Bible and Incest

Having a debate with an atheist so please help me. He says that the bible does not seem to have a problem with incest and that it can be found throught the old testament. It apparently starts with Adam and Eve’s kids and goes from there. Can you please let me know how i can respond to that acccusation?

Many here will not like this answer. Some here infer that I am a heretic for writing statements like the following. I believe that those folks are wrong, and that the following is sound Christianity.

The story of Adam and Eve is symbolic fiction, only. The story was not written to address the question of monogenesis – offspring 100% b from the line of our first parents. Therefore, it accidentally, only, creates an unintended inference that brothers and sisters had sex.

In fact, the reality is probably this…

Before Homo sapiens sapiens, The line of hominids intended by God to become us was just a troupe of really smart but soulless hominids.

When it was time for humankind, God infused two of the hominids in the troupe with a soul. Like everyone else in the troupe, the hominids shared common ancestors in the not-too-remote past – maybe, something like great, great, great, great, great grandparents. That generates monogenesis. God could have given them souls before or after they commenced their relationship. That generates not-bestial sexual contact (where sex between an ensouled hominid and a soulless hominid of the same genus and species would still comprise a kind of bestiality – face it: Otherwise, one would be “man,” the other “animal,” if they weren’t both simultaneously ensouled.

Their children would have had souls. I believe that God arranged for the members of the troupe destined to be the mates of the ensouled couple’s ensouled children to have souls at the critical time, again to avoid bestiality. Again, all ensouled ones would have had a common ancestor, so that distant cousins would still have been “monogenetic.”

Certain of the patriarchs married half-sisters. I believe that these marriages violated the syndereses – the fundamental moral taboos pre-wired into the intellects – of the participants. It was, indeed, incest.

I believe that the Bible intends that the readers object.

The reason why it is in the Bible is to foreshadow Christ. In the Adam and Eve story, Adam symbolizes Christ. Eve is taken out of the side of the symbol for Christ to say, “He, the Savior, will be of the same flesh as you.” If believe that some of the Patriarchs marry half-sisters to portray Christ marrying his “kindred” (“of the same flesh”), mankind. Get it?

You are right I disagree with your answer. I believe that Adam and Eve were real people. Catholics are obligated to accept Adam and Eve as our first parents. Catholics on the other hand aren’t obligated to accept evolution. My question how can you determine that Adam and Eve and any other person mentioned by name in the Bible be fiction?? Also none your post makes any sense. We aren’t pre wired. God created man. To say deny anything that God created man and to deny Adam and Eve were are first parents is heretical. Why some of things happened the way it did?? I gonna give an answer as something Fr. Corapi would say. To get a greater good out of it.

Hi, Confused. Your atheist friend would cite the copied response in this post as support for his position against you.

In regards to the Bible and incest: At first it was a necessary inevitability to reproduction. Adam and Eve, Noah’s family are the two glaring examples. Once it became unnecessary, God put restrictions on us not to commit incest.

I look at it as, if the choices are:
a) Reproduce with your siblings, because there are no other people to reproduce with.
b) Die out as a speciest.

I think option a) is acceptable.

Context, Context,context. Scripture has to be seen in context and not little incidents thrown into someone’s face to ‘prove’ their point.The thing with Genesis is that it part of etiological stories. How we got to where. why something is the way it is.Why certain things have certain names and certain functions.An explanation of the world around them that they didn’t understand…
As a oral tale for centuries going from camp to camp it probably grew and grew. These stories would have been well known, people would know the characters and what they were by name.If you say"Cinderella" a whole lot of memories and pieces of the story come into your mind without saying anything else. Same in Creation stories…In Gen.4:16-17 we read" Cain left the presence of the lord and settled in Nod, east of Eden.
Cain knew his wife she conceived and bore him Enoch."
the assumption is that since Adam and Eve were the only folks around that Mrs. Cain had to be a sister. Well how did she get to Nod? By herself?the problem is is that we don’t know the whole story .Oral story probably contained much more information and details that the redactor thought unimportant anyway most people would know the story like the back of their hands and would know exactly were Mrs Cain came from.
There are a lots of tidbits of stories that start then abruptly stop-story of the Nephiliim.We know it has something to do with the flood ,the sons of God and mating.But that’s it.How this connects together and the flood the audience listening would have known.But writing curtailed it.
If you are concered about Lot and his daughters again context is important.Gen19:30-36.
Seduction of Lot by his daughters. A case can be made that the daughters genuinely and plausibly believed that the human race would die out unless children were born from the survivors.
Another possibility is that it provides an unflattering account of the origin of two of Israel’s traditional enemies, the Moabites and Ammonites.
Or as the rabbis believed that if thses to races weren’t created two great mothers of Israel would never been born. The Moabitess Ruth,King Rehoboam’s mother and Solomon’s wife Naamah, an Ammonite.
Without context whatever charges he makes are makes are groundless.

