Who had Cain and Abel's babies?

I was wandering around the halls here, reading some of the archive questions (found out about all things wonderful, from diamonds to jake brakes) :slight_smile:

Anyway, I was reading a lengthy explanation on the various theories about the origin of Lilith, supposed evil baby-killing first wife of Adam, later inspiration for all-woman musicfest, and something occured to me.

If Adam and Eve were the first and only man and woman on Earth, and they had two sons, Cain and Abel, who did they have children with? Even if Adam and Eve had daughters, they couldn’t have mated with their own sisters anyway, so if someone else bore women as wives for Cain and Abel, how could Adam and Eve then be the Original Couple?

Any theologans care to spoon feed me an answer to this one? :wink:

You can’t save your face and your ass at the same time.

As an aside, here’s a link to a mailbag article about Lilith, penned by our own inimitable Straight Dope Science staffers CKDextHavn and Terey:


Btw… you might have better luck with these kinds of questions over in the Great Debates forum, where rhetorics are the stock in trade.

Two possible answers:

Eve had them.

Or God made more people than just Adam and Eve.

“Waheeey! ‘Duck!’ Get it?”
“Errr… No…”
“Duck! Sounds almost exactly like fu-”

Two possible answers:

Eve had them.

Or God made more people than just Adam and Eve.

“Waheeey! ‘Duck!’ Get it?”
“Errr… No…”
“Duck! Sounds almost exactly like fu-”

That’s always bugged me about the first few generations of humans according to the story of the Bible. It’s like there are other people on Earth, but they’re not worth talking about. When Cain is banished, God makes a sign for him so that other people won’t strike him down. What other people? There’s only his own parents.

From a broader point of view, how can you start the human race with two people and not create an incestual situation?

Only humans commit inhuman acts.

If you take the stories as literal, word-for-word truth, then Adam and Eve must have had female children who were not named or mentioned. This is not uncommon – the Biblical text often skips over details. Various biblical scholars over the centuries have posited that Cain, Abel, and Seth had twin sisters born with them. Cain’s wife is mentioned, but not named.

However, as you say, the implication of the plain meaning of the text is that there are other people elsewhere – after Cain kills Abel, he is condemned to wander the earth, and he worries that he will be shunned or assassinated… so there must be enough other people around at that point that this was of concern to him. Where they came from, who they are, is not mentioned in the text.

If you take the stories as poetical, then it’s all irrelevant: the underlying message of a common ancestry for mankind is that we are all brothers, no one can claim more exalted ancestry than anyone else.

The standsrd answers are as above

  1. God made more people
  2. His sisters

While the latter may seem icky, keep in mind that at this time there is no Biblical prohibition against incest. Hence it would not have been sinful.

Also keep in mind that there is no time reference given; and according to the Bible, people were living several hundred years apiece back then, so Cain may have waited a hunnert years before getting hitched, and the “mark” may have been intended for later in his life, at which time there were many more people, Adam’s other progeny presumably having been fruitful and multiplying.

“It all started with marbles in school…”

Yet another example of the lunacy of swallowing the Bible as literal truth.

Genetically, if we were all descended fromt he same pair of humans, not only would there never be the variety of humans that exists today, we’d likely all be imbeciles.


This is a non-smoking area. If we see you smoking, we will assume you are on fire and act accordingly.

Actually, the dangers of inbreeding come from the increased likelihood of the pairing of dangerous recessive traits. This being the beginning of the world and all, the dangerous recessive traits wouldn’t exist yet. They would come in as mutations, later on.

This sort of “that’s just pathetically stupid” dismissive debunking of religious myths is, INMEHO, on a par with creation science. (It grossly oversimplifies the opponent’s case until you’re debunking something no one believes.)

The Ai\ Yue- Ha

  1. Eye You-way Han
  2. It’s Chinese.
  3. The symbols are tone marks.
  4. No, I wasn’t drunk when I registered.
  5. Just call me John, OK?

Given the number of people who vote straight party tickets, never read a book, & think the X-Files is a documentary—what were you saying about imbeciles?

