I titled it that for two reasons:
- I have not spent significant time in the past reading past Genesis 1-3. So even though I am familiar with the story of Genesis 4, it is new to go more in-depth with it.
- After being expelled from Eden, we face an uncertain future in the world.
I am surprised again by how many seemingly important details are NOT in the story. Why is that? Where do all the other people come from? Why exactly is Cain’s gift not regarded? Actually, those are the main ones I had. Would the people who originally told and read this story have wondered the same things?
I have a theory about this: The details are missing. That is clear. That makes some stuff in the story unclear and open to speculation and interpretation. Some might say this shows that the story isn’t true. But if it was made up, wouldn’t they have put that stuff back in? Wouldn’t there be a clear explanation of where the other people came from? Because at the end of Genesis 4 we see where some other people come from when we read the genealogies. I think this shows that the story was recorded accurately and they did NOT feel at liberty to put those details in. Just a theory.
Now on to some thoughts.
Judgment or Grace? . . . yes?
God says some interesting things to Cain in this story. Cain is upset because God doesn’t regard his gift. But God tells him he has no reason to be and then gives him some instruction and warning about the trajectory of his decisions. Cain doesn’t listen and Abel pays the price.
Hmm, We don’t listen to God and others get hurt. That sucks. But it is totally true.
After the murder, God tells Cain some things that will happen. God never says he will do these things, just that they will happen.
- Though Cain is a farmer, the ground won’t produce food anymore. Therefore he has to enter a life of nomadic wandering.
- Cain interprets this WAY worse than God sees it. God still has Cain’s back. No one will hurt him.
- Cain doesn’t do what God says. Yes he leaves, but he quickly settles down, marries, has children, and builds a city.
That last one kind of confuses me. If God was telling Cain that his life was going to be one of wandering, why isn’t it? My only guess is that it was a command that Cain chose to ignore. I think God has been trying to lead and correct Cain from the beginning. Cain just never listens. His wandering was maybe supposed to cure him of something rotten inside, but he refused. God’s judgments on Cain are actually for his good. They are a gift.
Are there times where God makes things difficult for us in order to correct us and win us back to him?
Away From the Presence of the LORD
Cain “went away from the presence of the LORD.” Then it is a full 10 verses (and potentially many generations) before he the LORD is mentioned again. I think that is significant. This is the longest in 3 chapters that we have gone between “LORDs.” Cain set up a pattern in his family of thinking the worst of God. They all caught on and followed.
What patterns will I set for those who come after me?
p.s. I was SO tempted to put a picture of Dean Cain on this post. Sin is lurking at my door and I must master it!
A Biblical answer: Adam and Eve had many more children than just Cain, Abel and Seth. Cain did in fact marry his sister (or perhaps a niece from two other siblings.) If we were all still without sin such unions wouldn’t be corrupting.
In these ancient times everyone was still close in biology to the purity God created in Eden. With each close union our genetics fell further into decay until we’ve reached where we are today – where a brother-sister union is liable to produce something like Fred Phelps.