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What Luther Says

My Daughter And Cain's Wife

One of the most difficult things for me as a relatively "new" Lutheran husband and a father has been the process of deliberately and intentionally trying to change some really bad habits and old thought processes.

For instance, as a former "C&E Christian" (a.k.a. a "Christmas & Easter Christian" or one who only attended church on the major holidays if not only for a Baptism, wedding, or a funeral), it seems I'm still always battling the sinful thinking that "it doesn't really matter!" whether or not we go to church each week as a family.

It does matter. It matters a lot actually.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV) And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Now, this doesn't mean that going to church somehow makes me a "Better Christian" than one who doesn't go as often, but it does make me "better" spiritually for sure!

Why would we intentionally choose to miss getting together with our brothers in sisters in Christ to receive such profound gifts from God each and every week when it's precisely those gifts that we need the most to help us get from that Sunday morning to the next Sunday morning?

We could answer that question, but this isn't a piece about going or not going to church. This is a piece about catechizing our families on the importance of such things in the life of Christians as well as the importance of learning not just WHAT we believe, but WHY we believe it.

I want this to be a piece about something that I certainly can't take any credit for, but something I've simply noticed with growing frequency by just trying to be more intentional about being faithful to my vocations as both husband and father in my God-given family.

As we know, Martin Luther wrote the Small Catechism in 1529 as a guide for fathers like me in teaching the main points of Law and Gospel to their wives and children in the home, and he emphasized this by introducing each key section with the words "The Simple Way A Father Should Present It To His Household."

I thought about that in recent weeks and have thanked God repeatedly for His faithfulness when I've been feeling like a failure and not that faithful at all. Let's face it, trying to be "intentional" about family devotions and going to church and teaching a robust prayer life isn't easy, especially when you never did anything of the sort yourself for most of your own entire life.

Thankfully, however, one of the things that has been less of a struggle for us as a family (or at least not as much of a struggle as getting up even earlier than normal each Sunday morning to attend the only faithful Confessional Lutheran church we've found in the area, which is 30-35 minutes away has been) is the way in which we've all been able to find unexpected moments to discuss the Bible and the Catechism in relation to our everyday lives.

Remember, this is COMPLETELY NEW for my wife and I! It still doesn't happen as consistently or as often as we'd like (or as often as it should), but something that happened a few weeks ago demonstrated just how effective and important catechizing ourselves and our families really is. More importantly, it demonstrated how the Lord tends to operate in giving us and growing our faith in Him and His Word.

My 9-year-old daughter asked me a question that's actually a common criticism and objection from most non-believers. It had such an apologetics flavor to it, and yet, I wasn't fully prepared with an answer for her, because I had never really thought about it myself nor took the time to find the answer in case I was ever asked about it.

It would've been very easy for me to freak out, panic, and give some kind of soft, un-Biblical forced answer and then run, but I resisted that urge and calmly told her that she asked an excellent question that I didn't know the answer to, but that I knew someone who did know the answer.

That's when I did something else that I had never done before -- I told her I'd ask our Pastor and let her know as soon as I heard back from him.
This is how I think it's supposed to work, but my guess is that most Christians probably think like I always did, and will rarely ask their Pastor about such questions when they come up.

Then again, maybe this is actually quite common, but because I'm still a relatively "new" Lutheran, that's why it still seems a little foreign and strange to me since I'm not used to it.

In any event, here's what I sent him...

Hey, I was hoping to get your advice/insight on something. No need to get back to me tonight or even tomorrow, but I promised my kids I'd find out the answer and let them know later this week. So my 9-year-old daughter is very thoughtful and always seems to ask some really good questions whenever we talk about our faith. I mentioned Adam and Eve casually the other night after prayers when I put them to bed and she hit me with the whole "Cain's Wife" objection w/o even realizing it (haha)! "Daddy, doesn't that mean that the first people would've married their brother or sister?" I didn't quite know how to answer her in a way that would address their "ewww gross" reaction, but also remaining faithful to His Word while also proclaiming Law and Gospel still. I know, heavy stuff for a 9 and 10-year-old, but they asked and I promised I'd look into it since I didn't have a good answer for them at the time. Anyway, like I said, absolutely no need to get back to me right away, but definitely knew my Pastor was the one to ask about this. Thanks in advance for your time and help! Hope all is well. See you Sunday morning! Grace and peace!

