“Where did Cain get his wife?” is the question I am often asked by unbelievers because they believe Christians can’t answer it. In the late 1990s I did a radio call-in program to answer Bible questions on a secular station. The host and I met for about fifteen minutes before the show and he asked me, “What questions do you expect to be asked?” I responded, “One question I know for certain is, ‘Where did Cain get his wife?’” He laughed and said that was a question he didn’t expect to hear. The third caller started with, “I’ve got a question I know you Christians can’t answer. ‘Where did Cain get his wife?’ Ha, ha, ha!” The host flipped his mike off and cracked up laughing. Most people who don’t believe the Bible think this question is a trick or an impossible question stumps Christians. We have a very good answer from Scripture.
Answer: The Bible says, “Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch.” Who was Cain’s wife? Since the only humans on the Earth are children of Adam and Eve, she must have been either his sister or, if she were born a generation later, his first cousin. The Bible tells us the following about Adam: “After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years…” In the begats that follow, it says, “and he had many sons and daughters.” There were a whole lot of children born in each generation. Adam and Eve could have seen more than ten generations of children before they died. God commanded Adam to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.
So, Cain’s wife was a sister or a cousin because all humans come from that first pair, Adam and Eve. There are no other humans on planet Earth except their descendants. Again the Bible tells us, “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of ALL living”. But, you ask, how could they marry a close relative with God’s approval? God prohibits it in Deuteronomy! This prohibition against marrying close relatives comes much later when the Law is given to Moses. Marrying a close relative in the earlier generations was not a problem because of the genetic richness of humankind because there were few accumulated genetic errors. Abraham married Sarah, and they shared a parent. They were half siblings. They must have looked somewhat alike because, while he was in Egypt, Abraham was able to pass Sarah off as his sister.
LESSON: Cain married another child of Adam and Eve, and this marriage created no genetic problems and did not break the moral law.
I’ll deal with the genetic richness and depletion questions in a later blog. NOTE: This blog is a shortened version of this answer published in “ANSWERS For: “The Hope That Is In You.” Go to http://yourchristiananswer.com for more info.
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