Where Did Cain Get His Wife?
Dr. Jim Denison
Today we begin our summer preaching series, titled “Hard Questions in the Bible.” We’ll begin at Genesis and go through God’s word, asking such questions as What does God think of the Jews?, Did Jesus go to Hell?, and What is the unpardonable sin? We begin today with the issue of creation and evolution and the question, Where did Cain get his wife?
What do we know about God’s creation? And how does that knowledge apply to our lives, and to the country whose birthday we celebrate this week?
Thank God for you
The Bible starts at the start: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). So we learn that God existed before existence came to be. He made everything else that is. This is the bold and consistent claim of his word.
How did he do it?
Let’s get before us immediately the fact that Genesis does not intend to be a science book. In fact, science as a discipline is a recent invention; 90% of all the scientists who have ever lived are alive right now. Genesis is not speculative but practical. It does not tell us all we want to know about the world, but all we need to know about our place in it.
So Genesis says that God made the universe in six “days.” The word “day” translates “yom,” a Hebrew term for a defined period of time, not necessary a 24-hour day marked by sunrise and sunset. In fact, God didn’t create the sun and the moon until the fourth “day.” Some of the ancient rabbis thought Genesis meant that God did this in six days, others in six creative acts of undetermined time in between, still others in six “eons” or “ages.” We don’t know, because we don’t need to know.
When did he do it? Genesis doesn’t say, because the answer has no practical consequence in our lives. Some add up the biblical genealogies and say that God made the world in the year 4004 B.C., regardless of the evidence of geology and astrophysics. Others say the universe is billions of years old. Would it change your life to know? That’s why Genesis doesn’t say.
Did he use evolution to do it? Let’s define some terms.
Charles Darwin’s principles of evolution are really very simple: creatures procreate more offspring than can survive; the offspring possess enormous variety; there is a struggle for existence due to overpopulation; because of their variety, some of the offspring are more fit for survival than others; these capacities for survival become naturally selected and inherited.
As an example, a hundred years ago there were small-winged moths and large-winged moths in England. The small-winged moths couldn’t fly above the pollution generated by the factories of the day, and so died out. The large-winged moths could, and survived. Today there are only large-winged moths in England.
This is an example of what’s known as “microevolution”—adaptation within a biological set, genus, or species. People are taller and less hairy than they used to be. Horses are larger; most dogs are smaller. Nothing in the Bible teaches that God didn’t make the world so that it would adapt to its changing environment.
The difficulty arises when Darwin’s principles are applied across biblical categories—from apes to men, from fish to birds, and so on. This is called “macroevolution.” And it leads to problems, both with evidence and with Scripture.
The fossil record indicates no so-called “missing links” from one biblical category to another. The old Neanderthal Man, Piltdown Man, and so on are no longer representative of the best theories. Darwin said the fossil record would have to demonstrate increasingly simple organisms as we move backward in time, but it does not.
The paleontological record shows us adaptation within biblical categories, but not across them. Advocates for macroevolution now posit “spontaneous mutatory jumps” across the biblical categories, but without empirical evidence for their assumptions.
Such a theory is, of course, contrary to the clear record of Genesis. These chapters are not written as myths or legends or symbols, but as straight-forward narrative.
So it is clear that both macroevolution and biblical creationism are built on faith principles. I believe that both God’s revealed word and the best empirical research confirm the fact that God created us. And I rejoice in this fact.
Know this: you are here on purpose. You are not an accident, or the coincidence of random chaos. God made you, intentionally, for a reason.
Your body consists of 206 bones, wrapped with 650 muscles and seven miles of nerve fibers. Your eyes possess 100 million receptors, and your ears 24,000 fibers. Your heart beats 36,000,000 times every year and sends blood pumping through more than 60,000 miles of veins, arteries, and tubing.
Your brain contains 13,000,000,000 nerve cells. Picture the possible number of interconnections in your brain this way: the number of atoms in the universe is 1 followed by 100 zeroes. The number of different patterns possible in your brain is 1 followed by over 800 zeros. And your unconscious brain database, that which your unconscious brain knows and stores, outweighs your conscious brain on an order exceeding 10 million to one.
I liked what one brain and mind expert said: “If the human brain were simple enough to understand, we would be too simple to understand it.” But God does. And he made yours.
Thank God for your country
So rejoice today that God made you. And that he made everything else as well.
The first law of thermodynamics states that matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Except by God, we add.
So glance at the matter and energy God has made. The Wall Street Journal recently carried an article describing the complexity of this universe. Picture a wall with hundreds of dials, it said. Each must be at exactly the right setting for carbon-based life to emerge in a suburb of the Milky Way. If the cosmic expansion of the universe had first been a fraction less, for instance, it would have imploded billions of years ago; a fraction more intense, and galaxies would not have formed. The odds of our universe’s existence and design occurring by random chance would not be accepted by any gambler, anywhere on earth.