Cain's wife : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

Following our discussion about evolution, I had listened to some archive shows from EWTN. A statement was made by the priest interviewed and it baffled me further. Again, if anyone has a comment or info I would appreciate it. A caller called in and asked about the wife of Cain. Where did she come from? Two possibilities were presented. One of them being the popular idea of Cain marrying his sister. The other possibility was that Cain married a neandrathal woman. The priest had just discounted groups of people evolving in various places at the same time, He mentioned that this group were not really human. It was said that this group was in the same species as man. Either neandrathals were human or beast. What do you think about the Neandrathal Man and Java Man? I looked this up. It said that these cavemen buried their dead and seemed to have a spiritual dimension. That would make them in the image of God with a soul. Also they used fire. My own opinion is that these people are desendants from Adam and they had regressed. They were killed in the flood. Do you think sorrow (death) was in the world before the fall? If Adam and Eve would have not sinned could sorrow be brought to them by the death of a animal (pet)? Was paradise separated and portected from the rest of the earth filled with death? Or was none of creation subject to death until the fall? Was Satan on the earth long before Adam? This priest (Pawca) or something was pretty conservative, but Cain marrying subhumans is reallly out there. What do you think about the neandrathals? Did cain marry one and have children? What would they have been, human or not?

-- Pamela (, February 05, 2000


Hello again, Pamela.

Your question intrigued me, because I vaguely remembered having watched that episode of "Mother Angelica Live." I went to the EWTN audio library, searched for "Pacwa" [as in Fr. Mitchell Pacwa, SJ, a totally orthodox Catholic priest], and found the show on Evolution -- broadcast 11/12/1996. I listened to part of the the second half, when questions are usually taken, and I heard the question and answer to which you have referred! I listened very closely and took notes.

You were right in stating that Fr. Pacwa first mentioned that, when Cain took a wife, it could have been a sister. [No one ever mentions that she could have been a niece or even a grandniece. We really don't even know if Abel had had children/grandchildren by this time.]

Father then said that we could speculate as to a second possibility, based on the findings of anthropologists. He said that during the early times of our present genus-and-species of "man" ("Homo sapiens" = wise man), there co-existed a DIFFERENT species of the genus "Homo" -- namely, "Homo neanderthalensis" = Neanderthal man.

He said that it has been shown that a dog can mate with a wolf, producing offspring, though they are different species of the same genus, "Canis" = dog. He also said that often horses (genus Equus) are intentionally bred to a different Equus species, the donkey, producing mules, which are sterile.

Therefore, he said, we cannot rule out that God created a separate species of the genus "Homo" -- namely Neanderthalensis (now extinct) -- and that Cain mated with a female of this species. Finally, Father said that their offspring, if any, may have been sterile, as is a mule. Only God can say if He would have given them immortal, human souls.

I know that it sounds a bit weird, because it is so new and strange to us. But I don't think that we can flat-out contradict it or call it heresy.

You asked some questions ...
"Do you think sorrow (death) was in the world before the fall? If Adam and Eve would have not sinned, could sorrow be brought to them by the death of a animal (pet)?
[We are taught that human suffering and death results from original sin. Thus, I doubt that any human would have suffered and died (at least, as we know those things) in the Garden of Eden. However, animals and plants do not have immortal souls. Perhaps they could have died in the Garden. If they did, Adam and Eve would not have been troubled, as this would have been seen as the will of God, with which they were totally in tune. They did not have disordered attachments to non-human creatures that can lead to sorrow.]
"Was paradise separated and protected from the rest of the earth filled with death? Or was none of creation subject to death until the fall?
[We don't know what was happening outside the Garden. There were no humans out there. The death of plants and animals out there would have been of no consequence.]
"Was Satan on the earth long before Adam?
[We don't know if satan was ever on earth before Adam was created. I don't think we even know if he was created before Adam. I don't believe we know if the bad angels' sin occurred before or after the creation of Adam.]
It appears we can think of many, many interesting questions -- but then realize that God never told us the answers to them -- perhaps because we don't really need to know them.
God bless you.

