Genesis 4 gives the account of Cain and Abel. In verse 1, Eve has Cain. In verse 2, she has Abel. In the ensuing verses, Cain sacrifices crops to God while Abel sacrifices sheep. God accepts Abel's sacrifice, but not Cain's (we're not told why, but it's speculated that it's either because Cain didn't sacrifice with a pure heart or only Abel's required the shedding of blood). In verse 8, Cain murders Abel. God curses Cain with a difficult life and exile, and in verse 14, Cain expresses fear that someone else will be aware of his vulnerable position and kill him.
So of whom was Cain afraid? Does this prove that God made another race of people before Adam and Eve (because the text doesn't mention any other people, except Cain's wife in verse 17)?
There are several unprovable presumptions in this line of thinking:
- Genesis 4:1 gives the first time a child of Adam and Eve's is mentioned, but it does not necessarily follow that Cain was their firstborn. It is customary for the Bible to list the firstborn first, but not mandatory. It could be that Cain and Abel were the first of Adam and Eve's children to be worthy of a story. If Cain was not the first born, he would have had older brothers and sisters who had spread out with their own families.
- Along the same lines, there is nothing in the Bible that says Adam and Eve had no children between Abel and Seth. Cain could have had younger brothers and sisters, as well. With the near-perfect genetics of the second generation, their fertility would not be in question.
- The ages of Cain and Abel are not given. All that can really be inferred is that they lived somewhat close to each other. Genesis 5:3 says that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. Seth was born sometime after Abel's murder. If 130 years started from the time Adam left Eden or if Adam and Eve ate the fruit shortly after they were created, and if Eve got pregnant with Seth immediately after Abel's death, Cain could have been as much as 128 years old when the murder occurred. Again, that is plenty of time for Adam and Eve's descendants to accumulate.
We don't have to invent a pre-Adamic race to explain of whom Cain was afraid after he killed Abel. It was simply his brothers and sisters and their families. They may have sought revenge for Abel's death; or they may have noticed God's hand of protection was lifted off Cain, and he and his possessions were vulnerable. Either way, Cain was probably right in fearing his own family.
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