Attention C#3:“The inside of your musty head is a exercise
wheel; in which two gerbils, Vanity and Credulity
by name, tussle fruitlessly over the walnut that
represents your banal & pointless existance.”

CKDextHavn writes:

“The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years; and he had other sons and daughters.” (Genesis 5:4, RSV)

“Kings die, and leave their crowns to their sons. Shmuel HaKatan took all the treasures in the world, and went away.”

Hmmm, well it’s an interesting theory that Adam and Eve had other children, or that there were other people on Earth, though I agree they ought to have been worth mentioning. I have a hard time swallowing the notion of condoned biblical incest, simply by virtue of omission.

I reread (as much as I could of) Genesis lastnight after my original post, and actually couldn’t find mention of any wife or children of Abel prior to his death, which would leave Cain and later Seth to poplulate the Earth. This is, until Noah and his wife and 3 sons and their wives were ordered onto the Ark, and all other mankind wiped out in the great flood.

So my original point of Cain and Abel poplulating the Earth is irrelevant, it was to become Noah’s 3 sons who did the deed.Still though, how could Noah’s grandchildren mate, given that they’d all be first cousins?

There’s so much of the bible I really just don’t get. All through Genesis, for example (at least in the free version I was given by door-to-door Jehovah’s Witneses) God is repeatedly saying “we” when referring to his observations and orders given upon Earth. Who else is up there with him that he’s talking to? He says (in Genesis 1:26) “let us make man in our image, according to our likeness”. Does this speak then of the existance of more than one God? Not likely, given the commandment of not worshipping any God other than Him.

I’ve read parts of various sections of the bible (sorry, just not something I can breeze through front to back) and for the first time lastnight, noticed something contradictory that I hadn’t before. In Genesis (8:21 and :22) it says “…Never again shall I call down evil upon the ground on man’s account, becasue the inclination of the heart of man is bad from his youth up; and never again shall I deal every living thing a blow just as I have done. For all the days the earth continues, seed sowing and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, will never cease.”

This comes directly after the great flood, and I read it to mean that God will never again wipe out all living things from the Earth as he’d just done. Never again will the days of Earth cease. Hello? but doesn’t this directly contradict the notion of the Armageddon and the coming of the end of time? Which is it?

The more I read, the more I understand, the more I question, the less I know. :wink:

You can’t save your face and your ass at the same time.

Dalou - That would presumably be the Royal We.

‘They couldn’t hit an Elephant from this dist…!’

Last words of General John Sedgwick

Uh, the Royal We? That’s sounding comfortingly mystical to me. :wink:

You can’t save your face and your ass at the same time.

There isn’t a heck of a lot of physical problems with first cousins marrying each other. There are countless number of cases where fathers have raped their daughters and the babies turned out normal.

Having a baby with a close relative doesn’t mean they will be deformed in anyway. The chances are greater but not a fact.

As for the we, there are many explinations ranging from the royal “we” argument to the trinity concept of we (3 persons in one God) to someone mentioning to me once that at the time since there was no single god religion that there wasn’t a word for God in the singular so they used the plural version. I don’t know if any of this is correct.

It is possible to lose a game where your opponents don’t get any hits (due to walks and errors), and in some of those cases you only pitch eight innings. But Major League Baseball has wimped out, and ruled that eight-inning efforts don’t count as no-hitters. See:
Features - The Official Site of Major League Baseball for more details.

All-righty then. That damn well settles the argument on both sides, whitetho. All hail whitetho, keeper of the truth. What’s that, you say? Uhm… never mind.


Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk

I’a a-likin’ it here :slight_smile:

You can’t save your face and your ass at the same time.

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk

I’m a-likin’ it here :slight_smile:

You can’t save your face and your ass at the same time.

The answers, according to Orthodox Judaism:

Cain’s children: Born from his sister. Brother-sister relations were allowed during that generation only (there’s a Talmudic statement to this effect cross-referencing a verse in Leviticus).

G-d’s “We”: He’s talking to the angels. Not that he either needed their permission or their help in making man, but to teach a lesson that a superior should (despite lacking these needs) always have the courtesy to consult others.

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