Devotionals Genesis

Cain’s Wife

A question the critics pose is … “Where did Cain get his wife from?” As a standalone question, it is a good one, but one cannot leave it in a vacuum. I have found the concept of “searching the Scriptures” for answers a good one. Our text today is:

Ge 4:17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.

Before we dig into it, there are a few issues to consider.

1) Throughout the history of the Bible, that is all history from creation onwards, there are two streams of human beings, both coming from the same source. Genesis 4:17-24 introduces us to the people of this world. They are the descendants of Cain. We get the impression that the expansion of the race first started through Cain and his offspring. He is after all the first child born and therefore being the eldest, it is normal that he should marry and have children first. The other stream, which is always a smaller stream, but the main focus of the Bible, are the children of Light … that is, those who belong to God. As we mentioned yesterday, these two streams, although separated in the beginning of human existence, tend to draw together as time passes. This does not mean the children of this world become the children of Light, nor does it mean the children of Light become the children of this world. To start off, they were distinctly two cultures, two peoples, one who follows God and the other following the world, flesh and devil. These two streams merge for a season, at and after the Universal Flood of chapter six following, yet main a divide within itself. We eventually see this as Israel and all the other nations, and in the Church of the Lord Jesus there are two streams growing together as Christian and non-Christian, or wheat and weeds.

2) Where did Cain’s wife come from? We know that God created the first woman from Adam. Then Adam and Eve had two children through procreation. Up to this point in time, that is all we know about the Adam / Eve family. So, where did Cain get his wife from?

(i) This part of Genesis four ought in a way come some place in chapter five, but in the wisdom of the Spirit, it comes where it is because He wants us to understand that there were two streams from the start. Cain and his descendants are the children of this world. They represent the ungodly.

(ii) The answer to where Adam and Eve’s children, Cain in particular, found their spouses, is an age old question, yet one easily explained. Naturally we shall dig into the follow text soon, yet for right now, let us consider it briefly.

Ge 5:1 This is the written account of Adam’s line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man.’”

Moses, under inspiration returns to the beginning of man’s creation. What must be noted is “Adam’s line”. Although Cain would be included in verse five, his name is excluded from the account of Adam’s line because God wants us to see the other stream of human beings … the children of God. Look at what follows:

Ge 5:3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.

Note verse five … Adam and Eve parented Cain and Abel. Cain killed Abel, then sometime later they parented Seth. Now there were two sons again. Cain represented the people of the world whilst Seth represented the people of God. In verse five we find that Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters. Remember that God created a male and a female and told them to:

Ge 1:28 “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.

This implies that they would have children and these children would find husbands and wives amongst themselves and procreate. So Cain’s wife came from amongst the “daughters” born to Adam and Eve. She would have gone from the presence of the Lord with Cain.

(iii) You might ask why such “incestuous” unions are not permitted today.

(a) The purity of genetics. Our first parents and their immediate children were genetically pure. As time progressed with the land being cursed, food being affected, health declining with various diseases forming … genetically the race was not so pure. Originally man was to live in the “Garden” forever. Now humans die.

(b) Human DNA. The closer the relationship the more similar the DNA. A basic idea is that identical twins share 100% DNA, parents and full siblings share 50% DNA, half siblings, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces share 25% DNA whilst second, third and fourth cousins share 4% DNA.

(c) Most countries consider incest as wrong, many as a crime with some countries having a long term jail sentence whilst others the death sentence.

(d) The following are reasons for criminalizing incestuous unions … to prevent genetic disorders in offspring; to promote family security and unity; to protect children from sexual abuse; to preserve public morals and to prevent unnatural and immoral conduct.

(e) The Bible does expose certain incestuous unions with measures taken to prevent it. Here are three examples … Leviticus 18:6-18 … any close relative; mother; father’s wife; sister; either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter; your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; the daughter of your father’s wife; father’s sister; mother’s sister; father’s brother by approaching his wife; she is your aunt; your daughter-in-law; brother’s wife; a woman and her daughter; son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; wife’s sister as a rival wife. Leviticus 20:17-21 … sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother; the sister of either your mother or your father; his aunt; brother’s wife. Deuteronomy 27:20-23 … father’s wife; his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother; mother-in-law.

(f) There is a section in the 1652 Book of Common Prayer listing all family relations that one may not marry.

(g) The Early Church existed at a time where the Roman Rulers were engaging in incestuous unions. In the face of this, Paul writes to the Church at Corinth:

1Co 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife.

This man’s father might have been dead and he was sexually active with his step mother. Look at how he instructs them to deal with this sin:

1Co 5:4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

The Church today needs to set a clear example to the world and those within the visible Church that the Church shall not tolerate any form of incest whatsoever!

(iii) Cain’s wife was his sister. I am certain we understand why God used this method initially yet moved from it as soon as it was no longer necessary. As a glimpse into the future, we shall experience this again immediately after the flood. As believers in Jesus, such unions, whether formal or causal are prohibited.

Our Father, thank You again for showing us in Your Word how difficult questions are answered. Help us as Your Church to remain true to Your Word by not entertaining any such marital unions that you outlaw. Amen.

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