Cain Wasn’t Abel to Please God

Moving on to Genesis 4, we learn about Adam and Eve’s two sons: Cain and Abel. As if the story of the “fall of man” didn’t seem like it was written by an underachieving sixth-grader, we’re now going to dumb things down so all you fourth-graders out there have something to read. As expected, this story has problems and I’ll tell you just exactly what some of them are.

Problem 1: Reproduction
As you may or may not recall from my last blog post, Adam and Eve were damned and thrown out of paradise because they were purposely created too ignorant to understand what disobedience and sin were. Along with being banished, they were commanded to make more of themselves! Yes, that’s right, the most perfect being in the universe was so angry with these two sinners he told them to immediately go out and start breeding like rabbits. I’m not making this up. So Adam and Eve started breeding and popped out two sons: Cain first and then Abel. Presumably, the boys made it to their teens without any more brothers and sisters (or the documentation was pretty shoddy at this point).

Problem 2: Favoritism
Cain was a gardener and Abel was a shepherd. At some point, the boys got to talking and decided to bring the best of their best offerings to god to show him just how much they loved him. Cain, of course, brought fruits and grains in this bundle of healthy, fiber-rich hippie food. Abel, on the other hand, brought leg of lamb and a big tub of lard that would clog the arteries of even a deity who worked out at the YMCA every day…and took Lipitor regularly. I’ll tell you something: god is not a vegetarian. So god, who loves everyone equally, told Abel that his offering was awesome and Cain’s sucked. That’s bound to piss anybody off, right?

Problem 3: Divine Nonsense
Cain was mad. He had put a lot of work into gathering his hippie food for god and got the cold shoulder. So god, in that incredibly sensitive way he has of comforting people, told Cain to suck it up and stop being such a goddamned baby. Not only that, but he told Cain that if Cain did what was right then he’d always be accepted. So…was offering the best of what he had to give not “right?” Silly carnivorous god!

After he imparted that glaring contradiction, he told Cain that sin was crouching at his door (the Bible doesn’t mention that these people had made houses at this point, so I’m not even sure if Cain knew what a door was) and he had to “rule over it.” Cain, at this point, was probably like, “OMG, WTFSRSLY?”

Problem 4: Murder?
Cain asked Abel to go chill with him in the fields and was still so angry (and confused from what god just told him) that he killed his brother.

Now, here’s where things are a little fuzzy for me. Christians keep telling me that our moral code is derived from god’s 10 Commandments and that without them we’d be raping each other and stealing each others’ baseball cards and eating too much. I don’t agree (I will always eat too much regardless), but if we granted them this premise then at this point the 10 Commandments didn’t exist. How is it then that Cain, without a moral code, should have felt guilty about killing his brother or should have been punished as though it were a sin? After all, he was really pissed off. God never told anybody that killing was wrong. In fact, god’s plan was to murder anybody who ate the knowledgeberries. Remember those? What kind of example does that set?

So while this is an issue for Christian sticklers of 10 Commandment-based morality, let’s take a humanist approach and say that we all inherently know that killing other humans is bad. Cain murdered his brother and god found out (again with this “finding out” stuff! Doesn’t god already know this?) and cursed Cain and took away his gardening skills. Bad Cain, no granola for you!

Problem 5: Spontaneous Humans!
God told Cain that he would drive him from his home and he would wander the Earth restlessly (can you restfully wander the Earth?). Cain felt overwhelmed and asked god for mercy because everywhere he went, people would try to kill him.

Wait!

What people? So far as we know, Adam and Eve were the first humans created and when they got kicked out of the garden, they had two sons and one of those was now dead. There are three friggin’ people on the planet. Of whom is Cain afraid?! Nobody knows, not even god, because god told Cain that he’d put a special mark on his forehead so nobody (whoever this “nobody” was) would kill him and Cain started his restless wandering…restlessly.

Problem 5: Sex With Your Sister
Cain went into the land of Nod and made love to his wife.

Wait!

I think I just skipped something, let me see here: Genesis 4:16 says Cain wandered into Nod and Genesis 4:17 says Cain made sweet love to his wife. From where in the frick did this woman come? Where is Nod? How many people lived there? Were they all Cain’s brothers and sisters or were they magically conjured up from dirt? The Bible doesn’t say.

