Cain: The Expansion of Unbelief
Genesis Lesson #036
December 17, 2003
This section deals with the expansion of unbelief and we begin to see how the evil or sin that comes into the human race in Genesis chapter three now begins to expand. Genesis chapter four shows the expansion of that sin and evil into the third divine institution, that is family. At the end of the previous section we saw that man had disobeyed God and fell into sin. Because Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he plunged the entire human race, for which he stood as a representative, into sin. So that the entire race now is totally depraved. That is, they are not as evil or as wicked as they can be but that is the orientation of the fallen human being because of the sin nature. They are oriented towards sin, they are born in a state of total depravity and spiritual death, and that is just what we see in Genesis chapter four, beginning in verse one.
In this section, Genesis 4:1-26, we see the consequences of sin and the outworking of evil in the human race and on the planet. Again we will see that just as with Adam's sin there was a consequence on nature there is a consequence on nature for Cain's murder of Abel. The is one point that we need to note, and that is that man's sin doesn't operate simply in isolation but it has a tremendous impact on all aspects of nature. So we see that just as sin affects nature we will also see that sin brings divine judgment on nature. We see a horrendous example of that when God brings this world-wide flood and all of nature is changed. And it is seen again at times in the outline on the curse on Israel, that if they are disobedient there is going to be famines in the land, lack of productivity, drought, and that man's spiritual condition has an effect far beyond his own personal situation. The most extreme example of that is when we get into the book of Revelation and we start looking at what happens during the seven years of the Tribulation and all of the calamities and catastrophes that take place not only on the earth but in the heavens as a result of God's judgment. So sin doesn't simply affect the human race alone, but it reverberates throughout all of nature and all of the universe.
In this chapter what we are going to see as a result of the events of chapter three is the outworking and development of sin in the human race. So there is a contrast here between human viewpoint and divine viewpoint. The focus is on two individuals primarily, Cain and Abel, and so there is a contrast between the human viewpoint sin-based arrogance of Cain versus the divine viewpoint and positive volition of Abel. We see in this chapter a development of the result of human autonomy. Remember the basic orientation of the sin nature is arrogance, independence from God. This is displayed as it works itself out generationally through Cain and his murder of Abel and then through the descendants of Cain in chapter four. So this is the beginning of what the New Testament calls the cosmic system. This is something that Israel would be very conscious of as they were getting ready to move into Canaan. Remember the setting at the time of the writing of Genesis—Israel on the plains of Moab on the verge of going into the promised land, and Moses writes the Pentateuch in order to demonstrate for the nation why they have been called out by God, why they have been given this land, and what the basis for blessing and cursing will be once they are inside the land.
In the New Testament we get into this whole category of cosmic thinking—the world, the cosmos, which is the terminology the New Testament uses. The cosmic system really has to do with human viewpoint culture, the culture that arrogant man in rebellion against God develops in order to try to make life work. We have seen this under the phrase in Romans 1:18, "suppressing the truth in unrighteousness." This is exactly what happens as man wants to live independent from God. He begins to structure in his thought his own universe, his own ideas of what works, what doesn't work. He wants to define reality apart from God. He is in rebellion against God, he has rejected what God has revealed, and he is structuring reality according to his own finite standard.
Now Israel is on the verge of going into the Canaanite culture, and this is a culture that is dominated by cities. Remember this was one of the problems in Numbers chapter 16. The original ten spies did not want to go into the land because there were giants in the land and they lived in walled cities. It was a culture that had developed its own music, art and industry, but it is a culture that is built on arrogance and antagonism toward God. In this chapter, Genesis four, we see the main themes that developed later on in Israel's history, and that is will Israel maintain a steadfast position in relationship to the revelation of God, maintain her obedience to the law revealed at Sinai, continue to have a righteous sacrificial system based upon the revealed ritual at Sinai, and obedience to God?
When we think about the cosmic system there are two elements that predominate. Everything else can come under these two categories. The first is arrogance. Man is arrogant, he is self-absorbed, he is on a path of self-deification. That arrogance puts him in antagonism to God. He is hostile to God, His Word, His plan and His procedures. So man is setting up his own way of doing things. He wants to be the ultimate standard for all absolutes rather than bowing the need to God. He wants God, then, to conform Himself to man's standards and man's ideas.
