Stating the (Not So) Obvious

“Who did Seth marry?” If Adam and Eve were the first two people, where did their sons get wives? The simple answer? The Bible doesn’t say. There are wildly speculative answers that propose two creations and two races, but these don’t square with Scripture … or the Gospel.

The Bible is unambiguous in teaching that all humans now living trace their ancestry to Adam and Eve. Genesis records Adam and Eve’s special creation, then in Chapter 3:20 we’re told, “Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.” The New Testament carries this teaching forward. Jesus used our first parents as the historical foundation for His argument against divorce. Paul told the Athenians, “From one man God made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth.” Acts 17:26  Passages like Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 teach that sin entered our world through the first man, Adam … and that salvation came through the second Adam, Jesus Christ. In other words, our common ancestry is not just a question of history … it’s a question of Gospel.

So, if all human life originated with Adam and Eve, where did those first wives come from? I’ve only found one answer that makes sense while remaining faithful to Scripture … Seth married one of his sisters, or possibly a niece. God’s prohibition of such relations was not given until the time of Moses. Abraham was married to his half-sister, but the Bible in no way condemns that union. Both Isaac and Jacob were married to their first cousins. Prior to the Mosaic law, marriage with close relations was not forbidden.

Was it even possible that Seth married one of his sisters? None of Adam and Eve’s daughters are mentioned by name, but we know they existed. Genesis 5 tells us that Adam was 130 years old when he fathered Seth. The passage continues, “After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.” We know that Adam had at least two sons (Cain and Able) prior to this time. We are not really told when his daughters were born. One statistician estimated that if Cain and Able married and had children, Adam and Eve might have had as many as 32,000 descendants by the time Seth was born. A daughter of Eve born anywhere close to Seth’s age had time to mature to child-bearing age, since Seth did not become a parent until age 105. Even in recently recorded history, one woman is known to have birthed 69 children and she only lived to be 79. Given the longevity of the first humans, and the number of children born to each generation, imagine how exponential the population growth could have been!

As you read … feel free to submit questions to Pastor Jon.