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If we all came from Adam and Eve and their children married each other, then can we marry our cousins?


When life on earth began at creation, Adam and Eve were told to "be fruitful and multiply".  The human race started out with only one man and one woman, so their sons and daughters married in order for life to continue on.  So why all the fuss today about people marrying first cousins?  Is it ok with God?

Perhaps one of the best ways to look at this question is to consider the purpose for the Tree of Life.  Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden so that they would not have access to the Tree of Life and thus become immortal sinners
(Genesis 3:22).  The book of Revelation tells us that we will one day be restored to the Tree of Life and its special properties will give us eternal life.  We are also told that the leaves of that tree are for the “healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:2)

Well, after Adam and Eve were placed outside the Garden, they had no access to the life giving properties of the Tree of Life, but some of it's effects lingered with the early people of planet earth.  The restorative virtue of the Tree was so great that we read of no disease whatsoever from the creation of Adam and Eve to the flood and the average life expectancy was around 900 years of age!  In fact, so great was the healing power of that tree upon Adam and Eve that in the genealogies of their decedents, only one son died before his father (in terms of old age) and this was recorded in Genesis because it was such an unheard of event for that time.

Today, we have degenerated to the degree that we warn people about
the heredity from your parents.  For a woman, Breast Cancer is more
likely if your grandmother and/or mother had it.  Baldness, hemophiliacs,
diabetes, etc. are all passed on in the genes to the next generation, whether expressed or not.  When people breed within their own gene pools, certain flaws and deficiencies tend to emerge.  First cousins are more likely to have a baby with a serious birth defect, mental retardation, or genetic disease.   In fact, the risk is doubled when compared to a standard marriage between two unrelated partners.  Because of disease and the potential for handicaps, the state and federal governments have passed laws limiting who can marry whom. The potential to limit the usefulness and happiness of our offspring is why most states do not allow close relatives to marry.  History tells us clearly what happened to the monarchy in Japan due to close inbreeding.  We just need to use some common sense for this issue.

Is it a sin to marry a cousin? The Bible does not specifically forbid it (see chart below), but it's important to remember that many laws do condemn this type of marriage and Christians are commanded to "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men" (1 Peter 2:13-15, See also Romans 13:1-2).

What specific types of marriage does God forbid?
  Forbidden Marriages   Scripture  
Between parents and children   Leviticus 18:7-8
  Between stepparents and stepchildren   Leviticus 18:8, 17  
  With your paternal or maternal aunt   Leviticus 18:12-13  
  With your uncle or aunt   Leviticus 18:14  
  Between brother and sister and half-brother and half-sister   Leviticus 18:9  
  Between stepbrothers and stepsisters   Leviticus 18:11  
  With your daughter-in-law   Leviticus 18:15  
  With your sister-in-law   Leviticus 18:16  
  With your granddaughter   Leviticus 18:10  
  With your step-granddaughter   Leviticus 18:17

--Thanks to George Blumenschein for answering to this question!


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