What was great was how gracious he was in being open to responding to my request and recognizing what an important question it was -- and so quickly too!

Jeff, I am going to work up a small essay in regards to your question because it is one that I have been doing some research on myself. I do want to give you and your daughter a thoughtful (or as thoughtful) of an answer as I can. I do think this is an important topic.

He's absolutely right about it being "an important topic" in these Post-Modern days too.

The story of the creation is a story of law and fact, and once people start to view it as mythological, it means also that moral law is mythological. Human beings’ intrinsic worth as having been created with dominion in the image of God is also lost. Being male and female is also lost and becomes an accident of evolution, so that transgenderism is not a rejection of God who created you male or female, but instead a rejection of an order that could have just as easily gone in a different direction; we could have evolved as asexual beings -- it wasn’t God’s will that we be male or female. 
Answers in Genesis pointed this out a long time ago. They are evangelicals, so I can’t praise other parts of their theology. However, their understanding that waffling on the 1st chapters of Genesis really strips Christianity of its vitality by teaching us to place our faith partly on the Word of God and partly on our reason and senses–they are to be commended for this understanding, which too many Missouri Synod Lutheran pastors don’t have. 
-- Rev. Karl Hess

You might be wondering why any of this even matters in the first place.

Well, believe it or not, this question is more important than at first glance.

In the strictly literal reading, after Abel died there would have been only three true human beings, Adam, Eve, and Cain. So, skeptics demand, who was the wife? 
At the 1925 “Scopes Trial,” pro-evolution lawyer Clarence Darrow used the wife to ridicule his opponent William Jennings Bryan as he quizzed him about Bible details on the witness stand. (Darrow: “Did you ever discover where Cain got his wife?” Bryan: “No, sir. I leave the agnostics to hunt for her.”) Similarly, scientist Carl Sagan’s novel and movie “Contact” employed Cain’s wife to undermine conservative belief in the Bible. 
For modern-day liberals there’s no problem; they figure the early chapters of Genesis are pure myth. Others see some history here but question that Adam and Eve were literally humanity’s first couple. However, Jewish and Christian tradition holds that the Book of Genesis presents humanity’s actual origin with the first parents, Adam and Eve, and Cain as their first child. This sort of historical detail is especially important for evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants. 
Ancient Jewish tradition explained that Cain married one of Adam and Eve’s daughters, who are mentioned in chapter 5. That’s the view of the Book of Jubilees (2nd Century B.C.E.), historian Josephus (1st Century C.E.), and the Talmud. Brandeis University exegete Nahum Sarna wrote that “in the present narrative context no other possibility exists.” One ancient midrash named her Awan while ancient rabbinical speculation thought Cain and Abel both married their sisters and Cain killed Abel out of envy and lust because Abel’s wife was more beautiful. 
If Cain married his sister, that’s incest. Scandal! The customary explanation is that the Bible didn’t fully define incest alongside other sexual sins till much later, in the time of Moses (Leviticus 18, Deuteronomy 27). Incest is opposed not only for emotional reasons but to prevent genetic flaws from inbreeding, but Bible analysts figure that before the Fall the first humans in Eden would have been created with perfect genes. Kenneth Mathews of Samford University observes that as the early population expanded, “sibling marriage was unnecessary” and became subject to moral denunciation. 
Conservatives face a bigger problem than Cain’s wife. We’re told Cain feared that because he committed murder “whoever finds me will slay me” (verse 14). If Adam, Eve, and Cain were the only humans in existence at that point, then what was Cain afraid of? 
Ronald Youngblood of Bethel Seminary (who died July 5) said the context, including Cain building a “city” or “town” (verse 17) “seems to presuppose considerable numbers of people. It would place a severe strain on the passage to insist that all of them were additional children of Adam and Eve.” So he proposed the “possible” explanation of “hominids (Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal, and earlier)” who “may have existed prior to the time of Adam” but “had only animal intelligence and were not bound to God in a covenant relationship.” 
Another evangelical, Britain’s Derek Kidner, offered a slightly different “tentative” proposal in his Intervarsity Press commentary on Genesis. He said the scriptural text allows the possibility that God employed evolution in which “a considerable stock of near-humans preceded the first true man.” Kidner suggested these predecessors could have prepared for homo sapiens through “a long history of practical intelligence, artistic sensibility, and capacity for awe and reflection.” Adam would be “the first true man” but those other beings could have had “comparable intelligence.” Then, after God created Adam perhaps he conferred the divine “image” on them “to bring them into the same realm of being.” 
The great British Anglican author C.S. Lewis mused about such scenarios decades ago. But hardline “creationist” Ken Ham rejects any idea of people or semi-people apart from the line originating with Adam and Eve. “Defenders of the Gospel must be able to show that all human beings are descendants of one man and one woman (Adam and Eve) because only descendants of Adam and Eve can be saved.” 

