We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Friday, January 2, 2015

Adam and Eve and Their Children

The age-old questions about whom Cain married, and who were the “sons of God” in Genesis have always piqued my curiosity.  Over the years I have studied the issue quite thoroughly and have never had a problem with understanding what the Bible actually says, as well as what the traditional teachings were from the Jews and Christians throughout history.

Due to a discussion on another blog, I decided to write articles about my understanding of these issues, and then have it as an article I can always link to!  

Today I’m just going to address the first question.  References I make to the Hebrew language or Jewish writings come from “Ariel’s Bible Commentary: The Book of Genesis,” by Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Th.M., Ph.D.

In Genesis Chapter 1, on the sixth day, God created Adam & Eve.  Chapter 2 merely goes back and gives the details.  But at 1:28 God commanded them to “be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it.”  This would certainly imply that once Eve was presented to Adam as his wife, they would immediately set about “knowing” each other in order to start the population.

Before we go further, we must answer the question as to how long Adam & Eve were in the Garden prior to the Fall.  Since all of creation was “good” on the seventh day of Creation Week, Satan could not have existed as Satan.  There are many theories about how Satan fell from being a “good angel,” but one thing we must get straight is that the “Gap Theory” — which says there was a previous creation destroyed by a war in heaven — is totally untenable, and has been solidly debunked by many scholars.  The “Gap Theory” was developed to fit evolution somewhere in Genesis, and that is a totally unnecessary objective!  At any rate, we have no idea how long Adam & Eve were there prior to the Fall.  Since standard theological doctrine has all of mankind born in sin, we have to say that the first child of Adam & Eve was born outside the Garden after the Fall.  (Some use David’s claim of being conceived in sin, in Psalm 51:5, to say everyone is conceived in sin.  However, the psalms are poetic, and are not always literal but are often from a personal, human viewpoint.  And even if David was conceived in sin, it does not follow that everyone else is!  There are just too many views about that phrase to be dogmatic.) The only way Eve could not have conceived prior to the Fall is if it happened before they had sexual relations, but since they were commanded to multiply, it is inconceivable that they would have remained abstinent, and it is also inconceivable that she would not have gotten pregnant from the first time.  The only thing I can concede is that all children would have been born after the Fall.  (Chapter 4:1 just says that Adam & Eve had sexual relations, but doesn’t say when this took place.  The implication would have to be, for reasons noted, that their first sexual relations were while still in the Garden.)


Now, an important thing to remember is that God told Eve that there would be hostility between her seed and Satan’s seed (3:15), a statement known by Christians as the protoevangelium.

There is much scholarly discussion as to whether Cain was the first child or just the first male child.  Because of the promise of God in 3:15, Eve was looking forward to the Messiah; that is why she was happy about the male child.  The Hebrew literally reads, “I have  gotten a man: YHVH.”  Eve understood the idea of the Messiah being the God-man, and that is who she thought she bore (when it really didn’t happen until Mary in the N.T.).  Jewish Targums also translate this as “I have gotten a man, the angel of Jehovah,” or “...the angel of the Lord.”  (The son of God was often called “the angel of the Lord” or “the angel of Jehovah” in the O.T.).  Other Hebrew in this passage implies that Cain had a twin sister.   So, we now have the firstborn son and daughter.

Genesis 4:2 says that Eve “also gave birth to his brother Abel.”  The Hebrew language used about Abel’s birth implies two twin sisters - triplets!  Also, the Bible doesn’t say how many children were born between Cain and Abel. There had to be quite a large number since Adam and Eve were to be busy “multiplying” and Cain and Abel were full adults at the time of their altercation. 

Another aspect is that as these children reached puberty they would naturally be marrying each other, since they are obeying the command to multiply.  Therefore, as adults when their altercation occurred, Cain and Abel were certainly married with children.  The fact that Cain had many brothers and sisters by now, as well as nieces and nephews, would make him fearful of being punished by his close relatives when God marked him and sent him away.  (Answers in Genesis has an interesting article about average population growth numbers.)

The point is that if Adam & Eve were obeying the command to multiply, then Eve would be pregnant as often as possible.  With bodies that were created perfect, and with the need to fill the earth with people, there is no reason not to think that they would have had twins or triplets in multiple births.

Seth is the next child we are told about, and Eve saw him as a replacement for Abel.  We DO know that Seth was born when Adam and Eve were 130 years old (Gen. 5:3), so one can imagine how many children Adam & Eve had by then.  We are also told that after Seth was born that they had many more children (Gen. 5:4).  Genesis does not tell us about any of the children except Cain, Abel, and Seth, because these three all play pivotal parts in history:  Cain was the first murderer, Abel was the first murdered, and Seth was the ancestor of Noah (and hence the rest of the world after the Flood).

(photo from the Creation Museum's booklet)

14 comments:

Drew said...