What we see in this chapter is how the curse of sin and spiritual death is passed on physically to the descendants. We focus on two of the offspring of Adam and Eve. We know from Genesis chapter five that there were many other sons and daughters but we don't know the birth order. We don't know how many years transpired before Seth was born who was the replacement for Abel. There are many questions in the chapter that are left unanswered. The purpose of the chapter is not to answer all of our questions but to illustrate the consequences of sin by way of a contrast between one son who is obedient and one son who is disobedient. Cain and Abel are both born after the fall so they are both born spiritually dead. The only thing they have is volition, and we see that Cain demonstrates negative volition to God and to the revealed Word of God, and Abel is a picture of positive volition, he is positive to what God has revealed.
At the end of Genesis 3, after the fall, and after God outlines the consequences for sin, we read: "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them." That is just a cursory statement, it doesn't say a whole lot. We have to infer certain things from it. If God is going to make clothing of skins it means He has to kill the animal; there is a blood sacrifice. We also infer from a number of other passages that there must have been some level of instruction there. We know that by the time we get to Genesis chapter six and Noah taking animals on the ark that God instructs Noah to take seven of every clean animal and two of every unclean animal. Where did Noah find out which was clean and which was unclean? We are not informed of when God revealed that information to Noah. But Noah apparently knew what was a clean animal and what was an unclean animal. There are sacrifices in Genesis chapter four. How did they know to bring a sacrifice? Where do they bring the sacrifice? What was the basis of the sacrifice? All of that information is left out of the text. We don't know. We can only infer from certain other passages of Scripture. The text here doesn't indicate anything about why Cain responds one way or why Abel is positive, it just shows the results of the unbelief of Cain versus the results of the belief of Abel. As we look at this one of the things we can develop from the text is a sort of picture of what people go through in unbelief, how unbelief responds to the truth. The focus is more on Cain and his response than it is on Abel.
As we go through this we can also see that Cain and Abel become archetypes of human viewpoint versus divine viewpoint. Cain is an archetype of the unbeliever, he is a picture of unrighteousness whereas Abel is a picture of righteousness. There are three key passages in the New Testament which give us some idea of what must have been going on in the background of Genesis chapter four. Cain is a picture of arrogance whereas Abel is a picture of genuine humility. Also, as we get into this text there is a bit of irony in the narrative. Eve, when she gives birth to Cain, thinks that he is the promised seed of the woman. She is thinking in terms of God's promise in Genesis 3:15, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed." So she is thinking that Cain is the answer to God's promise of deliverance. It is very likely that Satan also thought of Cain as the answer to that promise, so that would mean that Cain was a special target of Satan. That is played out in a sense. We can't be sure about this but some of the terminology given in verse 7, which talks about sin lying at the door, is interesting. The Hebrew word that is translated "lying at the door" is rabatz. It is a cognate to an Akadian word which was a name for a demon. And there is a personification of sin in this passage: "sin is crouching at the door to control you." So there is a hint there in the text that this may be some sort of demonic attack on Cain, which would make sense because if Eve thought that Cain was the promised seed then Satan certainly would and would seek to destroy that line. In fact, Cain ends up not being a believer at all.
Furthermore, we see in this chapter the development of the sin nature as it manifests itself in human history. It will produce a culture that is antagonistic and hostile to God. A culture involves a number of different things. We can think of culture in terms of art, literature, political structure, science and technology, and music. And as we go through the second half of Genesis four we will see that human viewpoint and the rebellion against God expressed by Cain works itself out in the subsequent generations in developing in all of these different areas. People think that all these areas—art, literature, etc.—are culturally neutral. But they are not. Anything that man does comes out of a framework of thought. You have a certain orientation to reality. How do you define reality? What is your view of ultimate reality? That then works itself out in terms of your art which is a portrayal of reality. Music is also a portrayal of reality. And how you see order and structure in the universe: is everything simply random? Or does it have order and meaning and purpose? Is there ultimate resolution or does it just go on in a random manner? Same thing with literature: what is expressed in literature. In literature you can teach values in a sort of back door fashion. It expresses the author's view of reality. So culture is the backdrop here as human viewpoint begins to express itself in terms of the development of culture. That is the essence of what comes to be called in the Bible "worldliness" or cosmic thinking. It is not what you do, it is how you think, and how your thinking and your perception of reality works itself out in terms of its attitudes. And, of course, it involves ethics because as we see Cain rejects God and God's plan and procedures, what God has revealed, and as he does so it works itself out in terms of his own ethics. What matters is what Cain wants, not what God says. All areas of culture are impacted by that basic orientation to ultimate reality which is God.
