Creation of Man, the Fall, Murder
We come to the next section or toledot. Toledot is a Hebrew word that is sometimes translated “history,” sometimes “generations.” It probably signifies various scrolls, various written records, that had been passed down from generation to generation. They were records that had been kept throughout the centuries prior to the time that Moses actually wrote the Pentateuch, so that when Moses sat down to pen Genesis he had before him various records that had been handed down from Adam himself, down through Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and he referred to those. He used this toledot section to indicate the major divisions in the book. The NASB uses the phrase, “This is the account of the heavens and the earth.” Actually, it is “This is the account of the history of the heavens and the earth.” These toledot sections stand as a topical sentence within a division that stand at the beginning of the division. To answer the question to the first toledot is: What happened to this perfect environment that God created in Genesis one? Remember, to understand Genesis and fully get the impact of Genesis we have to put ourselves in the place of a Jew on the plains of Moab in about 1405-1406 BC. You are the generation that is going to go into the land and conquer it. It was your parents who were the disobedient generation, who rebelled against Moses, and constantly threw temper tantrums out in the desert as they got bored with the manna, the food that God provided; and God disciplined that generation because they failed to trust Him when they had the opportunity. The new generation is asking the question: Who are we, and why should God give us this land? Genesis answers that question. Genesis is designed to give identity to the nation Israel in terms of their historical roots. It is only the first eleven chapters of Genesis that deal with civilization as a whole. It is from chapters 12 through 50 that deal with the beginnings of the nation Israel, with their foundation in Abraham and through his son, Isaac, and Jacob, and then down through Joseph and his brothers who made up the twelve tribes of Israel. So we have to put ourselves in that place: Why are we here and why is this God that you are telling us about so important?
Moses begins to answer that question in chapter one where he uniquely uses the word Elohim to refer to God, he doesn’t use the word Yahweh that is the name of God associated with His covenant with Israel. Genesis chapter one sets the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob apart from all the other gods that are worshipped by the Canaanites, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Samarians, all of these various civilizations. They worship the personification of the forces of nature—moon god, sun god, storm, wind and rain—but it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who creates nature. Creation is all the result of the power of Israel’s God who is radically different from all of the other gods. Israel’s God created everything ex nihilo, out of nothing.
Now there is a shift that begins in 2:4. “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth…” Literally this should read, “This is the history of the heavens and the earth…” What Moses is saying is: Now I’m going to tell you what happened to the heavens and the earth which God created?” Now he is going to answer: Well if God created everything and it was all created perfect and everything was good, how in the world did we get in this mess? A major theme in Genesis is blessing and cursing, that God made everything perfect and He blessed His creation, and yet because of human volition and the wrong use of volition in Genesis chapter two the human race and all of creation became cursed.
Genesis 5:1, “This is the book of the generations of Adam.” This is the toledot in the day when God created man where we are going to get the history of what happened to Adam’s descendants, but in 2:4 we begin to get the history of what happened to, as it were, the descendants of this perfect heavens and the earth. So the section runs from Genesis 2:4 to 4:26 which we will now summarize.
The theme of cursing in them primary theme of Genesis 2-4 and it is the result of the volition that God gives man—the capacity and responsibility to serve Him. Man fails to use that volition by eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In chapter one we see that it is the Word of God that creates. All things come into existence by the Word of God: we read time and time again, “And God said.” So the Word of God brings things into existence in chapter one; in chapter two the Word commands and gives moral mandates to mankind. Then in chapters three and four it is the voice of God that curses man. Chapters 2-4 all fit together but chapters two and three form a stylistic whole; they fit together in a chiasm—a literary device that was used to order topics. It is the center of the discussion and everything else either builds to that point or leads from that point, but it is that center position that is the focal point of the narrative.
