Have you ever thought that two ancient stories from the early ages of world history could contain valuable truths applicable to our modern lives? These two accounts show us how choosing evil and rebellion mark us and bring ruin to our lives. And yet, there is hope.
In the first story, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the forbidden tree in the center of the Garden of Eden. In the second story, their son Cain killed his brother Abel in a fit of enraged jealousy.
Both stories contain tragic parallels.
Small Sins Led to Big Sins
When Eve first admired the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil at the serpent’s suggestion, she had no idea she would initiate an act that would be the ruin of mankind and of the Creator’s beautiful, perfect world.
When resentment first crept into Cain’s soul, I’m sure he never planned for his bitterness to one day compel him to murder his brother.
Sin Introduced Fear
When God came to Adam and Eve after they’d succumbed to the serpent’s temptations, God asked, “Adam, where are you?”
Adam must have trembled as he answered, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” How terrible. Adam and Eve now knew fear–a previously foreign emotion.
When God confronted Cain after Abel’s death, God asked, “Where is your brother Abel?”
Unlike his father, Cain back talked God. “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s guardian?”
Yet despite his bravado, Cain also feared those who would seek retribution for the murder. So God put a mark upon him to warn away any avengers. Cain lived the rest of his life with a physical reminder of his greatest sin.
Sins Consequences Extended to the Environment
In Genesis chapter three, God tells Adam, “Through painful toil, you will eat [of the ground]….it will produce thorns and thistles for you.”
Cain is told, “When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you.”
Sin Brings Separation
Adam and Eve were put under a curse and driven from the Garden. The close relationship they’d enjoyed with their Creator was shattered.
In verse eleven of Genesis chapter four, Cain is put “under a curse and driven from the ground” or from the land he loved to till. He cried out that he couldn’t bear his punishment. “You have banished me from the land and from your presence; you have made me a homeless wanderer.” (NLT) Such heartbreak is contained in these words and in verse sixteen as we read that Cain, “left the Lord’s presence.”
However, God did not want his human creatures to live in fear of him, even after they had rebelled. When God questioned Adam and Cain, it was not because he didn’t know the answer. He wanted to dialogue with them. He wanted more than an admission of guilt and a promise of repentance. God was crying out, “Adam why have you strayed from me and my will? Let’s sit down as father and son and discuss what happened and why. I want to help you get back on the right path.”
My next blog will discuss how these relates to us today.