Was the earth populated by incest?

The second of a three-part discussion on A minister and a rabbi walk into a lesbian wedding. . .

After the initial attack, claiming God will rain fire and brimstone on the homes of gay people, like he did on Sodom and Gomorrah (read the discussion here), the counter-attack goes something like this: “God created Adam and Eve. The rest of the earth was populated by incest.”

That’s true for the first several generations. Adam and Eve had both sons and daughters (Genesis 5:4), and the Bible records many instances of brother and sister and other close relatives marrying. Our patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, all married close relatives.

Abraham married his half-sister Genesis 20:11-12; Isaac married his first cousin, once removed Genesis 24:15, 67; Jacob (called Israel) married his first cousins, who were sisters Genesis 29:10, 28

But here’s the thing: God did not forbid incest until over 2400 years after Adam and Eve.  Leviticus 18:6-18

Our knee-jerk reaction against incest comes mostly from the fact that so many adults sexually abuse children in their families. Sexual abuse is a shameful and far too common crime and sin that we see in families of all faiths and of no faith. But sexual abuse is a different issue. Forced or coerced sex is never okay, and never has been.

Apart from religion, we shun incest between consensual adults because we know that children born of relations between close relatives have a higher instance of birth defects and inherited genetic weaknesses. God formed Adam and Eve with perfect bodies, complete with all the genetic material necessary for all human beings. Their immediate offspring and close relatives, therefore, would not have had the same genetic risk as those born generations later. Incest between consensual adults, before the time of Moses, was therefore neither religiously nor genetically taboo, as it is today.

Next, we’ll talk about the counter-charge to the counter-attack on this discussion:  Are Gay People Going to Hell? Then I’m moving on to something else.


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