I never said that incest is acceptable. Please don’t put words into my mouth. My Protestant friend, you have no idea what you are against. God doesn’t condone incest in fact he condemns incest. The early days of human life were meant for populating the Earth.

Leviticus 18:6

6 No man shall approach to her that is near of kin to him, to uncover her nakedness. I am the Lord.

Leviticus 20:11-21

11 If a man lie with his stepmother, and discover the nakedness of his father, let them both be put to death: their blood be upon them. 12 If any man lie with his daughter in law, let both die, because they have done a heinous crime: their blood be upon them. 13 If any one lie with a man as with a woman, both have committed an abomination, let them be put to death: their blood be upon them. 14 If any man after marrying the daughter, marry her mother, he hath done a heinous crime: he shall be burnt alive with them: neither shall so great an abomination remain in the midst of you. 15 He that shall copulate with any beast or cattle, dying let him die, the beast also ye shall kill.

15 “The beast also ye shall kill”… The killing of the beast was for the greater horror of the crime, and to prevent the remembrance of such abomination.

16 The woman that shall lie under any beast, shall be killed together with the same: their blood be upon them. 17 If any man take his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother, and see her nakedness, and she behold her brother’s shame: they have committed a crime: they shall be slain, in the sight of their people, because they have discovered one another’s nakedness, and they shall bear their iniquity. 18 If any man lie with a woman in her flowers, and uncover her nakedness, and she open the fountain of her blood, both shall be destroyed out of the midst of their people. 19 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy aunt by thy mother, and of thy aunt by thy father: he that doth this, hath uncovered the shame of his own flesh, both shall bear their iniquity. 20 If any man lie with the wife of his uncle by the father, or of his uncle by the mother, and uncover the shame of his near akin, both shall bear their sin: they shall die without children.

21 He that marrieth his brother’s wife, doth an unlawful thing, he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness: they shall be without children.

take this in an account from the Haydock Bible Commentary

Leviticus 18:6

Ver. 6. Approach to marry, much less to gratify his sensual appetite. (Haydock) — To him. Hebrew, “None shall approach to any of their descendants;” ad omnes reliquias carnis suæ; to any of those who spring from the same stock. The Jews assert, that all are bound by the law of nature to abstain from their own mother and sister, from another’s wife, and from unnatural conjunctions. (Selden, Jur. v. 11.) (Calmet) — Nakedness, or turpitude, which title the body deserves, when it is used in a manner contrary to the law of God.

Leviticus 20:11-21

Ver. 11. Father. See chap. xviii. 8. It is supposed that the father was dead, otherwise the punishment would probably be greater than for adultery. The Samaritan, “with the wife of his father’s brother.” (Calmet)

Ver. 12. Crime. Hebrew tebel, “confusion,” the same term which is used in speaking of bestiality, (chap. xviii. 23,) though the latter crime be more enormous. (Haydock)

Ver. 14. Alive, is not in the original; but must be understood. The Rabbins say melted lead was to be poured down the throats of the guilty. The words of Moses seem rather to refer to external fire. (Calmet) — With them, if they both gave their consent to the crime. (Menochius)

Ver. 15. The beast also ye shall kill. The killing of the beast was for the greater horror of the crime, and to prevent the remembrance of such abomination. (Challoner) — The beast was to be killed with clubs; the man was stoned to death. (Jonathan)

Ver. 16. Them. This monstrous abomination, teras, as Herodotus, an eye-witness calls it, was not unknown to the Egyptians. Gunaiki tragos emisgeto; (B. ii. 46,) nor to other nations. (Apul. Met. 10.)

Ver. 17. A crime. Hebrew chesed, commonly signifies an act of piety or goodness, as if Moses intended to insinuate that such marriages were at first lawful. (Thalmud; Selden, Jur. v. 8.) But a softer term is used to denote a great impiety, as the Hebrews say to bless, when they mean to curse, or to blaspheme; (Calmet) and the Greeks call the furies Eumenides, or “the good-natured.” — One another’s. Hebrew, “He hath uncovered his sister’s,” &c. Whether they saw what was indecent or not, if they admitted of any unlawful commerce, they were to be stoned to death. (Haydock)

Ver. 18. People, if the action become public; otherwise the man may be purified, chap xv. 24. This intemperance was by a positive law declared a mortal offence in the Jews, though in itself it might be venial. (Sanchez ix. 21.) The text shews that the woman here gives her consent. — And she open. Hence she deserves to die, for exposing herself and her children to great danger. (Haydock)

Ver. 19. Flesh, or relation. (Menochius)

Ver. 20. Children. The Sadducees read, “they shall die naked.” The present Hebrew has simply, “they shall be without children;” their offspring shall be illegitimate. (St. Augustine, q. 76.) God will not bless their marriage. “Such we know can have no children.” (St. Gregory, q. 6.; St. Augustine, Apost. Anglorum.) The guilty shall be slain without delay. (Grotius) (Calmet)

Peter Dawson, my Protestant friend, have fun reading

For the whole human race to be unified incest between Adam and Eve’s offspring was necessary. Adam and Eve were genetically pure and early on there was no issue with mutations.

