The description of the creation of human beings in Genesis implies that Adam and Eve were the only ones that God created. Adam couldn’t find a suitable helper (Genesis 2:20 — suggesting there were no other human beings around) and Eve is described as “the mother of all the living” (Genesis 3:20). Similarly, in the New Testament, Adam is described as the “first man” (1 Cor 15:45) and the first sinner (Romans 5:12-14).
On the other hand, some people think that Genesis 4 implies the existence of human beings other than those descended from Adam. There are a few suggestions that might point to this conclusion.
- Genesis 4:14-16. Cain was afraid that someone would find and kill him, but would he be afraid of his own family?
- Genesis 4:17. Cain found a wife and built a city. Perhaps his wife was his sister or some other relative, but would there be enough members of his family to form a “city”?
- Genesis 4:26. “At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.” Which people? The suggestion is that these are humans who are not descended from Adam.
While this view solves a few apparent problems, it raises some others. In particular, it must be explained how Adam can then be said to be “the first” man.