They may have had sexual relations prior to the fall, but Genesis 4:1 implies that she did not conceive Cain until after Genesis 3. So the only way she would have conceived in the garden would have been if Cain were not her firstborn (which seems unlikely).

Genesis 4:1
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Drew,

No, Gen 4:1 doe NOT "imply" what you claim. Let me repeat what I said above:

"Chapter 4:1 just says that Adam & Eve had sexual relations, but doesn’t say when this took place. The implication would have to be, for reasons noted, that their first sexual relations were while still in the Garden."

Your version has them having sex with no conception, which is inconceivable based on the FACT that God wanted them to "multiply" and would certainly have created them ready for conception.

Anonymous said...

Fruchtenbaum!!!!!!!!!! Fantastic! I have read one of his books - Messianic Christology, which was rich and edifying, as well as many articles on his Ariel ministry website. I have benefitted greatly from him.

Yes, the Hebrew in Gen 4:1, shows that when Eve delivered Cain, she thought she gave birth to the Messiah. She took the Lord very literally, but obviously misunderstood His timing.

Those early Genesis passages are very fascinating when studied in the Hebrew. I remember hearing a sermon from CJFM on the significance of the names of the early patriarchs, and how the Gospel was hidden in the meanings of their names.

-Carolyn

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I have several books by Fruchtenbaum. Sometimes I think he speculates a bit too dogmatically, but otherwise he's well worth studying. EXCEPT for one thing--- for all his knowledge, and excellent teaching, the man subscribes to the long-debunked "gap theory" between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2. ARGH!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,

I never caught that Fruchtenbaum was a "gap" believer. I never looked at any of his studies pertaining to creation, and never saw the issue come up.

I also appreciate that, while I believe he is a calvinist, I know he does not wrongly divide the word in Romans 9 as so many calvinists do. His studies on Romans 9 make it clear that Romans 9-11 is a unit having to do with national Israel, not a passage about individual salvation. He states that Romans 9 is about Israel's election to service, which is correct.

-Carolyn

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

That Genesis commentary by Fruchtenbaum, which I cited above, is where he talks about the "gap theory," although he doesn't call it that. He just describes what he says happened between the two verses.

I don't know if he's Calvinist, because he real stands for the pre-trib rapture, which very few Calvinists accept.

In my opinion, he's got the best commentary on the Song of Solomon. Titled, "Biblical Lovemaking" -if you care to acquire a copy. (68-page paperback)

Feodor said...

Well, since you asked, first of all you've got to say, "questions about WHOM Cain married..."

Then you confuse yourself with "Over the years I have studied the issue quite thoroughly and have never had a problem with understanding what the Bible actually says..."

If you've never had a problem, then why study the issue for years and that, "quite thoroughly." Common sense people, when they don't have a problem understanding anything, move on.

Everything else is wrong except, "At any rate, we have no idea..."

There you go.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Feo,

The "who" "whom" difference has been often debated in many the things I read. I think it is rather stupid for someone to complain about which version is used.

I study lots of things over the years, even though I know them from the first read. For example, I first took a ground school course in 1968, and then again in 1971 when I got my pilot license. Over the years I continued to study the very same subjects often just to keep things fresh in my mind. Once I acquired my commercial license my studies advanced, and again with an instrument rating, multiengine rating and helicopter ratings, I still continued to study all the necessary subjects to keep fresh in my mind all that I needed to know.

It is the same with theology. I study subjects over and over and over, getting different viewpoints, learning from different scholars, etc. Smart people do that sort of thing.

You've proven nothing I've said in this article to be wrong - you just made an assertion. Everything I wrote is based on logical deductions from the information at hand.

Marshall Art said...

Glenn,

I enjoy reading all the many speculations regarding what Scripture does not say in order to resolve questions that lack of info might provoke. What you post here is as good as most any other, but I do not fret over whether or not it is more likely truer than another perspective. I will say that it doesn't take too many liberties as does someone we both know, and that is as it should be. As I said at my blog, I don't mind speculation, but to insist one's speculation equates to likely fact takes a level of hubris common to false priests of our acquaintance, but few others.

So again, I find such posts fascinating, but then the question becomes, what do we do with it? I say, leave as speculation. Filling in gaps bears little fruit as far as I can see. Our little battle at my place, I think, is more a question of disputing speculation that the text does not support. As I said there, I do not argue any particular angle and am not doing so there. I do argue against arrogant false priests pretending to have greater and more accurate knowledge of that which is not provided us in Scripture.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Art,

Thanks for your input.

Of course I'm not claiming what I say is dogmatic. I just think what I have is a logical deduction based on the facts at hand. And I think it helps to provoke thought among those truly seeking to understand Genesis 1-11, which are the chapters the false priests, atheists, and other anti-Bible people attack the most.