The first section in Genesis two is verses 4-17, the creation of man. In this section God blesses man and places him in perfect environment in the Garden of Eden, and supplies his ever need. The next section, vv. 18-25, is the creation of the woman. God creates the woman to assist the man in his God-given responsibilities as the ruler under God over the planet. The third section introduces the serpent who tempts the woman in 3:1-5. Then we have the center in vv. 6-13 where the man and the woman sin. After the man and the woman sin there is punishment of the serpent, and God announces perpetual warfare between the serpent’s seed and the woman’s seed in 3:14, 15. Next is the punishment of the woman. She will be at enmity with the man. She was to be his helpmate, his assistant; now that aspect of her function is cursed, and there is a blight on that because of sin. Then there is the punishment of the man. Man and the environment are spoiled and at enmity with one another, vv. 17-24. So everything in chapter two, up to chapter three verse five, leads to this center topic, the sin of the man and the woman and God’s uncovering of it.
In chapter four the focus is on Cain’s murder of Abel. It starts off with Cain’s blessed beginning, the birth of Cain and Abel, vv. 1, 2. Their birth is viewed as a blessing by God, indicated by Eve’s statement: I have gotten a man child with the help of the Lord. As we go on we learn that Cain’s job was working the soil. He was a farmer whereas Abel became one who took care of the flocks. He is apparently living at home surrounded by Abel and his parents, Adam and Eve, and his other siblings. Then we have Cain’s resentment to God for rejecting his offering, vv. 3-5. God accepts Abel’s offering. In the third section of this division is God’s gracious response. In grace He warns Cain of judgment if he continues to let sin reign, vv.6-8. So we start to see this emphasis on God’s grace before judgment. Then we come to the sin. He murders his brother Abel and then God uncovers that sin. It is the same theme as we had in the first section of chapter three. So both the narrative of chapters two and three and the narrative of Cain and Abel hang on this center point of sin and God’s uncovering of the sin. But rather than having a chiastic structure in chapter four we have a parallelism. We have Cain being cursed in vv. 11, 12. He is cursed from the ground. Earlier we saw that he was a tiller of the ground. He is cursed from the ground and he is cursed from his relatives. So now there is a theme of cursing. In vv. 13, 14 Cain resents God’s justice. But God has a gracious response and He provides for Cain’s protection, vv.15, 16. There is an epilogue to the section, vv. 16-24, which gives us the genealogy of Cain’s descendants. This shows us the basic structure of these two sections. They are all part of this one toledot section. What happened to this perfect creation that God had?
We have the creation of man in vv. 4-17. In this section we are told how the first man is formed from the chemicals of the soil, how he lives in the Garden of Eden, and how God creates the woman to be his helper. We are told of the sin that they both commit, but primarily it is Adam’s responsibility as the head of the race, and then the punishment that God is going to bring on both of them. The primary purpose of these chapters is to explain how it is that this perfect world has now become a world of pain, trouble, calamity, and cursing. In chapters 2 & 3 there are several key doctrines that are introduced. We have the doctrine of human responsibility and volition. It is not so much the emphasis on free will as it is the emphasis on responsibility and accountability; that if you disobey God and choose wrongly there will be consequences. We see that man is placed under the authority of God and is answerable to God, and this leads to another doctrine that is related to that, and that is the doctrine of labor. We will also see the sufficiency of God’s love. What we have in chapter two is an expression of God’s love. He provides everything for man and the woman. That is not a function of grace. Why is it not a function of grace? Grace is undeserved favor. Undeserved favor implies that the recipient of grace doesn’t deserve it because there is something wrong. But Adam and Isha created in the image and likeness of God have perfect righteousness. So God is not dealing with them in grace because they deserve this blessing; they possess perfect righteousness, so it is an expression of God’s love. The perfect righteousness of God is free to love the perfect righteousness that is in Adam and Isha. So we see the sufficiency of God’s love, which always provides everything that we need. After the fall we see the sufficiency of God’s grace.
