I might have asked this question before but I'll ask it again because it bugs me.
Jude 6 says, "And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgement of the great day ..."
In a similar way 2 Pet 2:4 says, "For God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into Tartarus and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgement."
I used to think that this was a story about the original fall of the angels - when they became demons.
It is not.
Almost certainly 2 Peter and Jude are referring to the elaboration of Genesis 6:1-4 in 1 Enoch. Genesis 6:1-4 is the odd story about the 'sons of God' who married the daughters of men and had offspring. In 1 Enoch those 'sons of God' are angels that transgress the divinely established boundaries and had sexual intercourse with humans. (In Genesis the 'sons of God' might be angels, or perhaps human kings, or perhaps human kings with a semi-'divine' status)
The Enoch traditions tell how those angels were thus banished to dreadful prisons where they were kept until the day of judgement. Their offspring (the Nephilim) were killed and their ghosts became demons (quite a different account of the origin of demons than the standard fall of Lucifer story which, incidentally, is not found in the Bible).
I must confess - whilst I love 1 Enoch I don't find myself terribly inclined to believe its elaborate retelling of the Genesis 6:1-4 story.
But it looks like Jude and the author of 2 Peter believed it.
We know that Jude takes 1 Enoch seriously. He says that 'Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying ...' and then he quotes from 1 Enoch 1.
1 Enoch was not really written by Enoch yet Jude speaks as if it was. Quite possibly he really believed that it was. But it was not.
But Jude and 2 Peter are Christian scripture. They are inspired by God, authoritative, and so on and so forth.
So does that mean I have to believe that 1 Enoch was written by Enoch and that its story of fallen angels is a true story?
Of course, I do not have to believe 1 Enoch to learn from Jude's and 2 Peter's use of it that sin is serious, that it will be judged, etc., etc.. I can hear God speaking through those texts.
And yet ... must I say that whilst Jude and 'Peter' really believed in the story about the angels in chains as literal fact I must treat it as helpful fiction? It can still be authoritative but I cannot believe it in the same way that they did?
Any helpful thoughts out there?