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Feb 12 2010

Cain Married Who?

Cain and Abel

That’s a question asked by many, Christians and non-Christians alike.  After all, we all know that marrying one’s sibling is forbidden and is taboo in societies all over the world.  God created two human beings, Adam and Eve.  All of us are descendants of Adam and Eve.  Adam and Eve’s children had to marry someone and who they married had to come from Adam and Eve.  That really bad word that I have seen come up to describe Cain and his wife — “incest” – is used by those who do not hold the bible to be truth.  Within Christianity, I have seen some really interesting theories as to whom Cain married.  One of my favorite theories is that there was already a race of people on the earth before Adam and Eve and it is one of those  that Cain took.  Another theory that I recently learned about is along that same line, that there was already a race of people and that race of people were gentiles while Adam and Eve were Jews, thus their offspring were Jews.  These theories that Christians come up with are attempts to skirt around that really bad word – incest.  So who did Cain marry?

It’s really simple.  He married one of his close relations whether it was his sister or his niece.  It was not, as some Christians will claim, from a population already on earth prior to Adam and Eve.

Adam and Eve had many children but we do not know how many.

  • The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Genesis 5:4 (ESV)

By the time Cain killed his brother, there were a lot of people which explains why Cain said in Genesis 4:14 that his punishment was so great that “I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”   After Adam fathered Seth, he still had many more years of life and during that time he had other sons and daughters.

Again, we’re back to that yucky word – incest.  In Genesis 20, Abraham married his half sister. That means that Abraham and his wife shared one common parent, they had the same father.  God blessed this union and through that marriage came the Hebrew people through Isaac and Jacob.  It was not until 400 years later that God gave Moses the commandments forbidding marriages of close relations.  Since the time of Moses, mankind as a whole have found close relationships abhorrent and repulsive.

It has been said that the reason God gave the commandment against close familial marriages is because of the dangers of producing offspring with genetic problems or defects.  While that very well may be true, God did not provide us that information so it is only a theory, albeit a good one.  It does make sense in that there were no defects in Adam and Eve’s genetic makeup and they could not have passed off any genetic defects to their children.

The fact is that marriage between close family members was not forbidden nor taboo UNTIL the time of Moses.  There is no need for Christians to try and justify marriages in those days by coming up with all sorts of theories such as there was already a race of people.  There is no need to.  It was not a sin.  However, it is today and has been since the days of Moses.

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  1. noreligion


    Believing in the bible or not, having children with a close relation is called incest. Anyway as to that weird theory that said Adam and Eve were Jews and the other race Gentiles, Abraham is called the father of the Jews for a reason. Even the bible will say that Adam and Eve were not Jews.

    1. Tishrei


      Incest is defined as having a ‘relationship’ with a close family member. I’m not disagreeing with you on that point. What I’m saying is that it was not a sin back then until God the time of Moses.

      I have no idea about that weird theory — it’s just people playing gymnastics with scripture to explain who was marrying who. The beginning of time was nothing we can imagine — we can’t even begin to imagine how they thought back then.

  2. Margaret


    You are right on this one….. We don’t have to be embarrassed about how God populated this world…. With God all things are possible….. Back in those early times the genetics were such that it was not sinful to marry a relative….. But, a continual practice of marriage within a close family does create problems….. When we lived on the ranch and raised cattle, who were bred every year, the effects of breeding were quickly seen….. Consequently, we were very careful with our breeding program in order to not create a problem and to bring out the best traits.

    They say every race in the world today has the same genes, but in different proportions….. Here again, is God’s wisdom.


    1. Tishrei

      Hi Margaret,

      You’re right – we do not have to be embarrassed at how God populated the world — no gymnastics are necessary.

      I’ve never bred animals so you obviously have first-hand experience in the effects of inbreeding. When Adam & Eve were created, there were no bad genes/traits to pass off. It took time for that to happen.

  3. noreligion


    Nobody is claiming you can’t believe anything you want based on faith. I and others are just asking that you recognize it as faith and as a consequence not push your beliefs in any way shape or form where it is not welcome. If you prefer for whatever reason to think that means you should be embarrassed about the bible, that is an assumption you are free to make but we all know what assumptions lead to.

    1. Tishrei


      Margaret is not pushing her beliefs on anyone here. She’s responding to a post.

      Believing in God is based on faith. The bible is clear but it is not a faith based on nothing.

    2. Repent Harlequin

      “I and others are just asking that you recognize it as faith and as a consequence not push your beliefs in any way shape or form where it is not welcome.”

      Then why are you here?