Furthermore, we see the introduction of the universal law of reward and punishment: whatsoever a man sows, that will he also reap; otherwise known as the law of volitional responsibility. But here its emphasis is on reward and punishment, that when we disobey God there are consequences to negative volition. We also see the introduction of marriage, and that will fit under the overall category of the divine institutions. We see the doctrine of divine institutions. The first is human responsibility, and the authority in human responsibility is always God. The second divine institution is marriage, and the authority established in marriage is the husband. The third divine institution is family, foreshadowed by the command to be fruitful and multiply, but family itself doesn’t begin until chapter four, verse one.
Incidentally, what do we see happen as a result of sin? As a result of sin volition is now cursed; responsibility becomes labor; the second divine institution of marriage is cursed, there is going to be antagonism in the authority structure between men and women, apart from the grace of God and sanctification. Then we see in chapter four the destruction of the curse coming on the family, because one brother murders his other brother and as a result he is cursed and separated from his family.
So we see that sin affects all of the divine institutions. The last doctrine to be mentioned is the origin of evil and being able to answer the question: How can a good God allow evil to exist? What we see in these chapters is that if God doesn’t give freedom to man—and freedom to succeed includes freedom to fail—to truly fail and to disobey Him (which would introduce evil into the system) then they don’t have freedom. If man doesn’t have freedom then he can’t love God. Love is something that cannot be coerced, cannot be forced; love is something that must be given freely from the individual. And for God’s creation to freely love Him, they must have free will and make that decision on their own. In order to give man the freedom to love Him, He also gives man the freedom to fail, and that brings with it the principle of evil. That one decision to eat the piece of fruit, a simple act of disobeying God, is what brought all of this calamity into the human race. Sin is of such a nature that the introduction of it dominoes throughout every area of life and creation. It destroys and corrupts everything. So the issue becomes clear, it is complete obedience to God. Anything less than complete obedience to God carries with it tremendous consequences.
Genesis 2:4, “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.”
v. 5, “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.” It is obvious that there seem to be some discrepancies between this verse and the first chapter. In the first chapter it says that on the third day God created the vegetation (v. 11). That is a picture of all the vegetation sprouting on the earth, and in Genesis 2:5 it looks as though we have a barren earth. Then we are told that the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. Obviously there is no contradiction, so maybe we have to understand what the author is getting at.
Part of the answer lies in the understanding of the Hebrew here. The Hebrew word for shrub is the word shiach, and it is a category of vegetation. What we have back in Genesis 1:11 is “Let the earth sprout vegetation,” and that was the Hebrew word dese, a general, broad category for vegetation. “Plants yielding seed” is a different word, the word esev, a broad category, probably of any kind of shrub or plant. And then, “fruit trees bearing fruit throughout the earth.” In verse 5 what we have is shiach of the field, not dese or esev. It is a word that indicates a subcategory and it relates to what we find at the end of this section, and that is God’s pronouncement on the curse on man: “thorns and thistles it shall grow for you, and you shall eat of the plants of the field.”
What the author is saying at the beginning of chapter two is that conditions were different, this was before there was a curse on the plants—no thorns and thistles—and it was before the plants of the field had sprouted. The plants of the field relates to grain—barley, wheat, corn. These things don’t grow wild; they have to be harvested by man. Remember that was the curse: that man would have to till the soil. So there is an ominous note here because of the vocabulary in verse 5; that when it talks about the fact that man had not cultivated the ground yet. Cultivation of the ground is part of the curse on the ground at the end of the section. Also, when it says that God had not sent rain upon the earth yet. Rain doesn’t come until the time of the Noahic flood; it is a sign of judgment. There is a completely different hydrosphere working on the planet prior to the flood. So these two terms foreshadow the curse that occurs at the end of this particular section.
There have been many people who have tried to point out differences between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 and to try to establish the fact that there are two different narratives here. They come up with the fact that there are two different creation accounts. This has been disproven time and time again but one of the characteristics of liberal arrogance is that it doesn’t act as if there is a conservative position in existence because if you are conservative by definition you can’t think; so they never, never interact with conservative literature, they just ignore it. So what are some of these differences?