So in cosmic thinking, then, fallen, rebellious, negative volition seeks to reinterpret the world around it. When man is negative, in suppressing the truth in unrighteousness he has to have an alternative viewpoint. So he constructs an alternate view of reality, an alternate view of the world. This is something that we call world view. There are many different world views today that are all part of cosmic thinking. You can think of communism as one world view, existentialism as another world view, postmodernism as another, socialism as another. There are also world views that are religious. Islam produces one world view, Hinduism another, and within each of these world views there is an attempt to explain and structure all of reality. This is the orientation of any kind of human viewpoint negative volition, and in negative volition man seeks to redefine the world around him, to reconstruct his own ethics or value systems, to reconstruct his own norms and standards. Man redefines God and the terms for coming into the presence of God. He denies the reality of sin, the consequences of sin, the punishment and the responsibility for sin. All of this we see in Genesis chapter four.
The overall structure of this section. It begins in verse 1 with Eve making a statement: "I have acquired a man from the Lord." Actually, that is a very difficult statement to interpret, to translate. In the Hebrew is the initial verb, "I have a acquired" which is the verb qanah in the qal perfect. It is a first person singular so it means "I have acquired or gotten," and then the text just simply says, "I have gotten a man" [Heb. Ish, indicating a male], and then there is the difficult phrase et connected to the name Yahweh. The difficult thing is to translate et. In Hebrew you don't have cases per se, case endings like you do in Greek. In Hebrew there is a direct object marker, and that is this preposition et. You also have a preposition, et, and that preposition means "with." So there is a translation problem here. Is Eve making a statement, "I have acquired/gotten a man with the Lord," and some translations will say that this should be "with the help of the Lord." So that is an interpretation of the translation. On the other hand, there are a number of Hebrew scholars who argue that this is a direct object marker and what Eve is saying here is "I have gotten a man: the Lord." What would she mean by that? It would be her understanding and interpretation of the Genesis 3:15 promise, that this seed would not be just human but would also be divine. This was later developed. We know that the savior is the God-Man, and so that is what she thinks she has in this first-born son, she thinks she has got the Messiah. That would make sense. So this section which ends in verse 16 begins with the idea that "I have acquired a man from the Lord," and ends with "And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord." So there is an expression of that antagonistic element of human viewpoint in Cain. There is an indication in this first verse of the positive volition of the parents to the Lord and, on the other hand, the antagonism and hostility of Cain to the Lord by verse 16.
The story itself develops on the basis of two major dialogues, the same kind of thing we saw in terms of narration in chapter three. There was dialogue between the serpent and the woman, and then there is brief narration, and then there is dialogue between Yahweh, the serpent, the man and the woman, in verses 14-19. This section also turns on dialogue. Verses 3-7 is the first dialogue where Cain brings the offering and God dialogues with him in vv. 6, 7, and then in 9-16 is another dialogue where God is challenging Cain. The focus is clearly on the conflict between Cain and Abel.
The narrative goes back and forth in the first few verses—Cain-Abel, Abel-Cain, Cain-Abel, Abel-Cain. The author structures it this way in order to focus our attention on the fact that this is the conflict between Cain and Abel and his sin against his brother. Furthermore, the noun "brother" occurs seven times in the narrative. The name "Abel" also occurs seven times, emphasizing the relationship between Cain and Abel, and then the name "Cain" occurs fourteen times in seventeen verses.
Notice how there is always that seven, seven and fourteen, indicating that this is a complete narrative and very obvious that one person authored it; not like the documentary hypothesis of the liberals wanting to contend that there are different pieces that have been picked up over time and then edited and brought together from different authors. It shows the unity of the text.
