Specific Bible verses in Genesis provide circumstantial evidence that could be interpreted as inferring other human beings existed alongside Adam and Eve, particularly the story of Cain. Eye-opening!
In a recent YouTube podcast on the channel Bible nerds, an interview with Bible theologian and ancient languages expert Dr. Michael Heiser explored the theories of a pre-Adamic race of humans that existed before Adam and Eve, as well as a co-Adamic race that lived alongside them. In examining the latter idea, Dr. Heiser pointed out that the wording in some verses in Genesis could be interpreted to suggest that other humans existed apart from and at the same time as Adam and Eve.
Without differentiating between pre- or co- existing people, Dr. Heiser pointed out verses in the Old Testament that imply the existence of other people being part of the biblical world. Heiser says the idea operates on two trajectories.
“One is, there are passages that suggest there were other people besides Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel,” Heiser says. “Suggest is the operative word. They [the verses] don’t state it. They can be read to suggest that.”
“Those are the only two children were told Adam and Eve had, of course, up until Abel is murdered, and Seth replaces him,” Heiser continued. “We’re really only told about Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and those two lineages…In the early chapters of Genesis.”
Heiser then points to Genesis 4:14-17. This is the Cain and Abel story after Cain has killed his brother Abel. In the verses, God and Cain are conversing. Cain is speaking to God in the verse that follows.
“Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face, I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
– Genesis 4:14
Note the passage: “whoever finds me will kill me.” Cain is expecting that someone will find him. Who is Cain referring to, if not other people?
“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.’ And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.”
– Genesis 4:15
If others could kill Cain, which God acknowledges, then it seems there must be other people elsewhere.
“It seems that when God puts a mark on Cain to protect him, the protection is needed right then,” Heiser points out.
“Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.”
– Genesis 4:16-17
This passage indicates that Cain found a wife east of Eden and procreated with her.
“Where’d she come from?” Heiser asks.
Again, the verses suggest that other people existed apart from Adam, Eve, and Cain.
Then the Bible mentions Cain building a city he named after his son Enoch.
“What? Did he build it by himself?” Heiser asks. “How could one guy build a city?” Even if Enoch helped, Heiser points out that it’s illogical to assume that two people could build a city or a “decent-sized town or village.”
Heiser says there are “things that can be read in the text as though they just assume that there are other people around.”
In Genesis 4:25, we learn that Adam and Eve had another son named Seth.
“To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time, people began to call upon the name of the LORD.”
– Genesis 4:26
Heiser points out that the verse doesn’t translate to “they,” which would be the correct term for referring to Adam, Eve, Cain, Cain’s wife, Seth, and Enoch. Instead, it uses “people,” which suggests others outside their immediate lineage.
Dr. Heiser also points out that the final phrase: “People began to call on the Lord,” saying it begs the question: Who were people calling on before?