CSI: Genesis

God told Adam and Eve that disobedience brings death. Though that word still hung over everything, no one had died yet. All of that changed when Adam and Eve have children. Death is not far behind this new life. Bonhoeffer says, “The whole story of death begins with Cain.”

Why does Cain murder his brother Abel? Bonhoeffer says, “Out of hatred towards God.” Because Cain cannot murder God, he attacks God’s creation. (Thousands of years later, mankind got their chance to murder God. They did it without pity. But, God would not stay down. He rose again on the third day and provides new life for all.) Genesis 4 says that God received Abel’s offering but rejected Cain’s offering. This is interesting because we often think that we know what would please God. Instead of obedience to what He said we make up our own standard. God rejects that standard.

Instead of adjusting his attitude after rejection, Genesis 4:6-7 says, Cain became angry and frustrated: “Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you furious? And why are you downcast? If you do right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.’”

God tells Cain to change his attitude and follow in obedience. If Cain will not, sin is waiting for him.

Cain rejects God. He feels slighted and he exacts his revenge on God by striking out against God’s creation. The creature usurps the authority and power of life and takes it for himself.

Yet, Cain’s destruction of his brother boomerangs back on him and becomes his own destruction as well. Cain loses his place in life. He is exiled and left to wander without a home and without the ability to farm.             

At the heart of all sin is the desire to be in charge. We want to take control. Sin is waiting for an opportunity to attack. When we sink into attitudes of anger and frustration, when we push God’s standard aside and create standards for our way of living, we are on the road to the destruction of others and the destruction of ourselves.


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