Who Was Cain’s Wife?
Who Was Cain’s Wife?
In today’s world, many have become overly dependent on scientists and scientific theories for an understanding of the origins of man
by Bill Russ
Often, what the Bible says about man’s origin and early history is dismissed and discredited. A case in point is this question: Who was the wife of Cain? Rather than look to Scripture for answers, many of us would rather rely on Darwin’s On the Origin of Species or the theories of modern evolutionists for information on the ancestries of man. Of course, Darwin’s story of the “descent of man” does not coincide with the biblical account of the origin and early history of humankind; nor do the hypotheses and theories of today’s evolutionary biologists.
We live in a nation where we exercise more freedom than the Creator God has given us. We exercise what we believe is a God-given right to decide by our own standards what is right or what is wrong. This enables us to teach and believe false concepts such as evolution. We live in a country where most of its citizens are considered Christian; yet, we have a hard time defining the biblical meaning of the word “Christian.” The meaning of Christian is very simple; it only means to be a follower of Jesus the Christ. If we followed the example of our Lord and Savior, we would be able to get an answer to the perplexing (and frequently raised) question regarding the identity (and even nature) of Cain’s wife.
The account in Genesis does not correspond with what we are taught in school, on television programs, or even in our history books. A television program I used to enjoy watching was primarily on U.S. and world history. The program presented straightforward history without all the embellishments. Now the whole program is basically about UFOs, aliens, Bigfoot, and other theories that cannot be proven. Generally, there is no proof that these things exist at all, except in the minds of those who want an alternative explanation—one that is radically different from the one offered in the Holy Scriptures—on human origins. So we are bombarded with theories on these things, though evidence that they even exist is lacking. Yet, some of the same people who seriously consider those theories think the story of Cain’s wife is just a myth, or at best a parable, but not a historical account.
This is a question that many ponder but relatively few will try to answer, and even fewer have the answer. The society that we live in today has been inundated with a flood of false teaching and misinformation. Most were taught in school the theory of evolution without being told it was only a theory, and a very speculative one at that. Modern man, like his ancestors, has been deceived by a fallen angel who most know only by the name Satan or the devil. Most educators today, in our schools as well as our churches, do not believe or teach that Satan is a literal, personal being whose number one objective is the demise of all humanity.
Some years ago, an older gentleman who had fathered about twelve children and was approximately the age of my parents, asked me a question. “Where did Cain meet his wife?” he asked. He did not understand what the word “knew” in Genesis 4:16 meant: “And Cain knew his wife.” He had never been taught its meaning in church. When I informed him that the statement, “Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch,” meant that he had sexual relations with her and she conceived and had a son, the elderly gentleman was startled. He could not believe that such language or meaning was in Holy Scripture.
Be Ready to Give an Answer!
Being a Christian carries with it an awesome responsibility. We are to be ready to answer questions from people who may become believers. Some of the questions may seem utterly ridiculous, but we are mandated by Scripture to be able to give an answer for the hope that we have within us. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15–16, nkjv). To give a plausible answer, we have to be familiar with the holy Scriptures. Have you ever been asked a question that you did not feel qualified to answer? Or have you ever heard a question directed at someone who should have been able to answer but was unable or unwilling to do so?
At work one night—I believe it was dinnertime—someone “out of the blue” asked who Cain’s wife was. At the table was a licensed Protestant minister who was in his natural state at dinner or lunch—his nose in his Bible, pausing from his reading only long enough to take a bite of food. At the table were two others who were always spouting off about their knowledge of the Bible. When the question on Cain’s wife was asked, the minister, who was called “Preacher,” never looked up from his Bible, and the other two became extremely quiet, looking down at the table. All three completely ignored the question. To some professing Christians, this question cannot be answered without disqualifying the book of Genesis as a meaningful historical document. They believe that it only goes to prove how inaccurate the Bible can be when it is put under close scrutiny. To other Christians, the question of who was Cain’s wife is too complex for them to explain or to even understand.
I normally did not get involved in their Bible discussions, not wanting to be labeled as a know-it-all. But after what seemed like a long time had passed, I answered the question, and they were all amazed that a maintenance man who did not discuss the Bible at every opportunity like some of them did could answer the question with clarity and understanding.
