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Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI


Part VI: Cain's Wife: And the Penalty of Incest

Chapter 2

Was Cain's Wife of the Line of Adam?

     AT THE TIME this is written, the official position of anthropology is that man is half a million or more years old. The actual figure is of no consequence -- it is its order of magnitude that counts. The biblical chronology has been worked out by evangelical scholars like John Urquhart, Martin Anstey, Philip Mauro, F. A. Jones, and of course Bishop Ussher, who have concluded that the period which has elapsed since the creation of Adam is between 6,000 and 10,000 years. The conflict here between secular science and the Bible seems irreconcilable; one assumes that the data of one or the other are being mistakenly interpreted or that there were other human beings besides Adam who not only far antedated him but also probably survived to be his contemporaries.
     One of the earliest presentations of the latter alternative is to be found, curiously enough, in a book which was published before any fossil remains had been unearthed and actually labeled as pre-Adamite man. This book was published originally in 1862 and went through at least five editions. It was written by a Mrs. George J. C. Duncan and is titled Pre-Adamite Man: Or the Story of Our Old Planet and Its Inhabitants Told by Scripture and Science. The publisher was Nisbet and Co., London. Mrs. Duncan argued first that the evidence that this earth is very old was unquestionable, and she therefore adopted the view that the days of Genesis were ages. From this she concluded that the age in which Adam appeared may have seen many other creatures not unlike himself but not of his line; it was such creatures as these whom Cain feared would murder him and from among whom he took his wife. She also believed that they were sinful but "not after the similitude of Adam" (Romans 5:14). Some of these "people" may have been brought to Adam as potential mates but he, in his perfect state, did not accept any of them as suitable. Although such non-Adamic races may have multiplied considerably,

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they were presumably overwhelmed by the Flood. Nevertheless, some of their "blood" must be assumed to remain with us to this day, conveyed over the Flood in the family of Noah. Even in the time of Cain this extra-Adamite population may have been large enough that Cain would think to build a city as a defense against suspected attack. Such in very broad outline was Mrs. Duncan's thesis, and for a while it appears from newspaper reviews of the time to have been much discussed. Yet in the long run, very few Bible students took it up seriously -- partly because it created some critical problems for the theology of redemption.
     In 1871 a book was published anonymously, entitled Primeval Man Unveiled: Or the Anthropology of the Bible. The publisher was Hamilton, Adams of London, and the author was probably James Gall. In this volume the author -- who had not at the time of writing it seen Mrs. Duncan's volume, though he acknowledges having seen it while his own work was on press -- took the view that Satan was lord of a created order of beings who were angels in spirit but enjoyed also the possession of man-like physical bodies. When these beings were condemned and Satan robbed of his privileged position as lord of creation, these beings who acknowledged Satan's lordship were as it were, disembodied and reduced to that state which brings them to our notice in the New Testament as demons. This author therefore held that we might expect to find human-like creatures ante-dating the appearance of Adam. These again intruded unnaturally into the physical order through the agency of some of Adam's descendants especially at the time of the Flood.
      Both these volumes are of interest; both were written by people who had great reverence for the Word of God and sought to bring to bear upon it usefully what they considered relevant findings of geologists and anthropologists. Of the two, it appears to me that James Gall created fewer theological problems. But at present I am persuaded that the attribution to fossil remains of (a) human status and (b) tremendous antiquity is not yet completely justified. Neither the methods of establishing genetic relationships of fossil remains nor the methods of dating these remains yet allow of absolute certainty. Until this certainty is achieved, it is too soon to decide the issue one way or the other; it is better to hold fast to a faith in the Word of God which has often been challenged in similar ways in the past only to be completely vindicated when sufficient evidence became available, as has happened so frequently from Archaeology. It is true that we may still be troubled with problems of interpretation of the Word of God. But if the past teaches us anything, it is surely this

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that whenever the evidence from Archaeology is unmistakable, it tends always to support the most literal interpretation of Scripture that can be allowed in the light of other Scripture. Archaeology has not supported allegorical interpretations of Scripture, but it has encouraged the most literal interpretation that the text will allow. At the present moment there is little agreement among anthropologists as a whole. They are still searching for a time-frame within which to arrange their data, a time-frame that is sufficiently dependable to compel assent among authorities of all schools. At present the diversity of opinion is considerable.
     I am persuaded that the student of the Bible will do well to hold his ground in the meantime.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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