Skeptics, in an attempt to discredit the Bible, ask a burning question. Who did Cain marry? If Adam and Eve were the first, and only, people on earth, who did their son, Cain, marry? Obviously, Cain couldn’t have been wifeless because the account said he had a wife and she had kids; plus, we are all here now. However, the Bible does not give us a name or tell us where she came from.
Some think God created other people too; however, there is no biblical reason to believe this. Plus, if this were true, the biblical story would crumble. But still the question lingers. Who did he marry? Well, there is a reasonable answer, but it may surprise you. In fact, it may make you raise your eyebrow because it actually seems wrong and even seems to go against the Bible.
So, here’s my guess: I think he married a sister. Now, you may ask, did he even have a sister? Sure. Adam and Eve had other kids too. In Genesis 5:3-5 it says “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth … and he begat sons and daughters …”
However, doesn’t this seem immoral? Plus, doesn’t the Bible teach against marrying kin? Well, let’s put it in perspective. Adam married his own rib! I think marrying your own sister seems less drastic. Plus, there was no law against incest at that time. I don’t think there would have been a genetic problem with that either. Lastly, it is the only answer to the very simple problem: who else would you marry if you were the only family on earth?
Like I said before, one of the objections is that it seems anti-biblical. This is true, but it is also not true. Let me show you what I mean. To do that, let’s see if the Bible records anyone else marrying a close relative (besides Adam). Does it? Yes, there is one case: Abraham married his half-sister (Genesis 20:10-12). Plus, Lot’s daughters had children with their father—which was illegitimate, more than creepy, and would make his grandchildren his children too!
But here is another thing. The law against marrying close relatives came about two thousand years after Cain lived (Leviticus 18:6-18, 20:11-21, Deuteronomy 22:30, 27:20-23). Since many laws today are biblically based, many governments still outlaw incest. This raises the question, if people were doing this at the beginning, why did God stop it? Sometimes I don’t know why God does what He does, but for this point, I think we know why.
Besides being illegal, many today think marrying kin is strange, weird, uncomfortable, and maybe a little sick. Maybe it causes more relationship problems. While all these may be true, I think there is a bigger reason. Here’s why.
It seems rational to me that freshly-created Adam and Eve would have had near perfect genes (not jeans; they didn’t have those at that time). In fact, their genomes seemed so good that they lived much longer than we do. Thus, there didn’t seem to be any genetic reason not to marry a close relative, like a sister.
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However, as the centuries and generations passed, the genomes of Moses’ day and after were not nearly as good. Here is why: about 60-100 new mutations are added per person per generation. Since relatives have closer genetic similarities, offspring would be more likely to express the genetic disease since there would be less diversity in the genetic makeup of the child. Thus, the offspring of close relatives will probably have a higher rate of genetic defects.
Second, there also seems to have been a genetic bottleneck when some siblings or cousins married each other right after the flood. Really, who else would have Shem, Ham, and Japheth’s children married? The only other people on earth would have been their siblings and cousins. My point is that it’s not just illegal and strange to marry your kin, but there also seems to be a genetic component too.
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So, what did you think? Feel free to share your thoughts below!