By Reuben Archer Torrey
In almost every place that I have visited in going around the world I have given skeptics and others an opportunity of asking questions at one or two meetings. I do not think that I have ever held a question meeting at which someone has not put in the question "Where did Cain get his wife?" This seems to be a favorite question with unbelievers of a certain class. I have also met young Christians who have been greatly puzzled and perplexed over this question. But if one will study his Bible carefully and note exactly what it says, there is really no great difficulty in the question.
Unbelievers constantly assert that the Bible says that Cain went into the land of Nod and took to himself a wife. In point of fact, it says nothing of the kind. An unbeliever in Edinburgh came to me with the assertion that the Bible did say this, and when I told him it did not, he offered to bet me one hundred pounds that it did. What the Bible does say is that "Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch" (Genesis 4:16-17). What the Bible means by "knew" in such connection anyone can discover for himself by taking his concordance and looking it up. He will discover that the word used in this connotation does not mean to get acquainted with, but is connected with the procreation of the species (see Genesis 4:1; Judges 11:39; 1 Samuel 1:19; Matthew 1:25). Cain doubtless had his wife before going to the land of Nod and took her there with him.
But who was she, and where did he get her?
In Genesis 5:3-4 we learn that Adam in his long life of 930 years begat many sons and daughters. There can be but little doubt that Cain married one of those numerous daughters.
But someone will say, "In that case Cain married his own sister!"
Yes, that was a necessity. If the whole Adamic race was to descend from a single pair, the sons and daughters must intermarry. But as the race increased, it remained no longer necessary for men to marry their own sisters, and the practice, if continued, would result in great mischief to the race. Indeed, even the intermarriage of cousins in the present day can bring frightful consequences. There are parts of the globe where the inhabitants have been largely shut out from intercourse with other people and intermarriage of cousins has been frequent, and the physical and mental results have been very bad. But in the dawn of human history, such intermarriage was not surrounded with these dangers. As late as the time of Abraham, that patriarch married his half sister (Genesis 20:12). But as the race multiplied and such intermarriages became unnecessary, and as they were accompanied with great dangers, God by special commandment forbade the marriage of brother and sister, and such marriage would now be sin because of the commandment of God; but it was not sin in the dawn of the race when the only male and female inhabitants of the earth were brothers and sisters. Such marriage today would be a crime, the crime of incest, but we cannot reasonably carry back the conditions of today into the time of the dawn of human history and judge actions performed then by the conditions and laws existing today.
If we were to throw the Bible account overboard and adopt the evolutionary hypothesis as to the origin of the human race we would not relieve matters at all, for in that case our early ancestors would have been beasts, and the father and mother of the human race would be descendants of the same pair of beasts, brother and sister beasts. Take whatever theory of the origin of the human race that we may, we are driven to the conclusion that in the early history of the race, there was the necessary intermarriage of the children of the same pair.
To sum it all up, Cain married one of the many daughters of Adam and Eve, and the so-called impenetrable mystery of where Cain got his wife is found to be no mystery whatever.