Do you know the children of Adam and Eve?
In this article, get to know them as well as how they got along with each other.
But first, let’s explore the story behind Eve’s childbearing.
Let’s dive in!
The Effect of God’s Curse on Eve’s Childbearing
God blessed Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28, KJV). With this, “repeated conception was therefore intended to be a blessing, not a curse” 1.
But when they sinned by eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, which God forbade them to, the serpent, who deceived Eve, and the ground were cursed (Genesis 3:1-19).
As one of the consequences of this curse, God would “greatly multiply” Eve’s sorrow and conception. She would give birth to her children “in sorrow” and “with painful labor” (verse 16, KJV and NIV).
In other words, the entrance of sin meant that pregnancy would now be accompanied with pain 1.
This pain included “not only the travailing throes but the indispositions before…and the nursing toils and vexations after” childbirth 2.
If you’re a mother who has given birth, you could probably relate to this. How was your experience?
The Children of Adam and Eve
1) Cain, the firstborn
Adam had an intercourse with Eve, resulting in her becoming pregnant and giving birth to her first son, Cain (Genesis 4:1, NLT).
Though she bore him “with the sorrows that were the consequence of sin,” she “did not lose the sense of the mercy in her pains” 3.
Experiencing this mercy, Eve exclaimed, “With the help of the Lord, I have brought forth a man” (verse 1, NIV).
It must have been a relief for her.
The prophesy behind his birth
While expressing that relief (Genesis 4:1), Eve probably remembered the divine promise God pronounced when He cursed the devil through the serpent in Eden (verse 15 of chapter 3).
Specifically, there would be an enmity between her and the devil, and between her and his seeds. Her seed would bruise his head and he would bruise its heel (verse 15).
With this, Eve believed and was thus hoping that this seed, thinking it was Cain, “was to be the promised Deliverer” 4.
Would Eve be right about Cain being the promised Deliverer? We’ll find out later.
The origin and meaning of his name
Derived from the Hebrew name Qayin, Cain means “worker in metal” or “spear.” In Genesis 4:1, it translates as “one acquired” 5.
Sounds like a strong and fierce man, huh?
His occupation growing up
According to Genesis 4:2 (NIV), “Cain worked the soil,” which is somehow true to what his name means, as we’ve seen earlier.
This gives us the idea that he was a farmer.
This employment belonged to his “father’s profession—a needful calling,” which “required constant care and attendance” 6.
2) Abel, the second son
After giving birth to Cain, Eve bore Abel (Genesis 4:2).
Was it on the same day? Were they twins then?
Well, this may be true but it’s not necessarily implied by the text.
The origin and meaning of his name
Abel is derived from the Hebrew name Hebel, which is said to mean “breath” or “transitoriness,” indicates the shortness of Abel’s life 5.
Shortness of life? So, he died early? How and why? We’ll discover it later.
Aside from that, Abel also means “vanity” or “nothingness” 7.
Why is this so?
Well, it reflects the fact that either Eve “had already met with disappointment in her elder son” or that “Abel personified for her the miseries of human life” 7.
She was so “taken up with that possession that another son was as vanity to her” 3.
Disappointment in her elder son Cain? Miseries of human life? What were those and why was it so?
We’ll find out later.
His occupation growing up
Genesis 4:2 (NIV) says that “Abel kept flocks,” which apparently suggests that he was a shepherd.
As in the case of Cain, this employment also belonged to his father’s “needful calling,” which “required constant care and attendance” 6.
Abel chose this employment, which “most befriended contemplation and devotion,” for to these “a pastoral life has been looked upon as being peculiarly favourable” 6.
3) Seth, the third son
Seth is taken from the Hebrew name Sheth, meaning “appointed” or “substituted” 5.
Little is known about him except that he was the third son of Adam and Eve, born after Abel was murdered.
Well, that is what we will now explore in the story of the children of Adam and Eve.
Did They Get Along Well With Each Other?
Cain and Abel
One day, Cain and Abel brought offerings for God (Genesis 4).
Since he was a farmer, Cain brought “some of the fruits of the soil.” On the other hand, the shepherd Abel offered “fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock” (verses 3-4, NIV).
As you can see, they gave different offerings. Which one do you think God accepted? Or do you think He should consider both?
Continuing on verses 4 and 5 (NIV), “the Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering He did not.”
This made Cain very angry (verse 5).
God asked him, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (verse 6, NIV).
What made Cain’s offering unacceptable to God?
Cain had been taught that the blood of the Son of God “would atone for his sins” (Romans 3:25) 7.
