I have been asked many questions of this basic theme over the years. The answer is quite simple: the Bible doesn't say. I think the phrase "I don't know" seems almost alien to many Christians who, in err, feel that if they can't answer every question, then somehow they fail God and His sovereignty somehow dissolves. It's ok to say it ... the fact is that if a sovereign god exists and we, through mortal and finite understanding, can fully understand and explain him, her, or it, then the god we represent is no god at all.
God stands alone apart from our ability to fully explain Him. The universe was created with laws and definitive order ... cause and effects ... a scientific impossibility under random generation. Remember, the horror of cancer is one of the proofs of intelligent design: cancer is in fact random generation of cell growth ... it kills the body. It kills any body it is allowed to grow in, beit human or any animal species.
This is what the Bible tells us about the origin of man (Gen 1:27-29; 2:7-8):
- God made Adam from "dust."
- God made Eve from Adam's rib.
This is what we can deduce:
- Either God truly formed dirt and ripped out a rib or
- He gave Moses (the author) an analogy of His work.
Could God have formed mankind from dirt? I guess so ... it's not like there are any better scientific theories that stand any ground, besides threats and fits of anger, under objective study. God can do as He wishes though He holds Himself to His own laws. We must keep in mind that God Himself said after the fall that we were from dust and to dust we would return (mortal death.) It is a known fact that as our cells break down upon death, we do fade dust as our body gives up its water. Since dirt is organic waste, then we can understand that God formed us from organic chaos, and to it we will return.
Therefore it is my opinion that believing that there may be more to the story not told to Moses (for many obvious reasons as stated before - see comments on engineering) doesn't necessarily infer a lack of faith in God or belief in His divine creation and intelligent design. It just means Moses, nor those who he would speak to, were anywhere close to being able to comprehend it.
Watch students carefully when they take their first calculus class ... you could imagine what the people of ancient Israel would do.
So what does that have to do with the question? Everything! If we are to account for the people Cain was afraid of, we must first account for the creation of his parents.
This is what the Bible tells us of the consequences of the fall for humanity (Gen 3):
- Mankind would have to labor in the fields ... they would no longer produce fruit without work. Man would no longer have food upon demand, He would have to go to find where it grows wild or plant it himself.
- Mankind would have to sweat ... and that work would hurt.
- Mankind would experience mortal death.
- Women would from that point forever experience pain in childbirth.
- Mankind would be in constant conflict with Satan and his angels (aka demons).
Please remember, there is so much that had to take place anatomically alone for this to happen. So much is not told. Why? Because theologians would forever need something to argue about and this kind of stuff just helps keep it simple. Seriously, God doesn't feel we need to know ... and none of the details have anything to do with solving our sin situation.
What the Bible tells us about Cain and Able (Gen 4):
- Adam and Eve's firstborn after creation were first Cain, then Able.
- Cain became furious at Able over a sacrifice not received and subsequently killed him.
- Cain was banished and a human standard of decency was established: we are in fact our brother's keeper.
- Cain, feeling the punishment was "more than I can bear" was protected by a seal placed on his head from any animals or people who would cause him harm.
- Cain then has a child with his wife(?) and names him Enoch.
Does it make sense that Cain killed Able over a sacrifice? Well, again, think about the context. Have you ever been angry? It feels good! Endorphins are released ... adrenaline levels spike etc ... the body is ready to attack! What stops us is the understanding of where anger leads. Anger that is not harnessed must lead to physical attack. The body is wired for it. It is a self-protect system in our body. It is our anger that will cause us to defend against overwhelming odds ... it is our anger that forces us to stand up when wrong (as we see it) is done. But we have 7000+ years in understanding the aftereffects and consequences of anger and therefore we have developed the discipline (hopefully) to control it. We see in society constantly people who fail to control it ... and it usually always results in murder or some form of brutality.
Cain had no idea what was happening (in my opinion). It seems logical to me that he followed what he felt to seem and feel very good at the time.
