Cain's Wife

Topic: Apologetics

Type: Article

Author:   A. Allison Lewis

Years ago I wrote an article about Cain’s wife. What did I think of it after printing it? It was probably the only article that I have had printed of which I was ashamed that I had used valuable space for a question having such an obvious and simple answer. Even the most unlettered Bible believer would naturally assume from reading the text of Genesis that Cain would have married one of his sisters.

One who denies Genesis also denies the teaching of Jesus and the rest of the New Testament. The following two educated religious leaders are plain examples of today’s modernism.

Dr. Eric C. Rust, [Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY] said:

The Garden. Well, was there a Garden? Now if I listen to what the scientist tells me, I can’t say yea or nay, I mean, this is, there may have been a garden. But after all, as my young hopeful said the other day, well, about two years ago when I told here about Noah, "Well, that means that the story of the Garden is a parable, too, Daddy?" I said, "Yes." She said, "Well, that explains where Cain got his wife from."

Now, really, I mean if there was only one Adam created and Eve . . . You see, take it literally, and you land yourself (uh) you make yourself a laughing stock for intelligent people. But that doesn’t mean you have to cast this out. Spiritually, it’s true. Parabolically it’s true [Taped message, Pastor’s Conference, University of Richmond, Published in SOUTHERN BAPTIST JOURNAL, October 1980, p. 6 (quoted from THE BIBLICAL EVANGELIST, June 1990)].

May 19, 1988, my article The Modernist’s Bible was printed in the GRAND FALLS ADVERTISER. The following week (May 26, 1988) Anglican, Rev. Charles Green, in the LET’S TALK column gave a local illustration of what my article was about. Modernist, Rev. Green wrote:


Where did Cain get his wife? That’s a question I and other clergy have often been asked, and they almost always rise from a view of Scripture that is not very helpful. (By the way, Cain, of Genesis, married at a time when, according to the ancient record, his mother was the only woman in the world).

The Bible, a collection of books with a single theme–the kingdom of God–was written over a period of many centuries, and contains a wide variety of literary styles and forms. There is myth (e.g., the great Genesis stories of the creation, fall, including the Cain story) [Emphasis added - aal]. There is history, legend, poetry, prophetic writings, etc.; and through it all God speaks, imparts His truth, and reveals Himself. …

The Bible is not a science book. It is not a history book, though there is a great deal of history in it. We do not go to the Bible to find out "how" the world was made. We will leave the scientist to continue to ponder that question. Instead, the Bible deals with the questions of "Who" and "Why"–questions with far-reaching implications. It is when we confuse these areas of inquiry that we create problems for those who wish to approach the scriptures intelligently.

Cain was a son of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were the original male and female created by God. Genesis 1:27, 28 says, So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the Earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the Earth.

Where then, did Cain get Mrs. Cain? Who was she? In Genesis 5:3, 4 we learn that Adam in his long life of 930 years had many sons and daughters born to him. There is no question but that Cain married one of these numerous daughters--one of his own sisters. Yes, that was a necessity. If the whole Adamic race was to descend from a single pair, the sons and daughters must intermarry. But as the race increased, it remained no longer necessary for men to marry their own sisters. Today even the intermarriage of cousins may have frightful physical consequences. In the dawn of human history, such intermarriage was not surrounded with these dangers. However, as the race multiplied and degenerated such intermarriages were filled with great dangers. God has since made specific command forbidding the marriage of brother and sister, and such a marriage would be sin now because of the commandment of God. It was not, however, sin in the dawn of the race when the only male and female inhabitants of the Earth were the parents and the sons and daughters born to them. We cannot reasonably carry back the conditions of today into the time of the dawn of human history and judge actions performed then by the conditions and laws existing today.

Even the theory of evolution cannot relieve questions in this instance, for in that case our earliest ancestors would have been beasts and the descendants would still be descendants of males and females born to the first pair. Take whatever theory of the origin of the human race that we may, and we are driven to the conclusion that in the early history of the race, there was the necessary intermarriage of the children of the same original pair. Cain, a son of Adam and Eve, married a daughter of Adam and Eve--one of his sisters.

The question of Cain’s wife may be interesting, however, it is one of very little importance. Usually those asking the question are just trying to avoid facing a much more important question--a life and death question--What will you do with Christ? Jesus said, He who is born of the flesh is flesh; and he who is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said to you, you MUST be born again [JOH 3:6, 7]. This second birth, the spiritual birth, is the important one. Have you been born again?

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This Page Last Updated: 12/12/98 A. Allison Lewis