Closing the Case on Cain and Abel

We’ve Certainly Learned a Lot from the Story of Cain and Abel!


Before we can leave the story of Cain and Abel behind, there are still a few matters that we need to attend to—that is, we have yet to identify…

    • The Life Lessons to be learned from their story;
    • The Contributions their story makes to God’s One Big Story; and,
    • Any Revelations of God that their story may hold for us.


The Life Lessons here are ones involving…

  1.  Choice

One of the first lessons to be learned from the story of Cain and Abel is that each person, at some point in his or her life, will have to choose whether to continue eating from and bearing the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, or to step away from the that Tree of Death and head over to the Tree of Life.  When that time comes, it will not matter who that person’s parents are or how godly they may have been, every child will have to decide for themselves if they will continue to pursue the Way of Works or if they will abandon that natural and fleshly route for the Way of FaithFaith founded on the Word of God, which provides the forgiveness of sins and salvation made possible only through the substitutionary and atoning work of Jesus Christ.

  1.  Cost

For those choosing the Way of Faith, the story of Cain and Abel also serves as an excellent reminder that their choices will come with a price tag attached.  Just as Abel’s righteous deeds served to convict Cain of his sins, the righteousness of those who come to salvation through faith in Christ will also offend and separate themselves from the wicked around them (oftentimes the members of their own families) and may even lead to their persecution and deaths.

  1.  Consolation

Although we may recoil at the idea of an innocent person being senselessly slaughtered by a guilty one just because the one in the wrong arrogantly refuses to admit his guilt, we can take comfort in the knowledge that no injustice will ever escape the notice or the judgment of God.  Just as Abel’s blood cried out to God from the ground, anytime the blood of a righteous person is poured out in the defense of his faith, it calls out continuously to the God who will see to it that the life represented by that blood will eventually be vindicated.

From what we have learned so far about the principles of sowing and reaping, we can be certain that the seed sown by this or any act of wickedness, will produce a harvest that is in keeping with the nature of the deed.  On the other hand, the seed sown by the righteous will be sure to reap according to the promise by Jesus in John 12:24-25…

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.


The Contributions here are all about Patterns…

1. Patterns of Generational Sin

In Vignette #4, the Fruit of the Fallfollowing God’s confrontation with Cain about the murder of his brother and Cain’s subsequent refusal to acknowledge or repent of his sin, we learned that…

…Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.  Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch.  [And] When he [Cain] built a city he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. (Gen. 4:17)

To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech.  And Lamech took two wives.  The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.  Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock.  His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.  Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron.  The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah. (Gen. 4:18-22)

Lamech said to his wives:  Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:  I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me.  If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech’s is seventy-seven-fold.  (Gen. 4:23-24)

From this account, we can see the beginnings of a Pattern for Generational Sin that will continue throughout the Story of the Bible, a pattern becoming more prevalent as more and more people choose to go the way of Cain—a pattern that is laid out for us in the following illustration…


 Cain’s Experience Has Left a Lasting Impression on Humanity


2. Patterns of Conflict

In addition to the Patterns of Generational Sin in the story of Cain and Abel, there are Patterns of Conflict that are also beginning to take shape.  These patterns, arising naturally out of the opposing natures of these two men, have now resulted in the division of humanity into two groups, the Righteous and the Wicked. Just like on the first day of Creation, when God divided light from darkness and day from night, here in the lives of earth’s first siblings, we find the same kind of division taking place—a division which will continue to exist throughout the remainder of human history and one which will be used to move the action of our story forward.  Although there will be many more examples of this conflict to come, this illustration should help us understand their patterns and their sources a little better for now.


Seeds Sown by Cain and Abel Continue to Produce Fruit Today


Revelations of God…

As for the Revelations of God in this story, we find Him presented once again as the gracious and loving God who…

…not willing that anyone should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)…

seeks out the sinner and confronts him with his sin for the purpose of bringing him to repentance and restoration.  However, when His gracious gestures are rejected, we see God revealed as the Judge who must make sure that the righteous demands of the law are met, and that any violators of that law are punished appropriately.  But even in judgment, God is shown to be the One who remains merciful…

    • even to the point of protecting the life of the unrepentant offender from revenge-seekers; and,
    • in His provision of Seth as a substitute for Abel, as the One who remains faithful to the promise He had made to Eve concerning a coming redeemer.

With humanity now divided into the two camps of the Righteous and the Wicked, and with Cain and Seth in place as their two heads, we are ready to move forward in our Story, and to the presentation of Vignette #5 where we will see how the actions of and interactions between these two groups will lead us up to the judgment in Vignette #5–Our Lineup to the Flood.


But with Consequences that are Sure to Come!




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