Malankara World

40 Questions Answered

By H.G. Dr Geevarghese Mar Osthathios

QUESTION 19. Whom did Cain marry?

This question is frequently asked as the students are not taught that Gen. 1-11 are pre-historical. Any one who compares Gen. 1: 1-2: 3 with Gen. 2: 4-24 can easily recognize that there are two distinct stories of creation and none is to be taken literally as the answer to the question how the world was created.

The creation story in Gen. 1 is 'P' Document and God is called Elohim in it. Its date is around 450 B.C. and whoever wrote it did not compare the earlier story found in the second chapter where God is called Jehovah. This second chapter called 'J' Document is dated around 750 B.C.

In the creation story in the first chapter, creation takes place in six days, humanity is created male and female in the image of God on the sixth day, the sun and moon are created on the fourth day and water covered the land before land and water were separated. In the earlier story found in the second chapter there is no mention of creation on each day, Adam is created before the animals are created and Eve is created from the rib of Adam after the creation of animals and the plants grew due to the mist that went up and watered the whole earth.

Those who believe that the Bible gives the answer to the question 'how' the world was created will have to choose one of these stories and leave the other as myth. Those who have taken the pain to study the Bible critically would agree that the creation story is a saga to answer certain theological questions such as who created the earth and all things visible and invisible and not the biological questions about the age of the earth and the plants and life on earth.

The theological answer regarding the image of God in man is also of immense significance concerning the questions related to the nature and destiny of man. In both the creation stories, it is God who created, whether Elohim or Jehovah. It is very unfortunate that the Fundamentalist brethren degrade the Holy Bible of eternal value to the level of time-bound and changing values of scientific truths. We ought to leave to science to answer the question how the world was created, by slow evolution or by sudden creation. The Holy Bible is not a text-book of Physics or Chemistry or Geography or Zoology or Biology. It is the basic text book on theology and must be kept in that level. Let the Bible answer the fundamental questions about God, the salvation of man, the life after death etc., and let us allow science to answer all physiological questions that can be verified by objective tests in the laboratory or outside.

The question 'whom did Cain marry ?' is raised out of the misunderstanding about the word 'Adam.' Adam in Hebrew is not a proper name, but it just means 'man or humanity.' The presence or absence of other human beings at the time of Adam does not change the theological truths about the first Adam, the representative fallen man taken as the head of the fallen humanity. The Second Adam, Jesus Christ is, the representative and the Head of the redeemed humanity in spite of the fact that other human beings lived at the time of the economy of salvation in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Just as the defeat of Goliath meant the defeat of all the Philistines (I Sam. 17), the fall of Adam meant the fall of the whole of humanity. We must move from the Second Adam to the first and not vice versa.

The story of Cain in Gen. 4 makes it clear that there were other human beings in the land of Nod where Cain fled and found a girl whom he took to wife. "Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden" (16). Nod was a place of so many people that Cain built a city there for the inhabitants in honor of his son Enoch (17). Some of the fathers thought that Cain married his sister, but it seems very unlikely. If there were no other people, why did Cain say, "whoever finds me will slay me" (4: 14) ? The point is that even if creation was evolutionary, there is no problem as far as the theology of the creation story is concerned. It is alright to teach creation story as it is recorded in the Bible in the primary class in the Sunday School when evolutionary creation is understandable to the kids. But a little later the students will ask, "How were the first three days of creation calculated with the words, 'and there was evening and there was morning,' when the sun, the moon and the stars were created only on the fourth day?"

When the students are able to ask such questions, the truth of creation should be explained as theological and not biological or zoological. Thus the question, 'whom did, Cain, marry?' is a good opportunity to explain the fact that, first two chapters of Genesis belong to pre-historic narrative and also the documentary theory that in the days of Ezra, the Jehovistic. Elohistic, Deuteronomic, and priestly codes were amalgamated into one volume for the first time and the reasons for the discrepancy in the two creation stories, two flood narratives etc. The fundamentalists are not doing full justice to the Bible itself as they are not open-minded to confess that the Bible is a divine human book with the unchanging truths of God are recorded in the changing and even fallible words of man. The Bible interpreted in such a way that there is no conflict between the Bible and science. "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

Table of Contents: Sec 1 (Q1-18) | Sec 2 (Q 19-33) | Sec 3 (Q 34 - 40) | Previous Question | Next Question

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