Polygenism and Cain's wife


#1

" Cain then left the LORD’S presence and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
17
5 Cain had relations with his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. Cain also became the founder of a city, which he named after his son Enoch."

(Gen 4:16-17)

Can someone explain this? There were 4 people in the world at the moment (3 actually, since Cain killed Abel). How did Cain travel to a distant land and “have relations” with a wife that should not have existed?


#2

[quote=Mike O]" Cain then left the LORD’S presence and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
17
5 Cain had relations with his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. Cain also became the founder of a city, which he named after his son Enoch."

(Gen 4:16-17)

Can someone explain this? There were 4 people in the world at the moment (3 actually, since Cain killed Abel). How did Cain travel to a distant land and “have relations” with a wife that should not have existed?
[/quote]

It was common for writers of the biblical stories to not mention the names of people who they didn’t think necessary to mention. This is also found in the NT in the Matthew and Luke listings of the ancestors of Jesus.

Either Adam and Eve had more children after Cain and Abel or they had them during Abel’s lifetime but weren’t necessary to the story, and so were not mentioned.


#3

Is this something you know off the top of your head, or is there an apologist who specifically addressed this?

To deviate a bit from the first question, is not incest a grave mortal sin? Even at this time when incest was perhaps “necessary,” how can the mortal nature of a sin be dispensed with merely over time?


#4

Not “merely over time”, but in specific situtations. Look into Israel’s laws concerning this.

It is true incest was normally strictly forbidden:

Leviticus 18:16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: because it is the nakedness of thy brother.

Leviticus 20:21 He that marrieth his brother’s wife, doth an unlawful thing, he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness: they shall be without children.

However, a “dutiful” incest was also practised among the tribes of Israel for posterity, and those who did not were subject to severe punishment:

Deuteronomy 25:5 When brethren dwell together, and one of them dieth without children, the wife of the deceased shall not marry to another: but his brother shall take her, and raise up seed for his brother: 6 And the first son he shall have of her he shall call by his name, that his name be not abolished out of Israel. 7 But if he will not take his brother’s wife, who by law belongeth to him, the woman shall go to the gate of the city, and call upon the ancients, and say: My husband’s brother refuseth to raise up his brother’s name in Israel: and will not take me to wife. 8 And they shall cause him to be sent for forthwith, and shall ask him. If he answer: I will not take her to wife: 9 The woman shall come to him before the ancients, and shall take off his shoe from his foot, and spit in his face, and say: So shall it be done to the man that will not build up his brother’s house: 10 And his name shall be called in Israel, the house of the unshod.

Genesis 38:8 Juda, therefore said to Onan his son: Go in to thy brother’s wife and marry her, that thou mayst raise seed to thy brother. 9 He knowing that the children should not be his, when he went in to his brother’s wife, spilled his seed upon the ground, lest children should be born in his brother’s name. 10 And therefore the Lord slew him, because he did a detestable thing.

So if it was to ensure tribal posterity, then how much more so human posterity at the time of Adam and Eve (and likewise immediately after the flood).

By the way, this law prohibiting incest came 430 years after the time of Abraham. Abraham himself was married to his step-sister (Gen 20:12). Tobias also married his uncle’s daughter. (Tob 8:9).

hurst


#5

So…you guys really think Adam, Even, Cain, Seth, etc are literal historical figures and that human beings have only been around 6000 years? Just curious and slightly fascinated!
Brian


#6

[quote=hurst]However, a “dutiful” incest was also practised among the tribes of Israel for posterity, and those who did not were subject to severe punishment:
[/quote]

It’s not incest if you’re having relations with someone you’re not related to by blood. Your other two examples are interesting though.


#7

[quote=BrianH]So…you guys really think Adam, Even, Cain, Seth, etc are literal historical figures and that human beings have only been around 6000 years? Just curious and slightly fascinated!
Brian
[/quote]

We do not know how long human beings have been around, but the first human beings were Adam and Eve.

Some theistic evolutionists hold that God infused one of the late hominids with a human soul and so was conceived man.

The Church merely requires that a Catholic acknowledge that two first parents existed, Adam and Eve. The existence of multiple first parents (polygenism) is in error and this is why I asked the question about Cain’s wife.

My further question is this; why would Adam and Eve’s daughters leave and go “to a distant land,” which is where Cain found her?


#8

[quote=Benedictus]It’s not incest if you’re having relations with someone you’re not related to by blood. Your other two examples are interesting though.
[/quote]

It is safe to assume that the first sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, in order to propogate the human race, would have had to have engaged in incestuous relations.


#9

[quote=BrianH]So…you guys really think Adam, Even, Cain, Seth, etc are literal historical figures and that human beings have only been around 6000 years?

