Monday, June 22, 2020

Chaos ensues

In Genesis 4 it is evident that Cain and Abel are seeking to remain in contact with God as they offer their sacrificial gifts (by the label given to their gifts, minhah [offering], they are clearly not thinking of dealing with sin but of retaining God’s favor). Sacrifice here is a relationship—building activity but a poor substitute for divine presence. It becomes evident, however, that Cain does not have God’s order in mind when he rejects God’s offer of a way to gain favor and chooses instead to seek order for himself by killing his brother. Thus he pursues disorder as he seeks his own benefit.

The result is that God banishes him (the thrust of the Hebrew word ’arur, translated “under a curse” in Gen 4:11). Being driven away from society and the provision of the ground places him in further nonorder. Cain notes this by the three things he has lost: provision of the land, access to the presence of God (further reduced), and protection of society (Gen 4:14). Nevertheless, he retains the order that was established in the blessing of Genesis 1:28—he is able to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 4:17).—Lost World of the Flood, 115

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