There are also a number of factors in this section that connect it back to the previous section. For example, the verb yada, which means to know, is used in 4:1 and 4:9, and reminds the reader that man now knows the difference between good and evil, which is picked up in 2:17; 3:5, 7. We see that Cain had to hide himself after his condemnation, v. 14, so that no one seeks vengeance on him, just as Adam and Isha had to hide themselves from God in Genesis 3. Cain brought an offering from the fruit of the ground, which is a reminder of the fruit the woman ate. God interrogates Cain in vv. 6, 10, just as He interrogated Adam and Isha back in chapter three. God used the same words to Cain He used with the woman. He told the woman her desire would be for the man, a desire to control, and in 4:7 sin has a desire to control Cain, and that is the same Hebrew word; it is used only one other time outside of these two chapters in the Old Testament. In both chapters God imposes a penalty for sin. So we could go on and on demonstrating the parallels between the two chapters, showing that there must be a unity of authorship.
As the chapter begins we see that God is going to continue to bless the race even though they are now in a state of sin. They are fallen but God is still going to bless them with offspring. Their task has not changed, it has been made difficult, but they are still to rule over the birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, the beasts of the earth, and they are to rule over the planet. They are still in the image of God even though that image has been marred. So God blesses them with expansion and the birth of the two sons is viewed as divine blessing. Verse 1, "And Adam knew Eve his wife." Te Hebrew is the qal perfect of yada and it means to know. The word has numerous connotations. It means to know, to learn, to gain knowledge; it is used as a euphemism for sexual relations, and it emphasis that there should be a level of knowledge between husband and wide. It indicates that sex is not something that is merely a physical act but is an extension of an intimate knowledgeable relationship between a husband and a wife. It is not something that is merely physical, but that there is an intellectual and emotional dimension to sex. Eve conceives and says, "I have acquired a man: Yahweh." She is thinking at this point that this is the promised Messiah.
The naming of a child is typical in Genesis. Usually a child is named in relationship to some specific event or some character quality, and you could look at passages such as Genesis 5:29; 17:5; 41:51 and other passages where the naming of a child indicates something. Don't think that Cain means to acquire or to gain something. Cain doesn't mean that. The word "acquire" is different from the name Cain, which is simply a word play. Were there other sons between Cain and Abel? No one knows. Did a lot of time go by between the birth of Cain and that of Abel? No one knows. Abel is Hebel in the Hebrew, and it means breath, vanity, emptiness. Not a real positive connotation here.
Verse 2, "And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground." There is an interesting thing taking place here. It looks like a family of just four, but there is a division of labor already. Abel's responsibility has to do with the flocks. Cain is a tiller of the ground. Remember, man is not authorized to eat meat until after the flood, so why are they keeping flocks and herds? For leather, clothing, the wool, and also for sacrifices. So Abel has a job that is related to sacrifice, and we can connect that back to the instruction that Adam and his wife received from God when He made the tunics of skins for them. Abel's job has to do with sacrifice and redemption from the curse, but Cain in contrast is a tiller on the ground. That is a reminder of God's curse on the ground, that "in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life." So there is a hint here of an ominous overtone: a hint of a reminder of the curse on the one hand and the redemption from the curse on the other hand.
This second half of verse two indicates that some time has elapsed. Enough time has gone by for them to have different occupations. We know from chapter five that Adam and Isha had other sons and daughters, so we don't know how many there were in this family. Because of implications of Cain building a city at the end of chapter four and other things it is suggested that there were a number of children, that offspring were multiplying and that some time had gone by. But we can't be sure. The implications are that the boys are at least old enough to have chosen occupations.
The second thing that we could note is that since they are older, at the very least adolescent—18, 19, 20 years of age—it must be assumed that there has been a history of sacrifice. It must be assumed that of God gave instructions to Adam and Isha back in Genesis 3:21 for sacrifices that this is something the boys have observed all their life. They have watched Adam and Eve present those sacrifices on a regular basis to God. But certainly there was a protocol for bringing a sacrifice. That leaves us with certain unanswered questions, such as where did they learn about bringing a sacrifice? Obviously, the only thing we can surmise is from Genesis 3:21, and that this information was passed on by their father. This clearly would not be their first sacrifice, and they understood what would be expected.
A third thing we could note from this is that both boys would have been taught the necessity of a blood sacrifice for first coming into the presence of God, on the basis of atonement.
Fourth, we know this because the raising of animals was not for food so it must have been for sacrifices. So they had a clear understanding of the sacrificial system. The fifth implication that we see from this is that Cain and Abel, as did the other children of Adam and Eve, manifested different volitional choices in life.