[/quote]

Aren’t you really asking whether we believe the Bible represents a true historical record? We do. But there are two possibilities for calculating the geneologies. One leads to around 6,000 years, and the other to around 10,000 years since Adam and Eve.

hurst


#10

[quote=hurst]Aren’t you really asking whether we believe the Bible represents a true historical record? We do. But there are two possibilities for calculating the geneologies. One leads to around 6,000 years, and the other to around 10,000 years since Adam and Eve.

hurst
[/quote]

I am…speechless. I would not know where to even begin.
BH


#11

[quote=BrianH]So…you guys really think Adam, Even, Cain, Seth, etc are literal historical figures and that human beings have only been around 6000 years? Just curious and slightly fascinated!
Brian
[/quote]

It is mostly allegorical so don’t worry about the details too much since they’re not important to the story
forrest for the trees and all that.

The Church says nothing about the date.

We are to believe that there was a first pair. Whether they were part of an existing pre-soul community is not specified but that appears to make sense since there is no evidence that the human race went through a genetic bottleneck (especially in the past 6,000 years!) and the incest explanation seems contrary to the rest of the Bible.

There are some who think that the great cultural awakening that occurred about 25-30,000 years ago is evidence that something significant happened; perhaps it indicates the presence of a soul.


#12

[quote=BrianH]I am…speechless. I would not know where to even begin.
BH
[/quote]

Explain. Do you reject the existence of Adam and Eve? Are you confusing the Church’s teaching with young Earth creationism?


#13

[quote=BrianH]So…you guys really think Adam, Even, Cain, Seth, etc are literal historical figures and that human beings have only been around 6000 years? Just curious and slightly fascinated!
Brian
[/quote]

I believe that all humans came from one couple. We refer to them as Adam and Eve, but the names aren’t important. I don’t accept the 6,000 year limitation.

It is important to understand that humans are both physical and spiritual. Hominids existed for a very long time before God ensouled the first parents. Until the soul was created, as each soul is, the evolved body was not human.

That’s my take on it.

Peace

Tim


#14

An additional question to add to this discussion:

What does the Church say about current biological variation; Asians, Europeans, Africans, Latin Americans…all from two people. How is this explained?


#15

[quote=Mike O]An additional question to add to this discussion:

What does the Church say about current biological variation; Asians, Europeans, Africans, Latin Americans…all from two people. How is this explained?
[/quote]

While the term Polygenism has been used by science in the past to discus the evolution of “racial” traits (for lack of a better word; I suppose “historically geographically distributed physical variations” might be a more accurate if unwieldy term), IIRC the Church doesn’t explicitly address this and is essentially in sync with modern science in as far as both agree that all humans are descendant from an initial small population…i.e. we’re all brothers and sisters

It just the details on the size of the population where they differ. :wink:

If you are referring to some of that stuff that racist creationist came up with in the last few centuries about this or that race being descendant from X or Y (implying some sort of inferiority), I’ve never heard anyone in the Church talk about that sort of nonsense


#16

[quote=steveandersen]While the term Polygenism has been used by science in the past to discus the evolution of “racial” traits (for lack of a better word; I suppose “historically geographically distributed physical variations” might be a more accurate if unwieldy term), IIRC the Church doesn’t explicitly address this as is essentially in sync with modern science in as far as both agree that all humans are descendant from an initial small population…i.e. we’re all brothers and sisters

It just the details on the size of the population where they differ
. :wink:
[/quote]

That’s my question; how do Hebraic ancestors give rise to Asian, African, European, and Latin American descendants?


#17

[quote=Mike O]That’s my question; how do Hebraic ancestors give rise to Asian, African, European, and Latin American descendants?
[/quote]

the same way african hominids did :wink:

what makes you think the ancestors were Hebraic?


#18

[quote=BrianH]I am…speechless. I would not know where to even begin.
BH
[/quote]

You must not believe in Jesus, either.
Adam AND Jesus are mentioned as being related in the geneolgy discourse in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 3:23-38).
So, you see - to deny Adam’s existence is to deny the existence of the one who was crucified for your sins - our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” - St. Jerome


#19

:smiley:

[quote=elvisman]You must not believe in Jesus, either.
Adam AND Jesus are mentioned as being related in the geneolgy discourse in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 3:23-38).
So, you see - to deny Adam’s existence is to deny the existence of the one who was crucified for your sins - our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” - St. Jerome
[/quote]

Catholic fundamenalist literalist… I would like you to meet non-catholic, nonliteralist, believer in Christ…everyone shake hands and come out fighting !!! :smiley:


#20

Really, I don’t know if it is relevent to know that. I personnaly believe Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel were allegorical characters and have never existed. I have no problem to accept the idea that there was a primary couple, but all the debate on wether Cain’s wife was actually his sister or not is irrelevent to me. Will knowing this help me in my spiritual life and permit me to live as God intended ? All I need to know, is that God has created us, man and woman, that the first humans sinned and that Christ, the Son of God, has saved us by dying on the cross and by His resurection.

The devil is in the details, as we say…


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