Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cain and Abel

Sometimes I have a lot to post and a backlog of stuff for a week. At other times, like now, I don't. So instead you get more half baked religious allegory.

So Adam and Eve, the only two people on Earth, had a couple of kids. Two sons, Cain and Able. One kills the other, moves East, meets some mysterious woman who is never explained, and has a bunch of kids.

The part of me that causes grief to Sunday School teachers has to ask some questions. Where did the wife come from? Another rib? And their son, Enoch. Where'd his wife come from? And Irad after that. And Mehujael, and Methusael, and Lamech. Lamech got two wives. On and on and on. To believe the Bible they were very determined in ignoring God's command to go forth and multiply since there appears to be a dozen generations of only children.

Ok, take a step back.
Jesus had all sorts of siblings that are never mentioned in the Bible. Adam and Eve probably did the same. This would, of course, mean that Cain was sleeping with his sister. Still, it's a step up from his father who was sleeping with his own clone. Even so, genetic defects due to inbreeding is going to set in pretty fast with this lot. I do have an answer for that, however. God's supposed to be perfect and all that. It's a safe bet that he made Adam genetically perfect. No flaws or defects, no hereditary diseases, etc. So Adam can breed with his clone and Cain with his sister and their kids with their cousins. Mutations would come later so that prolonged inbreeding would become more problematic but in the beginning the untainted genes meant that there were no problems.

Another answer is that Cain met up with the spawn of Lilith, Adam's first wife. She was cut from the Bible, but versions of the Old Testament still used in other faiths still keep her in. At best she was pregnant when banished so Cain could still sleeping with his half sister. At worst he's sleeping with a demon/djinn (the spawn of Lilith and Satan).

Now, some religious scholars think that Enoch, Irad, and other descendants of Cain are the names of tribes, not people. As the population of the tribes grew beyond what the environment could sustain different groups would separate off and find new lands in which to settle. Enoch, Irad, etc. were just the patriarchs of those tribes.
This leads me to think that Cain and Abel could be interpreted as something other than two boys from the same mother. Look at the story with Cain as primitive Humans and Abel as Neanderthals. We'd be brothers from a genetic standpoint. And it's been theorized that Humans may have wiped out the Neanderthals. And their final extinction matches up with about the time humans developed to the point where some sort of history might have been kept (~24,000 years ago).

This is my preferred way of shoehorning some sort of real history into what's in the Bible. Just don't ask me to try to wedge Adam and Eve into my Cain and Abel story.

No comments: