Good Question...


On...Adam, Eve, and Incest?



Added new material Sept/2001

On Thu, 23 Nov 1995 MMMM@PPPP wrote:

question:
What explanation can be given to those who point out that if Adam & Eve were the first humans that it necessarily follows that their offspring, in order to propagate, had to have incestuous relationships?

generally, there are two main considerations for the incest issue:

1. the incest problem has generally been understood as centered around the blending of identical genes...as weaker genes get amplified during incestuous breeding, so families produce weaker and less thriving offspring...the 'incest' that is allowed in the opening generations of the bible would not have had to deal with this...the gene pool would have been TOTALLY pure at the beginning, and genetic flaws were likely to have been negligible until the water canopy/thermal blanket was destroyed in the Flood...at that point, with radiation now pouring through, the genetic load would begin being a problem...

2. the long lifespans and prolific reproduction of the first few family leaders probably allowed for marriages to be much more distant that brother/sister...cousins, for example, are NOT described as 'incest' in the later prohibitions...there probably was ample opportunity (given the early biblical data) for matches like this to have occurred...

So, :

"At least two things can be said in response to this reproach. First, if the human race was propagated from a single pair, as we believe the evidence indicates, such closely related marriages were unavoidable. The demand for some other way of getting the race started is an unfair expectation. In the second place, the notion of incest must be probed more closely. At first the sin of incest was connected with sexual relationships between parents and children. Only afterward was the notion of incest extended to sibling relationships. By Moses’ time there were laws governing all forms of incest (Lev 18:7–17; 20:11–12, 14, 17, 20–21; Deut 22:30; 27:20, 22, 23). These laws clearly state that sexual relations or marriage is forbidden with a mother, father, stepmother, sister, brother, half brother, half sister, granddaughter, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, aunt, uncle or brother’s wife. The Bible, in the meantime, notes that Abraham married his half sister (Gen 20:12). Therefore, the phenomenon is not unknown in Scripture. Prior to Moses’ time, incest in many of the forms later proscribed were not thought to be wrong. Thus, even Moses’ own father, Amram, married an aunt, his father’s sister, Jochebed (Ex 6:20). In Egypt, the routine marriage of brothers and sisters among the Pharaohs all the way up to the second century made the Mosaic law all the more a radical break with their Egyptian past. [HSOBX, at Gen 4.17]

"Amnon’s deed is designated as hased indicating the degradation of the tenderness natural between brothers and sisters into an immoral intimacy (2 S. 13). The crime is that of sexual relation between persons within the degrees of relationship forbidden by the Levitical law, as that of Lot’s daughters with their father (Gen. 19:33); the son with his father’s concubines, as Reuben (Gen. 35:22), and Absalom (2 S. 16:22; cf. 1 Cor. 5:1); that of the father-in-law with his daughter-in-law (Gen. 38:15ff; cf. Ezk. 22:11) of the brother with the sister or half-sister, as Amnon (2 S. 13:14); of the brother-in-law with the sister-in-law (Mt. 14:3); or with both a woman and her daughter or granddaughter (Lev. 20:14: 18:17). Illicit relation with the brother’s widow is designated (Lev. 20:21) as a disgraceful act. literally “uncleannes” (excepting the levirate marriage). Such acts were forbidden on the ground that the Jews were to avoid the evil practices of the Canaanites and the Egyptians in regard to marriage within the specified limits, because this would naturally result in breaking down the sanctity of the bonds connecting near relatives, and in throwing open the floodgates of immorality among them.[ISBE, s.v. "Crimes"]


hope this helps...glenn miller



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