Genesis: The Beginning
Developing a Human Culture 1-9-16
READ: Genesis Chapters 4-5
Now Adam and Eve are outside the garden, so life takes on a new beginning as a human culture or society develops. God leaves His word to this couple on how to practice faith and live outside the garden; they are to pass God’s instructions down as the culture grows.
Adam is intimate with Eve, she conceives, and Cain is born. Eve gives God the credit for bringing forth life through her, “With the LORD’s help, I have produced a man.” Later, Eve will give birth to Abel (name translates “breath”). Both sons will grow and develop a personal integrity and lifestyle. Yahweh will be aware of the intent of each heart.
Cain is a farmer and Abel is a shepherd. Harvest time comes and Cain brings some (quantity) of his crops as a gift to the LORD, but gives it without faith that God is actually involved in his harvest—an act of religious obligation. Abel comes and brings the finest specimen (quality—best he owns) of his flock as a gift to the LORD with the faith that God will continue to prosper him—an act of love and gratitude. Yahweh is involved in bringing provision to both, but only one son acknowledges it and finds favor with God.
Enmity gains a new beginning in Cain’s heart—anger toward God’s authority, supremacy, and corrective word. The LORD God, who is unfailing Love, extends great mercy and compassion in response to this wrong attitude of Cain, “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right then watch out. Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. You must subdue it and be its master.” Here we should recognize the power and consequence of Cain’s personal choice. He did not choose wisely: to turn to God and ask for forgiveness.
Cain chooses not to master the evil that is seeking to find a home in his heart. He welcomes it. Evil leads Cain to attack and kill his brother. Just like when the LORD God walked through the garden and found the man and woman hiding in the trees after they sin against the LORD’s instruction, God comes to Cain and asks him questions, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” Here comes a lie through Cain to God’s inquiry (Satan is a LIAR), “I don’t know.” In three false words, Cain judges himself before God, as well as brings social exposure and punishment into his life. His punishment? He will live the rest of his days marked and protected by God, but wandering in exile—a challenge for a farmer, right? Cain will try to establish himself in Nod, but evil and fear will torment him.
Scripture teaches Adam lived 930 years with the directive from God to be “fruitful and multiply.” That is quite a bit of time to produce offspring that intermarries and populates. Theologians believe longevity was literal in those days; people really lived that long. (Side note: One theory is that before the flood there was a canopy of sort protecting the inhabitants of earth from harmful radiation). Cain lives on and marries; probably one of his many sisters or nieces. (Side note: In time God—through Moses—enacts a Law against incest). Cain’s descendants demonstrate an increase of depravity, arrogance, violence, and vindictiveness—the cycle continues.
Adam and Eve have another son, Seth (name translates “Appointed One”). It will be through the lineage of Seth the Messiah will come. Chapter 5 in our reading is spent detailing the lineage from Adam to Noah. With each generation listed, humans who were originally made in the image of Yahweh continue to walk in sin against their Creator. All except Enoch. “Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with the LORD God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him” (Genesis 5:23-24).
We, too, can choose to master the sin that tempts and seeks to dominate us and instead walk with God.