Where Did Cain Get His Wife?

by Roger Barrier

Dear Roger,

If Adam and Eve had only boys, how did their children reproduce to create the world’s people? Incest?

Sincerely, Questioner in Casas’ “What’s Next Class”

Dear Q,

According to the Bible incest is as good a guess as any. Let’s look at several options. We shall begin with the Biblical Foundations.

According to Genesis 4:1-2 Cain and Able were born to Adam and Eve: “Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

Of course, we know that Cain murdered Able and was banished to distant lands according to Genesis 4:15-16: “Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

Then, in Genesis 4:17 we discover that Cain had a wife: “ Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.

Finally, in Genesis 4:5:4-5 we find that the first human parents had other sons and daughters besides Cain and Able: “After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.”

So, where did Cain get his wife? Let’s consider three options.

First, Cain married one of his sisters. This was incest. Of course, it makes sense that the fallen, broken, human race begins populating itself by incest. No wonder there are so many mentally and physically challenged people in our world!

A second option is that when Cain went off to Nod he found a woman there and married her. Where did she come from? She was his distant cousin. You know the exponential potential of multiplying 2 X 4 X 16 X 32 X 62 X 128, etc. as each succeeding generation doubles, quadruples, and on and on. Not many generations are needed for the earth to be filled with people. With the length of time the early patriarchs lived (see “Ask Roger” regarding the long years in Genesis), it is easy to imagine a populated earth with multitudes already living in Nod not too many years after Adam and Eve began having babies.

Finally, some have proposed the “Spike” theory in response to the idea that human kind may have erupted on the scene in various locals at the same time—like in both the Rift Valley of Africa and in China. This idea postulated several Adams “spiked” by God into a variety of locations simultaneously and gives insight into where Cain may have found his wife. Unfortunately, this theory raises many more serious questions than the initial one of where did Cain get his wife in the first place, and by adopting this theory the literal interpretation of Scripture is called into question.

Well, Q, I hope my answer throws some light on the issue of Cain and his wife. Numbers one and two above seem plausible to me. Number three seems rather strange. Probably the real answer is behind Door Number Four which we will open on the other side of Heaven’s gates!

Love, Roger

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