Cain: the Lord?
Adam and Eve were married, so they naturally had sex. And, they had a child named Cain.
The text in my Bible says “Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, ‘I have gotten1 a manchild with the help of the Lord.’” (Genesis 4:1 NASB) The italics are in the NASB, indicating that the words “the help of” aren’t actually in the Hebrew text.
But, it’s much deeper than that. The phrase “with the help of” isn’t present. The only word present is YHWH, the name of God Himself. The actual text of her statement should probably be translated “I have gotten a manchild: Lord.” or even “I have gotten a manchild: YHWH.”23
Translating this has given Jewish and Christian scholars fits for millenia.
It’s hard to overstate the difference, really. Eve thought that Cain was the Messiah God promised in Genesis 3:15. Further, she thought that this child was actually God Himself! Now, she was obviously mistaken, since the actual Messiah wouldn’t come for another 4000 years. But, this is the first clear indication in Scripture that the Messiah would not only be the seed of woman, but also God Himself.
Anyhow, the fact that Eve thought that this was the Messiah meant that she believed God’s promise. Therefore, while mistaken about Cain’s identity, Eve was the first Christian, since all that is required is to believe in the Messiah.
- This is a play on words in the Hebrew, I am told. “I have gotten” sounds like the name Cain.
- Genesis 4:1, expanded, from Blue Letter Bible.
- I am indebted to Dr. Jonathan Sarfati in his excellent book The Genesis Account (pages 406-409) for pointing this out.