Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
The first generation of people from Adam did not fare any better than their father did when he was in the Garden of Eden. If Adam showed the fracture in the relationship between God and humanity because of sin, the story of Cain and Abel shows how sin fractures all the relationships within humanity, even between brothers.
Things looked good with Abel. He honoured God by offering him not just an offering, but an offering of the best animals he had. But Cain was overcome with pride and anger. Pride and anger that drove him to murder his little brother.
If Adam could not master sin, his eldest son gave in to its desires. Cain would not have given his father any confidence that this problem of sin could be dealt with. Put yourself in Adam’s shoes as he looked at his now only son. Not only had he sinned by destroying his relationship with God but sin has now destroyed his family.
And so the Old Testament goes with many stories about how all of humanity are following the leadership of Adam and resulted in death for all people.
All through the Old Testament we needed a new representative. One that would be able to fix our relationship with God and fix our relationships with each other. We needed a new king and new ruler to represent us.
Genesis 3-11 is a sad story about the continuing spread and infection of sin. Most of the stories fall into one of the two categories, destroying their relationship with God or with other people.
Read these select passages from Genesis 3-11 (4:9-16, 23-24, 6:9-11 and 11:1-9). How has humanity continued following the lead of Adam? How does God view the sins? What does humanity think about sin? What perceptions of sin do we still see today?
There are too many times in my life when I follow in the sin of Adam. I don’t live to honour you, but try and honour myself. By my sin, I wreck my relationship with you and my relationships with others. Thank you for Jesus, through whom I have peace with you and who can be the reason for peace with others. I pray that I may follow in his example, loving others like you have loved me so that they may trust in you.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.