Things become a little more negative in the second section, which deals with vv. 3-5 where we see the contrast between human viewpoint and divine viewpoint. There are two offerings made. V. 3, "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD." The word here for offering, for both offerings, is the same. It is the Hebrew word minchah, and this has as its root meaning the idea of a gift, and it is used of the grain offering in the Levitical offerings. So it does not indicate in and of itself that there is something inherently wrong with this offering. What we must understand here is an implication from other passages in the Scriptures.
Look at the contrast. Cain brought an offering from the fruit of the ground. All the text says is he brought the fruit, he doesn't bring the best. Then in v. 4 we look at Abel who brought "of the firstlings of his flock." This should be translated "he brought the fattest of the firstlings of his flock." He brought the very best, so there is a contrast. Cain just brought a gift from the fruit, it may not have been the best fruit. Abel, on the other hand, brought the very best of the flock. Abel clearly is obedient to God's standard.
The fat was a principle that was incorporated into the Mosaic law in passages such as Exodus 13:2, 12; Leviticus 3:16; 22:17-25, where there is an emphasis that the fat portion belongs to God. So Abel's sacrifice fits subsequent patterns for sacrifices, but Cain's sacrifice seems to be a secondary sacrifice that he brings in contrast to the blood sacrifice of Abel. In the New Testament we have a couple of verses that give us a little more insight into Cain's offering.
Though Cain's offering may have been legitimate as an offering we have an indication that it wasn't simply his attitude, but it is suggested that his attitude produced the wrong kind of sacrifice. He wants to define what it takes to come into the presence of God. This is typical of human viewpoint. Human viewpoint wants to solve the problem on its own and wants to dictate to God what is acceptable: it's good works; it's ritual; we are going to come up with our own approach to God saying that there is one and only one way to Him.
So Abel is trusting in the revelation of God, Hebrews 11:4, "By faith [on the basis of the doctrine that had been revealed to him] Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." Here the emphasis is clearly on the quality of the sacrifice, not on the attitude of the one coming, which would indicate that Cain was disobedient in what he brought as a sacrifice. "… through which he obtained witness that he was righteous." There we see that Abel has a positional righteousness: he is justified before God. "… God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks," i.e., we still have a testimony related to Abel's righteousness. Then in Hebrews 12:24 there is another allusion to Abel, "And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel." Jesus' sacrifice is seen as a picture of the sacrifice of Abel. Abel's sacrifice portrayed that which would be accomplished on the cross, therefore it brings in the idea that this had something to do with redemption and with atonement.
Abel was bringing an atoning sacrifice; Cain did not bring an atoning sacrifice. So in human viewpoint what we see is that the person on negative volition, the person on human viewpoint, seeks to approach God on his own terms and define the basis for that relationship with God on his own terms. Whereas divine viewpoint seeks to approach God on His terms and on how God has described how that should take place. The result of this is that when man wants to get to God on his terms and God rejects it, man becomes angry. Man is hostile, jealous and bitter over that rejection. He turns angry toward God and this is what we see typically with unbelievers. There is a level of bitterness and anger directed towards God.
Genesis 4:4, "And the LORD had regard unto Abel and to his offering." The Hebrew word for "regard" is sa'ah, and it means to look on something, and it comes to mean to look on something with favor, although in some cases it does mean to look on something with disfavor, depending on the context. The word comes to mean to look on something with respect, to pay attention to something, or to validate. So we could translate this, "And the Lord validated Abel and his offering." V. 5, "But unto Cain and to his offering he had no validation." The result is that Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. He became depressed. There is a connection between anger and depression. Anger is the result of not getting your own way; depression is the result of realizing that you are not going to get your own way, and after you have been angry for a while it deteriorates into depression. Cain goes through all this very quickly and he is angry at God.
At this point God confronts him with his sin, just as God has confronted Adam and Eve. Verse 6, "And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?" In the following verses we see another characteristic of human viewpoint antagonism to God: it rejects the divine warnings about sin. Human viewpoint says to God, it won't really happen, it is not that serious, it is not that bad. It is the same as in the original fall. Eve did not think that the consequences of eating the fruit would be that serious. V. 7, "If thou doest well." This is the Hebrew word yatab which is related to the noun tob for good—you do well. It has here a moral connotation. You can do well now that you know the difference between good and evil—you can do that which is pleasing to God. That is being subordinate to His plan and purposes. This is in contrast to sin. "…and if thou doest not well, sin is crouching at the door." Here is the picture of the personification of sin. It is seeking to destroy like an animal. The word here for crouching at the door is the word rabatz, and this, as has already been mentioned, a cognate of an Akadian word for demon. Sin is like a demon at the door. And its desire (the same word as the woman's desire over the man in Genesis 3:15) is a desire to control, to dominate you, but you must master it. The principle here is that even though we are a fallen creature and under sin the individual has the ability to master sin, to choose not to sin, on the basis of God's provision. So Cain is told that even though there is this tremendous temptation right now, and resentment and reaction toward God, he does not have to yield to that temptation and he can master it.
