred circle of stones or trees to make it more religious.
Or children do it naturally and so it is a natural form of worship. But do any children do it unless they are first taught by some elder who has herself been taught as a child?
What were the dances of Baal which so upset the Hebrew prophets? The Baalim were little stone jujus of the gods and the people danced before them to put power into the stones. The One God, Yahweh, was not supposed to like it.
It was not only the Hebrew prophets who had this trouble. If you read the Koran of the Moslems, you find that Mahomet had the same difficulty with numerous godlings. We may think perhaps that these Baalim represented the sons of God, but with the passage of time nobody really remembered what that meant.
As a purely hypothetical exercise then, let us put up a probably absurd problem. Was there a long time ago, perhaps five thousand or more years it might have been, a series of exploratory visits to this world from another? Did they have considerable contact with the people then living on earth, including some degree of intermarriage?
Did the explorers persuade the natives to help them in setting up direction beacons and similar constructions in return for being taught how to work metals, practise agriculture and even build primitive towns? Then, for some unknown reason, did it all come to an end, leaving some degree of hybrid population behind it? Were the visitors known as the sons of God, because they had a belief in a single deity?
I think it is impossible to imagine a large immigration of people from elsewhere. Had there been anything of the sort and had settlements been formed of foreigners, it seems impossible for no trace of them to have come to light. So much digging and construction work has been done that some totally unknown culture of objects must have emerged somewhere for the acute bewilderment of archaeologists. This has not happened.
There are stories published of a very few unknown things being found in rocks, but until I see a numerous collection of such things I shall not believe it. Archaeological study is really quite advanced and I think we can say with confidence that no such foreign culture has come to light.
You may say that Atlantis, Mu and even Tartessos have not yet been found and I say we have no vestige anywhere of any Atlantian culture, which must have existed, other than on the drowned lands, if there had been one. The Atlantis at present claimed at the eastern end of the Mediterranean cannot be right, because Atlantis was outside the Pillars of Hercules, that is west of Gibraltar.
If it existed at all, one would have thought that the shoals off Cape Trafalgar might mark its grave. Yet the only unexpected things dredged from the bottom of nearby Cadiz harbour are Irish bronzes, and Irish goldwork has been found as far away as Palestine while Greek and Egyptian ornaments have been found in Bronze Age graves in Britain. People got about the world all right in those far off days, so where are the traces of the Atlantians who are said to have been so far advanced that they had flying machines?
Perhaps, however, Atlantis was just another explorers’ base and quite small. If so, there might be very little to find except the equivalent of the empty bully beef tins of the explorers of my day. At least we buried these out of a sense of decency, now lacking in the bulk of our population, even in the wastes of Jan Mayen or Baffin Land.
This investigation becomes more and more complicated as it goes on. Nothing seems to have an obvious answer and yet all sorts of books are written and hundreds of lectures given about this very period, none of which gives us much hint of the astonishing things which have taken place in a raw, new world some five thousand years ago.
 Source: The Legend of the Sons of God (1972) by Tom Lethbridge included as Chapter 9 in The Essential T.C.Lethbridge edited by Tom Graves & Janet Hoult; Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1980, ISBN 0 586 05077 9.