The first chapter, they would say, contains the entire story of creation from day one through day seven. And they would say the second chapter covers everything, they try to make it say that everything happens in one day. Notice verse four again: “This is the account of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” But that is not a use of the word “day” [yom] individually. When it is used with an ordinal number or with a definite article it always means a 24-hour day, but when it is used in certain contexts and certain phrases with a preposition—such as be, meaning “in”—it is an idiom for when: “in the day when God made the heaven and earth.” So it is a mistake to take the term day here in the same way as in the first chapter. Another difference, the liberals would say, is that in chapter one the earth began with water but here it begins with dry land.
But chapter 2:4ff is not presenting an original account of the creation of everything like the first chapter is. Note there is no mention of the sun, moon, or stars, the creation cattle, no mention of the creation of most of the plants or the wild beasts and birds. There is nothing here that contradicts the idea that water preceded the land. It simply states that there was no shrub of the field yet on the earth and that the land is now in existence. So it is picking up at the end of the previous section and saying, Now remember is before the curse came on the earth, before there was rain and the tilling of the soil, and before there were thorns and thistles.
Another difference that is often brought out is that in chapter one the two sexes are created simultaneously, it appears, vv. 26-28, but here they are created separately. But the first chapter merely summarizes the account and says yesterday such and such chapter, without breaking down all of the details. Chapter two then comes along and breaks down all of the events of that sixth day. Another difference that liberals claim is that living creatures were created before the man but here they are created after the man. That is not true; they are simply brought to the man for naming in chapter two.
The main difference, though, is the new name for God. God is called Elohim in the first chapter and here He is called Yahweh Elohim, and it is the introduction of the term Yahweh that is so important. Because if you are a Jew sitting out there on the plains of Moab, when you see that sacred tetragrammaton, the sacred four letters YHWH (from which we got Jehovah, which is not a real Hebrew word), Yahweh always speaks of the God who is in covenant relationship with Israel. He has entered into a contract with Israel and that means that there are curses for disobedience and blessing for obedience. So it always emphasizes the moral aspect of God and the moral requirements that God sets forth. If you are one of those Jews sitting out there in Moab you are reminded in chapter two that God gave Adam and Isha one commandment but He has given you ten commandments, because there is a radical difference in the environment now. So Yahweh is always going to bring to their mind the idea of a covenant God who has set down certain stipulations and requirements on man, and that obedience brings blessing and disobedience brings cursing.
The first section (vv. 4-7) gives us this original environment and tells us a little about the hydrosphere of the early earth. In v. 6 we are told, “But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” There was no rain at that time. The cycle of water today is above ground; the cycle of water then was below ground.
V. 7 covers the doctrine of the origin of man. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
In vv. 8-9 we see the perfect environment of the garden. It is a garden where God has special trees that now grow, including two: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” The genitive construction here should be understood as ‘the tree which produces life, and the tree which produces a knowledge of good and evil.’ These trees are unique to the garden.
In v. 10 we have a picture of the geography of the garden. There are four rivers mentioned. The first is the river Pishon, said to flow around the land of Havilah. We don’t know what this land was. Remember there was a massive worldwide flood that covers the earth for a year in Genesis 6-9. The geography of the planet is radically transformed. It was probably at that time that the continents split apart and began to drift apart. There were no mountains, as we know them today, those were the result of the upheaval caused by the massive geological pressures at the time of the flood. The earth is probably relatively flat. The existence of high mountains would cause air to drop rapidly. There would be rapid cooling of air, and that would cause movement of air and wind. That would cause evaporation, and that is all part of the modern cycle of water but it was not part of the early cycle of water. What about the similarities in the names of the rivers? Later on we see the mention of the Tigris and Euphrates. That is because when the folks got off the ark they saw a river and named it with the name of the river they were familiar with. The name Pishon is given later on to a son of Cush in Genesis 10:7, and later a son of Joktan in Genesis 10:29.