Verse 8, "And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him." We don't know hoe he killed him. Jewish legend says that he picked up a stone and hit Abel over the head with it. Other renditions say that Cain used the sacrificial knife. We are not told. All we know is that he murdered his brother. The point of this is that in human viewpoint arrogance Cain expresses antagonism towards what God has warned him about. He treats God's warning lightly; he doesn't take Him seriously. As a result he disobeys God and he murders his brother. God then confronts him with his sin.
Verse 9, "And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?" God knows there Abel is. He wants to point out to Cain that he has to face up to his responsibility. Just like his parents he refuses that. This is the next point: human viewpoint rejects responsibility for sin. The point of this story is, yes, you are your brother's keeper. To the Jew, in Leviticus 19:18: You are to love your neighbor as yourself, and that is intensified in the New Testament. So there is a mutual responsibility here to take care of one another. Why? Because we are in the image of God. This is why murder is wrong, we are all created in the image of God despite that fact that we live in a fallen world. There are consequences for sin. In Jude 11 we are told, "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core." The point of this verse is that there are consequences to sin, there are consequences to human viewpoint rebellion, and yet human viewpoint seeks to reject the idea of personal responsibility for sin and personal accountability.
The confrontation continues in vv. 10-14. "And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground." God pays attention to the victim; not the rights of the criminal but the rights of the victim. V.11, "And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand." So there are consequences to Cain in relationship to his chosen vocation, because he was the tiller of the ground. Now he is cursed from the ground, he is no longer going to be able to have production from the ground because of his murder of his brother. V. 12, "When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth." Here is where we see the beginning of the nomad. What we see in evolution is the picture of man starting off, finally a human being has evolved, and then he collects with other human beings, and he is nomadic. They live by hunting and gathering. Eventually as time went by and thousands of years go by they decide to settle in specific locations and develop cities. So in evolution there is this idea of progress. But the picture in Scripture is they start off already having agricultural skills, already having an advanced mentality. And what you see in the hunter and gatherer, aborigine nomadic cultures is a devolution because of sin, not evolution. So this is just the complete opposite of what human viewpoint concepts of origins dictate. He is a vagrant and a wanderer because of sin. This is how you get the various different types of cave men, because they were different elements, different branches of the human race that were involved in rebellion against God and left the mainstream. They do not represent the mainstream. We notice one again that man's sin has consequences on nature.
As a result of this we see that human viewpoint challenges the judgment of God, and it protests God's judgment as being too harsh. V. 13, "And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me"—i.e. wide open to vengeance from anyone else in the family who wants to execute justice. And so God says that there is still common grace extended to Cain, and this is outlined in v. 15, "And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance [justice] shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him." God isn't exercising revenge, He is exercising judgment or justice, and that is how this should be translated. The idea of sevenfold indicates its completeness.
Verse 16, "And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden." So he begins to go into the land where there is no one else and he is just a wanderer and a vagrant living off the land to the best that he can.
What we have seen as we have gone through this chapter is an indication of the response of human viewpoint versus divine viewpoint. First of all we saw that human viewpoint seeks to approach God on his own terms. He wants to define the sacrifice, define the ritual, what the norms and standards are. Then as he does that and God rejects that, then in his arrogance he becomes hostile, angry, jealous, and bitter over that rejection. Furthermore, in human viewpoint the arrogance rejects the warnings about sin, treats the sin lightly—it is not that serious, not that devastating—and then human viewpoint goes to rejecting responsibility for sin, and accountability for sin. Then when God lowers the boom it whines and cries out against God who is just not fair and is unjust. In the story of Cain and Abel we see a picture of what happens in the human race, a contrast between the righteous seed of the woman and the unrighteous.