-- J. F. Gecik (, February 05, 2000.

Good for you, J:F: that you have time and a curious mind to look up for things that may help us understand some of the issues we discuss on this forum. I think your post about the first humans was excellent. Keep the good work!!!


-- Enrique Ortiz (, February 06, 2000.

Thank you, Enrique. You are very kind! I should return the compliment for your many fine posts. JFG

-- J. F. Gecik (, February 06, 2000.

Hello, everybody. Here I am again: this post inspired me to read again the first chapters of Genesis, and there surged in my mind new doubts: according tho the Bible:

1) after Cain killed his brother God put a sign on him so that nobody would kill him. A sign is something understood only by intelligent beings, were there such beings outside of Eden?

2) Cain left the land of his parents and went to the land of Nod. There he appears with a wife and founds a town: Where did he get the wife? Did he take her from the land of his parents or did he find her somewhere else? Does the Bible mention her in some other passage?

3) A town supposes houses, however primitive, a social organization, some kind of government, etc. did all this exist in a short time after the fall?

4) Abel was a sheperd; this I can easily understand: the sheep did not sin and maybe they were tame and subjected to man; but Cain was a peasant. Land tilling supposes tools and a long experience about what is eatable and what is not, it supposes storage of grain, etc. did Cain have all this knowledge?

I have some more questions in mind, but suffice with these for the time being.


-- Enrique Ortiz (, February 07, 2000.

"... and there surged in my mind new doubts."
Don't worry, Enrique. As a great man once said, "A thousand questions do not consitute a single doubt."

Before I make a few speculative answers to your questions, I wish to recommend that we reflect on something terribly important... The Bible is a group of "God's love letters" to us. It is not a modern history book. It is not a book about archaeology ... nor modern biological science ... nor anthropology ... nor sociology. It is a book about faith ... morality ... divine love ... mercy.

We should not hope to figure out the nitty-gritty details of each and every passage in the fashion that investigative reporters and historians do to a past event or to a news story in the year 2000. If we get bogged down in trying to answer every little question that arises, we may overlook the very reasons that the chapters were written to begin with. There are just so many obscure words, statements, and passages that will always remain a mystery to us. We have to avoid having anxiety about these things. I think that it is best to grasp the basic lesson that God wishes to communicate through a verse, a episode, or a chapter -- and then move on.

Now, Enrique, you wrote, "1) after Cain killed his brother, God put a sign on him so that nobody would kill him. A sign is something understood only by intelligent beings. Were there such beings outside of Eden?"
Yes, there were -- or there soon would be. They were the later children of Adam and Eve, and those children's children. These were apparently populating the earth while Cain remained alive. In fact, the Bible does not tell us if Adam and Eve had zero or five or even twenty daughters before Cain was even born. It also does not tell us if they had daughters between the births of Cain and Abel. It does not even tell us if they had other sons between Cain and Abel. It only tells us that Adam and Eve had "other sons and daughters" besides Cain, Abel, and Seth. It does not tell us when or to what places these children migrated. Some may have left before Cain killed Abel. Do not be deceived by paintings, cartoons, etc. showing Cain and Abel as very young men. Cain and Abel could have been quite old when the murder took place. Abel could already have had children and grandchildren, living with him or elsewhere. There are a myriad of possibilities. There is nothing to worry about!

Continuning ... "Cain ... went to the land of Nod. There he appears with a wife and founds a town. Where did he get the wife? Did he take her from the land of his parents or did he find her somewhere else? Does the Bible mention her in some other passage?"
The Bible does not mention Cain's wife elsewhere. It says that Cain went to Nod and "knew his wife." It does not give her name. It does not say whether or not she was one of his sisters, nieces, or grandnieces. It does not say whether he found her in the land of Nod (a formerly migrated sister or descendant) -- or if she had already been his wife before Abel's death, back in the old land! It does not say whether or not they already had children before Abel's death!

