Cain And Abel Essay, Research Paper
Genesis 4: The First Murder
In Genesis 4, The First Murder starts to show the darker side of the Old Testament. The characters of this story begin to exhibit examples of having to deal with emotion. It focuses on God’s concept of sin and the consequences for violating God’s laws. The story itself is short but filled with symbolism and meaning concerning good and evil while at the same time glorifying God.
The story of Cain and Abel illustrates the covenant of loyalty between God and humankind. Cain and Abel are brothers who have been given separate jobs. Cain is a tiller of the earth while Abel is a herder of sheep and their failed understanding of God’s ways result in suffering between them. Cain and Abel both make offerings onto God but only Abel’s offering is recognized and accepted. This confuses Cain because he works harder than his brother does yet God refuses to accept his offering. His jealously is kindled and Cain then rises against his brother, angrily killing him. God realizes what Cain has done and instead of taking his life, God punishes him by marking his forehead so that everyone will recognize him as exiled.
Cain is wrestling with sinful emotions throughout the story. He becomes angry with God when his gifts are not accepted and that anger turns to jealousy of Abel. God tells Cain that sin will try to invade his thoughts but he must learn how to master it. He cannot, and Cain lets his jealousy overwhelm him. Cain’s anger is directed at God but projected onto Abel when he betrays him.
God shows his inquisitiveness of the nature of man several times during the story. He asks Cain “Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?” because Cain’s demeanor is not one of acceptance of God’s will but wounded at not being chosen. God’s forgiveness is also exemplified when he spares Cain his life and only banishes him to walk the earth as an exile. He protects Cain by setting a mark upon him so that others would recognize his situation and leave him be. God then threatens seven-fold vengeance upon anyone who would violate his decree in this matter.
This tale is the basis for how the Old Testament is to show the concept of murder as a sin against God. It maintains that men are weak by letting their emotions control their actions. When this loss of control takes shape in one’s actions, then it is the embodiment of sin and God will punish transgressors accordingly.
The story shows a moral code to be followed while also proving God’s ability to forgive. His leniency in sparing the life of Cain shows that even though his power is great, his mercy is even greater.