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This is one of the most frequently asked questions among Christian and non-Christian circles. Many people are perplexed by the origin of Cain’s wife (Gen 4:16-17). Many are of the opinion that for Cain to find a wife there must have been other races on earth different from the descendants of Adam and Eve. However the Bible clearly points out that Eve is the mother of all the living.

In Gen.1:28, God blessed Adam and Eve; “And God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” Adam and Eve needed not to grow up from childhood to adulthood before becoming husband and wife.

They were created on the sixth day of creation and on the same sixth day they were pronounced husband and wife. In Gen. 3:20, we are told; “And Adam called his wife Eve; because she was the mother of all living,” and Genesis 5:4 sums up the life of Adam and Eve: “After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were 800 years; and he had sons and daughters.” This simply means that during their lives, Adam and Eve had a number of male and female children.

From these texts it is clear that Cain married his sister or a close relative. As a matter of fact, we are all related because all people are descendants of Adam and Eve; we are all of one blood. During the time of Cain there was no law forbidding marriage between brothers and sisters. After all, Adam married someone who had come from within himself. Abraham married his sister (Genesis 20:2). Isaac and Jacob also married their relatives. The prohibition against marrying siblings was only given during the time of the exodus (Deuteronomy 27:22, Leviticus 18:5-6; 9-10).

The text about Cain’s wife says; “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod. Cain knew his wife intimately, and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch,” Gen (4:16-17). The first verb is Cain ‘knew’ not ‘found’. Cain did not find his wife in Nod but he knew her. In this context knowing the wife refers to sexual intimacy. It is highly possible that when Cain moved to Nod, which was in the east of Eden, he went with his wife. Moreover, the text is not saying Cain went and married, but he became intimate with his wife.

Today we have plenty people around the globe and there is no reason for close relatives to marry. There are also greater chances of deformities in children of close relatives. The more closely related two people are, the more likely they will have similar mistakes in their genes inherited from the same parents. However, this was not applicable to Adam and Eve and the earlier generations.

When they were created, they were perfect. Everything God made was ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31). Their genes were perfect; no mistakes.
So today it is important to stick to the Lord’s command and shun close relations. These laws are important to keep us strong, healthy and within the purposes of God. They are a means of protecting us as individuals, families and societies from the psychological damage caused by these incestuous relationships.

The good news we have today is that Jesus is coming again. There are things that have not been revealed to us, when He comes again, these and other questions we may have will be answered. For the time being our focus should be the second coming of Jesus and to remain faithful until the end.

Bopoto Gwinyai (7663 8191)

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