Cain's Wife

Where did Cain get his wife?

William Jennings Bryan, attorney for creation in the famous Scopes trial, was asked in the trial, “Where did Cain get his wife?”  Bryan was a brilliant speaker and a devoted Bible-believing Christian.  He did not have an answer.  However, it must be understood that he did not spout unfounded, fundamentalist dogmatism either.  This is how he is portrayed by the popular propaganda movie, Inherit the Wind.  Bryan was simply unprepared. 

The Bible tells us that Cain went to the land of Nod with his wife (Genesis 4:16,17).  So, where did his wife come from?  This is the question that Bible critics like to use to try to stump Christians.  Many Christians are confused by this question but the answer is really very simple.  Although only Cain, Abel and Seth are mentioned by name, in Genesis 5:4 it says that Eve had sons and daughters.  Cain must have married his sister or perhaps his niece or grandniece.  But that’s incest!  Actually, God did not forbid marrying close relations until Leviticus 18 with the Mosaic Law.  After all, intermarriage was necessary to propagate humankind.  God must have ordained it in the beginning or else He would have created more than one couple. 

You may still argue that marrying close relations causes deformities.  That is true today, but it was not true then.  To understand this we must discuss a little genetics.  The problems that occur with marrying close relations are the result of similarities in the gene pool of the pair.  That is, if a copying mistake (a mutation) has occurred somewhere along the line, it is more likely to be passed along when a couple is more closely related because their gene pool is similar.

After creating Adam and Eve on day six, God said, “It is very good.”  Thus, Adam’s genetic make-up was “very good.”  That is, he did not have any mistakes in his genes.  Adam’s sin brought God’s curse and the corruption and decay that we see in the world today (Romans 1:22).  Starting with a pure gene pool it would have taken a while for problems to occur.  Hence, there would be no mutant genes in Adam’s children.  That means it would be impossible for a genetic problem to occur by Cain marrying his sister. 

Knowing this, we have great proof for creation.  The reason there are problems is because of these mistakes, mutations.  Thus, it is simply illogical to think that mutations cause evolution.  In fact, the more time, the more likely mutations will cause more harmful, crippling problems.

Some say there was a “pre-Adamic” race in the neighborhood and Cain married one of them.  That is not possible because the Bible is clear that Adam was the first man (1 Corinthians 15:45) and Eve was “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20).

Another argument some have is about Genesis 4:14.  Here we are told Cain was fearful of vengeance from others.  The problem, they say, is where did all the people come from for Cain to be fearful of?  Again, the answer is simple.  Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters who undoubtedly had other sons and daughters.  Adam lived to be 930 years old (Genesis 5:5); before the Flood life spans were much longer.  Therefore, the environment could have been much healthier and they could have had many, many children.

Unlike William Jennings Bryan we must be able to defend the veracity of the Bible.  The tendency is to assume the Bible does not have the answer, to claim that it is entirely a faith issue, to add to the Bible or, perhaps, make up an answer.  The smartest thing to say is, “I don’t know, but I will get back to you.”  If you start with the Bible, letting Scripture interpret Scripture, we can have answers to these questions.

2/05/2000
Page 4

Previous       Table of Contents      Next Article

Home Page


Perhaps you could get my column in your local paper, too! Have your newspaper editor contact me. Also, feel free to email me with any of your questions, comments or disagreements.

©Tom Carpenter
Originally published in the Rockdale/Newton Citizen