Concerning this, God instituted a divine sacrificial system that involved offering a lamb for one’s sins. By following and observing it, Cain “would show allegiance to God,” Who Himself ordained such system. At the same time, he would “express faith in the plan of redemption” 7.
Partially, he acknowledged this sacrificial system. But “a secret spirit of resentment and rebellion” motivated him to take God’s instructions “in a way of his own choosing” rather than to follow the plan precisely 7.
Yes, he complied. But He failed to realize that partial, formal compliance with God’s requirements “could not earn His favor as a substitute for true obedience and contrition of heart” 7.
Also, the manner of his compliance “revealed a defiant spirit.” He proposed to justify himself by his own works—to “earn salvation by his own merits” 7.
He refused to recognize himself as a sinner in need of a savior. Instead, he offered a gift that “expressed no penitence for sin” 7.
No penitence for sin? How and why?
Remember that Cain’s sacrifice consisted of fruits? Apparently, it was “a bloodless offering,” which was not what God required 7.
“Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” for “it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22, NIV).
Does it make sense?
What made Abel’s sacrifice highly favored?
The sacrificial system God instituted required the “sprinkling of the blood of firstborn animals upon the altar” and the “burning of their fat in the fire,” as was performed by the Israelites in Moses’ time (Numbers 18:17) 7.
That was exactly what Abel did.
He followed God’s instruction by bringing a lamb as his offering. This lamb, as it was slain, “represented the Lamb of God, Who was to be slain for the sins of the world” 8.
Hence, his sacrifice was accepted (Genesis 4:4).
Besides, while Cain’s offering was an “attempt to earn salvation,” that of Abel was “a demonstration of faith” in the plan of salvation and in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, which revealed itself in “unquestioning obedience” 7.
Back to the story, Cain brought Abel to the field (Genesis 4:8).
There, he discussed with him their sacrifices and “charged God with partiality.” Abel interceded with him, reminding him of the very words God uttered regarding the offerings He required 8.
But Cain was provoked because his younger brother presumed to teach him. He allowed envy and jealousy to consume him enough to hate his brother whom God chose over him 8.
As this jealous brother pondered over the matter, his anger grew worse. Though he realized his failure in offering his substance without the fitting sacrifice of a lamb, he determined to vindicate himself.
Eventually, Cain attacked Abel and killed him (verse 8).
Seriously? Why did he do that? What wrong has Abel done in the first place?
Well, Abel didn’t do anything wrong. But Satan worked through Cain, taking advantage of his jealousy to inspire him with a desire to slay his innocent brother 8.
In all fairness, Abel did not force his elder brother to obey God’s command. It was Cain, inspired by the devil and filled with anger, who used force.
What a tragic incident!
You might be wondering why we haven’t mentioned Seth in the story of Cain and Abel.
Well, if you can remember, this third child of Adam and Eve was born after Abel was murdered. As Eve claimed, he was given by God “in place of Abel, since Cain killed him” (Genesis 4:25, NIV).
Indeed, Seth was a blessing for Eve over the loss of Abel.
In fact, he was like his father Adam and had a “worthy character” following the steps of his brother Abel.
Unfortunately, given his time of birth, he had not been with any of his brothers. Abel died before he was born while Cain “went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden” (verses 8, 16, and 25, NIV).
Let’s Wrap It Up!
We’ve learned that the children of Adam and Eve were Cain, Abel, and Seth—in order of their birth.
Though some people believe that they had other children (and most likely they had dozens during their 900-ish life), these three were the only ones the Bible clearly mentions.
Among the three, only Cain and Abel got to live with each other. But they didn’t get along well because the elder one felt envious of the younger one whom God favored. As such, he killed him.
Meanwhile, Seth didn’t have the opportunity to be with them because he was born after Abel’s murder and Cain’s escape.
Share Your Thoughts
What have you learned from this article?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
To learn more about the children of Adam and Eve, read this narrative. You can also find related Bible questions and answers from our Bible study course.
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See you in the next article!REFERENCES
- Francis Nichol, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 1, pages 233–236[↩][↩]
- Matthew Henry’s Complete Bible Commentary 4.36–4.39[↩]
- Matthew Henry’s Complete Bible Commentary 5.2–5.3[↩][↩]
- Francis Nichol, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 1, page 238[↩]
- Siegfried Horn, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, 1009[↩][↩][↩]
- Matthew Henry’s Complete Bible Commentary 5.4[↩][↩][↩]
- Francis Nichol, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 1, pages 239–242[↩][↩][↩][↩][↩][↩][↩][↩][↩][↩][↩]
- Ellen White, Christ Triumphant 35.2–35.6[↩][↩][↩][↩]