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The Atheist's Favorite Bible Question


Every Bible-basher from time immemorial has asked this question. It’s kinda like the Sadducees’ argument against the resurrection on the basis of a seven-time widow being confused over who her husband would be in the here-after (Matthew 22:23-28). Just like the foolish Sadducees believed that the resurrection could be easily disproved by a silly question over a widow’s confusion, many foolish sinners believe that the divinely inspired and inerrant Word of God is easily disproved by a silly question about Cain’s wife.


The Bible plainly teaches us that the first man was Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45) and that the first woman was Eve, who was made from Adam’s rib to be his “helpmate” (Genesis 2:18-24). Furthermore, the Bible goes on to teach that these two are the original parents of all humanity, as is proven by the fact that the name “Eve” means “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20).


Cain was the first child of Adam and Eve (Genesis 4:1). He murdered his brother Abel, our original parents’ second child (Genesis 4:2-8). Afterward, he was cursed by God as “a fugitive and a vagabond” and “went out from the presence of the Lord” to “dwell in the Land of Nod” (Genesis 4:9-16). 


Contrary to popular opinion, the Bible does not say that Cain found his wife in the Land of Nod, but only that he “knew [her there]; and she conceived, and bore [him a son named] Enoch” (Genesis 4:17). Chances are, Cain was already married before he slew his brother; otherwise, Genesis 4:17 would have mentioned something about his marriage.


Apart from his brother Abel, the only other sibling of Cain specifically named in the Bible is Seth. Eve named him “Seth,” which means “substituted,” because he was granted to Adam and Eve by God as a substitute for the slain Abel (Genesis 4:25). Although they are not specifically named in the Scripture, Adam and Eve had other children besides Cain, Abel, and Seth. For instance, in Genesis 5:4 we are told that Adam lived “eight hundred years” after Seth was born, during which time Adam “fathered [other] sons and daughters.” When you add to this, the possibility that Adam may have fathered many other children besides Cain, Abel, and Seth in the 130 years before Seth was born, you quickly come to realize that the children of Adam and Eve may well have numbered in the hundreds. 


If the Bible is true, and we believe it is, then brothers and sisters had to marry in the beginning. Otherwise, that first generation could not have produced more generations. It is obvious, therefore, that Cain took one of his many sisters to be his wife. Remember, God commanded that first generation to “be fruitful, and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). If they had failed to do so, there would have been no succeeding generations.  


Many object to the idea of Adam and Eve’s sons and daughters marrying each other, because of God’s later prohibition against brothers and sisters intermarrying (Leviticus 18:6, 11; 20:17). Yet, all married people are guilty of intermarriage with relatives, since we’re all related through Adam and Eve and descendants of “one blood” (Acts 17:26). Also, we shouldn’t forget that God blessed Abraham’s marriage to his half-sister Sarah as the fountainhead of His chosen people (Genesis 20:12). It was not until more than 400 years after the time of the Patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—that God prohibited such marriages in the Mosaic Law. 


One reason for the Mosaic Law’s prohibition against intermarriages between close relations was the unacceptable high risks of deformity to children produced by such unions. We need to remember that the children of Adam and Eve, unlike children in Moses’ day or in our day, were not products of accumulated genetic mistakes inherited from generations of ancestors who lived under the curse of sin. Instead, the genes our original parents past on to their offspring would have been the most minimally effected of all since sin entered into the world.


By the time of Moses, however, creation had degenerated under the corruption of sin to the point that intermarriage between close relations carried with it the high probability of producing deformed offspring. Also, the world’s population by that time no longer necessitated intermarriage, since there were plenty of people to marry other than one’s close personal relatives. Thus, God prohibited marriages between brothers and sisters in the Mosaic Law.


Today, intermarriage between close relations is forbidden by the Word of God. First, it is forbidden because it is totally uncalled for, thanks to the world’s present-day population. Second, it is forbidden because it is totally unacceptable, due to genetic degeneration brought on by thousands of years of sin’s deteriorating effects. If you doubt that sin has produced genetic degeneration over time, all you need to do is compare how long Adam lived (930 years) with the average life-expectancy of a modern-day male.


Before ending our answer to the Scriptural skeptic’s favorite Bible question, we should address a couple of other issues. First, many Bible-bashers argue that the Land of Nod—the place to which Cain fled and supposedly met and married his wife—proves the presence of other races on the earth that were not descended from Adam and Eve. Yet, as we’ve already pointed out, the Bible doesn’t say that Cain met his wife in the Land of Nod, but only that he had sexual relations with her there and that she conceived and bore him a son named Enoch. Furthermore, for all we know, the Land of Nod may have been unpopulated when Cain arrived there. Nowhere does the Bible address the population of the place.


Many presume that the Land of Nod was populated, since the Bible says that Cain built a city there (Genesis 4:17). However, the Hebrew word for “city” may be translated a “walled town” or “protected encampment.” It should not be understood in the modern-day sense of the word. Cain did not go to the Land of Nod and build a thriving metropolis. What he probably built was an enclosure around his encampment to protect him and his family from wild animals.  


Finally, skeptics propose that Cain’s fear of others taking vengeance on him for the murder of his brother is additional proof of other races on the earth that did not descend from Adam and Eve (Genesis 4:14-15). Actually, I believe Cain’s fear of others taking vengeance on him provides proof to the contrary. Why would other races care about Cain’s murder of Abel or have any interest in avenging Abel’s blood, especially in a time that predated civil government? Only those who were closely related to Abel would have been suspected by Cain as possible avengers of his brother’s blood. 


Sorry scriptural skeptics and Bible-bashers, but the wife of Cain does not provide you with a silver bullet to shoot through the heart of God’s Word. It is, as all shots at the Scripture prove to be, nothing but a blank cartridge. Instead of firing blanks at the Bible, why don’t you try believing it? You’ll be eternally grateful that you did!


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