That last line will give you some idea of where we're heading with all of this in today's entry. Clearly, you can see where this kind of speculation can lead Christians even if their intentions are good.

Those were the things I found on my own after my daughter initially asked me about all of this. I even discovered an excellent reply to this question from Rev. Dr. Ken Klaus who appeared on a 2007 broadcast of The Lutheran Hour in which he discussed this debate beautifully. Here's a little of what he said that we need to consider before we even attempt to answer this question today...

Let's deal with first things first. It is not a question of "if" the Bible is accurate. It is. And that accuracy even extends to the creation story, the fall into sin, the promise of a Savior, the birth of children, and Cain's murder of Abel. If our listener, or any listener, isn't willing to agree on that, then this question doesn't make any sense at all. Before I go any farther, Mark. We should also add: roughly the same question could be asked after the Flood. According to Scripture, there were only eight people who survived that catastrophe. Where did they get their spouses? There are two choices, Mark. Neither of which sounds good to 21st century ears. The simple answer is: Cain's wife would have either to have had to be his sister or his niece.

Please be sure to read the full transcript of the rest of that fascinating exchange.

It was only a few days later when I was thrilled that our Pastor, despite all he had going on at the time, made good on his promise and provided me with a detailed answer.

Jeff & Family, 
About a year ago one of my confirmation students asked me about Adam and Eve’s siblings and whether or not they had to marry each other. I had no answer for her on the spot and so naturally I was a little embarrassed seeing as I had no problem answering questions from the adult classes. As a result I decided to do some research and reflection on the topic. And so when you came to me with your daughter’s question I wanted to offer up some musings from the past year. 
In the story of Cain and Able we see a drama of brothers were Able is killed by Cain. In anger God casts out Cain of the garden. But this is where the story gets interesting. Vv 14-15 reads this way. 
14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. 
The question is who are these people that Cain is worried about finding him and killing him? Where did they come from? Some have stipulated this is referring to animals, I won’t entertain that notion. Our Lutheran study bible in its notes at the bottom claim this passage is referring to the other offspring of Adam and Eve. I personally believe that is a poor interpretation of the text. For one, in the chronology of events in chapter 4 Adam and Eve do not bear another child until after Cain is driven out. The text goes into detail about who Adam and Eve’s offspring were. So the not mentioning of other siblings of Cain and Abel before Cain is cast out would be reading too much into the text. 
When I read chapter 4 I do not get a picture of an earth populated by just one family. Is it possible that God created other people of which the text does not go into great detail about? When thinking about Adam and Eve and their offspring people have a tendency to believe that these are the only people alive at the time. Just because the text talks about this one particular family simply does not mean they are the only family. God had a unique and special purpose for Adam and Eve and their children possibly in the presence of other groups of people around. This is also the case for Abram and Sarai. We read about God’s special revelation to them and His purpose for them. But just because we don’t hear about Abram and Sara’s fellow man in the text does not mean they are not there. Throughout scripture God appoints specific individuals to carry out His special purpose and those are the individuals we read about in the text. In dogmatic terms we call this the scandal of particularity. Remember the sole purpose of scripture is to teach us about Christ and the salvation we have in Him that is what is being taught in Genesis 4 and in other places. And it sufficiently fulfills this purpose without going into greater detail about who else may have been around. More specifically in this case the early chapters of Genesis. 
I do not believe that Cain married his sister. Nor do I believe that the entire human race was built on an incestuous group of people living thousands of years ago. Based on some of the evidence in scripture I do believe that it is entirely possible that Cain’s wife was from ‘another family’ too which scripture does not go into great detail about. Nor do I believe that scripture necessarily needs to go into detail about. As stated above scripture fulfills its purpose when it brings us to light about the salvation and hope we have in Christ. A few further thoughts...In Romans chapter 5 the Apostle Paul makes the argument that Adam is the first man by way which sin and death entered the human race. Christ is then seen as the ‘new man’ too which life and salvation enters the human race. In regards to Adam does ‘first’ automatically imply ‘only?’ Certainly Adam is the first man whom God created the first man whom God approached with Law and Gospel and the first man to fall from grace into sin. But again this needs further study. Is Paul’s case in Romans 5 negated by Adam being just one of other humans living at the time? Could it be possible that God’s command to not eat of the forbidden fruit be a command to be relayed by Adam to other people? After all was this not Adam’s responsibility to his wife! We are guilty on account of Adam’s fall into sin. However is this guilt simply inherited through a single blood line? Remember God holds His people accountable based on the actions of a few regardless of whether or not they are related by blood. This is true throughout the Old Testament and in the church today. Man’s collective guilt with regards to Adam simply does not mean that guilt is something inherited through and observable DNA pattern. The important thing to remember is that we are one family in Christ and thanks be to God for that.