We have to assume that these people were all products of the original mating pair of humans but there’s a problem with that:

Problem 6: Timelines
Adam and Eve had another son and named him Seth. When Seth was born, Eve said that god had given her another son to replace Abel since Cain killed him. It seems to me this is still a fresh wound and this verse would suggest that Seth was born while Cain was wandering. It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that not that much time had passed between Abel dying and Seth being born. However, just for sake of argument let’s call it a full generation (~30 years). If that was the case, then Adam and Eve would not have had time to have enough children between Abel and Seth for them to have grown up, migrated, and started settlements (like the land of Nod). This means that Cain would have entered the land of Nod prior to its being inhabited. Do you see the disconnect, kids? I do.

Conclusion
What have we learned from this story? That god is a meatatarian? No. We’ve learned that god’s purposeful creation of ignorant beings with no moral compass led to the first murder and incestuous relationship ever recorded and that the Bible was unfortunately written before the invention of clocks and calendars.

Now, again, some may argue that this story is allegorical and that we’re merely supposed to learn a lesson about not killing your brother and sleeping with your sister or something but no matter how you slice it, it’s got problems from a moral standpoint.

First, god says he loves us all but he clearly shows favoritism. That’s bad. Second, god purposely created ignorant knuckleheads and never told them not to beat each other to death and was surprised to see that one of the knuckleheads beat the other knucklehead to death. That’s ridiculous. Third, god’s punishments always seem disproportionate to the crime – not only was Cain banished from his home but he was cursed so that he’d never be able to grow any food again for as long as he lived. That’s cruel, although it doesn’t seem to have affected Cain much since he went right out and made whoopee (does anybody say that anymore?) with some spontaneously-generated chick. I’m amending “cruel” to “bull crap.”

Stay tuned for the next installment! New blog time, same blog channel.

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13 comments

  1. Not only did this post have a great title (pun!), it even had hilarious content. Very impressive. I particularly liked the part of questioning how Cain would’ve known killing was wrong.

  2. I loved this.
    Genesis never sat well with me for all the above reasons and more. And if the start of your book is crap, well… shit runs downhill my friend.

    Not to mention, Adam lived to be 900+ years old. Like THAT ever happened.

  3. “Yes, that’s right, the most perfect being in the universe was so angry with these two sinners he told them to immediately go out and start breeding like rabbits. I’m not making this up.”

    Where does it say this? God told them to be “fruitful and multiply” in Genesis 1, before the Fall.

    Cain was mad. He had put a lot of work into gathering his hippie food for god and got the cold shoulder. So god, in that incredibly sensitive way he has of comforting people, told Cain to suck it up and stop being such a goddamned baby. Not only that, but he told Cain that if Cain did what was right then he’d always be accepted. So…was offering the best of what he had to give not “right?”

    The thing is, he didn’t offer the best of what he had to give. Abel did, by bringing the firstborn of his flock and the fat portions. (Genesis 4:3-4)

    “Third, god’s punishments always seem disproportionate to the crime-not only was Cain banished from his home but he was cursed so that he’d never be able to grow any food again for as long as he lived. That’s cruel…”

    God could have killed him or let him be killed by someone else, but he actually protected Cain (by putting a mark on him). He even allowed him to enjoy having a wife and kids. There’s worse punishments than that.

  4. @cute_sushi – “Where does it say this?”

    There’s a big difference between, “You’ll have pains during labor” and, “Stop making more humans.” When god kicked the sinful couple out of the Garden he placed no restrictions on their breeding, effectively causing an influx of more sinners (eventually causing the need for the Flood and Jesus’ death). Ridiculous.

    “The thing is, he didn’t offer the best of what he had to give. Abel did, by bringing the firstborn of his flock and the fat portions.”

    Please read your statement above and tell me if you can spot the problem. Cain was a gardener. There were no fatty portions or firstborn to bring. He brought the best of his grains and fruits and offered them up to god, just like Abel did with his animals. There was no problem with Cain’s sacrifice other than god’s thirst for blood and death. Let’s try this again: Cain was a gardener.

    “There’s worse punishments than that.”

    Like being deemed a worthless sinner throughout all generations of your offspring for eternity and damned to a punishment worse than death forever if you don’t blindly accept some ridiculous story of a jealous and bloodthirsty god who offers to save you from his own mistake? Yeah, you’re right. I guess there are worse punishments…

  5. @CoderHead – This is what you wrote on your post: “he told them to immediately go out and start breeding like rabbits. I’m not making this up.” My argument is God didn’t say that.

