Here is my enduring commentary on those who believe there were people “outside the Garden”. Basically, that idea just does not stack up to scrutiny.
People read far too much into Cain’s remark to God when he said, “Whoever finds me will kill me.” Why would some pre-human ape-man or hominid even care about killing Cain? This is where trying to use Cain’s remark as some kind of argument for a pre-Adamic race completely falls apart. The only possible seekers of vengeance for Abel’s murder would be Eve’s descendants – those of her own household eager to avenge the murder of their relative Abel and to appease their mother’s anguish and sorrow. Cain is not speaking of “those outside the Garden,” as so many scholars seem anxious to claim – to draw that conclusion is unfounded from the text and context. Anyone outside the Garden – if they even existed – couldn’t have cared less about the Adam family quarrel. In his remark to God, Cain is clearly referring to an ever-present fear he knows he will bear from his own family members - Eve’s future offspring, his own brothers and nephews - who will surely hunt him down until his blood, just like Abel’s, is spilt in revenge. No one is outside the Garden at this time except Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and possibly several unmentioned sons and daughters.
I cannot support you in your evolutionist endeavors, but neither will I make it my aim to oppose you. I have stated before that you are different in some way and for me it is basically “hands off”. But you hinted at the claim above - as so many scholars have done - that the Genesis text in some manner supports a notion that people existed outside the Garden, and I must say that it just simply does not do that. Anyone who believes that is reading into the text. Scholars included. I don’t care how many degrees they have. (I am done here because I am not going to continue to oppose you.)
I would actually be curious how many here agree with what I am saying. Would they even be brave enough to come forward?
Well I appreciate that @r_speir, and I’m pleased to report I don’t really have “evolutionist” endeavors .
I don’t say that Genesis “supports” the notion. Rather I show from evidence that many people in history, long before evolution, thought that Genesis either taught or allowed people outside the Garden. That is a fact. You can disagree with them, but something other than evolution brought them to this place.
In chapter 11, I explain from Scripture itself why people outside the garden is allowed, not necessarily supported. All I am arguing is that, consistent with this history, the text of Scripture leave’s space for people outside the garden. You can certainly interpret it in other ways, as do you, but you can’t definitively rule it out.
That is a phenomenally minimal claim. The aim is not to get you change your view of Genesis, but to grant that someone else could plausibly take another faithful view (as they have over the last 2000 years).
Because my claim is so minimal, I don’t need to rule out your reading, or even show my reading is the best reading. Instead, you have to rule it out. That is pretty hard to do.
An alternative view is that scripture is contradictory on the question of people outside the garden. You can find parts of the text that support it, and you can also find texts that support the contrary. It’s all a question of which texts you want to explain away.
Ah, not really. Here is why. Cain’s action was going to make him a fugitive for the remainder of his life, but God removed that status by giving him a mark that somehow said Don’t mess with Cain. Because of that removed fugitive status, Cain was able to settle down and build a city. Think it through. The initial fugitive status could only mean that his family was going to hunt him down continually - not some imaginary “others” unrelated to him.
Whaddya say we do something unprecedented on this forum? Let’s go the distance and lay to rest 2000 years of misinterpretation of this “Cain and God” text. Now I am emboldened to actually make this statement. Because of the inherent constraints on this passage, I am going to propose that any interpretation that calls on or allows for any personage to be included in the “Whoever finds me will kill me” statement that is beyond Adam and Eve’s and Cain’s immediate family [and of course, the extended family line], is eliminated out of hand, forthwith. In other words, this text can only mean one thing - Cain was afraid of his own family members. No-one else can fit the bill.
Sure, you can make whatever statements you like. But can you actually make an argument in support of your claim? So far you have just assumed that only family members would dislike murderers. You have offered no justification for that. Here’s another claim for you: the Cain story had no connection to the Adam in the Garden story until somebody combined them.
That’s weird and I don’t know how to answer that. I will leave you to that one.
But here is what addresses your other concern. The “fugitive” constraint does not allow for any other than family members. Cain could not have been a fugitive of a hominid, only a family member could fit the bill.
Oh but of course. I forgot that I am dealing with evolutionists. Ok, have it your way. Then I must be more specific (and actually you already know what I mean). To me a hominid is not a human but some sort of “almost human” creature who came up from some deep time “evolutionary pit” [edit: who by the way, I do not believe in].
I don’t understand where this comes from. Here’s the text (NASB):
Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
That says to me that he’s being driven from God’s protection (“your face will be hidden”) and is concerned that other people will kill him, since it’s a dangerous world out there. I see nothing here suggesting that he’s afraid of family members taking revenge. Also, what family members? At this point, Cain is the only child. Seth is born next. THEN there are other sons and daughters who never even knew Abel. At least, that’s assuming a straightforward reading of the text.
Exactly. @r_speir is reading his assumptions about Cain’s reason for fear into the text. It’s at least plausible that Cain was afraid of people outside the garden killing him, a stranger, simply for intruding on the regions where they lived. This alone is enough to refute @r_speir that familial vengeance is the only possible reading.
What? You think that somehow God can place a mark on Cain that prevents his family members from killing him - but God is unable to prevent anyone else from killing Cain!?