Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cemetery of dead dreams: Part I

Our contributor this week has made a huge impact on my life, as I have known her for most of it and we began an endearing relationship when I was about 12 years old. She is also related to me by marriage and has been an influential individual: a mentor, a counselor, an accountability and a friend. Beyond that, she is a practicing therapist with years of experience under her belt. This week's #TestimonyTuesday is coming from Deborah Rosa, and will be posted in three parts.

“When is life going to feel like it’s supposed to?” 

“Why is everything going wrong?”  

Through the years of listening to people tell me their journey, problem and struggles, I have found a common theme of hurt that resonates with many young adults. It is a desolate place many find themselves in, usually after some realization that life isn’t going the way it was envisioned or after some significant loss. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, an awareness of overwhelming dissatisfaction with life; a longing for something missing; bitter, angry feelings that don’t go away; and/or a state of perpetual disappointment. If this sounds familiar, you may have found yourself in the cemetery of dead dreams.

In order to explain this cemetery, and how we get here, I need to tell you about Eve and her story; because I wholeheartedly believe there is always a biblical reference point to everything.  

The aftermath of the fall of (wo)man
Now most of you know the story of Eve and what happened to her in the Garden of Eden, and our history comes from her fall. Eve made a mistake — costing all of humanity — and she cannot live it down, and neither can we, especially when it comes to the whole childbirth curse. Ouch! This sets the stage for our roles as women for the rest of history,  but her story after Eden is just as tragic and important to grasp, yet easily overlooked.

Experiencing loss
Eve has two sons, which were her promised blessings after the curse. Even when we are in sin, God offers redemption. In Eve’s case, her seed would one day crush the serpent’s head.

GENESIS 4:1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel.

But Adam and Eve don’t pick up and start a ministry to win back the Garden.


In the space of a sentence Eve loses her blessings. Cain murders Abel, and Eve is left with the reality of burying a son and forgetting the other, who is exiled and banished.

That’s a tough task for a woman who has no one to talk to -- no therapist, self-help group, book, prayer meeting or women’s retreat to tell her how to deal. She has nothing but a God who no longer walks with her in the cool of the day, and a husband who hurls accusations and blame her way. Bring on the depression, anxiety, desperation, anger and fears!  

The scripture doesn't mention Eve while discussing what happens to Cain. A good part of Genesis chapter 4 follows Cain’s journey; he leaves Adam and Eve to start a family of his own, has a bunch of kids and spends years of family building ... somewhere else.

Then finally in verse 25, Eve is mentioned again, and we are informed that she conceives another child named Seth.  

Although this information is given to us quite quickly, I want to acknowledge that years passed between the death of Abel and the birth of Eve’s new child, Seth. This is where we pause … years passed

And time goes by
Years passed. Years where there is no mention of what God was doing to fulfill his promise. Years of silence for Eve. Years of spiritual barrenness for the mother of humanity. Years of pointless dreaming, and the mundane was not worthy of talking about. Years of wondering: “When will it all make sense?” So much time to think about her fragmented family and how it was NOT how she envisioned it or thought it would turn out. Years where she did what she had to do in order to survive. Years where she talked to God and felt he wasn't listening to a word she said. Years where Eve, much like many of us, sat at a cemetery and mourned.   

I’m sure Eve did other things; she had other children to tend to, a husband to take care of and, you know, animals who needed her care, so I’m sure her days were filled with things to do ...

... but her heart had failed her.

She was stuck in a spiritual and emotional cemetery; and this is where you may be as well.


Deborah Rosa is a therapist in Orlando, Fla., where she has worked with teenage boys who have been convicted of sexual misconduct. She has years of experience working with teens and young adults and holds a master's degree from the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling from Nyack Christian college in New York.


  1. If Adam and Eve were the first people, and Cain and Abel their first children, who did Cain marry?

    1. Icarus! Thank you so much for this awesome question. I love it!! Here's a reference to an answer to your question:

      Who Was Cain?
      Cain was the first child of Adam and Eve recorded in Scripture (Genesis 4:1). He and his brothers, Abel (Genesis 4:2) and Seth (Genesis 4:25), were part of the first generation of children ever born on this earth. Even though these three males are specifically mentioned, Adam and Eve had other children.

      Cain’s Brothers and Sisters
      In Genesis 5:4 we read a statement that sums up the life of Adam and Eve: “After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters.”