"A town supposes houses, however primitive, a social organization, some kind of government, etc. did all this exist in a short time after the fall?
Perhaps so. "Necessity is the mother of invention." Perhaps God showed Adam and Eve how to erect a dwelling in the Garden or after the expulsion. Perhaps they learned by trial and error. Perhaps Adam and Eve began the first "town" long before the death of Abel, so that Cain had a "model" from which to work. Recall that God spoke directly to Cain (or at least through an angel). Surely He could have explained how to build, to develop an early society, etc.. The Bible says that "Cain ... built a city." But it does not say when. Perhaps it was many years later, after he had many descendants who joined together to do the building. There are so many possibilities. There is nothing to worry about!
And now I will not respond concerning Cain tilling the land, tools, storage, etc., because by now you can imagine what my answer would be!

May God love and bless you, amigo.

-- J. F. Gecik (, February 07, 2000.

JF: I don't ignore that the Bible is not a history or archeology book, but I can't help asking myself questions as I go along. That doesn't mean that I have doubts about my faith, it only means that I'm following Paul's advice: "Prove all things (I suppose this includes The Scriptures); hold fast that which is good" I Tess 5,21. BTW, did you make special Bible studies? Not only are you familiar with the Bible, but you seem to have a good knowledge of how to read and interpret it, and that supposes, I think, special studies.


-- Enrique Ortiz (, February 08, 2000.

Hello, Enrique. Thanks again for your kind words.

If I do write something helpful about the Scriptures, I give all credit to the Holy Spirit, who is my Guide. Without Him, I would be silent. I also thank my parents and teachers, beginning in kindergarten. I had religious sisters and devout lay teachers in Catholic schools, during the years when home-schooling was not necessary. All these people loved the Bible.

Though I do not criticize anyone who makes "special studies" of the Scriptures, I do not believe that they are necessary or desirable for everyone. In no way do I intend to compare myself to the spiritual giant, St. Therese of Lisieux. However, I mention her to remind you that she did not finish secondary school (entering Carmel at age 16) and that she had no formal "special studies." Yet she had deep scriptural insights and is now called a Doctor of the Church. I think that her "school of special studies" was prayer, meditation, and daily eucharistic adoration.

You quoted I Thessalonians 5:21 ("Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.), and you wrote, "I suppose this includes the Scriptures."

If we look at the context of your verse, we find this (from the RSV): "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying, but test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil."

And so, I cannot agree with your conclusion, because this passage is about testing what people preach or prophesy to us today. It does not suggest that we test the Bible to determine if it contains something "good" or to make sure that it meets our approval. From our infallible Church, we already have the assurance that all of the Bible is "good" -- not in need of testing. As #11 of "Dei Verbum," Vatican II's Dogmatic Constituion on Divine Revelation, teaches: "Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully, and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation."

Adios. JFG

-- J. F. Gecik (, February 09, 2000.

Dear J.F.: Your thoughts about special Biblical studies were a comfort . As I understood, it is better to read the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit than to have special studies, which are not always within the possibilities of everyone. I do my Bible reading every morning asking for the light of the H. Spirit.

Sometimes I find myself in the situation mentioned by Peter, speaking about Paul's letters:

"As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood..." 2 Pe 3,16

I know that we don't have to understand everything in the Bible, but our mind is inquisitive, and that sometimes, we can't help it.


-- Enrique Ortiz (, February 11, 2000.

It seems to be easy to underestimate the population growth of the earth where people lived 8-9 centuries and may have produced children most of their lives.Perhaps Cain's wife was a 14th cousin.Perhaps God had mercy and CREATED him one.The books of Moses are pretty general and have created other"stumbling block" questions. WILL STAY TUNED, FICTIONSLAYER

-- damion angelino manfred (, August 11, 2001.

Tough bible questions always tend to motivate me to faith. I admit I'm too liable to make adventurous guesses about what God meant to communicate. It's impossible to ''get to the bottom of it.''

If you look at these complicated problems closely, just when you feel you've arrived close to the answers, you find the problems become even MORE complicated.