  4. Loren

    Tishrei, is this your idea of a “Valentine’s Day” post? :)

    First of all, I must admit that this particular subject has always aggravated me. I remember in the movie “Contact” when Jodie Foster’s character Ellie, a confirmed atheist, was telling Matthew McConaughey’s character (a Christian theologian) that her problems with Christianity began as a little girl and her Sunday School teacher could not answer where Mrs. Cain came from.

    Even recently, I was watching a program on Fox News where the guest was a Catholic priest (one of Fox’s “Religion” contributors) who was there to answer all queries theological, phoned in by the viewers. Guess what the very first question was? Worse yet, guess what his response was? Nervous laughter and a quip of, “Well, I never thought about that before.”

    Are you serious? After 8 plus years of College and Seminary, many years leading a congregation, and the self-appointed position of Christian apologist on a popular News Network where you are INVITING people to ask tough questions about the faith, and you have “NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THAT!”

    What I find aggravating about this is that this question resurfaces again and again and is rarely asked out of genuine interest in the answer. Rather it is posed as a “Catch-22″ designed to ensnare Christians who must choose to plead ignorance (as Ellie’s fictitious Sunday School teacher and the all too real Catholic priest on Fox News did), or appeal to that yucky word, as you put it. And when they do? The questioner is inevitably poised to fire the other barrel and point out the prohibition of incestuous relationships as described in the Mosaic Law. Then one is inclined to explain that the Mosaic Law had not yet been given at the time of Cain, and so on and so forth.

    “It’s really simple. He married one of his close relations whether it was his sister or his niece.” You are absolutely correct. When the skeptic chooses to argue beyond this, it is apparent that their intentions are not to better understand the Word of God but to look for an excuse to dismiss it. Great post, thanks.

    (P.S. — Kent, your comment made me chuckle :) )

    In Christ,


    1. Repent Harlequin

      Hi Loren,

      Glad I gave you a chuckle. But really, if one professes he doesn’t want another’s beliefs shoved down his throat it is at least mildly perplexing why that person would would visit and engage in a Christian blog.

      “What I find aggravating about this is that this question resurfaces again and again and is rarely asked out of genuine interest in the answer.”

      Rather than aggravating I find things like this to confirm my long held belief based on vast experience with atheists that they are, indeed, the most unoriginal of any group of people I’ve ever interacted with.

      It is too, rather sad, that someone can get so hung up on something like that. Again, not surprising, since in my experience atheists read the Bible the same way the fundamentalists they decry read it: in a woodenly literal fashion; or pedestrian manner, if you prefer.

      By the way, that priest you are referring to is a favorite of my wife’s, though we are not Catholic, she really pays attention to him when we catch him on. I suspect it’s because he’s good looking.

      In Christ,

  5. Repent Harlequin

    To the larger point, it would seem to me that whether we are coming at it from God centered view or an evolutionary naturalist atheist view, at some point some cousins or closer would have had to, you know, get it on.

    I’ve made this point about the stupidity of racism. There’s really only race, and as Christians we know that in God’s eyes there is neither Jew nor Greek, etc. ut if we take the view of the philosophical naturalist for a moment, we get to the same place. Common parents.

    See? We can all just get along.

  6. Margaret

    In thinking about the Christian faith, it is not based on hearsay, myths, or a man’s opinion…. Christian faith is based on all of God’s promises in the Old Testament — made over thousands of years — which all came true in the minutest detail in the one man, Jesus Christ….. There is no chance that all the Old Testament writers over all that time could say what the Savior would be like, where He would be born, how He would suffer, how His death and resurrection would be, etc., unless there was a “Greater Power” behind all of their words…..

    Therefore, when that “Greater Power” says something, I can see that I am not qualified to contradict such a great power….. Instead, that “Greater Power” gets my deepest respect and reverence and faith….. What I see throughout the Bible — God’s word — is that it is historically correct from beginning to end, i.e. through archeological finds and historical records of what many people saw and experienced and the fulfillment of all its prophecies…..

    When a juror is asked to help make a judgment at a trial, it behooves him to fairly consider all the evidence presented….. God presents us with all the evidence of His authority in the Bible, and in all of creation, and in history….. As I have examined all that evidence, I see that I can only conclude that the LORD, He is God….. Seeing is believing.


  7. PaulFan

    ~~~~~ It’s really simple. He married one of his close relations whether it was his sister or his niece. It was not, as some Christians will claim, from a population already on earth prior to Adam and Eve. ~~~~~~~~

    Tishrei, you take the correct position here in my opinion. For a Christian to suppose that there was already another race of people on the Earth aside from Adam and Eve is to suppose the Word of God is not true. If we make one part of the bible untrue by choosing to pick and choose what we believe, then we call into question the entire Word of God.

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