Bible: Cain's Wife and other biblical puzzles

  1. Where did Cain’s wife come from?
    If God created her, wouldn’t she be sinless, or did he use the same faulty design?

  2. If God is all-powerful, why did he have to rest on the 7th day of creation?

  3. How did Lot know his wife turned into a pillar of salt? Wouldn’t he have had to look back?

Interesting questions. I don’t believe any of them are addressed in the Bible directly but are mostly covered under the cloak of tradition. I looked up question #1 on and got a very long disertation that basically said the assumption is that he had sex with one of his sisters. All children being born after the fall would have the stain of “original sin”, brought on by Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey God.
Question #2: God rested because he was finished creating.
Questions #3: My guess (which I think is all anyone can have on this) is that he probably saw her after the destruction of the cities. If I was Lot, I sure the heck would want to know what happened after the fire and brimstone fell! I believe that in “Innocent’s Abroad” (I just finished it, you’d think I’d remember), Mark Twain mentions that people say only a few hundred years ago (his time), the pillar could still be seen.

I suggest this topic would be better served in the Great Debates forum. I’ll direct you to one such thread, “The Great God debate”:

Or perhaps you’d rather start a new thread “Biblical Puzzles” or somesuch… I’m sure our buddy Slythe et al will have some choice words on the subject. :slight_smile:

For The Straight Dope

How about Cain simply having sex with Eve?! (didn’t know Cain and Abel had sisters…)

Actually, Nickrz, this is a pretty objective set of questions along the lines of “What does tradition state?” or “What do references state?” as opposed to “Do you think this really happened?” or something along those lines. I’d have to say that General Questions is the right forum for this question.

“I wept because I had no shoes, then I met a man with no feet. So I took his shoes” - Dave Barry

Mark Twain’s “Letters from the Earth” brings up the question of Cain’s and Abel’s wives. It also asked why, when Cain is branded by God for killing Abel and exiled, is he afraid of being attacked and killed by other people. God assures him that anyone doing so would suffer seven times as much punishment. And yet, there were no other people.

As for Lot, maybe he was behind his wife when she looked back, or maybe he was next to her and didn’t look all the way back. Sort of a “check” look. On the other hand, who says he did know? Maybe he waited and read about it when the Bible came out.

I believe this series of questions to be designed to create debate over subjective interpretations of Biblical parables and allegories. The first defining arguments in such debates are; whether or not the Bible has basis in historical fact and; whether or not it should be interpreted literally.

Without affirming or denying the validity of these two arguments, I believe they are largely a matter of personal faith (or lack thereof) and unless and until those two questions can be answered to the satisfaction of all involved, they remain strictly a matter of personal opinion.

That being said, I humbly submit: GQ is not from personal opinions made, whereas the subject is emminently suited for GD.

Always open to argument
For The Straight Dope

I dunno, Nick, I chased him from the Mailbag forum over here, because the questions were phrased as actual questions. I agree, however, that if AWB is just trying to spark debate, he ought to go to the Debate Forum.

Some people ask questions from a real desire to understand. Others (most, I daresay) ask because they think that pointing out these seeming inconsistences or ambiguities will shatter the faith of those who take the Bible literally, causing them to abandon their deep-rooted beliefs and run off to become prostitutes or whiskey drummers.

Look, AWB – these questions were asked centuries ago. And there are three groups of people who might answer:
(a) People who take the Bible as word-for-word literal truth. They will have an explanation, believe me, that will resolve any seeming inconsistency. As I say, nothing you can ask that wasn’t asked centuries ago. Their explanation may be far-fetched, but these folks are willing to ignore most of astronomy, evolutionary biology, paleontology, and geography. If they will swallow those camels, they’re not going to strain at your little nit-picking gnats.

(b) People who believe the Bible is divinely inspired, expressing great moral and ethical teachings in poetic images in the language of the time it was written. These folks will say that the important thing about the Adam and Eve story is the teaching that all mankind are brethern, not the question of who married whom. Besides, no women are mentioned in Genesis between Eve and Mrs Noah, who is not even mentioned by name; and after Sarah, no woman is mentioned by name until Sarah. So it’s not surprising that any girl-children born to Adam and Eve weren’t mentioned.