    He brought the best of his grains and fruits
    and offered them up to god, just like Abel did with his animals. There
    was no problem with Cain’s sacrifice other than god’s thirst for blood
    and death.

    Like I said before, Cain didn’t bring his best things to God while Abel did. That’s why God favored Abel’s sacrifice. It’s not about what the sacrifice was (lamb or veggies) but the quality of it. God says to Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” meaning Cain didn’t do well. It’s not about grains vs. animals.

    Like being deemed a worthless sinner
    throughout all generations…

    If humans were all worthless, God wouldn’t have made a way to save anyone at all. But God came down to Earth as a helpless baby, living among humans, washing the feet of those who would betray him, etc. Even though humans killed Jesus, he still forgave them on the cross and provided a way for salvation. And who says you have to blindly accept? There are people whose lives have been completely changed by Jesus and have seen miracles happen, etc.

  6. @cute_sushi – “My argument is God didn’t say that.”

    So your problem is that you failed to grasp the sarcasm? OK, I’ll concede that god didn’t specifically tell them to breed like rabbits using exactly those words. Fair enough? Good. Now, did god tell them not to create any more sinners? I didn’t think so. Moving on…

    “Like I said before, Cain didn’t bring his best things to God while Abel did. “

    How do you support that statement? Genesis 4:3,4 doesn’t make any distinction between the two offerings aside from what comprised each. It doesn’t say that Cain brought some old, dead crap lying on the ground. It says he brought some of his fruits and grains as an offering while Abel brought some of his flock. Why would god not be pleased that Cain was bringing him an offering at all? What was Cain supposed to do that he didn’t?

    “If humans were all worthless, God wouldn’t have made a way to save anyone at all.”

    Fair enough, although Romans 3:10-12 says there is none righteous; they have turned away and become worthless. We’re constantly told that we’re wretched sinners and unworthy of salvation. It’s a contradiction and spawns confusion to say these things and then turn around and say that god values you in some special way.

    “There are people whose lives have been completely changed by Jesus and have seen miracles happen, etc.”

    Which miracles would those be, exactly? And how do you define miracle? If you keep a pretty low standard of what constitutes a miracle then it wouldn’t be too hard to say everyone has witnessed one or more in their lifetime. There are people whose lives have been changed by Muhammad, Krishna, and Buddha as well. Does that make them as real as Jesus?

  7. @CoderHead –How do you support that statement?… It says he brought some of his fruits and grains as an offering while Abel brought some of his flock.

    Again, God said to Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” meaning Cain didn’t do well. Also, the words that are used to describe their offerings: “some of the fruits of the soil” vs “fat portions from some of the firstborn” show that the quality of the offerings were different–there’s significance in the “firstborn” that repeats throughout the Bible. Cain didn’t bring his firstfruits, while Abel brought the firstborn of his flock.

    Why would god not be pleased that Cain was bringing him an offering at all? What was Cain supposed to do that he didn’t?

    A man said this to Jesus: “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:33)

    Abel sacrificed the firstborn of the flock, showing his heart towards God, while Cain with his lesser offering showed his heart.

    Fair enough, although Romans 3:10-12 says there is none righteous; they have turned away and become worthless.

    Notice the words “they have turned away” and “become worthless” as in, they did something to deserve that judgement. If you continue reading Romans 3, it gives you examples of what the people were guilty of: tongues practicing deceit, mouths full of cursing, feet swift to shed blood, etc.

    We’re constantly told that we’re wretched sinners and unworthy of salvation. It’s a contradiction and spawns confusion to say these things and then turn around and say that god values you in some special way.

    That God still sent Jesus even though we’re wretched sinners shows his love for us. The reason why it’s confusing to you is because you view God in a very low way and humans in a high way. The Bible teaches the opposite, so of course it would be confusing.

    Which miracles would those be, exactly? And how do you define miracle?

    The miracles that Jesus did in the New Testament that still happen today like healing, etc. There’s a documentary about miracles called “Finger of God” you should try watching. The first 15 minutes is a bit strange, but if you want to see miracles, maybe visit the places in the film? There’s also a sequel, “Furious Love”.

    dictionary.com defines miracles as: 1. an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.