Then God called him into account ... and that is where I feel most of the motivations around this type of question originate from.
Who was Cain afraid of ... and who did he marry??
To me it is logical to make room for the possibility that since God phrased Eve's consequence the way He did and she understood it ... that possibly childbirth may have gone on during their stay in Eden. We have no clue how long they were there ... and procreation was the first command humanity was given after the creation of the female sex ... could there have been children before Cain and Able?
It is vital, at this pondering, to state that the Bible never tells us ... or ever hints of any notion that there were others before Cain. It is therefore irresponsible to state it as fact or even probable ... but possible.
It is also possible (and more probable) to believe that Cain married an unmentioned sister (since women were not often listed in the genealogies) that was born to Adam and Eve after Able but before Seth, the next named (male) child. Incest, as we now call it, would have been much different then as we understand it now. The family unit was much different ... relationships different ... and ultimately, with no recessive genes in the bloodlines, no threat of mutation or deformation.
It is also possible that God miraculously created more humans ... but this would seem very unlikely and ultimately unjust to me. Cruel because they would have to have been sentenced under the fall of Adam and Eve though they remained innocent (or were they). It is obvious that things were already out of sorts at the time of the fall bc Eve was ALONE!!! They were created to be with each other ... something wasn't right that she be so far removed from Adam that the enemy could have that intimate of a conversation with her without Adam's knowledge of it. So if there were other miraculous creations, it could be possible that they were already running astray.
In the end, however, we must fall back on the admittance of the fact that we just don't know. These are all dangerously close to conspiracy theories (some more than others). However He did it is hidden in His sovereignty ... His right to do what He wants as He wants for our good. I don't have a problem with that. Truthfully, we have to be ok with that.
That's my take anyways ... awesome question. So what are your thoughts?
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Great blog, inciteful and not afraid to enjoy our sanctified imagination and thinking. ThanksReplyDelete
Thank you for your comment. I do enjoy stretching the bands a little. It was a great question and one of the questions that thinking Christians all have. I feel those questions should be addressed and that is part of the purpose of this blog.ReplyDelete
I am going out on a limb here not knowing you, but let's try. I would offer that Genesis 1:27 is a different event than the creation of Adam and then Eve. If it were not so, then where did Cain find his wife inReplyDelete
I'm not so sure ... I think Gen 1:27 is, as the rest of Gen 1, and extremely short version of how God created the earth. Chapter 2 focuses on the creation of man itself, rather than just as a rung on the ladder of creation. He offers no other explanation on how He formed the animals. That is why we need to be careful at what points we argue with evolutionists. As far as Gen 4, there are two basic interpretations of Cain's fear. Some view that as a possible future depending on the now (in other words nothing presently expected but someone could show up) ...others see it as an actual and present threat. The first feel they can say with certainty that the first only sons of Adam and Eve at that time were Cain and Able and that Adam and Eve were God's only created humans. The second allow for the option for rapid and painless procreation through Eve prior to the curse. As far as God creating other humans Himself, He tells us nothing about it. Nothing is recorded about it. In the book of Enoch (supposed my many to be true) no witness of other creations is provided. Sooo ... we're left not knowing but supposed to use our thinking minds knowing what we know of the nature of God ... truly it matters not. No one can say to anyone else "No, the Bible says ..."Delete
We do know that Cain eventually found a wife but the timeline is always vague. Whether she was already there as part of a culture present from the beginning or not ... but your question is good and valid.
This is what I believe to be true. I believe Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden for a REALLY LONG time ... I believe civilizations were born out of children long before the curse. I have no proof for this but logically, which is the basis for all scientific thought and reasoning (I said science, not evolution), the curse would not have meant anything if there was no basis to understand "from now on" and one of Adam and Eve's initial charges was to "be fruitful and multiply."
I do not believe that God formed any more people out of the ground though He could have. Truly, every living being is created by Him so ... great thinker ... but it's a stumper. When we get there, we will know. Until then, we have SCI FI to help us!!