But faith isn't. It's very simple, and it keeps you closer to the truth. I think we all know that's the reason Jesus Christ looks for FAITH first, in all of our hearts. Truth is His property; some of it He reveals openly. ''I am the Bread of Life,'' For instance. I may never understand Jesus becoming my FOOD! I just believe His word, because He is Truth. Or else we see how so many non- and anti-Catholics reject the Church's interpretation of ''This is my body, and this is my blood''. A straight revelation of Our Lord. Why?

They don't want revelations from Jesus, they only want to ''learn for themselves,'' by making judgments and assertions. How many times did Our Saviour say, ''Oh you, of little faith.'' --? This is way off the subject of Cain's wife, and all the many hidden facts of Genesis. But they just remain hidden, no use to worry. Some things God doesn't reveal.

-- eugene c. chavez (, August 11, 2001.

in the catholic bible i have dating way back, it states and cain cast his brother abel down to the earth and bestowed all the riches of his brother (including wife) to himself.

-- jerry wilburn (, December 09, 2001.

Dear Jerry: May be what you read in the Catholic bible you mentioned it is not part of the holy text itself but some footnote or commentary made by some Bible expert. The text itself does not say such thing, at least that's what I gather from my Bible reading. Of course I may be mistaken and I'm ready to be corrected.


-- Enrique Ortiz (, December 09, 2001.

Please look at the front of the Bible and tell us the name of the version. I have a feeling that you are mistaken about this. Prior to the 1960s, the only commonly available Bible in English for Catholics was the Douay-Rheims Version (the first edition of which is even older than the King James of 1611).
If you click here, you can see that the Douay-Rheims translation of this narrative in Genesis 4 does not refer to the things you mentioned (e.g., Cain taking Abel's wife).

God bless you.

-- (, December 09, 2001.

I am a Christian who believes in both Creationism and Evolution. NOT in "Classic Darwinism" because that is a really long forgotten and dead subject, but in the "Mechanisms behind Evolution" which is just beginning to be understood by Scientists today.

I do not believe (and never have) that God created the earth and everything in it, in a literal 6 day period. If you examine the Creation account in Genesis, there is no evidence to suggest that one day in Genesis was a 24 hour period. In fact, when we read Genesis 1:14-19, the Sun (which was also created to mark Time on earth) was not created until the 4th day. Therefore, one day could not possibly have been a literal 24 hour period. 7 days of Creation to God could have been 7 million, or billion, or trillion, 24 hour earth years to us. However, that does not mean that the 7 day Creation account in Genesis is incorrect. No. It simply means that it was 7 days to God but not to man. Secondly, we really need to analysize the story of Eden. According to Scripture, what did God do? He planted a Garden in Eden. Note: the entire earth was NOT Eden, no, only a very small portion of the earth was Eden. What does the Bible say was outside of Eden? Desert and wilderness. So it's quite possible that Australopithecus, Homo- Erectus, Neanderthal man, and Cro-Magnon man, roamed in this wilderness outside of Eden.

The Fossil records certainly support the existence of such hybrid, half-man half-ape like, creatures. Extensive DNA testing of these fossilised skeletal remains also reveal that ~ ∑ Australopithecus (ape-man) existed 5 million years ago. ∑ Homo Erectus existed 2 million years ago. ∑ Neanderthal man existed 200 thousand years ago. ∑ Cro-Magnon man existed 40 thousand years ago.

You simply cannot dismiss these fossil records as "no evidence." It would be very silly of us to do so! It would be like me dismissing the Bible without even having opened the book! However, that does not mean that God did not create Adam and Eve. He certainly did! Adam and Eve were the first true humans. The other creatures were hybrids, as their physical features clearly indicate ~ they were very tall, broad-faced, had retreating foreheads (indicating a small brain ~ unlike humans today) with massive brow ridges, and their bodies were covered in very course dense hair. The question is: how did these "hybrids" come into existence?