This land of Havilah was known for its gold, bdellium and onyx. These are precious metals, and there was a precious gum there, and this is something that had value. So it introduces the concept of intrinsic value, which is important to understanding economics. There was a second river, the Gihon, which went around the land of Cush. Cush is later on in the Scriptures related to Ethiopia, but that is not what it meant in this context. The third river is the Hiddekel, also known as the Tigris, and that flowed around Assyria. Then the fourth is the river Euphrates.
What is interesting is in v. 10, “a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.” So we have a situation completely different from what we have today. One river is flowing out of Eden, and that branches into four separate rivers. In other words, what we have today is where rivers converge, but in the primordial world they diverged. That doesn’t happen anywhere on the planet today.
In Genesis 2:15-18, the conditions of responsibility placed upon the man. V. 15, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep [guard] it.” He is not cultivating at this time, Adam was not a farmer before the fall. Vv. 16-17, introduces the doctrine of personal responsibility, volition, and the doctrine of death. V. 18, the creation of the woman. God creates the woman as the helper of the man. God helps the man realize his aloneness—God’s grace. “It is not good that the man should be alone.” The principle there is that man is created to be a social being, for community; no man is an island. The same is true for the spiritual life, the Christian life. We are to function in the community of the local church and anything less than that is viewed as abnormal by the Scriptures.
V. 19, “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field [not “every beast”], and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam.” This is a summary statement that God had done this. Now He brings them to the man to see what he would call them. So God gives to man the responsibility to identify them. In every one there is male and female, and what God shows him is his need for a counterpart, the need for a companion. Once he recognizes that need then God causes a deep sleep to fall upon him and He creates the woman from his side. This is just the reverse of evolution, which says the female occurred first and then the male. Adam makes an announcement, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” We see the unity that they have, complete harmony and rapport. He names her Isha at the beginning; it is not Eve until after the fall. In the Hebrew Ish is the word for man and Isha is the word for woman: “she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Then in Genesis 3:24 is a comment by Moses: “For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” When Adam makes the statement in v. 23 he doesn’t know what a mother-in-law or a father-in-law are, so Adam is not speaking in v. 24, it is Moses’ writing under the inspiration of the Scripture making application to the Jews.
Genesis 3 gives us the next section, where the serpent tempts the woman. The serpent comes and enters into a dialogue with the woman. He is called the most subtle beast of the field and the craftiest of any beast of the field, and he comes to the woman and asks her a question: “Indeed, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” What the serpent is questioning is God’s love and God’s sufficiency. “Did God really give you enough. Can you really trust God to take care of you?” It is an extremely subtle appeal. The woman shows that she hasn’t been listening very clearly in vv. 2, 3: “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” The first trend of man is to always add something to what God says: “neither shall ye touch it.” The serpent responds by directly challenging God’s veracity and says she is not going to die.
Notice Genesis 3:6. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” How anti-climactic that is! This is the big sin that plunges the entire world and the entire human race into sin, and it is just covered in a few short words, almost an understatement, to bring out the seriousness of what happened. It seems just a casual thing for them to take this fruit and eat it. That is how sin often appears to us, something casual and insignificant, and yet it has incredible consequences. Then God comes along to uncover the sin and there is a dialogue between God and the man. Notice He calls to the man, not to the woman, because the man is the one responsible and the head of the race, v. 9: “Where are you?” The man responds, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” So we’ll have to look at the consequences of sin here and how fear and mental attitude sins and man’s exposure of fallibility before a holy God is all a part of his sin. That is why people want to suppress the truth of the Scripture; they don’t like to be exposed in all of their sin and inability by a righteous God.
In v. 11 the dialogue continues: “And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” God knows the answer to these questions but He is asking the questions to bring out what has happened. The man then blames the woman and the woman blames the serpent, and then God announces the curse. The curse is different from the penalty. The penalty was spiritual death; the curse indicates all the consequences of spiritual death. Then He first addresses the serpent and states that there will be enmity between the serpent’s seed and the woman’s, and this is the first our first hint of grace. In verse 15 we have what is called the first mention of the gospel, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed [Christ]; it shall bruise thy head [Satan would have a fatal head wound], and thou shalt bruise his heel [non-fatal wound].”
