Adam and Eve and the first people

I’ve got a very interesting question that I thought of. When Adam and Eve were first created, they had Cane and Abel. So if that small family of four was the first four people to inhabit the earth, that means in order to make more people there would have had to be incest or Cane and Abel performing incest to make more people? Or, since Adam and Eve lived significantly longer than we live today, perhaps they were able to have way many more children than we do today? But in either case, since they were the first people, speaking from a scientific standpoint, the gene-pool would have been very small causing problems with future children/people. Or, did God make the Genes of Adam and Eve very different from each other so that because he knew they would have to at least temporarily in-breed or reproduce have children with other family members, the gene pool would be wide and no problems would occur? It seems the only way God could have let or enabled life to continue would have been if he made the genes of the first people very different from one person to the next. like Adam’s genes would have been very different than Eve’s genes and their children would be different as well. So does this also mean that Adam and Eve’s children looked nothing like their parents which were Adam and Eve?


Have a read from this creationist web site; it is not a Catholic site, but has some good answers.

Read the whole page.

The Church teaches that Adam and Eve are our literal first parents-- mongenesis. We are not free to believe in polygenesis.

Adam and Eve’s children married each other and beget more children. Cain and Abel were not Adam and Eve’s only children. Cain, Abel, and Seth are merely the three children of Adam and Eve called by name in the Bible. We do not know how many they had.

The Church has no teaching regarding the scientific make-up of Adam and Eve’s genes/DNA. That is science, which the Church makes not doctrinal statements pertaining to.

The papal encyclical Humani Generis covers this subject.

Hmm…so if we ‘have to believe’ (unlike the Jews who believe Adam had a ‘first wife’ before Eve) everybody is from Adam and Eve, logic states that their sons and daughters had to sleep together to produce the next generation, and it would have taken a good few generations before you could stop calling it incest…also, it would mean all ‘peoples’ (Samaritan, Egyptians, Romans etc) all came from Adam and Eve too…so why is God then ‘the God of Abram, Isaac and Jacob’ (i.e. the Jews) and not of all the other peoples and tribes…I’d like a really good well thought answer on this, because I read what the Vatican said and it doesn’t explain this problem at all:shrug:

“The Jews” do not believe Adam had a wife before Eve.

Intermarriage of relatives is not problematic regarding the descent of the human race from Adam and Eve. Only relations in the direct line are divinely prohibited. Not the collateral line.


I’m not sure why this is problematic for you.

The Salvation story gives us the answer. After sin entered the world, human intellect and will were darkened. Peoples forgot the one true God and replaced Him with worship of false deities. God chose Abraham, made a covenant with him, and revealed himself to bring people out of their false worship. He chose Abraham and through his descendants brought Salvation to the whole world.

Here’s another good explanation- also from an evangelical site.
Also, read the whole page. I especially like the population chart that was done.

Cain did not have to commit incest with either his mother or a sister in order to produce offspring. The Bible implies that there were other people at the time of Cain. If you look at Genesis 4:13-16, when God punishes Cain, Cain is afraid that others may kill him:

Cain said to the LORD: “My punishment is too great to bear. Since you have now banished me from the soil, and I must avoid your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, anyone may kill me at sight.”

Not so!" the LORD said to him. “If anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold.” So the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest anyone should kill him at sight.

Cain then left the LORD’S presence and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

Some may say that this is overreaching, but then ask yourself why would Cain be so fearful if the only people left on the earth were himself, Adam, and Eve?

This is not consistent with monogenesis. Polygenism is condemned as incompatible with the Catholic faith (see the link to Humani Generis).

Not necessarily. Humani Generis states: "For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. "

Assuming the translation conveys the intended meaning, this does not remove the possibility that Adam was the common ancestor of all “true men” and all currently existing people, but that there were inter-fertile beings who were not “true men” that still interbred with and contributed to the genetic makeup of all existing people.

Of course, unless or until the church decides to say more on this, we just have to reconcile doctrine and physical evidence as best we can, and my speculations on whether something is consistent with Humani Generis is just that, speculation.

The OP is likely referring to Lilith.

Exactly. As I have said before, Adam was the first human being, but he may not have been the first homo-sapiens.

The other poster stated this, “The Bible implies that there were other people at the time of Cain.”

This is incompatible with Church teaching.

Yes, I am familiar with the myth of Lilith. This is folklore, NOT Jewish teaching.

Exactly - ‘other people’ who may want to kill Cain were other relatives - other children or other descendants of Adam and Eve. Strangers presumably wouldn’t know what Cain had done and would have no reason to kill him.

The Bible doesn’t say how old Adam and Eve or their children were, there could’ve been boatloads of kids, grandkids and so on.

The Bible does say:

“And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.” Genesis 5:5

God bless,

Agreed. The idea that Adam and Eve’s children had relations with non-humans and produced children doesn’t seem to be compatible with Scripture which states that none of the animals were a suitable mate for Adam.

**Only **another person-- a human endowed with a soul-- is a suitable mate for another human. God instituted marriage between Adam and Eve. Their children could not find suitable marriage partners among non-humans.

I am not sure why people try so hard to get around the obvious: The Church teaches we had a real set of first parents from whom all descend, the Bible makes it clear animals were not suitable mates for Man, and that’s that.

There’s the ‘ick’ factor of incest of course - but if it was necessary it wasn’t a sin, and remember Abraham and Sarah were half-brother and half-sister, so even in his day it wasn’t a taboo or a sin.

And personally I find interspecies breeding (which invariably results in infertile offspring anyway, and thus is useless for procreation purposes) a much ickier idea than incest.

Because it is not obvious.

For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith.

The way I interpret this, discussions can take place regarding the biological origins of humanity, and thus the biological origins of Adam. So if it’s okay to theorize that Adam’s biological mother father was an animal, why would you be shocked at the idea that Cain’s wife could have been an animal?

The Bible does imply it though. I guess that means they would have had to have been Cain’s older siblings?

Actually, I found another possible explanation that’s much more likely from Christian Forums:

Adam and Eve had other children, probably beginning right after the birth of Cain and Abel. Seth was born really to replace Abel:

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed"-Gen 4:25

Seth’s birth may have occurred soon after the death of Abel. If so there was lots of time for other children to have already been born between the birth of Cain and Abel and Seth, and to become a sizable population in the area. Note the time of Seth’s birth in regard to Adam’s age:

3 And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. 4 After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. Gen 5:3-4

Note the semi-colon highlighted in blue/bolded. This indicates a separate or additional thought not completely within the lineal context of the rest of the sentence. In other words it suggests that Adam at some time in his life had other children. It is probable that Adam and Eve were barely out of their teens when Cain and Abel were born. This leaves one hundred and ten or so years for those other children to grow into large numbers before the death of Abel/birth of Seth.

Another (possible) indication of a growing human population is the “process of time” phrase. It is possible that God wanted to begin the sacrificial system at that very time because of an increasing sinful population. Abel was actually in the position of High Priest, and would bring a suitable sacrifice in the form of an animal, which would be sacrificed for the sins of the people (Abel himself is called “righteous” elsewhere). Note that after his death men did not “call upon the name of the Lord” until the time of Enosh, son of Seth. At which time there would have been quite a large population.

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