      During their lives, Adam and Eve had a number of male and female children. In fact, the Jewish historian Josephus wrote, “The number of Adam’s children, as says the old tradition, was thirty-three sons and twenty-three daughters.”7

      Scripture doesn't tell us how many children were born to Adam and Eve, but considering their long life spans (Adam lived for 930 years—Genesis 5:5), it would seem logical to suggest there were many. Remember, they were commanded to “be fruitful, and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).

      The Wife
      If we now work totally from Scripture, without any personal prejudices or other extrabiblical ideas, then back at the beginning, when there was only the first generation, brothers would have had to marry sisters or there wouldn't have been any more generations!

      We’re not told when Cain married or many of the details of other marriages and children, but we can say for certain that Cain’s wife was either his sister or a close relative.

      A closer look at the Hebrew word for “wife” in Genesis reveals something readers may miss in translation. It was more obvious to those speaking Hebrew that Cain’s wife was likely his sister. (There is a slim possibility that she was his niece, but either way, a brother and sister would have married in the beginning.) The Hebrew word for “wife” used in Genesis 4:17 (the first mention of Cain’s wife) is ishshah, and it means “woman/wife/female.”

      And Cain knew his wife [ishshah], and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son—Enoch (Genesis 4:17).
      The word ishshah is the word for “woman,” and it means “from man.” It is a derivation of the Hebrew words ‘iysh (pronounced: eesh) and enowsh, which both mean “man.” This can be seen in Genesis 2:23 where the name “woman” (ishshah) is given to one who came from Adam.

      And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman [ishshah], because she was taken out of Man [iysh]” (Genesis 2:23).
      Thus, Cain’s wife is a descendant of Adam/man. Therefore, she had to be his sister (or possibly niece). Hebrew readers should be able to make this connection easier; however, much is lost when translated.

      You can read more on this here: https://answersingenesis.org/bible-characters/cain/cains-wife-who-was-she/

      The writer of this blog also wanted to add the point that the Bible largely names men by name only for the most part and women are rarely mentioned (so when they ARE mentioned, such as Ruth, Bathsheba, Esther) it's a big deal and/or they had a HUGE role.

      Hope this helps!


    2. Sure does thanks. You can guess my next question and I'll do some Google-Fu but what does the Bible specifically say, if anything, about what we would call incest today?

    3. Icarus, thank you again for your thought-provoking questions.

      I found this answer from this source: http://www.gotquestions.org/incest-in-the-Bible.html

      Question: "Why did God allow incest in the Bible?"

      Answer: There are numerous examples of incest in the Bible. The most commonly thought-of examples are the sons/daughters of Adam and Eve (Genesis 4), Abraham marrying his half-sister Sarah (Genesis 20:12), Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19), Moses’ father Amram who married his aunt Jochebed (Exodus 6:20), and David’s son Amnon with his half-sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13). It is important to note, however, that in two of the above instances (Tamar and Lot) one of the parties involved was an unwilling participant in the incest.

      It is important to distinguish between incestuous relationships prior to God commanding against them (Leviticus 18:6-18) and incest that occurred after God’s commands had been revealed. Until God commanded against it, it was not incest. It was just marrying a close relative. It is undeniable that God allowed incest in the early centuries of humanity. If Adam and Eve were indeed the only two human beings God created, their sons and daughters would have had no other choice but to marry and reproduce with their siblings and close relatives. The second generation would have had to marry their cousins, just as after the flood the grandchildren of Noah would have had to intermarry amongst their cousins. The reason incest is so strongly discouraged in the world today is the understanding that reproduction between closely related individuals has a much higher risk of causing genetic abnormalities. In the early days of humanity, though, this was not a risk due to the fact that the human genetic code was relatively free of defects.

      It seems, then, that by the time of Moses, the human genetic code had become polluted enough that close intermarriage was no longer safe. So, God commanded against sexual relations with siblings, half-siblings, parents, and aunts/uncles (Genesis 2:24 seems to indicate that marriage and sexual relations between parents and children were never allowed by God). It was not until many centuries later that humanity discovered the genetic reason that incest is unsafe and unwise. While the idea of incest is disgusting and abhorrent to us today, as it should be, we have to remember why it is sinful, that is, the genetic problems. Since this was not an issue in the early centuries of humanity, what occurred between Adam and Eve’s children, Abraham and Sarah, and Amram and Jochebed, should not be viewed as incest. Again, the key point is that sexual relations between close relatives must be viewed differently pre-Law and post-Law. It did not become “incest” until God commanded against it.

      Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/incest-in-the-Bible.html#ixzz3K3MwRETm