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Question 6

In your most recent post you mentioned that God forbids incest and it was punished. Why then did God allow Cain to sleep with one of his sister's for the continuation of the human race and why did He allow Abraham to marry his half sister?       



Answer to Question 6


There are two schools of thought on the reproduction of the Human race.  First there is the thought that God didn't only create one man and one woman because Adam in Hebrew means mankind. In Genesis 1:27 it says that God created them male and female. Only in Genesis 2:21 does it mention how God took a rib from Adam and made Eve. It could be that in the first case God is talking in general and in the second the story of Adam and Eve is singled out to tell us how man fell from the grace of God.  The second school of thought, and the one more generally accepted by the Church, is that Cain took as his wife his sister. This may be termed as incest, but that was how God ordained it [that all men should be the offspring off one couple - Adam and Eve]. It was not a sin (unlawful) because God willed that the entire Human race should come from one man and one woman. In should be noted that as yet there was no law forbidding such a thing. Without a law nothing is unlawful for as St. Paul says: “I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Romans 7:7) Thus without a law forbidding incest there is no incest.  The law came much later with Moses when the earth had been multiplied and even then it allowed marriages between first cousins. To this day it is lawful for Jews and Muslims to marry their first cousins because their religious laws allows them. Our Church on the other hand believed that the human race had multiplied to an extent that there was no need to find a mate so close to the family core and not only forbade first cousins but also second cousins from entering into marriage. This was because such marriages confuse the relationships. If a man marries his first cousin, their children would not only be brother and sister but also second cousins. The man’s wife would also be his first cousin, his mother in law would also be his aunt and vice-versa, and his grandparents would also be his wife’s grandparents. With second cousins the lineage goes back to great grandparents who in many cases are still alive. Marriages between third cousins are allowed because now the lineage goes back to great great grandparents who in the majority of families have passed away. There is another reason why marriages between close relatives were forbidden. We see in many of the Jews an illness in their complexion which is a result of inter-marriages. In Cyprus we also have the curse of Thalassemia which again is a result of inter-marriages. We find that in societies where the population is small even marriages of third cousins can cause illnesses in their offspring. In recent years with the compulsory blood tests before marriage, we have almost eradicated this illness from our people. The Jews also have blood tests before marriage for the same reasons.