The Damaged Harmony – Continues

Further Fall of Man

Envy and Murder Gen 4:1-16

The author introduces a new narrative to illustrate the consequences of sin. He expands his thesis that once God is distrusted and sin been unleashed, once disharmony has entered the world, conditions become gradually worse

Like Adam and Eve, Cain refuses to accept things as they are (creaturehood); he refuses to let God be God. God’s favouring of Abel over Cain is not explained; nor should we try to explain the mystery of God’s election. The fact is, God has not totally and unfairly rejected Cain (he even encourages him to conquer his jeatousy, Refer 4:6-7), even though he does not favour his sacrifice. Cain distrusts God, will not allow God freedom to bestow favour. He thinks God should follow human standards, which prefer the firstborn son to his younger brothers (ironically, Cain himself ignores the human rule that the elder son should protect the others).

Envy — concentrating on the one thing not granted him — and the subsequent murder, hardens Cain’s heart. He lacks pity for his brother. He refuses to acknowledge his crime; he never owns up to his guilt. Disorder in man’s relationship with the earth intensifies; the farmer Cain abandons the rebellious earth and becomes a nomad. He wanders far from the LORD. Yet the narrative ends on a note of hope. Strangely and contrary to the reader’s expectation, God does not kill sinners. He protects Cain and vows vengeance on anyone who would harm him. The mystery of God’s mercy far exceeds his justice.

Cruelty & Vengeance 4:23-26

Banished from the Lord’s presence, Cain traveled east of Eden and took up residence in the land of Nod, where he built a city and named it after his son (Gen 4:16-17). Six generations later, Cain’s line reached a kind of diabolical fullness in a descendant named Lamech, who took two wives (Gen 4:17-24). This is the first record of polygamy recorded in Scripture. In view of the primordial marital covenant, Cain’s descendant clearly flouted God’s standard. Unbridled lust is accompanied by violence; so the arrogant Lamech boasted to his wives, “I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain has avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-seven-fold” (vv. 23-24). The number seven is a covenant symbol, however, here it signifies the maturation of evil over time in the line of Cain

With the story of Lamech, the horror of sin is expanded — his song of revenge is full of the cruelty and vengeance, which marks the hardened sinner

The merciful LORD does not kill sinners. Perhaps the most horrible consequence of this is that man takes advantage of God’s mercy. He not only presumes to take vengeance on those who harm him (something God reserves to himself — 4:15), but he does so with astounding cruelty and intensity.

God does not reply to the sinful boast of Lamech; he does not give him a trial and a chance to defend himself as Adam and Cain had. By his abusive attitude, Lamech bars himself from reconciliation. Yet the passage still ends with a sign of hope (vs 26). Life goes on and Seth receives a son named Enosh (which means the same as “Adam mankind), who worships the LORD. True worship of God can coexist with sin as great as that of Lamech.

Supreme Arrogance 6:1-4

The sacred author makes one final statement about the wickedness of mankind with a mysterious little story about a marriage between mankind and heavenly beings.

First Interpretation : The mythological histories of many pagan nations proudly claimed intercourse between their ancestors and the gods. The Yahwist writer, however, views this event as a final step in the development of sin; it is mankind’s ultimate refusal of creaturehood. The desire to be divine is a horrible insult to the Creator who made man good. This refusal to be satisfied with creaturehood forces God to a drastic solution.

Second Interpretation :

When people began to multiply on the face of the earth, “the sons of God,” that is, the Sethite (Generation of Adam’s third Son) men, were seduced by the beauty of “the daughters of men,” that is, the Cainite (Generation of Cain) women. The beauty of the wicked proved stronger than the resolve of the righteous. Sethite men found a new forbidden fruit, the beautiful but ungodly Cainite women, to be irresistible. And they didn’t just marry them; “they married as they chose,” which might imply that, along with mixed marriages, polygamy had now also entered into the line of Seth, the covenant family of God. And violent men were born.

This pattern continues throughout Israel’s history, even to the Babylonian exile in the sixth century B.C., and beyond. That’s why Ezra required the Jews who returned from exile to abandon their foreign wives. His point was clear: your mixed marriages invite a spirit of indifference, compromise and disobedience. God the Father is unwavering in his commitment to the marriage covenant.

Result : If the supreme creature (man) refuses to acknowledge his creatureliness, refuses to love his Creator, all of creation is meaningless. The stage is set for the Flood.

The listing of the descendants of Adam (Gen 5:1-32), forms a bridge to the flood narrative. Like most similar lists in the Pentateuch, it comes from the Priestly writer. Its basic purpose is to show that with each succeeding generation, mankind spread through the world.

Do not become overly concerned about the ages of the patriarchs. Ancient peoples often ascribed extremely long lives to great men; some kings were said to have lived 1 0,000 years, clearly a symbolic number. The number of years given here seems to be symbolic too, but no one knows for certain how to interpret the symbolism. (In fact, different ancient manuscripts of the Bible record varying ages). Note, however, that the ages get less as mankind moves away from creation and sin develops.

Kindly keep me in your prayers.

In Christ,

Steven Pais