Monday, September 06, 2010

Cain and Abel: Two Routes - Genesis 4:1-2

Cain and Abel. There is more to their story than a climatic murder. The story of these two brothers provides teaching on anger, discipline, sin, and repentance. The story also provides the first glimpse of humanity after the fall— a glimpse which reveals the ignorance and wickedness of fallen man.
Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, "I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD." Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1-2).
After man was driven out of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve began multiplying. Eve gave birth to two children. One of them was named Cain, the other was named Abel. Some have speculated that they were twins (since it is not clearly indicated that there was a large period of time separating the two births).

It is important to remember that Genesis 4:1 is the opening glimpse in Scripture of life outside the garden— it is the first glimpse of life after the fall. What will life be like in such a world? Will Adam and Eve turn back to their Creator? Eve's own words certainly provide a hopeful answer to such questions, she spoke, "I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD". After giving birth to Cain, the first words out of Eve's mouth were not words of cursing because of the pain; rather, they were words in which she recognized her dependence upon God.
And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground (Genesis 4:2).
The two brothers took different routes in life. They had different likes and interests. Often when the account of Cain and Abel is read, it is easy to see Cain as the viscous tyrant, but to see Abel as the righteous prophet.

While these qualities are accurate by the time of the murder, it would be unreasonable to assume it was this way from the very beginning. Cain and Abel simply each chose different occupations. A keeper of flocks is not inherently superior to a tiller of the ground. In fact, both are equally good occupations through which God can be glorified.

But just as these two brothers took two very different routes in their choice of work, so these two brothers also began to form two very different opinions of God. One brother began to see his sinfulness, but the other brother continued to grow in pride.

Related Posts:
Cain and Abel: An Offering - Genesis 4:3-5
Why Is Sin Unavoidable? (Part 1) - The Christian Worldview
The Fall: No Repentance - The Christian Worldview
The First Marriage - The Christian Worldview
The Fall: Humanity Cursed - The Christian Worldview

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