Cain not the first child of Eve?

I’ve been reading the bible and I have had some troubles with Genesis. One of the problems is that I have not found a passage in the Bible which says that Cain was Adam and Eve’s first son. I would like to quote it:

[bibledrb]Genesis 4:1-2[/bibledrb]

Genesis 4:1-2 does no support the idea that Cain and Abel were their first sons. IT says that they had a child, not that it was their first.

My problems begin with Adam and Eve’s curses (because of sin):

[bibledrb]Genesis 3:16-17[/bibledrb]

I always made the comparison of the curses with a punishment. Let’s say a child is addicted to TV, and you forbid him the TV. This punishment would not work for a child who has never seen a TV in his life. So, taking Adam’s curse as an example, ‘working with labour and toil’ would not work as a punishment if before he ‘would not gain his food with labour and toil’. So this curse would work only if before the curse has been pronounced, Adam would not have known pain or hard work. Therefore, we know that Adam before sinning did not gain his food with ‘labor and toil’. Does this work as well for Eve? How could she know the severity of the punishment of ‘bringing forth children with sorrow’ if she before would bring forth children without sorrow? This would imply that she had children before. Is this true?

And if the dominance of the man over the woman is a consequence of sin, then before that she wasn’t ‘dominated’ (in order to know that it actually is a punishment)? If she wouldn’t have been ‘undominated’ before, then she wouldn’t know how bad it is to be ‘dominated’. If she always was ‘dominated’ by man, then being dominated now wouldn’t be a curse, since she was always like this. This would apply to giving birth as well. Did she have other children before sinning? It sounds logical to me because she had to know how it is to give life without pain, in order to realize how bad it is to give birth with pain. I am confused. Was Cain the first child or were others before? If there were, what happened to them?

note: all this occurred to me recently while I was reading the Bible

Adam and Eve can also been seen as a allagorical story, to teach a lesson. They very well could have been real people. They also might not have been. I think it’s both.

Adam and Even could be representations of Men and Women everywhere. Perhaps in the past, women in general did not know birth pains…but after the fall, they did. It might not be about just one woman. This is true for your other points as well.

There are many ways to interpret this story. I think it kind of implies that Cain was the first child, because Eve declares “I have gotten a man through God.” and not “I have gotten another man…”

But, if they are symbolic people only, who knows!

Literal readings don’t work. but neither do completely mythical ones. So Genesis has to be literal. But not historical.


Just to clarify, this is against Catholic teaching on the subject of Adam and Eve. Determining if Adam and Ever were real people or just a representation of men and women is not open for theological debate. Adam and Eve were the first humans of which all humans are descended.

As far as Cain is concerned, the fact Genesis says that “the man”, singular, was driven out of Eden implies that there were no other sons before Genesis 4 and so Cain would be the first born son of Adam and Eve followed by Abel. There could be a better argument for if Cain was their first child, but he was certainly their first son.

The key to understanding Genesis is to learn what the author intended which means that a literalistic interpretation will not work. This is not a historical record of what occurred as we might today consider historical record so much as it is a story of creation and the fall of man. It is 100% accurate but that does not mean everything occurred exactly as we interpret it using today’s understandings. Much of the parts we cannot really wrap our minds around is given in a way we can understand.

God Bless.

I was taught in catholic school that many of the stories in Genesis, especially the creation story and Adam and Eve, can be taken as allegories that aren’t necessarily literally true.

Is there a book that would help me understand the position of the Church in regards to every verse in the book of Genesis? I read many opinions but I would rather have the Church’s perfect understanding of the Scripture.

To answer your question, you can go to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

If you are looking for a verse by verse explanation, it doesn’t exist. The Church only defines about six verses definitively. The rest of the Bible is read in the context of Church teaching to help us understand what it is saying. So read the CCC, then read the Bible or do both at the same time via a Catholic Bible study.

God Bless.

The method of Adam and Eve’s creation and the creation account in general are possibly allegorical, but Adam and Eve themselves are not. Adam and Eve were literally one man and one woman by which all of the human race is descended.

Read this article for an explanation of Catholic teaching. There is a paragraph specifically dealing with Adam and Eve.

God Bless.

I found this quote online:

"The story of the creation and fall of man is a true one, even if not written entirely according to modern literary techniques. The Catechism states, “The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents” (CCC 390). "

(quoted from

I understand, and I accept this…

thanks guys. :slight_smile:

In this regard, Pope Pius XII stated: “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now, it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the teaching authority of the Church proposed with regard to original sin which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam in which through generation is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own”

(Humani Generis 37).

God had warned both Adam and Eve there would be dire consequences if they disobeyed. This was before the temptation. Did they fully understand those consequences? Probably not. God doesn’t ask us to fully understand what death and self-produced misery are–he wants to keep us from experiencing them. Thus neither of them took the warning to heart or we wouldn’t be in the condition we are today. God asked them to believe him in faith, but they didn’t do it. That’s the point being made by the Genesis story.

As to Cain being the firstborn–he may have been, but he also may only have been the firstborn son. You have to understand that the authors of the sacred writings weren’t giving us a blow-by-blow description of everything that happened. They weren’t writing factual history, as we understand it. They were relating what was important for their descendants, the people of Israel, what they needed to know in order to serve God as he had commanded them. So, such details aren’t important. Eve may have had only daughters before Cain’s birth or no children at all. We simply do not and cannot know because God hasn’t revealed that to us.

I have a daughter who has never drive a car. She has seen other drive a car. So if I say, having disobeyed, you will never drive a car without pain and suffering.

She recognizes the punishment, as Eve and Adam saw other creatures giving birth, without pain.

They has also eaten and gotten fruit from the ground (trees, berries, etc) without work, now they new that hard work would be required.

this is not at all unacceptable.Adam and Eve would have had realistic brains.After the Fall these realistic brains would have drifted into vivid imaginations like some today who were not present at creation or the Flood would have us accept they know better than God who was present - twinc

Oooops. Are you confusing curses with the results of Adam’s first sin? Consequences are way different than direct curses.


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