[Upon the Rock, Vol. 2, No. 7, July 1999, pp. 26-28.]
A question often asked of Christians is, "Where did Cain get his wife?" This question is often asked to make fun of the Bible, and the Christian, pointing to an alleged contradiction in the Old Testament. This question, though often asked in jest, can be used to show the inquirer the inspiration of the Scriptures and their agreement with science.
This question is of deadly importance, because of Adam sin entered into the world and through sin, death (Genesis 3:3, 19; Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:45). In Romans 3:23, we learn that all have sinned. So, because of the transgression of Adam and his wife, we need another 'Adam,' the man Jesus Christ who laid down his life as a sacrifice for all of mankind, so that we may be saved (1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 45). It is through these Scriptures that we learn that only the descendants of Adam can be saved! If we are not descended from Adam, we cannot be saved!
Now, the Bible describes all humans as sinners, since the beginning, and it follows that all humans have descended from the first man, Adam, except Eve his wife (Genesis 3:20; Acts 17:26).
So, now we can establish through the Scriptures that Cain's wife must be a descendant of Adam and Eve who had many sons and daughters other than their three sons whose names we know: Cain, Abel and Seth (Genesis 5:4).
If Cain's wife was not his sister, then she was a very close relative, this we can be sure of. The Mosaic Law (Leviticus 18-20) prohibiting marriage of close relatives did not come about until approximately 2,500 years later. Also, remember that Abraham was married to Sarah, his half sister, but again this was before the time of Moses. The only law of marriage that Cain and his wife were bound under was one man to one woman for life (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; 1 Corinthians 7:2).
Now, the big question that many unbelievers will ask is that of genetic deformities, hoping that science can be used to prove the Bible wrong. However, what does science have to say on this? Adam and Eve were made perfect (Genesis 1:31). Their gene pool would have been such that interbreeding would have presented whatsoever.
The whole human race is very similar; we can interbreed without problems. So, simple observation tells us that we are all the same regardless of culture, geography or colour. In 1987, American scientists found that mitochondrial DNA in women of several ethnic groups was virtually identical, suggesting that we all come from one women (Eve), and the latest date for this woman has been set at a maximum of 10,000 years and possibly nearer 5,000 years. Likewise, all men have a Y chromosome inherited from their fathers, and a study in 1995 showed that all men, regardless of ethnic background, share the same gene sequences on the Y chromosome, showing that we all come from the same father (Adam).
The science of Population Kinetics has shown that through simple arithmetic, we can reach the conclusion that the world's population has grown only for the past 4,500 to 5,000 years, back to the time of the flood. If the world's population was to go back significantly further than this, the present level of population would have been reached many years ago. It is interesting to note that this is when mankind first appeared historically; we know this through archaeology and the remains of earlier unknown civilizations. Therefore, the science of Palaeontology yet again has been shown to have many problems when used to confirm long time scales. The study of DNA is making biologists rethink the whole theory of evolution.
Yes, there really was a literal Adam and Eve! All of mankind, regardless of background, is descended from them; and, yes, Cain did marry either his sister or a close relative, and yes, man is recent! The Bible account does not disagree with know and proven biology, science or history. We can be certain that when we read the account of the creation of mankind in the Bible, it is the only account that makes sense, being the very Word of Creator God himself.