Saturday, November 19, 2016

Cain - The First One to Murder a Brother

        Cain slew his brother, Abel. What can we say? Where did this act come from? Is it an echo of the “death” warning from God? Was Cain trying to usurp God’s sovereignty in his action?
In seeking a reason for Cain’s inappropriate violent reaction, biblical commentary simply says that he belonged to the evil one (1 Jn 3:12).
Is there something hidden in the comment that “Cain spoke unto Abel his brother”? It must have been an angry speech since Cain killed Abel in the aftermath. We are not privy to the words Cain spoke Why do we find ourselves alienated from God? Why are we weighed down with selfishness, bitterness, envy, and the like? Because we have inherited Adam’s sin nature; “through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners.” And, in inheriting Adam’s sin nature, we have inherited the death that comes with it. “Through one transgression [that of Adam] there resulted condemnation to all men” (Rom. 5:18).
         How does this work? The principle is a mystery of God’s creation perhaps reflected in The Mishnah Sanhedrin, Chapter 4, Verse 5 “It was for this reason that man was first created as one person, to teach you that anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed an entire world; any who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world.”

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Life East of Eden - Genesis 4

Genesis 4:1 “I have gotten a man.” – Eve experience the suffering of childbirth but exclaimed “I have gotten a man.” What if it had been a girl? Don’t know. The story shifts to Eve. Adam is the father. His job is to “know” his wife. Is this the first time? Don’t know. Eve now speaks about the source of her child. Interestingly enough she does not mention Adam. She mentions “the Lord”. Do children come from the man or from the Lord. What a unique thought!
CAIN - Personal name meaning “acquisition.” The firstborn son of Adam and Eve (Gen. 4:1). Although the meaning of the name is disputed, Eve’s rationale for giving it suggests a relationship with a Hebrew root that means “to acquire.” She was the first woman to bear children. No comment on the pain promised. Adam showed faith in God’s promise that she would bear more in the future.

Genesis 4:2-10 Abel, The Brother who was Murdered
And again she bore his brother Abel. Where’s Adam? He was there when the children were being raised. Did Eve do the child raising? What did Adam think about the fight between Cain and Abel? No comment. Why not?
And Abel was a keeper of sheep…  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering; And Cain spoke unto Abel his brother. And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
            What is a brother? Something new in the community of mankind.
Abel was the first shepherd.  The offering that Abel made to the Lord was costly, from his personal flock. Did Moses think about this as he received the Levitical commands from the Lord about sacrifices. I think so.
            We are told that the Lord had “respect” to both Abel and his offering. What is this “respect”? They just knew. Was Abel and Cain’s offerings compared? Did God set sibling against sibling? I doubt it.
Can we blame God for Cain’s actions toward Abel? The narrative indicates that Abel’s character was more worthy of God’s blessing; hence his offering was accepted and Cain’s was not accepted. In the NT Abel is regarded as the first martyr (Mt. 23:35; Lk 11:51) and a prototype of Christ (Heb. 12:24).