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Where did Cain get his wife?

The question about “where did Cain get his wife” is a favorite of skeptics. It’s often used as a way to “trap” Christians and entice them to question their faith.  The explanation is simple…and biblical, of course.

 

Adam’s Family

Cain was the son of Adam and Eve who was born after they were cast out of God’s perfect Garden because of their sin (Gen 3:24).  Cain was the firstborn child and another son, Abel, was also born (Gen 4:1-2).  The story is well known that Cain killed his brother Abel and the Lord put a curse on him and drove him out from the land of his family (Gen 4:8-15).  From there he went to the land of Nod, east of Eden, where he took a wife (Gen 4:16-17). After this another son was born, Seth (Gen 4:25).

Since there were no other people on earth at the time, the question is fair.  From where did Cain find someone to marry.

There is a logical answer to this initially perplexing question. 

Genesis 4:17

  And Cain knew [had sexual relations with] his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son; Enoch.

Notice that the Bible doesn’t say that Cain found his wife in Nod. The Scripture just states that Cain had a wife and that they had children. Neither Scripture, nor history, implies that there were other people groups on the earth from which Cain could have he found a wife.

Cain Had Siblings

Notice also that Genesis 5:4 says that by the time Adam was 800 years old, Adam had had “other sons and daughters.” Adam lived a very long time (930 years total), and during this time were born “other sons and daughters.” Only mentioned are Cain, Abel, and Seth, but there were other siblings and a female among them would have been Cain’s wife.  

Yes, Cain married one of Adam’s daughters. Such intermarriage was acceptable and necessary.  It wasn’t until many generations later that God prohibited marriage between close relatives (Lev 18). 

We are all descendants of Adam, including Jesus (Luke 3, 1 Cor 15:45). The reason God forbid close intermarriage was because of the introduction of genetic defects into the human race. This began in the Garden when Adam sinned, his physical body began dying, but it wasn’t until many generations later that it became a problem. 

Yes, Cain’s wife was one of his sisters, because at that time only Adam’s offspring were alive. Their bodies were experiencing the dying process, yet their genetic makeup was pure enough that intermarriage would not have been a problem.

Who Was Cain’s Wife?

We don’t know, because the Bible doesn’t tell us.  There are extrabiblical stories that try to tell about Cain’s wife, but they are not from God so they can’t be trusted as real truth. Whoever she was, we can just call her “Cain’s wife.”

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Christian apologists Alex McFarland and Shari Abbott answer some of life's many questions concerning the gospel, faith, and the Bible by sharing Truth for a New Generation and Reasons for Hope found only in Jesus. For more information about apologist, evangelist, author, and religion and culture analyst, Alex McFarland, visit www.alexmcfarland.com. For more information about Shari Abbott, executive director of Reasons for Hope* Jesus, click here.


Truth for a New Generation (TNG) serves nationwide, featuring a multi-year conference tour and student-led club program to equip teenagers, parents, grandparents, and others who lead them to live for God. TNG's mission is to creatively communicate a compelling Christian worldview to the next generation by giving answers to tough questions, based on the truths of Scripture, and to build up the Body of Christ to stand strong and boldly proclaim the gospel in the world. For more information and resources visit www.truthforanewgeneration.com.

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