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Cain's Wife

 

 

All Bible references are to the Anglicised New International Version (NIV-UK)

 

Question: Genesis 4: 17 states that ‘Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant’. Where did Cain get his wife?

 

Answer: Christians have many times been challenged with this problem and are often unable to provide an answer satisfactory even to themselves. While accepting the Bible account of mankind’s origins, some have compromised their faith by concluding that Cain’s wife must have come from a race created before Adam.

 

But the Bible testimony is consistent. ‘God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it”’ (Genesis 1: 27, 28). Evidently the earth was not already populated when Adam and Eve were given that commission. St. Paul adds his confirmation: ‘The first man Adam became a living being’ (1 Corinthians 15: 45).

 

Though through disobedience Adam and Eve incurred a death sentence, its application was gradual and they lived in straitened conditions for many years, sons and daughters being born to them (Genesis 5: 4). No prohibition was laid down at that time and as the marriage of brothers to sisters was obviously the Divine intention, it is reasonable to conclude that some daughters were born to Adam and Eve while their first sons were still children, and in due time Cain married one of his sisters.

 

At the time of Moses, Jehovah established precise laws governing the sexual relationship. Leviticus 18 details the limitations to be imposed, verse 9 forbidding such activity between siblings: ‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.’ The Bible testimony tells of a human race burdened with increasing infirmities as generation succeeds generation. and as advancing knowledge of genetics confirms that in-breeding increases the risks of physical or mental disabilities the wisdom of God is manifested in the marriage laws.

 

At the dawn of human history the children of Adam and Eve were much nearer to perfection and the offspring of brothers and sisters would not be impaired by the close genetic relationship.

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