Cain and Abel

The next Genesis story following the creation and the fall tells us that Eve conceived and bore a son, Cain, and then a son, Abel.  Cain was a farmer (“Tiller of the ground”), and Abel was “a keeper of sheep.” Genesis 4:1, 2. KJV. In time, Cain sacrificed some of his crop to the Lord; and Abel brought of his first and fat of his flock as a sacrifice. The Lord respected Abel’s sacrifice, but he had no respect for Cain’s.

Cain became very angry that the Lord respected Abel’s sacrifice but not his own. The Lord asked Cain why he was so angry, and said to Cain, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”

One day as Cain and Abel were and a field together, Cain killed Abel. Then the Lord asked Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain responded in that famous denial-and-excuse, “I know not: am I my brother’s keeper?” God retaliated, “what hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood cries than to me from the ground.” And God condemned Cain to till the ground with meager production, and “a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” Genesis 4:9 – 12. Cain protested that his punishment was too great for him to bear and that “everyone that find if any shall slay me.”  However, the Lord protected Cain and promised to punish anyone who would hurt or kill Cain seven times the fence.

And so Cain escaped to the land of Nod, where he took a wife, who bore Enoch.


Other Stories of Cain and Abel

Stories abound in the ancient world on themes contained within the story of Cain and Abel: concerning sibling rivalry, more specifically that of brothers, herding societies versus agrarian societies, good against evil, strife between society and the individual, and the first murder as the ultimate violation of individuals within society. One source even interprets the story as an account of Homo sapien triumph over Neanderthal.  There are various Cain and Abel traditions, with slightly variant facts, such as their rivalry with regard to twin sisters. There are various New Testament references to Cain and Abel, including, Matthew 23:5; and Hebrews 12:24. The Muslims revere the grave of Habeel (Abel), according to Shia tradition.

According to Hittite mythology, the God, Anu murders his brother, Alal. In Samaria in mythology, two gods, the herding god, Dumuzi, vies with Enkimdu, the farmer god, for the the attention of the chief godess, Inanna. In Greek mythology, Acrisius and Proetus are twin brothers who hate and compete with each other from birth, much as Isaac and Esau.

The divine, the transcendent is revealed throughout the world.

Would you please share your own faith story?


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