Monday, April 02, 2012

Another look at Cain and Abel

“In the Cain and Abel story, Abel has a claim on Cain: Do not kill me! Why? It is because God takes personal interest in every human person who has been created in the divine image. In fact, that is very likely what it means to say that all humankind is made to “resemble [bi-demut] God” (Gen 5:1), namely, God and humans are interested in each other insofar as they share some commonality, a commonality not found in God’s relations with the rest of creation. 'And the Lord God said that humans are like one of us [kʾehad mimmennu], experiencing good and bad' (Gen 3:22). As such, an assault on any other human being is taken to be an assault on God himself; in fact, one’s ultimate reason for assaulting another human being might be because this is the closest one can come to assaulting God [emphasis mine]. Let it be remembered that Cain was still very angry with God for having rejected his sacrifice (Gen 4:4–7) just before we read that 'when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and he killed him”'(Gen 4:8). Killing his brother Abel, whom God had favored, might well have been his attempt to take revenge on God for God’s rejection of him.”—Jewish Bible Theology, page 93

<idle musing>
Interesting insight, isn't it? I think he's right! We don't dare strike back at God directly, so we find someone "safer" but still in the image of God...
</idle musing>

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