How many in the world of Christianity can truthfully answer this question? We live in a time of multiple translations and other aids to help in our study of the Holy Scriptures. I know 1 Peter 3:15–16 (quoted above) is not the scripture most would think of in answering a question about the wife of Cain. But all questions that open the door to ideas that are in conflict with the teachings of Scripture should be answered correctly. A biblically sound answer may lead the one asking the question to become a believer.
Adam, the Father of Humankind
Acts 17:26 states that God “has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.” All of humanity comes from Adam. Even Eve came out of Adam. God created Adam by fashioning him from the dust of the earth. He breathed into his nostrils, and man became a living soul (or air breathing creature). On the sixth day of re-creation God had formed man out of the elements of the earth; in breathing life into Adam, the living God created a living man.
Now the Bible tells us that before God made Eve of material taken from the side of Adam, there was a special creation of all the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. After these creatures were formed, Adam gave names to all of them (Genesis 2:19–20). But Adam soon discovered that “there was not found a helper comparable to him” (verse 20). This shows that man, as God’s image bearer, is unique in all the physical creation of this vast universe.
The popular belief is that man descended from a primate. In this special creation there were gorillas, orangutans, monkeys, and baboons, but none was a suitable mate for Adam. There is a law that God established at creation that life begets life after its kind. Man, in his ignorance and his refusal to follow the Word of God, teaches and believes that humans descended from some primate, an idea based on some physical similarities. But man is not a primate! He has more in common physically with a swine than he does with any of the primates. So if it is similarities that we are looking for, it will be just as reasonable to say man descended from a pig. If that’s the case, then if you eat a ham sandwich you are eating one of your relatives.
We are not told in Scripture how intelligent Adam was, but we are told that God’s creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Man was a perfect creation able to talk and communicate to the point of naming all the animals that God had created. We can reasonably assume that both male and female animals were presented to Adam to name and to see there was no creature comparable to him—none that had his power of speech or with whom he could be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Adam would not discover such a creature until God made the woman and brought her to him. “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” Adam said. “She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23). Finally, a creature comparable to him—a suitable mate, a companion! “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (verse 24).
Long Lives, Many Children!
Adam was 130 years old when he fathered Seth, making it very possible that Cain and Abel could have been around 100 years of age or older at the time of Abel’s death. Adam and Eve were created mature and fully functioning adults, so it is fully reasonable Cain and Abel were born in the first five years of their parents’ life. How much time passed between the death of Abel and the birth of Seth? Could it have been soon after Cain went out from the presence of God? Or had many years passed? It is reasonable to think that Abel had not been dead for very long when God gave Adam and Eve a son to replace him. I don’t know about you, but if you are going to replace something of mine, I would like it done while it was still fresh in my mind, not many years later.
After Cain and Abel were born, but before the birth of Seth, it is highly likely that Adam and Eve had many more children. If Adam and Eve did not have other offspring, who was it that Cain feared would kill him? The only people on earth were part of the family of Adam and Eve. They had many years to have sons and daughters, and it is highly likely that Cain married one of his sisters before he killed his brother Abel. During the first 130 years of Adam’s life, before the birth of Seth, there could have been multiple generations by this time. Even the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve could have had children of their own, and it is highly possible that even their children’s children had children. There are families today consisting of four to five generations, and this is accomplished without anyone living to be 100 years of age. And, unlike Adam and Eve, we have to grow to maturity before we begin bringing sons and daughters into the world.
It is problematic for some to believe a man would marry his sister. Today, we frown on marriages between brothers and sisters who have only one biological parent in common, and even on marriages between step-siblings. But in the early days of humankind, there was no law forbidding such marriages. Who else were they to marry? If a man was not allowed to marry his sister, then after the death of Adam and Eve, the human family would have come to an end. Abraham, the father of the faithful, married his half-sister; this was not against the law of God. It was not until the time of Moses that God, through Moses, gave the law forbidding marrying close kin (see Leviticus 18:9).
The Bible is the sure word of truth about the origins of man. We were created in the image and likeness of God; we did not evolve from primates! All of humanity came from Adam and Eve. A man after God’s own heart, King David, was inspired to write these words of inspiration that we should take into our minds, words that will help us to understand that even the wife of Cain was fully human in every way: “And I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt” (Psalm 139:14, Contemporary English Version). Emphasis added). Ω