I assume this has been asked before but the book of Genesis seems to skip forward on facts that we are left wondering about. Another is Joseph’s wife at the end of Genesis. In the non canonical book of Jubilees it claims it was a daughter of Seth but Genesis just makes it seem like she just appeared out of nowhere. Does the church have an accepted stance on this?
It’s not something I lay awake at night thinking about, but here is an interesting article on the very subject.
Whoever she was, she was probably a woman not to be trifled with.
I had thought Eve had many sons and daughters, and Cain’s wife would have had to have been one of his own sisters. If we’ve truly all come from the first Man and the first Woman, then from the beginning there would have had to have been inbreeding, and God would have designed it that way. Then, as time went on, the inbreeding wasn’t so closely related and became more and more distant. Really, though, when you stop and think about it, we’re all related, whether closely or very, very distantly. We must be, right?
Incest instituted by God and afterwards He changed His mind…
That’s the problem of literal interpretation of Genesis.
Adam and Eve were the first humans to receive an immortal soul.
Of course, that option means that Mrs. Cain and many, many more early spouses of souled humans were basically animals. I’d prefer divinely approved incest to divinely approved bestiality.
It’s possible that Cain’s wife could have been his niece. However, brothers and sisters would have had to marry at least once.
The Bible teaches that God’s creation was originally good. When man sinned it all started to go bad. It’s possible that the genetic code at the time of Adam and Eve hadn’t yet started to deteriorate yet, therefore there would have been no risk of both spouses having the same genetic abnormalities which could cause deformities in their children.
Protestants will say that incest was not prohibited until the Law of Moses was given. Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister. Therefore when Adam and Eve’s children married each other they were committing no sin. However, does this work from the Catholic perspective or has incest always been morally wrong?
I read she came from the ‘Land of Nod’, but if this were accurate, there should have not been any other cities/towns out there yet…?
The physical bodies were exactly the same: homo sapiens.
The lack of immortal soul only made them to be like a mentally deficient person (which union of soul and body are physically damaged).
The unsouled humans were just like the bicameral men proposed by Julian Jaynes.
She didn’t come from the land of Nod, they both went to the land of Nod.
Josephus Antiquities Book 1 Chapter 2
And when Cain had travelled over many countries, he with his wife, built a city named Nod.
Doesnt Genesis 5:4 say Adam and Eve begat many sons and daughters?
This is probably where she came from.
We just don’t know, and this kind of speculation is at best fruitless, and at worst, potentially spiritually damaging. Moreover, it doesn’t matter one whit, so just move on, nothing to see here.
You’re no fun!
Something related Ive found to be interesting, Cain was said to have been cursed to walk the earth until Jesus comes again…wonder if he is out there somewhere today and what he is doing?
She was probably someone from the people Cain was afraid of
Genesis 4:13 “Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.” Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.”
I personally believe the literal interpretation. I’ve always taken the creation of Man and Woman to be the very first of all. Man, made from the dust of the earth and life breathed into him, Woman drawn from his rib. You’re right, God doesn’t change His mind, but in the very beginning, in order to procreate, there would have had to have been inbreeding as a necessity.
I hope the literal creation story is the true one. I just like it better. The other interpretations seem too evolution scientific for me.
Does anyone know how Cain eventually died, or if anyone did kill him?
That ‘mark’ is interesting to think about, not sure what kind of physical mark would prevent someone from wanting to do him harm?
"Polygenism is the view that different races of humans evolved independently of one another, and it directly contradicts the literal interpretation of the creation of Adam and Eve in Genesis. Monogenism is the doctrine that modern humans arose from a single pair of ancestors, but it has no scientific support. So, which is it? Science or theology?
“In no way apparent”
Pope Pius XII addressed polygenism in the 1950 encyclical Humani Generis. He said that it was “in no way apparent” how to reconcile polygenism with divine revelation. Here is the full quote:
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 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. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own (37).
Pope Pius XII also wrote that the question of the “origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter” is open to careful research by scientists and theologians, as long as the dogmatic truths of the Catholic faith are upheld. What are these dogmatic truths?
De fide doctrine
According to Heinrich Denzinger’s Compendium of Creeds, Definitions, and Declarations on Matters of Faith and Morals, a doctrine is “of divine faith” (de fide divina) if it is explicitly found in revelation (8). In Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Ludwig Ott names this doctrine as the only de fide doctrine in the section on the origin of the first human pair and the unity of the human race: “The First Man was created by God” (94). Catholics also maintain the unity of the whole human race. This is not a de fide dogma, but a necessary presupposition of the doctrine of original sin and redemption (96).
Then came genetics
Pope Pius XII certainly argued against polygenism, but Humani Generis was issued three years before James Watson and Francis Crick reported the helical structure of DNA in 1953. The understanding of the role genetics plays in evolution was only starting to develop. Darwinian evolution has been reinterpreted in terms of molecular genetics, and now the biological mechanism of evolution is better understood.
Remarkably, there are three scientific observations about human life unique among all other organisms:
There was a relatively small first population of humans.
All present-day humans belong to one species.
We have spread throughout the earth.
More precise terms to come?
Pope Pius XII seems to have left the question open for further development, however subtly. Documents issued after Humani Generis address evolution but make no mention of monogenism or polygenism.
The Vatican II constitution Gaudium et Spes addresses social evolution toward unity and states that “the human race has passed from a rather static concept of reality to a more dynamic, evolutionary one” (5).
Pope St. John Paul II’s 1998 Fides et Ratio refers to the warning in Humani Generis “against mistaken interpretations linked to evolutionism”, but follows with a caution against “biblicism” as well, the tendency to read Sacred Scripture as the sole criterion of truth (54–55). John Paul II was concerned about the question of the conception of man, and discussed the implications of evolutionary theory with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, noting that “the moment of passage into the spiritual realm is not something that can be observed”.
Pope Benedict XVI wrote amply on evolution from a theological perspective. In his short 1986 book, In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, he calls creation and evolution “complementary realities” (Third Homily).
Pope Francis says in Lumen Fidei that “the gaze of science thus benefits from faith: faith encourages the scientist to remain constantly open to reality in all its inexhaustible richness” (34). He writes of truth and love. “If love needs truth, truth also needs love” (27).
Since Pope Francis has been pope, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences continues its long dialogue with scientists on the evolution of primates. For example, in 2014 Dr. Yves Coppens, the anthropologist whose team discovered the Australopithecus afarensis known as “Lucy”, was named an ordinary member of the academy. Dr. Coppens has given several papers and talks to the academy, including one in 2015 titled, “What a Child Should Know About the Origin and the Evolution of Man”.
Finally, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, issued in 1992 and used throughout the world today to instruct the faithful, teaches about creation, humanity, and scientific research, but does not once use the words polygenism or monogenism (CCC 159, 337-390).
The absence of the terms polygenism and monogenism in theological documents over the last fifty years suggests that theological developments have moved away from them. Perhaps they will be replaced with more precise terminology.
We do not know