Last week I left you with a question, “Where did Cain get his wife?” (Genesis 4:17)
This question is commonly asked of Christians that publicly profess their faith at some point in their life. It is meant to confuse and dissuade the Christian from further attempts to witness to them.
On Wednesday evening, we looked at this question following our a common format:
What is the question?
Where did Cain get his wife?”
How would you answer this question?
- This question is just one of many concerning the subject of Cain’s wife:
- If all mankind is descended from Adam and Eve, then where did his wife come from?
- When Cain is receiving the punishment for slaying his brother, where did all the people come from that are mentioned in Genesis 4:14-16?
- If Cain married a relative, then doesn’t this indicate incest?
- If Cain married his sister (considered incest), then wouldn’t we expect any offspring to suffer degenerative effects?
What Biblical references would you use?
Genesis 4:14-16, 5:3
Answer the question using your Bible.
What is missing in this question and needs to be considered is; “How much time elapsed from the birth of Cain and Able to the murder of Abel?” “How much time passed from the murder of Able to the marriage of Cain?” We do not know the ages of Cain and Abel when they offered their offerings to the time of Cain slaying Abel.
That being said, we know that Adam and Eve had many children. The time passed and Adam taught Cain and Abel about making an offering to God. We are not told how much time passed between the offering and the murder. Bible scholars have put forth the idea that many thousands were part of the population at the time of the murder (32,000). How much time passed before Cain took a wife, or the population of Nod at this time? We do know that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born (Genesis 5:3).
We also do not know how many children Adam and Eve had (Genesis 5:3, 4). If they had one child every 2 years, during this time of great mortality, it would easy for them and their offspring to create quite a population.
It is very important to remember that pre-flood, people lived very long lifetimes (Genesis 5). Adam was 930 and Seth was 912 years old when they died.
Another follow-up question concerns what the population was at the time Cain built his city.
And how does incest play God’s plan for Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply”?
According to Genesis, Cain murdered his younger brother Abel (Genesis 4:8), but the timeline not given. As punishment for this crime, God banished Cain from his home and the presence of the Lord. Again, the timeline not given.
The Bible says that Cain feared for his life that others might avenge Abel by killing him.
Genesis 4:14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, hand whoever finds me will kill me.
We also know that Cain obtained a wife and had a son, Enoch and built a city, still no timeline.
Genesis 4:17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.
Therefore, since I do not subscribe to a “pre-Adamic” race of men or the “Gap Theory”, there can only be one answer: Cain’s wife came from the offspring of Adam and Eve.
This is not a plausible or defensible solution, for the Scriptures clearly teach that Adam was the first man (I Corinthians 15:45) and that his wife, Eve, was “…the mother of all living.” (Genesis 3:20). In the fifth chapter, we are told; “The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters.” (Genesis 5:4)
Adam and Eve were given the command to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…” (Genesis 1:28). Therefore, their sons and daughters had to marry each other to follow the command of God and populate the earth. It is therefore no stretch of the imagination to conclude that Cain probably married a sister or niece or grandniece.
Some commentators ascribe to the theory that since the pre-flood lifespan was very long, around 900 years, on the average, a large population would have been present. Conservatively, there could have been several minion people at the time of Cain’s death.
There are no dates mentioned in the scripture of when Cain murdered his brother Abel, married his wife, or built his city. Hundreds of years might have passed between each of the events.
What About Incest?
The Mosaic Law expressly forbids incest. However, endogamy is referenced in the OT. The Bible does not, for example, forbid cousins from marrying, but it does prohibit sexual relations with other close relatives.
When sin entered the world, death, disease, and destruction followed. The then pure gene pool would eventually become contaminated and tainted, causing all manner of mutant and defective genes seen in birth defects. However, at the beginning, the gene pool would be pure and not be an issue of pregnancies within the family bloodline.
 The “Gap Theory” is based on the idea that there is a long period of time between the creation of Genesis 1:1 (the gap) and the “reconstruction” of the creation starting in Genesis 1:2. The theory goes that the creation of Genesis 1:1 became ruin and was destroyed by God. God then re-created, in the six days described in Genesis. This theory was professed and taught by C. I. Scofield (1843-1921). This theory fails through lack of biblical support. One of its many distractors is that death proceeds the sin of Adam and death as the consequence for sin.
 The practice of marrying or requiring to marry within one’s own ethnic, religious, or social group.