Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 4:25-26 which reads: “And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.”
Allow me to share with you some further commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible by Dr. R.C. Sproul:
This episode provides a transition between the two accounts begun in Genesis 2:4 and Genesis 5:1 Seth’s name, derived from the Hebrew verb translated “appointed”, expresses Eve’s faith that God would continue the covenant family in spite of death. When the descendants of Adam begin to call upon the name of the Lord, we see the covenant family glorifying God, not man.
Today’s quote about the Bible is from James I. Packer. He said: “One of the many divine qualities of the Bible is that it does not yield its secrets to the irreverent and the censorious.”
Our topic for today is titled: “What Happened to Adam?” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.
At the end of Genesis 4, we reach the end of our first toledot passage, which related what happened to the heavens and the earth. While this section only covers three chapters of text, much has happened, and the world is in poor shape. It is at this point that the writer begins a new toledot section to tell us what happened to Adam. In the process, he gives us the line of Seth.
As we look at these genealogies, there is some question regarding how exhaustive they are. For example, by comparing Luke 3 with Genesis 11, we note that Luke includes a Cainan between Arphaxad and Shelah in the line of Shem. This gap in Genesis is no real problem, for the Hebrew terminology (“father,” “son,” “beget”) can include distant ancestors and descendants. Moreover, we usually assume that the son mentioned is the oldest and thus the heir, but there is strong evidence that this is not the case. For example, we know that Abraham was not the oldest of the three sons of Terah, yet he became the continuation of the line; the same is true of Abraham’s grandson, Jacob. Now Cain and Abel were certainly grown up (and at least Cain was married) before the murder of Abel. It is thus very likely that there were a number of other brothers and sisters between Abel and Seth who are not mentioned. Consequently, the people listed (with some exceptional additions) are those who provide the lineage of the Messiah (and in the short term for Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel).
Now, we are going to address a question that many Bible readers have asked: Where did Cain get his wife?
We read that Cain, after he “went out from the Lord’s presence… lay with his wife, and she became pregnant.” Because there is no indication of his getting married in exile, the text suggests that this was the wife he took with him. The question that naturally arises (very often as a challenge to the biblical record) is: where did Cain get his wife? Actually, we could ask the same question about Seth and all his brothers. If indeed Adam and Eve were the first man and woman and there were no others, then clearly their children would have to intermarry to provide a subsequent generation. While we find this idea somewhat abhorrent, there have been a number of cultures in which brothers and sisters of certain families married. One of the most notable was ancient Egypt, where sometimes a pharaoh would marry his sister to preserve the purity of the family heritage. From a biological perspective, the problem is that inbreeding enhances the chances that recessive genes would dominate and thus introduce harmful characteristics. In the case of Cain and his contemporaries, the gene pool would have been at a very early stage, when the genetic structure was at its purest. It is entirely likely that many of those recessive genes had not even developed yet.