Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Who Was Cain's Wife? - Genesis 4:17

Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch... (Genesis 4:17)
Who was Cain's wife? It is a question often posed to Christians, usually in an attempt to stump them. But the question has a very simple answer... yet some people attempt to avoid the easy answer because it seems... well, too obvious. Some people propose that Adam and Eve were just two of the many humans God made at creation— that the reason Adam and Eve are specifically mentioned in Scripture is because they were the cause of the fall.

However, such reasoning is speculative and unbiblical. While it could be argued that the opening chapters of Genesis do not specifically state that God made only two people at creation, other portions of Scripture clearly support this truth. In particular, the apostle Paul clearly expressed this truth when he spoke to the men of Athens:
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth... (Acts 17:24-26)
If every nation which has ever existed came from Adam, then Cain's wife was related to Adam in some way. Perhaps the only relative of Adam who could definitely be eliminated is Eve (for if such had occurred, it seems reasonable to assume that such an event in history would have been recorded in Genesis). Cain's wife was likely one of his sisters, but his wife also could have been the daughter of another son of Adam.

One objection to this proposal is that such a marriage has its very basis in immorality, and surely God would have provided a more moral means to multiply and fill the earth! The main reason this objection is invalid is because it makes the following assumption: that such a relationship has been immoral for all of human history.

Scripture does not support such an assumption. One example of this is that Abraham was married to Sarah, his half sister (Genesis 20:12). But such a relationship had not yet been forbidden by God. God did not prohibit such relationships until the time of Moses (Leviticus 18:9). Many argue that the reasoning behind such a command was that, by the time of Moses, the likelihood of mutations had increased to such an extent that such relationships were infeasible, an endangerment to humanity.

Related Posts:
The City of Enoch - Genesis 4:17-19
Creation of Man - The Christian Worldview
Cain and Abel: Mark of Mercy - Genesis 4:13-16
Cain and Abel: Two Routes - Genesis 4:1-2
The First Marriage - The Christian Worldview


  1. AnonymousMay 19, 2011

    "Many argue that the reasoning behind such a command was that, by the time of Moses, the likelihood of mutations had increased to such an extent that such relationships were infeasible, an endangerment to humanity."

    That states very clearly that God didn't know what he was doing. That God is not perfect. That's like the mormons not allowing Blacks to hold the priesthood until the 90s. A decision made after something bad happened. That's not all knowing, and you can't argue that. You said it very clearly in your own words. If you want to backtrack, go right ahead. It just makes the hole bigger before you can sew it up.
    Enjoy the rapture!!

    1. I like how you just had to slip in the Mormon thing right there (men are not perfect and being that way until that time if Mormons were to let the blacks hold the priesthood earlier they would have been judged harshly for our leniency). This writing is in itself an opinion and you can't judge his ideas as facts. Due to your ignorance in the matter, no one can say god is perfect or not perfect. If you have faith you can believe that he is perfect though you can have faith that he is imperfect so that you can justify your faults in your life.

      -Some 18 year old in Washington

    2. Ever heard of progressive self revelation?

    3. Genetic defects occurred after the flood.

  2. "That's like the mormons not allowing Blacks to hold the priesthood until the 90s."
    This is a great example of the straw man fallacy.

  3. AnonymousMay 21, 2011

    Its called a simile. It helps to illustrate a ridiculous idea/statement in a different manner. It's my fault I put 90s in it when it was actually the late 70s. The point is, things change as soon as popularity is reached in another direction. The Mormons only allowed blacks in the church because it looked bad to shun them at that point in history. The same with this thought of God all of a sudden saying it wasn't ok to have relations with your sister. It's a pretty convenient change in ideals.
    Only a couple of hours left!!

  4. I have no idea why you continue to think that I support Harold Camping's beliefs. I have never endorsed his beliefs and it is rather juvenile to continue acting as if I do.

    "That's like the mormons not allowing Blacks to hold the priesthood until the 90s."
    I am perfectly aware that this is a simile. But it is also a great example of the straw man fallacy. There's a pretty good description of what the straw man fallacy is right here if you are unaware:

  5. AnonymousMay 21, 2011

    I am aware of the straw man fallacy. You are obviously missing the point. The point is... when there is something that is followed for x years and has millions of followers/believers/whatever, people think it is the only way. Then something comes along, a discovery of some kind, wether it's scientific or public opinion. Then, all of a sudden, there is a "revelation" of some kind just so no one looks bad, i.e., God all of a sudden saying no incest (after the "mutations" started to show), or all of a sudden the mormons having a revelation about blacks being allowed to hold the priesthood (after much scrutiny from the rest of the world about the mormons being racist). Same thing. No Straw man here. Just lack of understanding on your part.

    Also, I never claimed that you believed in Harold's beliefs. That was your assumption. Quit being so defensive. I'm just making fun of the "Rapture".
    My intent here is to challenge this "Reality" you invest so much time into.

    I hope you are enjoying the rapture!!

  6. In your simile you are asserting that God knew all along that incest was wrong, but He just wasn't concerned about it until things started going wrong.

    I am making a different assertion: Incest was not always wrong. But as time passed and as humanity began to reproduce, the effects of sin began to spread. The effect which sin had on the human body was seen most clearly beginning after the flood. It was in this time that the length of man's life began to steadily decrease (from around 900 years, to around 400, to around 200, etc).