This is another one he would quote, to attack Catholicism.

Here we go Again!Everyone cool their jets- take a deep breath-whoosh! and stop with the name calling ,innuendos and nastiness:mad:

Oh, good! Maybe I did you an injustice? Do you believe that Cain’s offspring did not come from a sister’s womb?

Your “Protestant” brother Peter

Please don’t make this another Creationist VS Evolution thread. Not only do we have plenty of those but they are incredibly boring! Stick to the Text and exegesis therein.:mad:


I am not offended if I am called a “Protestant” or “heretic.” The only time I respond with the work “heretic” and the like is to ask someone who has called me “heretic” if they will call themselves the same thing if they are proven wrong. (They never do. Which makes my point.)

Invariably, if they get to know me, after awhile I am liked. (I have met persistently nasty souls. In my own website I used to publish long lists of their persistent published nastiness, untill other members found them repulsive. We can’t do that here. So, I just read, write and love. It is okay.)


There are several clear cases of incest in the Old Testament. Lot, Abraham’s nephew, begat two sons by his own daughters while in a drunken stupor (Genesis 19:30-35). Moses recorded the sordid act as a matter of history, but there is no sanction of the sin in the sacred text. In fact it is placed in a decidedly negative light. Ruben was intimate with Bilhah, his father’s concubine (Genesis 35:22) — a shameful act that was condemned and penalized (Genesis 49:4). Amnon, one of David’s sons, committed incest/rape against his half-sister, Tamar (2 Samuel 13:7-14), and, as a consequence, was murdered later by the order of Absalom, Tamar’s full brother (2 Samuel 13).


Hello, Christine.

Your presentation seems a little unjust to Lot. In fact, the story portrays Lot’s daughters as trickily getting their father drunk for purposes of raping him, for purposes of begetting children by him. The narrator infers that the daughters were the ones guilty of the sordid acts.

The New Testament Committee suggests that the story was originally devised to make fun of the Moabites and Ammonites, by inferring that they were the offspring of incestuous sex.

The story is probably a picture of dead Christ (Lot) filled with sacrificial blood (the wine) being loved by God’s people in the Church (the daughters in the cave) so that converts (the babies) arise.

Ironically, the admittedly sordid story probably therefore has an admirable underlying purpose.



I agree with your assessment about the Moabites and Ammonites, but your next paragraph is a little too much!

Actually the Old Testament is filled with randy sex and violence. And a lot of it was humorous and symbolic.

By the way, what is your take on naked, drunk Noah and his sons?

The robe used to cover Noah = the Clothing Type = “religion,” “faith,” and such.

Naked Noah drunk with wine on the ground (very perceptive of you to bring up a parallel case) is dead Christ. The son who peered on his father’s nakedness is mankind wrongly viewing Christ without the “eyes of faith.” The sons who covered their father’s nakedness before looking are mankind correctly viewing Christ with eyes of faith, through the religion, Christianity.

Again you are putting words in my mouth. It is quite clear you are taking Liber Genesis out of context. Think before you shoot off your mouth. Think what are you are saying. You have already said that Adam and Eve was fiction. That denies Church teaching. Why try and argue with the Magesterium? Then you insinuate that I thing that I found incest acceptable :eek: WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING DUDE??? Now you are questioning if I believe incest ever occurred. :confused: You have some nerve!!! I suggest you read some commentary from the Haydock Bible Commentary

and I also suggest you reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church

also the Code of Canon Law (1983)

and the GIRM (General Instructions of the Roman Missal)

I doubt you have heard any of the above works. If you still want further information about the Bible, Church and its teachings, I suggest you read the documents of the Council of Trent

the documents of Vatican II

I would also read documents of the Nicea Council 1

and after all that I would say out loud the Nicene Creed and examine what you are to believe and do an examination of conscience

I dig your explanations - very interesting, and unusual! How many “dead Christs” are there in the Old Testament?

There is only 1 Christ and he is alive. In case you haven’t noticed. He was crucified, died and was buried. On the third day he rose from dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. There are no dead christs. There are false gods, but one true God. You both are taking the Bible completely out of context. The Bible isn’t a bunch of fiction stories. Yes there are some symbolism in the Bible. We can’t possibly understand God completely. We have to accept the Scripture, Tradition and the Magesterium. There are many mysteries that we have to accept and trust God. If you get to heaven you can ask him some of these mystery questions that we want to know.

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