As you note, the problem is when people totally ignore the facts and get to making foolish and absurd speculations to fit an agenda.

Stan said...

I continue to be surprised at the importance that good theology places on the beginning. Get that wrong, and everything else seems to fall apart. I can understand why Satan has spent so much time working on dispelling that first point. I think the most offensive verse of the entire Bible is "In the beginning, God ..." (Gen 1:1). Get that wrong, and nothing else works. Get it right, and everything else makes sense.

From that, there is clearly no means by which we can pull out a prior existence of humans; Adam and Eve were the first, the progenitors of all humans.

It is also obvious that either the Old Testament people produced a dearth of female offspring--nearly zero--or the aim of the writers was never to give a comprehensive list of children. The latter should be the obvious conclusion. Whether Cain was the firstborn or simply the firstborn son, how many children occurred between Cain and Abel, how many more sons and daughters Adam and Eve had, all are impossible to determine from the text and become pure conjecture. However, it is highlyl likely that there were many, many more. (I did the math once, figuring 1 child every 5 years starting at 20 and stopping 100 years before death--most lived into their 900's--and allowing incestuous marriages since there was no ban on it at that time. Between Adam and Noah there would have been millions. Indeed, Adam died after Noah's grandfather, Methuselah, was born. There were more than 1600 years between Adam and the Flood and in that time the numbers of offspring would be staggering.) And, as you point out, clearly the aim of the text is not to give a complete list of offspring, but to give an account of key elements, so the fact that Cain, Abel, and Seth had other brothers and sisters--likely many--would be obvious and, also as you point out, biblical (Gen 5:4).

A couple of minor disagreements:

"Since all of creation was 'good' on the seventh day of Creation Week, Satan could not have existed as Satan."

I don't think this conclusion is necessary. Satan was not part of the creation of the world. He was part of a prior creation of the angelic beings. As such, he was not limited geographically to the Earth. We read in Job, for instance, that he spends time in God's courts and visits the Earth. I think it is clear that the creation in view--the creation of our universe--was defined by God as "good", but that doesn't require that all creations of God continued to be "good". (Note that I haven't even attempted to push any "Gap Theory" in this.)

"And even if David was conceived in sin, it does not follow that everyone else is!"

I'm not at all sure why you went down this path. Adam and Eve were not conceived, so they couldn't have been conceived in sin. Standard, historical, Christian orthodoxy maintains the doctrine of Original Sin, that all of us are sinners at birth (which, I think, is all that Psa 51:5 asserts). I suppose, then, that you went there because of a belief that Adam and Eve must have had children before the Fall. But that can't be it because you admit "The only lthing I can concede is that all children would have been born after the Fall." (I assume you were being humorous when you said, "...it is also inconceivable that she would not have gotten pregnant from the first time." "Inconceivable" and "not gotten pregnant"--good stuff. If not, I cannot imagine why it wouldn't be possible to have sexual relations without conception ... since it is the norm in human existence.) What is clear from Scripture is that all of Adam's offspring suffered from the sin problem (Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:22). (Jesus is the one exception since God was His Father.)

All in all, though, I like the direction. "First things" are clearly important. Taking the Bible at its word is important. And getting this right is important.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Stan,

Thanks for your comments.

First, when God said everything was “good” at the end of creation week, that had to be directed at ALL of creation. The angels (including Satan) were part of creation, and the observation about creation being good had to include all of creation. It does not say that God saw that everything was good, except for what he created prior to creating the universe and earth.

I think you misunderstood the “conceived in sin” issue. I never suggested that children were born before the fall, rather I suggest conception before the fall. Many people have said that couldn’t be possible because of Ps. 51 says David was conceived in sin (and I never, ever heard anyone suggest that would also apply to Adam & Eve!). I agree that everyone is BORN a sinner. That is what my argument is: that conception took place prior to the fall.

Since God commanded them to multiply, and they had perfect bodies, that is why to me it is inconceivable that the first sexual relations wouldn’t result in conception. I realize it is often normal in current human existence for intercourse to not always result in conception, but I do know also that it is normal in current human existence for conception to take place the first time. However, remembering that the human body is not perfect as it was would make it understandable that conception would be more difficult now.

Marie Archer said...

Very interesting article! I have a thought. They weren't commanded to be fruitful and populate the earth until after they sinned. We can assume, or at least I've assumed, that wasn't their calling until that moment. We can presume that was the first time God uttered that command to them so there was no need for them to have children before that time. God opens and closes wombs. It could very well be possible her womb wasn't opened until after He gave them that command.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Marie,

Well, I have to disagree with you. Adam & Eve were instructed to multiply on day 6 (See Gen. 1:28. The fall had to be AFTER this, since everything was good on day 7. Gen 2:4-25 is a closeup look at Day 6 an how Eve came about. We are not given a time span from then until Gen.3, which is one of the points of my article.