Definitely something to prayerfully consider, isn't it?

It immediately gave us a much better understanding of how to address this topic with our kids and anyone else who might ask us about it in the future (1 Peter 3:15), but it also ignited a desire for us to dig a little deeper particularly after reading his "Conclusion" deriving from Romans 5 as well as his statement that, "Remember the sole purpose of scripture is to teach us about Christ and the salvation we have in Him that is what is being taught in Genesis 4 and in other places."

No, it's not because we somehow don't completely trust our Pastor (far from it!), but only because we've also been trying to teach our kids (while reminding ourselves in the process) to not just simply take anyone's word for it. No Pastor is above reproach either.

This is born out of what Scripture tells us about the Bereans and how they tested St. Paul more than it is from a place of mistrust toward the Office of the Holy Ministry and Pastors in general let alone our own beloved Pastor.

Acts 17:11 (ESV) Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Besides, we've already experienced our fair share of false teaching from other LCMS churches in this area, and so testing a Pastor's teaching by searching the Word of God for ourselves to either confirm or refute what we've been taught is a more natural process for us than it might be for other families let's say.

Still, there was something "nagging" me about that Conclusion and mention of Romans 5 that we couldn't shake. It was almost as if there was "more to the story" and we wanted to find out if that was truly the case or if this was just an example of our rational minds (and sinful flesh) struggling with the truth and not wanting to just let God's Word say what it says even if it doesn't say as much as we'd like it to or if it doesn't say what we think it should say about something.

One of the first things I found from a distinctly Lutheran perspective was this Q&A from The Lutheran Science Institute (LSI)...

Bible skeptics have in the past tried (and sometimes succeeded) in making Bible believers look silly due to a lack of knowledge on the part of the Christians. One particular question is still sometimes asked, and not all believers have a ready answer: “Who was Cain’s wife?” Cain did have a wife (Genesis 4:17), and yet the only named children of Adam and Eve -- Cain, Abel and Seth -- were all males. The solution to this puzzle is found in the fact that Genesis tells us that Adam and Eve had other children after Seth was born, both sons and daughters (Genesis 5:3). So, it is likely Cain married a sister or, less likely, a niece.29 It wasn’t necessary for there to have been another race of humans or semi-humans to have furnished Cain with a wife – ideas advanced by some people who don’t accept Genesis as literal history. 
Some people object to the idea that Cain may have married his sister. Aren’t there laws against close relatives marrying, they remind us, because of the increased chance for producing children with biological deformities? Certainly that is the case today, but it doesn’t mean that that was the situation in the earliest history of the world. God’s law against close relatives marrying was not given until the time of Moses (Leviticus 18-20). 
Down through the ages errors have been increasingly cropping up in the genes of people. These genetic errors are not the same for all humans, but the closer the relationship of father and mother, the greater the odds are that some mistakes will be the same. Physical deformities occur to children when both father and mother have the same errors in their genes. Thus, when there is not a close relationship, it is much less likely that the same error could be inherited from both parents and show up in their child(ren). In the case of the earliest humans such as Adam and Eve – who were created perfect – and their immediate descendants, there was far less time for these genetic errors to emerge, and therefore far less chance of a deformity even when very close relatives married.

