May 1, 2023 @ 8:00 AM

Genesis is often called the “book of beginnings” because it describes the beginning of everything from the beginning of the universe to the beginning of humanity to the beginning of sin and much more. Every major doctrine in the Bible finds its roots in Genesis from sin, atonement, sacrifice, Messiah, justification, etc. That is why Bible scholars call it the “seedplot of the Bible” because the seeds of every major doctrine are found in Genesis.

In this issue of Hopeline I want to focus on Genesis 4. Many have written far better than me on the disastrous events of Genesis 3 in which Adam and Eve plunge all of humanity into sin. I want to describe what happened to them and their descendants east of Eden in their post-eviction fall. Take a look with me at the fascinating details found in Genesis 4:

1. Human Sexual Reproduction

4:1 “Adam knew Eve.” You might say, “duh, of course he knew Eve” but the Hebrew word for know is used as a metaphor here for sexual reproduction. As you might suspect, this is the beginning of human reproduction. Until now, Adam and Eve were created from dust and rib.

2. Worship

4:3 “Cain brought an offering to the Lord.” Cain was a farmer and Abel was a herdsman. Both brought offerings to the Lord to worship Him. How did they know to do that? This is the beginning of worship.

3. Anger and Faith

4:5 “Cain became very angry.” Abel’s offering of the first of his flock was acceptable to the Lord but Cain’s offering of fruit and vegetables was not. Why? The New Testament book of Hebrews gives us insight on the answer to that question. Hebrews 11:4 tells us, “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts that through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.” God accepted Abel’s sacrifice because he gave it in faith. Cain did not. Also, this is the first mention of anger in the Bible. It is in the context of rejected worship of God. Observe that Cain’s countenance fell, meaning his face reflected his anger over the rejection of his offering. Again I speculate but Cain felt that more than his offering was rejected. He felt rejected as a person.

4. Murder

4:8 “. . . Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” The end result of Cain’s anger was fratricide, the murder of his brother. This is the first mention of murder in the Bible. It won’t be the last.

5. Lying

4:9 “. . . I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” The beginning of lying.

6. Other wives

4:17 “And Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch. . .” We are not told where or when Cain’s wife appears but we know that Adam and Eve had additional children (5:4). Was she a sister to Cain or the daughter of someone such as Seth? We aren’t told.

7. Polygamy

4:19 “And Lamech took to himself two wives . . . Adah . . . and Zillah.” The beginning of polygamy.

8. Domestication of animals, music and musical instruments, and mining and metal fabrication

4:20-22 “Jabal . . . Jubal . . . Tubal-cain” Here are the beginnings of domestication of animals for food and clothing (Jabal), music and musical instruments (Jubal), and miners and metal fabricators (Tubal-cain).

9. Bragging about sin

4:23 “For I have killed a man for wounding me . . .” Lamech brags to his wives about murdering a young boy. The first incidence of bragging about sin. 

Although there are some positive developments in Genesis 4, overall it is the dismal outworking of Adam and Eve’s sin in their descendants. Anger, murder, lying, polygamy, boasting of sin, all start in Genesis 4 and become part of the fabric of humanity.

Thank the Lord for sending Jesus, the Second Adam, to reverse the curse of sin and death,