{13}   STUDY: Adamís Descendants


Ü        There are difficult questions concerning Adamís descendants down to Noah. Whom did Cain marry? Did he commit incest? What was the sin of man that motivated God to annihilate almost all mankind?


Why did God show favour toward Abelís offering?

There are different possibilities (arranged in the order of the least likely to the most likely):

         God favoured shepherds more than farmers. BUT: Farming was the first occupation of man (Gen 2:15) and Adam was a farmer. Cain was in fact carrying out Godís exhortation to Adam.

         God has sovereignty in His decisions, demonstrating the principle of divine election. (Ex 33:19).

         God favoured offering with blood because it is a sign of the blood of Christ. BUT: Both offered the produces from their work. There were also grain offerings in the Mosaic Law.

         Abel offered the firstborn and the best part but Cain brought only some of his crop.

         The kinds of offering reflected their hearts. Perhaps God showed favour towards the faith of Abel (Mt 23:35; Heb 11:4). In contrast, Cainís reactions of being angry toward God and Abel showed that the problem was in his heart and his attitude. Later, Cainís conversation with God showed his self-absorbed attitude, and his action showed his absence of conscience.

It is likely that a flaw in the intention of the giver which was reflected in a deficiency in Cainís offering. God requires of the giver an obedient and upright heart (1Sa 15:14; Hos 6:6; Mt 5:24).

Who was Cainís wife? Did Cain commit the sin of incest by marrying his close relative?

If Cain married at about 60 or 70 years old, he probably could choose from his sisters or his nieces.

In the early centuries of human history, there were no laws of conscience or society forbidding the marriage between brothers and sisters or other close relatives. Even at the time of Abraham, the practice of marrying siblings continued. Since there was no divine or civil law against it at that time, the practice is not equivalent to the modern crime of incest.

When God established a set of moral and civil laws for the emerging nation of Israel, He prohibited marriage between siblings and close relatives (Lev 18:6-18). The practical reason for this law is the high likelihood of developing genetic defects as a result of intrafamily marriage. However, these defects develop slowly and they would present no risk until several dozen generations after Adam. That is why there was no prohibition against incest for early man.

If there were only 3 people after Cain murdered Abel, why was he afraid of his life?

In Mosaic Law, the relatives of the murdered person have the duty to avenge (Nu 35:19-21). At this point in time, everyone was closely related so that anyone could have killed Cain.

There were likely other descendants of Adam and Eve when Cain later built a city (Gen 4:17).

Assuming that couples remained reproductive for about two-thirds of their life spans, we could have a population explosion. Adam and Eve alone could have 150 children or more (presuming that they had 1 child every 4 years).

According to Gen 5, life spans from Adam to Noah averaged 912 years. Presume that: [a] the first child comes at age 40; [b] the childbearing years are 600; and [c] one child came every 4 years during childbearing years. Then the projected total population on Earth would have reached 58 billion (9 times the world population of 6.6 billion in 2007) when Adam was 760 years old.

[Note that Adam died when Lamech (9th generation after Adam), Noahís father, was 65 years old; Adamís son Seth died only 5 years before Noah was born.]

Why was there an absence of large population in the pre-Flood era?

[1] No population explosion: Archaeological evidence does not show a large population before the Flood. High infant mortality may have been one reason, but this alone seems inadequate to explain the lack of a population explosion which should occur naturally as a result of long life spans.

[2] Theme of Gen 4: One main theme in Gen 4 is murder. Not only did Cain commit murder, but so did his descendants, and these murders showed a frightening lack of conscience. At the time of Cainís banishment from home territory, he expressed the fear that he would be killed by anyone (his brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces) who found him. Then Lamech came along and murder had apparently become something to brag about (Gen 4:23-24).

[3] Hints about widespread murder: It is possible that reckless murder prevented the population explosion. Murder must have become the leading cause of death for pre-Flood people because:

[a] Gen 6:11 describes that ďthe earth was filled with violence.Ē Part of this violence could be traced to the Nephilim and the Gabborim (described in Gen 6:4) who likely committed murders.

[b] Gen 6 uses extreme language to describe the evil of the pre-Flood people and the punishment that God planned, because murder is the most heinous crime.

[c] Very few righteous people remained at Noahís time because God-fearing people, such as Abel, were more likely to be murdered.

[d] The strong language God used in Gen 9:6, commanding Noahís descendants to exercise death penalty to restrain the sin of murder was probably a response to what happened before the Flood.

[e] Jewish scholar Josephus (1st century) supported this interpretation.

Where is the location of the Garden of Eden?

Hebrew and Christian traditions place the location of Eden somewhere between the 2 rivers of Tigris and Euphrates in the Mesopotamian plain (near the Persian Gulf), or in the foothills to the north (in eastern Turkey or north-western Iran). However, there have been numerous speculations placing Eden as far as South China Sea or Florida.

How can the answers be so different? The reason is because the Flood could have destroyed all drainage systems by violent bursts of floodwater. It is possible that the present Tigris and Euphrates rivers are not the same ones referred to in Gen 2. Also, the floodwaters explain why we are not expected to find any physical evidence of the Garden of Eden on Earth today.


Ü        God observes the heart (1Sa 16:7). He showed favour toward Abel because of his faith which was reflected in his offering the best to God. Christians must show his faith by his internal attitude (which only God can see) and his external actions (which both God and man can see).

Ü        Seth was chosen to replace the faithful Abel (Heb 11:4). Why was he chosen? Some believe that God chooses or elects purely on His grace. No one is worthy to be chosen. So God has absolute sovereignty to choose whomever He wants. Or, only those who have faith will be chosen by God. We also notice that God showed particular favour to Enoch and Noah who had great faith (Heb 11:5-7).