    There are people whose lives have been changed by Muhammad, Krishna, and Buddha as well. Does that make them as real as Jesus?

    I’m not talking about “I feel happier now” change, but changes in a person that produce courage and love for others even if their life is at stake after knowing Jesus. Have you heard of Esther Ahn Kim or Father Kolbe’s stories? And there’s Voice of the Martyrs as well.

  8. @cute_sushi – The fact that Cain brought an offering at all shows his heart. Obviously he wanted to please god, otherwise he wouldn’t have bothered. How do you go about giving “firstfruits,” pray tell? You realize there’s no such thing as “the very first offspring of a tree,” right? You either have fruit from the tree or you don’t – they blossom once a season. Cain offered seasonal fruit, what’s wrong with that?

    Yeah, I value humans higher than god because humans exist, have immediate needs, and affect the world and me in tangible ways. I don’t think that’s arrogant, it’s just fact. What does god need that makes him more important than those around me?

    And I’m not talking about “I feel happier now” feelings either. The exact same changes, feelings, and “miracles” you attribute to Jesus have been attributed to all other sorts of gods throughout history with the exact same amount of adamant faith that you profess. What makes your feelings any different or more real than anyone else’s? That’s arrogance and hubris. You’re right because you believe you’re right, yeah? News flash: everyone else thinks the same thing while believing in a different god.

  9. @CoderHead –The fact that Cain brought an offering at all shows his heart. 

    The Israelites would also give offerings to God, but God wasn’t always pleased with them because they would do it half-heartedy or without a humble heart. Read the quote Mark 12:33 and there’s also examples in Isaiah.

    Yeah, I value humans higher than god because humans exist, have immediate needs, and affect the world and me in tangible ways. I don’t think that’s arrogant, it’s just fact.
    You’re assuming you’re right and everyone else who believes in God is wrong, and you say that’s not arrogant? You said yourself: What makes your feelings any different or more real than anyone else’s? That’s arrogance and hubris. You’re right because you believe you’re right, yeah? You can apply this to yourself too.

    The exact samechanges, feelings, and “miracles” you attribute to Jesus have been attributed to all other sorts of gods throughout history with the exact same amount of adamant faith that you profess.
    Can you cite sources? I did read some testimonies of Buddhists, Hare Krishnas, but they were all “I feel happier now” stories.

    What does god need that makes him more important than those around me?
    Well, you’re right that God doesn’t “need” anything, but if the God of the Bible is true, then we desperately need Him to save us. If He’s the one who created the universe and all the people in it, why wouldn’t the Creator be more important than the creation? But God tells us to love Him and love others, not ignore people and just love Him.

  10. @cute_sushi – You’re making a false assumption. I don’t assume I’m right. I base my stance on the lack of compelling reasons to believe in something that cannot be proven. If there were actual, reasonable evidence to the contrary, I’d change my mind. How many religious people would say that? Certainly not the majority.

    You want me to give you a list of examples of people who feel that their lives were drastically changed for the better because of a god? I suppose I could, but what would be the point? I can’t honestly believe you don’t know this is a true statement, just look at the adherents of other religions in the world.

  11. @CoderHead – You’re right about if you want to know the truth, you have to be open to all kinds of things. But most atheists/non-religious people reject anything seem to contradict natural laws in the world, so even if you give them evidence of a miracle, they’ll say it’s a coincidence or fake.

    If there were actual, reasonable evidence to the contrary, I’d change my mind.

    If you ever have the time or resources, you should really visit the places where miracles occur, and talk to the people there and ask them questions. If you doubt because of lack of experiences, then go to places where they happen. Maybe you’ll find something there.

    And I was curious of the specific people you had in mind (of other religions whose lives were drastically changed that they would die for their faith or have amazing love for people). I don’t mind learning more about other religions.

  12. @cute_sushi – “You’re right about if you want to know the truth, you have to be open to all kinds of things.”

    Ummm, no. There’s a saying that goes, “If you open your mind too much your brain will fall out.” If you don’t apply critical thinking skills to every claim people throw out there all willy-nilly, then you’ll end up believing all kinds of weird crap for no reason. The natural laws of the universe are a very good yardstick against which to evaluate claims, because they provide a way to evaluate their predictive capabilities.

    If a claim doesn’t have any practical, predictive capabilities then why would you automatically assign it any measure of significance?

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