That seemed reasonable and Biblical too. So I pressed on.

Next up, I found this helpful excerpt from the September 11th, 1902 edition of The Lutheran Witness (Volumes 18-21)...

Later, I found this from Prince of Peace Lutheran Church's website where there published a chapter-by-chapter Bible study on the Book of Genesis...

Genesis 4:17 -- Who was Cain’s wife? The ACLU lawyer in the famous Scopes trial (regarding the legality of teaching evolution) asked that question of the Christian attorney for the prosecution. That same question makes an appearance in the movie “Contact.” For some reason, that question has become almost symbolic of all variety of doubts regarding the historicity of Genesis 1 – 11. Those who ask that question make the incorrect assumption that Cain found his wife after he had wandered from home, and that she came from a different group of humans, thus disproving the Biblical account that all humanity came from Adam and Eve. However, Genesis 5:3 makes it clear that Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters. Cain’s wife, we can assume, was his sister, who had become his wife before he murdered Abel and went into exile. Marrying his sister did not break the Biblical prohibition against incest, which didn’t take effect until some 2500 years later. The creation science assumption is that God created Adam and Eve genetically perfect. There were no mistakes in their DNA. Gradually, because of the corrupting nature of sin and the “watering down” of our gene pool over the course of hundreds of generations, genetic mistakes within modern people like us are fairly common. The chances of close relatives having the same genetic mistakes are very high, leading to a variety of known birth defects as a result of incest. Earlier in the history of humanity, genetic mistakes would have been very rare, allowing for close relations to marry and have children. This “top down” approach to genetic information is the opposite of the evolutionary “simple to complex” approach, and is the key to understanding what we see in the world around us, as I will share further in Genesis 9 when the readings turn to the post-flood world.

By this point, it looked like a clear pattern was beginning to emerge, but was it Biblical?

I then found one study on this topic that really resonated with us. It's a 1993 commentary written by the previously mentioned Kenneth Ham of Creation Ministries (and The Creation Museum fame), and while he's not a Lutheran, and while I certainly don't agree with everything he believes, teaches, and confesses, I do find this position of his spot on and Biblically profound.

