The Most Mysterious Wife in the History of Man

Posted: January 23, 2011 in Arguments, Bible Related
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So why is this cartoon considered funny? Well, what makes it funny is that one of the age old questions that skeptics of the faith continually revert to as their bread and butter for questioning the Bible’s authenticity is; “Who was Cain’s wife?” This question can be found in so many books, online articles, blogs, and it even made it into movies such as Inherit the Wind and Contact.

For those of you who don’t know, Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Able. At one point Cain becomes so jealous of Able, that Cain kills Able. Cain is subsequently forced to flee from home with his wife. So the question stands, where did he get his wife? How could Cain have a wife if his parents were the first people on earth? There are two ways skeptics answer this:

1) Historical accuracy of the Bible is invalid, hence the contradiction.

2) The historical accuracy of the Bible is somewhat valid. Cain probably married a woman from another race of people. Some skeptics believe his wife came from an early African race. The author of Genesis probably just chose not to include this information, which is believed to be motivated by early prejudices of African people. Is there any validity to this theory? None, it’s just speculation stemming from biological reports that claim the first ancestors of man came out of Africa. So skeptics try to tie that into the Cain’s wife mystery to make sense of it.

Which theory do I believe in? Neither. Skeptics have a tendency to find arguments and contradictions of the Bible made by others and latch onto them without actually reading the scripture itself. Their first mistake is assuming that the Bible is saying there were only four people on earth at the time; Adam, Eve, Cain and Able. So where did Cain get his wife? The Bible doesn’t say that there were just four however. Genesis 5:4 states; “…Adam lived another 800 years, and he had other sons and daughters.”

Skeptics point out that Genesis 5:4 is written after the story of Cain and Able, and therefore happened after Cain had to flee with his wife. This is an assumption that all of Genesis was written in a chronological time-line order. Though Genesis is written this way for the most part, there are many instances in Genesis were things are recapped or summarized. Genesis 5 is a perfect example, which starts off by recapping that God made humans, they were Adam and Eve, they were this old, and it then proceeds to list all their descendants.

So it wasn’t just Adam, Eve, Cain and Able on earth. There could have been countless other siblings there as well. Though the Bible doesn’t say how many exactly, considering how long Adam and Eve lived, they surely had quite a large family. Genesis 4:14 says that Cain was fearful of other people after killing Abel. These other people were surely his siblings and their family. If they were instead another culture or civilization of people why would they care if Cain killed Abel? So clearly Cain was worried he would be danger from the rest of his family. Though you may be saying to yourself, Ok sure, he had brothers and sisters around, that sill doesn’t answer where he got his wife.

Well, here’s the newsflash ladies and gentleman. Are you sitting down? Cain’s wife, was one of his sisters!!!

I’m sure you’re thinking hundreds of things right now; that’s gross! That’s illegal! That’s incest! That’s not very Godly at all! But here are some things you must keep in mind:

–          If we all came from Adam and Eve, then the only means of procreation would have been for their children to marry each other.

–          This was not condemned by God because He instructed Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply.

–          Also, the Law from God that prohibited incest was not handed down to Moses until thousands of years later in Exodus.

–          Incest is prohibited because of genetic defects. However, there would be no genetic defects between Adam and Eve and their earliest descendants.

That last point may be hard to grasp for some. Overtime, more and more genetic defects are found within the human population. A common defect is one ear lower than the other, a nose not quite in the middle of a face, or a crooked jaw. More serious or noticeable genetic mistakes are sickle cell anemia, extra digits or albinism. The reason incest is prohibited is because we get our genes from both mother and father, and the closer related your parents are to each other, the greater the chances are that both parents will have the same genetic mutation or mistake and pass it on to you. On the flipside, parents who are farther apart in relation are highly unlikely both give the same genetic mutation to their offspring. Instead, the child may get one different mutation from each parent, and is the case with most deformities, the good genes tend to override the mutated genes and the mutated genes are not expressed.

Adam and Eve are said to have been created perfectly, or “very good” (Gen. 1:31). This would mean that there genes would perfect and free of mutation. But subsequently after the fall these genes would become corrupted and their offspring’s would slowly be susceptible to genetic mutations and mistakes. For Cain and few generations after he, these mutations would be minimal at best, but 2,500 years later during the time of Moses there would surely be pollution in world population’s genes, and hence God would pass down Law to Moses that there was to be no more incest.

It should also be noted, that the original scripture refers to Cain’s wife as Ishshah. Ishshah means “woman from man,” not just a woman.[1] It is also used in Genesis 2:23 in reference to Eve. Therefore, we know for a fact the author was referring to a descendants of Adam, because if not they would not have used ishshah.

So there really isn’t any reason for anyone to speculate that Cain’s wife came from anywhere other than Cain’s own family. And in knowing that let us finally put this question to rest.


[1] Ken Ham, The New Answers Book 1, “Cain’s Wife- Who Was She?” (Green Forest:AR Master Books 2010) pg. 70-71.

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