In v. 16 there is an outline of the consequences to the woman. Remember she was to be fruitful and multiply and now she is going to have pain in childbirth, and instead of being servant to her husband she is going to want to dominate him. The word “desire” means to dominate and control; “and he shall rule over thee” has the idea of a tyrannical rule. So now the war of the sexes begins.
Verses 17-19 outline the curse to Adam; that his responsibility to take care of the garden is now cursed, the ground is cursed. He is going to eat as a result of toil all the days of his life. Nature has changed, the plants have changed; they are now going to produce thorns and thistles. Eventually they will return to dust when they will die physically.
After that, there is a sense of hope. “And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” Eve is going to be mother of the living. They have been talking about death and cursing but there is hope. And then further hope; God makes garments of skins for them. They have tried to cover up their nakedness with fig leaves, that doesn’t work, and so God is now going to provide a more permanent covering. This foreshadows the permanent covering for sin at the cross, which comes through a sacrifice, and their covering comes through the sacrifice of animals.
In Genesis 3:22 God extends the penalty, He evicts the man and the woman from the garden and sets a guard against it so they cannot come back in.
Chapter four begins with the birth of Cain to Eve, the firstborn, and then a second-born, or it seems the second-born. Genesis 5:4 tells us that there were many other sons and daughters born to Adam. They grow up, and each brings an offering. Cain is a farmer, so he brings that which he has worked hard on to produce. Abel is a shepherd, he doesn’t do anything to produce the animals but it is apparent that God has given specific guidelines for offerings. So Cain’s offering is not what God asked for, it doesn’t involve the first-born of the flock—we know this from later revelation that this is what God had revealed. Abel’s sacrifice is accepted; Cain’s is rejected. Cain becomes jealous, depressed, resentful and bitter. That tells us that all of these things were the result of man trying to do things by man’s efforts, and whenever we get our own will blocked, whenever we can’t get our own way, in arrogance the result is always going to be anger and bitterness and depression.
So God confronts Cain, just as He confronted Adam and the woman, and He is going to expose his sin. “And the LORD said unto Cain, Why are you angry? and why is your countenance fallen? 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.” The word “desire” is the desire to control, the same kind of desire that the woman has for the husband. Verses 8-10 are the centerpiece of the narrative of chapter four. Then God confronts Cain and discloses the sin in vv. 9, 10. “And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.” The curse is announced in Genesis 4:11, that Cain is cursed from the soil, from the ground, and he is going to be driven out from his relatives.
In Genesis 4:16 Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod east of Eden. He had relations with his wife. People always want to know who Cain’s wife was. It was his sister. There wasn’t any other family; that was the only option. Marriage between those who are too close in blood relationship is not prohibited until the Mosaic Law. This is because there was a very small population at the beginning and there is an incredible complexity in the gene pool. But once you get things spread out pretty much and the gene pool begins to be diluted then it becomes dangerous and harmful for people who are to closely related to procreate and have children.
Then we come to the end of the chapter, which gives us the genealogy of what happened to Cain’s descendants. It is a story of sin and corruption and murder and arrogance. But it ends on a hopeful note in Genesis 4:25, “And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” So the emphasis is on grace, God’s continuing provision and supply, and it ends on the note: “ … then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.” That is a sign that there weren’t just those who were the rebellious unbelievers in Cain’s line but there were many believers in the line of Seth.
The question that is asked in chapters two through four is, why is there evil, why is there sin, why is there suffering? It is because of man’s volition. Man chose to disobey God. So the implication is that whenever we choose to disobey God there will be divine discipline, there will be cursing from God, because sin always carries with it not only specific punishment but also devastating consequences. All of the sin, war, famine and misery in human history is the consequence of man’s own decision. He can’t blame God. God gave him perfect environment, it was man’s decision to mess it all up. But the message of hope is that God in His grace provides a perfect solution so that man can have salvation, and that comes through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We can have salvation not as a result of our own works but by simply putting our faith alone in Christ alone, and there will be restoration at that point.