Cain's Wife: It Really Does Matter!  
Over the past fifteen years of full-time involvement in the creation ministry, the question that has been asked more than any other is, "Where did Cain get his wife?" 
When I'm a guest on Christian radio programs, invariably the host or a caller poses this question. I also am asked this question at seminars, at churches where I am a guest preacher, in homes I visit -- it goes on and on. I even have the same thing happen in the secular world (e.g., non-Christian students in public schools and on secular-radio talk shows). I’ve been asked this same question so many times I almost feel like I know Cain and his wife as next-door neighbors! 
The fact that I am asked about Cain’s wife so often by Christians and non-Christians, tells me three things: 
First, the church, by and large, either has not given, or cannot give the answer to his question; Second, this question is obviously a problem to many Christians, and the fact that they cannot answer it, causes many, I believe, to doubt that they can defend the book of Genesis. This also affects their witnessing to non-Christians; Third, for many non-Christians, this is a stumbling block hindering them from believing that they can trust the Bible as being a true record of history, from the first book, Genesis, onwards. 
But, besides the fact this is an easy question to answer, does it really matter whether or not we can answer it? Should we make an issue of this or not? 
First of all, it is vitally important for the Christian to be able to answer this question, as it relates to defending the fact that all humans are descendants of Adam and Eve; and, secondly, that it is only their descendants that can be saved. Let me go through these two aspects in some detail. 
1. All humans are descendants of Adam and Eve. 
In Genesis 4:1,2, we read, "And Adam knew Eve his wife: and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel." And in Genesis 5:3, we read, "And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image: and called his name Seth." In other words, we are told certain details about three sons born to Adam and Eve. It is recorded in Genesis 3:20, "And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living." Thus all human beings are descendants of the first woman, Eve. There were no other women -- just one woman, Eve. In I Corinthians 15:45, Paul tells us that "the first man Adam was made a living soul." In other words, Adam was the first man -- there were no other men at the beginning. And in Acts 17:26, Paul states that the God who made the world "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." All human beings are related, because they are all descendants of the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve. 
As marriage in the Bible specifies one man for one woman for life, this means Christians have to be able to explain how Adam and Eve's sons could marry and have children to propagate the human race. Thus we need to be able to answer the question concerning Cain's wife. One can actually answer this question with just a little Bible knowledge. Genesis 5:4 tells us that Adam and Eve "begat sons and daughters." Josephus, the Jewish historian, states that "The number of Adam's children, as says the old tradition, was thirty-three sons and twenty-three daughters." The point, of course, is that Adam and Eve did have many children. Therefore, brothers must have married sisters at the beginning. Remember that the law against close intermarriage was not given until the time of Moses -- e.g. "none of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him" (Leviticus 18:6). There was nothing wrong with brother and sister marriages, originally. If you think about it, that is the only way to populate the world, starting with only one pair. Notice that Abraham married his half sister with no condemnation from God, even though this was later forbidden. Also, as Adam and Eve were created perfect, their genes would have been perfect. As the curse God placed upon creation started to operate only after they sinned, their descendants would not have had many mistakes in their genes. These mistakes (harmful mutations) add up only after a long period of time. So brothers and sisters (Adam and Eve's children) could have married and not had the problems of deformities in their offspring as might well happen today, if such close relatives married and had children. This is because today humans have lots of mistakes -- because of the curse -- in their genes. This may cause problems when matching pairs are inherited from both parents, as is much more likely with close intermarriage. 
Some people, though, say that there must have been people other than Adam and Eve, because Cain went to the land of Nod and found his wife. First of all, the Scriptures quoted above make it obvious that there was only one man and one woman from whom came all other human beings. Secondly, the Scripture says that Cain went to the Land of Nod and "knew" (had sexual relations with) his wife. John Calvin, in his commentary on Genesis, and most other conservative expositors, make the point that Cain was married before he went to the land of Nod. Since men and women lived to be hundreds of years old in the primeval world, populations grew rapidly, and Cain had plenty of time to marry a sister (or possibly a niece), move to Nod, and build a city for his own descendants and others. 
2. Only Adam and Eve's descendants can be saved. 
The most important aspect of the topic is this: if we cannot defend the fact that all humans can trace their ancestry back to Adam and Eve, then the whole gospel message has problems. When the first man, Adam, sinned, he forfeited his right to live with a holy God. God, who is infinitely just, had to judge this rebellion with death. Adam and all of his descendants would have been alienated from God forever. However, God, in his infinite mercy, provided a means of deliverance from sin and its final effect of eternal separation from the Creator God. In Hebrews 9:22, we learn that "without shedding of blood is no remission." God required the shedding of blood for remission of sin. But, as Adam, the federal (representative) head of the human race brought sin and thus death into the world, another man (another representative, without sin, but also a member of the human race) was required to pay the penalty for sin -- the penalty of death. The Bible teaches, of course, that the atoning death of Christ was "for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2). In fact, it was only when "by one man sin entered into the world" that death came into the world and then "passed upon all men" (Romans 5:12). Thus the idea that there were "pre-Adamite men" or other human-like creatures in the world unaffected by Adam's sin is theological nonsense. "As by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life" (Romans 5:18). 
Since all men and women are descendants of Adam and Eve and "all the world" has "become guilty before God" (Romans 3:19), and since "the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11), all people -- of every age and every place -- can be saved, if they simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). This wonderful solution to the problem of sin and death is beyond anything we finite humans could ever imagine. God made another Adam! He, Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, the perfect sinless son of God, came to earth to be a man born of a woman -- a perfect man -- man as God intended man to be. Paul calls Christ the "last Adam" (I Corinthians 15:45). The "God–man" died on the cross of Calvary and "became sin for us," and then was raised from the dead, so that we might have a living sacrifice -- a new representative head. Only as we are united to him do we have the gift of eternal life with our Creator. 
And just think of what Jesus Christ has done for us. He became a man (but is also God) and will remain a man, God and man in two distinct natures, but one person, forever, so we will have a Savior. What a wonderful message! What a wonderful Savior! What a blessed redeemer! What a God of grace and mercy! Oh, how we should praise Him -- and for those of us who do love and trust and serve Him, we will praise Him forever and ever. This is why we send missionaries to the Australian Aborigines, and the New Guinea natives. This is why we are commanded to preach the gospel to "every creature." This is why we can talk about our brothers and sisters in Christ. And this is why we need to be able to answer questions such as, "Where did Cain get his wife?" without speculating that God created any (non-existent) "other people," or that there were "soul-less humans" at that time.

