Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Questions from Teens (Part 2 - Other People in Genesis)

Today's teenage question is the following:

"In Genesis, when Cain is sent away to other people, who are the other people. I thought Adam and Eve were the first people created."

This question is not only posed by teens but it is a question among many adults. The question, however, is slightly off from Scripture but even in focus it poses the same inquiry. The passage being referred to here is Genesis 4:16-17 which says:

Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son—Enoch. [The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Ge 4:16–17.]

The question more accurately should read "Where did Cain get his wife from?". The passage does not say that Cain is sent away to other people. It has just been an assumption that Cain had to get his wife from "another people" group. Keep in mind the question arises out of an assumption. This is an important question to answer because it is a key passage that many attempt to discredit the Scriptures from. Therefore, we must make sure we are not making any assumptions and we must know what Scripture says.

In Genesis chapters 1 and 2 we see that God created Adam. This creation is the the first man on the planet. In these two chapters we don't see the text that states Adam was the first man, however, that statement is in Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 15:45 we see the following:

And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. [The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), 1 Co 15:45.] (underline emphasis mine)

Therefore, from Scripture, we can understand there were no other men on the face of the Earth before Adam himself. Now, how about women? Scripture tells us in Genesis 3:20 that Eve is the mother of all living.

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. [The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Ge 3:20.]

We know that Eve was created from the side of Adam (Genesis 2:22-24) and before this event there was no suitable helper like him found.

So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. [The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Ge 2:20.]

If Scripture says there was no helper comparable to Adam found on Earth and next we see that God created Eve from Adam's side then we can connect Genesis 3:20 [above] to know that there were no others before Adam and Eve. We also know from Scripture that Eve is the mother of all living. Therefore, we can rightly say that ALL mankind started with Adam and Eve. There were no other people groups.

If there were no other people groups then Cain had to marry a relative, probably a sister or niece. For some of you, reading this article just became troublesome because it immediately raises the following question. Does the Bible say that we cannot marry relatives? The answer to that question is yes it does in Leviticus 18:6-18. This law was not given until much later. We also know that Abraham was married to his half sister (Genesis 20:12), some 400 years before the law in Leviticus 18 was given. Another example was Rebekah, Isaac's wife, who was Isaac's second cousin (Genesis 24:15) (also before the law in Leviticus 18).

Inbreeding was not a problem early in the human race because the genetic line was pure. However, because of Adam's sin, God cursed the world and everything began to decay. Therefore, God established the law in Leviticus 18 to prohibit incest when the genetic decay started to become a problem.  

We also know that in Genesis chapter 5 that Adam had other sons and daughters and he lived 930 years. There was probably a decent selection of girls that Cain could have chosen for a wife. To focus only on Scripture to answer this question they would have all had to be relatives.

Make sure we know how to answer these questions because these are key passages to those who desire to discredit Scripture.

In Christ,
Doug Johnson

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