    As the human body gradually grew weaker (relatively speaking), marriage to close family members became more dangerous (less variation, etc). Thus God, acting in mercy, forbid such relationships. This does not imply imperfection on God's part; rather, it implies that God was totally aware of what was going on.

    I must mention that I definitely implied an assumption in this statement:

    "Many argue that the reasoning behind such a command was that, by the time of Moses, the likelihood of mutations had increased to such an extent that such relationships were infeasible"

    I could just have easily stated here that "such relationships were NEARLY infeasible". Perhaps God foresaw that such relationships would cause trouble in the coming generations if they were not brought to an end, and thus He prohibited them.

    Either way, even if such relationships were causing problems at the time the command was issued, this does not imply imperfection on God's part. All men, because of sin, are deserving of death. Men do not deserve God's instruction. God would be perfectly just to send all to men to hell without a second chance (just as he does to fallen angels).

  7. AnonymousMay 21, 2011

    The logic that you express is so beyond my realm of thinking. People lived for nine hundred years? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. As I said in an earlier post, the hole gets bigger.
    At what point in time were people living 30 to 40 years? What biblical time was this the case?
    Please enlighten me.

  8. I'm not quite sure where you ended your sarcasm in this post (I guess that would be one of the disadvantages of online discussion/debate). Are you truly unaware that the Bible states that some people lived well over 900 years (or are you simply mocking the idea, or both :P)?

    Regardless, if you look at the genealogy in Genesis 5 you will see that the people who lived before the flood (Noah's flood), lived hundreds of years. If you continue following the narrative of Genesis after the flood, you will notice that the length of life begins to decrease.

    Here is a graphical representation of the genealogy in Genesis 5 if you are interested:

  9. The Other AnonymousMay 22, 2011

    Hey guys! I hope you don't mind I interrupt.

    The issue seems to be that one of you is looking at this from a God-believing context, and one is not. Though Priceless Eternity has been a bit dilatory in addressing the original issue, in general, he has defended his point perfectly.

    Priceless Eternity uses Scripture to defend Scripture, and has used modern biology in a Biblical context- how it was used by men like Mendel and Pasteur. According to the Bible, it is perfectly and undeniably true, and nothing that he has said as far as HOW these things have been carried out has been scientifically contradictory. Indeed, things like modern medical procedure (washing hands under running water rather than still water; isolation of the diseased) that had been ignored for years by "modern" and "advanced" cultures were rediscovered hundreds of years later- how likely is it a group of nomadic people whose defining characteristic being their monotheism would be able to discover and enforce any sort of law-required advanced medical knowledge before, say, the Abbasid dynasty? Certain things, such as deep-ocean currents, have actually been discovered BECAUSE of men reading passages mentioning these in Bible. Therefore, anonymous fellow, it is a question of "what context do you use?"

    The Bible is not a science manual, in the sense that it was not written tell us the exact processes by which everything happens; but in that sense, it is a scientific book. It does not, like some other religious text, feed us any falsehood that we could directly refute today (for example, the world is a disk being held on the backs of elephants in the middle of a river of milk, as one "sacred text" does; it says that the world is round, and that it rests on nothing). The information about the past, which is not directly verifiable by any sort of witness, indeed must be taken on faith, but it is not inherently contradictory to itself- the "Sin Cause" argument is a perfectly valid argument in the context of Scripture. The age discrepancy may seem strange to modern thinking, but beyond its strangeness, what is so abhorrent about it to the rational mind? Why is that so hard to believe beyond the fact that it is not what we see now? We have little trouble believing in things like Black Holes and Dark Matter with no more than circumstantial evidence. What is the difference here?

    The Bible was written as a book to tell people why things happen and how to react, at the highest pinnacle of life-importance, and to secondarily give an idea of how things happens and how to react. Scientific texts will tell you both points of the latter, but there is a point where they cannot tell you "why".

  10. The Other AnonymousMay 22, 2011

    Therefore, there is an unbelievably undeniable element of faith in believing the Bible and living as a Christian, anyone who has faith is not a fool; merely wise in the context of faith. If a man is blind and says "the sky is not blue," he is wrong; it is blue, he simply cannot see it. A man with faith is like a seeing man- he can see the sky, and knows it to be blue, and regardless of the blind man's putdowns, will know, and be able to give evidence within his seeing context, that the sky is blue. If the blind man receives corrective surgery, he will eventually see the sky as blue, as well.

    God gives some people faith that He does not give others, but what you're doing is using only slightly condescending jabs to make us look like idiots. We are not idiots. We simply live by faith, and in reason according to that faith, and try to be as smart as we can within that context, which Priceless Eternity is doing very well. We do not claim anything that is directly disputable, and are not asked to by the God we follow. If we cannot convince you of our statements' correctness, that is a matter of faith, not of science. And if we cannot convince you, we won't try any longer- you, Priceless Eternity and I all know that it would do none of us any good. Just don't treat us like idiots, because both without a lens of faith and within such a lens, there is nothing inherently unscientific in what we say.

    For a rational defense of faith, search Pascal's Wager, if it interests you. Not a bit surprised to be here on this lovely May 22 :).

  11. I'm not ready to say that God condoned incest, even though when Lots two daughters got him drunk and then had sex with and both became pregnant, there was no punishment, but there two sons, descendants were the Moabites and the Ammonites bitter enemies to Abrahams descendants.With Cain and also Seth I still believe in the supernatural power of God, I think he did like he did with Adam and took one of there ribs and made them a wife,since back then everyone was made in a full grown state, or size with the appearance of age, like Adam and Eve and all creation.