© Those who think the Bible is a work of literature produced by men, with no deity involved. They will respond with a shrug of the shoulders, they don’t care about your question, it just means the Redactor (editor) was careless. (I find this unsatisfactory; the Redactor surely was clever enough to have caught many of these and left them alone deliberately. The work should be analyzed as a coherent whole, even if the various parts were redacted, IMHO.)

In any case, it is foolish to think that exposing such questions will cause anyone to change their minds. It is equally foolish of the believers to think that they will argue the atheists to convert to the True Faith. Neither one gonna happen, certainly not in an online forum.

So, my suggestion: if you’re asking legit questions about Biblical text (as history, as literature, as ethics, whatever), fine, that’s more than welcome. If you’re asking nit-picking questions under the delusion that you will cause True Believers to See the Light of Rationalism, bag it.

Regarding Cain’s wife, I asked about that in my GQ posting on 4-13 called “Genesis creation in bible doesn’t make sense.” It got a lot of response, but it was one of those religious/philosophical/political postings that some people felt were not suited for the GQ forum, especially since I forgot to put it in the form of a question, and which led to the creation of the Great Debates forum for such postings.

Now that there is a Debate forum, I agree that postings like mine and this one should be put in the Debate forum and not the GQ forum, even though this posting was put in the form of good questions. Evolution/Creation, the Bible, gun control…they should generally go in the Debate forum. Even a simple question of ‘facts’ will lead to a long debate.

  1. Cain married his sister.

  2. G-d didn’t have to rest, He chose to rest, and by resting, it means He stopped creating things, not that He was fatigued and required refereshment.

  3. Who says Lot learned of his wife’s fate immediately? When he and his daughters got to the mountain, it became obvious to them that she wasn’t there, but nowhere does the Bible imply that Lot, at that point, knew exactly what happened to her.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

Response from the other posting, from Rowan:

  1. Where did Cain’s wife come from?
    If God created her, wouldn’t she be sinless, or did he use the same faulty design?

Children of the “giants,” and possibly Lilith.

Other interpretation: there were lesser gods, who made lesser people, but they all died in the flood, so the sons of Noah are all also the sons of Adam. This is the reason our G-d is the one true god. Heard this from a Lubavitcher rebbe. Don’t know whether this was off the top of his head, or he was quoting something.
>>2) If God is all-powerful, why did he have to rest on the 7th day of creation?<<

Says “All Powerful,” not “workaholic.” He didn’t need to rest. He just felt like it.

>>3) How did Lot know his wife turned into a pillar of salt? Wouldn’t he have had to look back?<<

Lot is not our source for this information. All-knowing, all-powerful G-d is.

Going off on a tangent, but at least one that involves a true General Question, why are you spelling God as G-d?

Greg, I asked the “G-d” question recently in this forum. It’s all in this link:

“I wept because I had no shoes, then I met a man with no feet. So I took his shoes” - Dave Barry

Greg Charles writes:

See the thread Quick God Question for a more detailed explanation of this.



The interesting thing about this chapter is that it implies that Seth is Adam’s first child, not Cain and Abel.

Mastery is not perfection but a journey, and the true master must be willing to try and fail and try again

  1. Just because Adam and Eve were the first people does not mean that God had to quit creating people. Duh, he’s God.

  2. So we could have weekends off. Especially since we are doomed to toil.

  3. Jeez. Don’t you know a good story when you hear one?

This is the third time we’ve done Cain’s wife. How about Noah’s kids?Who did they marry?

thats the problem with starting the world with only 2 people, you seem to have trouble reaching the huge amount of people we have on earth today with out totaly ignoring the gene pool. The bible didn’t take silly things, like science, into consideration :slight_smile:

As for Lot I agree with greg if you and you wife we in risk of instant death if either one of you looked back wouldn’t you make sure she ran in front of you? That way if she fell or something happoned you could reach her with out risking your own life by looking behind you.

no matter where you go…there you are

<< How about Noah’s kids?Who did they marry? >>

Much less interesting, they’re already married at the time of the flood.

So God learned from the previous time and corrected two mistakes that time! I have more sympathy for the Guy(pardon my vision)now.