What do you think about all of that?

I'd be curious to get some additional thoughts from other laymen and Pastors alike in the Comments Section below so please feel free to chime in.

Now, while I tend to agree with the above analysis, I think it's important to issue a brief word of caution here too.

Personally, I believe that Genesis and the rest of God's Word gives us a clear answer to the question "Who Was Cain's Wife?" but I also think we need to have a faith that is comfortable with mystery and not knowing all the answers all the time, because if we did then we would be no different from God Himself, wouldn't we?

Deuteronomy 29:29 (ESV) The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

For what it's worth, here are some other articles and studies I found while researching this subject that you might be interested in too...

The Church Of Cain Will Always Attack The Church Of Abel

Promises, Promises

I'm so grateful for faithful men of God (like our Pastor) who are willing to provide clarity where there is confusion and set us on the right path to finding the truth.

It reminds me of something else I read on another Christian blog once...

Diligently seek out instead those faithful pastors who rightly divide the word of truth -- those who preach the Law in all its severity and the Gospel in all its sweetness. Though their congregations may be small, these men feed the sheep in their charge with the true Bread of Life. They show themselves worthy of double honour. Honour them, therefore. Appreciate them. Encourage them. Pray for them.

This is most certainly true.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, the story of Cain and Abel itself (an account that offers us a stark contrast between faith and works) is a microcosm of Law and Gospel, and so I tend to think that any explanation we give to the question "What About Cain's Wife? / Who Was Cain's Wife?" needs to also preserve and proclaim a proper distinction of both Law and Gospel as well.

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.


  1. Hi Jeff,
    Great post, and thank you for including all the references. As confessional Lutherans, I agree wholeheartedly that we must allow mystery to coexist alongside/within our faith, elsewise we abandon sola scriptura, for God's Word does not answer every question to our satisfaction. Likewise, we also must allow paradox to exist within our faith, knowing that some Biblical truth seems (and I stress the "seems") contradictory to our finite human minds. To apply human intellect and the power of the mind to sort out these mysteries and paradoxes is to go beyond scripture, to allow rationalism to creep in, and we might as well go the way of Calvin and the reformed.
    That being said, we must also always be careful to make sure our doctrine is consistent with ALL scripture. This is why I find the LSI, Prince of Peace, and Ken Ham responses valid and salutary, whereas I have to question your pastor's response. Could God have created other human beings and instilled them with Adam's (fallen) spirit? Of course he could - God can do anything! But is there any reason within the text to believe he did? Paul certainly didn't think so. So if the sister-marriage/implied incestual doctrine is good enough for Paul, and sin entered humanity through one man, I think we need to stick with the LSI-type teaching. That's not to say your pastor's response was not thoughtful or even perhaps true (we can't say), it's simply to say we should stick to the most basic, fundamental understanding possible unless the text leads us to do otherwise.

    P.S. You are doing exactly what every faithful husband and father is doing - searching for truth among the scriptures. We can and should first go to our pastors, but we should also consider other sources (preferably confession Lutheran) when the response we receive is questionable or unsatisfying. That doesn't mean you shouldn't first approach your pastor again when another issue arises, however! God provided this man for you as your first and primary resource.

  2. Jwskud,

    Thanks for chiming in and adding your perspective to this weighty subject. I couldn't agree more with your assessment and that's why we simply had to keep digging. As you noted, that does not in any way change how I feel about and/or view our new Pastor either. I mean, I never would've even approached my old Pastor with such a question, because I knew how un-Biblical he was about everything else! It's at least refreshing to know that this faithful man of God is willing to sit down and converse with me about such things after researching them if he's not quite sure of the answers. Thanks again for commenting!

    Grace And Peace,


Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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