I don't believe they evolved from monkeys, no. I believe they were a separate species. Considering that thousands of species have come and gone, it would certainly not be impossible for such a species to have come and go also. This leads us to another question: Where did Cain get his wife from? Personally, I believe she was a one of these "hybrids" running around in the wilderness. As a result of this successive hybrid inbreeding over many generations, we get what we call the "other races." ie. Negroes, Orientals, Red Skins, etc. So what we have here are really 2 systems of operation existing side by side. One of God in His creation of Adam and Eve ~ the true humans. And another "wild" hybrid species which was already on the verge of extinction by the time Cain came along. The Theory of Evolution and Mutation of Species does not, in my opinion, oppose God. I believe that God works through these mechanisms for the progression of Creation. Creation follows the Laws of Evolution just as atoms and matter follow the Laws of Physics. Essentially, there is no conflict between Science and God. Of course, Science will not lead us to God. That is not the purpose of Science. Science is only a systematic and formulated method of understanding Creation. Science provides us with ways of observing, dissecting, and analysing, the mysteries of Godís awesome Creation. Science utilised in the proper way, magnifies God, by showing us the excellence of His works.

-- Gabrielle (, December 24, 2001.

It appears to me that your beliefs are compatible with the range of beliefs on this subjects that Catholics can hold. We are not required to agree, nor to disagree, with the things you have written. We are free to believe what you have proposed, to believe in the literal words of Genesis, or to believe in some other intermediate explanation.

I would recommend, therefore, that you use slightly different language -- less "dogmatic" terminology and phrases -- so that you make clear that some of what you believe is theory, not yet scientifically proved, and that you respect the opinions of others. When someone proposes a counter-theory to yours, you are unlikely to be able to produce incontrovertible proof that he/she is wrong.

God bless you.

-- (, December 25, 2001.


Please excuse me if I'm misreading your post, but we do get people with all sorts of weird ideas here, and I wouldn't want one to be passed on as acceptable when I think it's not.

Are you saying that God created Adam and Eve from one race, and that all other races are at best only partially human (a mixture of a human and something else)? If so this would be at odds to what I think any church (outside of something the Aryan Nation or the KKK would come up with) would believe. The church believes that all people are God's people.


-- Someone (, December 26, 2001.

Oh, I see what you mean, Frank.
Somehow I overlooked that before. Yours seems to be a very plausible reading of what Gabrielle stated -- and, if you have understood her correctly, that would make what she said IMCOMPATIBLE with Catholic doctrine.
Sorry if I made a blunder.

-- (, December 26, 2001.

The Bible makes it clear that there is no evolution in the beggining in the account of creation God says he made them to produce ater there own kinds

-- Paul Dustan Browning (, November 25, 2003.

Evolutionary biology doesn't suggest otherwise. It only seeks to describe the natural processes God used in creating them. God created the Rocky Mountains and oxygen and the Moon too - but not by magic. He did so through orderly natural processes, the laws of nature, designed and created by Himself. Why would he abandon His own system of creation where living things are concerned?

-- Paul M. (, November 25, 2003.

The bible leaves no time for a pre adam race no time is there in the week god made the universe for a "hibrid" species to be going extinct

-- Paul Dustan Browning (, February 05, 2004.

''The bible leaves no time for a pre adam race'' ---?
The Bible isn't our Creator. The week or seven days written in Genesis is not a literal week. The seven days were very likely eons apart.

God didn't have need of hybrid races to make Adam, but He plainly said Adam came from the dust of the earth.

That could mean any number of things. It could mean atoms or carbon molecules. Since the God of the Holy Bible had no intention of revealing to us every detail that went into Adam's creation, he explained it to man in simpler terms. We are obviouly reading it all ages later, when we have some knowledge of the laws of nature. Nature is God's creation, of course. Our part is not to lay out fundamentalist conditions for Him. Our part is to believe. And we do.

-- eugene c. chavez (, February 05, 2004.

Blubity blu

-- Roach Dude Mann (, April 08, 2004.

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