Genesis 4: Murder in the First

Man has started to reproduce. Now Adam & Eve have two sons, Cain & Abel. But, these sons get in the worst fight possible… a fight that takes one of their lives. It is evident that good and evil are both present in the world after the fall. This is a chapter of “firsts” in the now imperfect world.

Sex

Genesis 4:1

  • “Adam and Eve made love” (NIV)
  • “Adam made relations with his wife” (NASB)
  • “Now Adam knew Eve his wife” (ESV)

Sex is personal. They are not only doing ‘the deed,’ but getting to know each other as man and wife. As the first intercourse mentioned in the Bible, God demonstrates the importance of commitment, unity, and one-flesh between a husband and wife through the act of sex. We of course do not know if Adam and Eve had sex before the fall, since sex is something that is not unclean, but pure, between a man and wife.

Babies

Adam and Eve produced the first babies of our world, and by doing so, they passed on their sinfulness to the next generation (Romans 5:19). Eve most likely had high expectations for her firstborn, naming him Cain, meaning “here he is.” She probably thought he was sent from God to save them, as the man who would crush the serpent’s skull (Genesis 3:15). Her second born she named Abel, meaning “breath.” This may relate to God breathing into us to give us life, a soul… or it could relate to Abel’s life being so short he barely had time to take a breath. Choose as you please. Abel became a shepherd, while Cain became a farmer, demonstrating both agriculture and domestication of animals, not cave-dwelling. Let’s give ’em some credit.

Interesting thought here. Both Adam and Eve knew perfection, but they messed up and were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Just imagine. They probably tried and tried again to engrain into their kids to fear God’s power and how they should follow Him… or else more harm would come.

Animal Sacrifice

A little background information: Animal sacrifice kind of sounds like some cultish medieval witchcraft stuff… and yeah it’s not what we practice anymore. Why did they do this in the Old Testament? To clothe Adam and Eve after the fall, God killed animals. Sin required blood to be shed for a temporary covering of sin, so to speak.

‘Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.’ – Hebrews 9:22

What about human sacrifices? (Yeah, I know some of you are wondering with me.) Well, I did some digging deeper into the Old Testament, and God says no. Pretty straightforward here. If you want to read more about it in the Bible, visit this link.

Lucky for us, later on God sends His Son Jesus Christ to voluntarily shed his blood to cover all of our sins. So we don’t have to do animal sacrifices anymore. Phew. Thank you Jesus! (Literally)

‘For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.’ – Hebrews 10:4

‘And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”‘ – Luke 22:20

‘Look, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ – John 1:29

Back to Cain and Abel now.

Murder

Simply put, Abel’s offering was blood, but Cain’s offering was vegetation, which consisted of no blood. God did accept grain offerings, but of specific kind, and not for atonement of sin (Leviticus 2). Think about it though, wouldn’t you want a pretty vegetable from a field over a chopped up bloody fat animal? God wasn’t concerned about the aesthetics though, it was all about what was in their heart when performing the sacrifice. Abel gave his best, fattest, firstborn calf. Cain was angry because he knew his offering was not accepted. How? Most likely when accepted a pillar of fire came down to the alter with the offering (1 Kings 18:38 & 1 Chronicles 21:26).

Put yourself in Cain’s shoes. He’s the first born. His parents have very high expectations for him. And God accepted his little brother’s offering over his?!

Pride. Jealousy. Anger. 

But Cain lured Abel into the fields. It was all premeditated. His brother, who meant no harm, who was following God, whose heart was in the right place… murdered by his own blood.

When God asks Cain where his brother is, he replies “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). Dude, this is GOD you are speaking to, and you just killed your own brother. You were given the opportunity to tell God the truth and come clean of this horrific sin you just committed, but you failed once again. We, as Christians, should all be weary of this dark and dangerous path. Becoming empty in one’s religion sends more to hell than atheism and secularism (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

As punishment, Cain was cursed by God. It would be impossible for him to farm food from the ground, and he would be a vagabond, unable to be killed by anyone. Perhaps God added in that last part since he was the one of three people on the Earth at the time. Who knows. But Cain, with lack of remorse, only felt horrible about his punishment.

“One of the clearest marks of sin is our almost innate desire to excuse ourselves and complain if we are judged in any way.” – Boice

Cain eventually married someone who was most likely his sister, since Adam and Eve continued to have many other sons and daughters. The dangers of inbreeding of course were slim to none at this point in the world, but it’s still weird to think about. God forbids this later when he talks to Moses in Leviticus 9. Cain then goes on to build a city, Enoch, named after his firstborn. Urbanization – hooray! But these cities built after the fall were built by man, not by God, and therefore sin continues to spread. A lot of reproduction happens and then this guy Lamech was born, the first bigamist (against God’s rules, Genesis 2:24). He named his daughters “pleasure,” “shade,” and “loveliness.” Yeah, not the best of names. He then boasts about murder. This emphasizes humanism. Boasting, pride, and self-centeredness. Interesting that we never hear about the rest of Lamech’s family line in the Bible ever again. Wonder what happened…

Meanwhile, Adam and Eve produce another son in replacement of good ‘ol Abel. His name was Seth (Genesis 4:25). This helped jumpstart the first revival the world already needed: “Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.” – Genesis 4:26.

Frustrated? Same. But we are just like Cain, the people of Enoch, and Lamech. We focus on our own accomplishments without giving praise to God. We boast of things in this world that are not God’s will. We know what is right and have been told of God’s power by those who have experienced it, but we still stray away.

Let’s start calling on the name of the Lord again, but this time, for good.

 

 

 

 

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