The next part of the Bible is the adventures of Cain and Abel. If you haven’t already, you can find the first part of this series here: The Attempted Conversion of An Atheist – Genesis Creation.
So far Adam and Eve have been thrown out of the Garden of Eden and cursed by God for eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After being exiled, Eve conceives Cain and Abel.
Cain and Abel grow up and Abel becomes a Sheppard while Cain becomes a farmer. One day Cain and Abel decide to bring God an offering – Cain brings some fruit and Abel brings the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. This is where God sort of slips up:
And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire for you, but you must rule over it.”
A number of things are confusing at this point. Why an almighty God would need an offering of any sort never made sense to me. He supposedly created it all in six days after all, so why would some fruit or a sheep mean squat to him?
If we look at other religions, we find this same type of offering system. We can even find human sacrifices in some. It seems we humans like to sacrifice things in the hopes of appeasing Gods to better our standing or circumstances.
The second weird thing is that again, God is supposed to be omniscient, so he knows the consequences of His actions before He even makes them. If that’s the case, God has pretty much set both Cain and Abel up by acting like an ungrateful wretch.
So of course, Cain murders his brother Abel out of jealousy. If God had just shown a little freaking gratitude, this whole mess could have been avoided. Afterward, God again looks like a doddering old man because he needs to ask Cain questions. If He’s all knowing, He sure does a good job hiding it.
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”
So God decides to curse Cain for killing his brother, which God himself caused when he decided to act like a prick when receiving his offerings. Not only that, but God didn’t seem to know what had happened at first and required clarification from Cain.
Of course, Cain’s a tad pissed at his punishment and tells God that whoever finds him will surely kill him.
Wait a second…who is going to find him? The only other people born so far are his parents. I doubt he’d have much trouble staying away from the only other two people on the planet even if his parents did want to kill him for killing his brother.
God is concerned by Cain’s apparent fear of his parents or whoever he was referring to originally and says He will mark Cain and if anyone kills Cain, they will be punished seven-fold.
You have to love God-style justice.
So Cain leaves and settles in a place called ‘Nod’. He then finds a wife…
Where did this wife come from!? Did she just materialize? I thought Adam and Eve were the only other two people on the planet!
Well, Cain gets down to business with his non-existent/existent wife (who also remains nameless) and she conceives Enoch. Then Enoch finds himself a non-existent wife and has Irad. Then Irad finds a non-existent wife and fathers Mehujael. Then a bit later on Lamech takes two wives. I guess God likes polygamy as well.
The one thing that struck me while reading this is that rarely if ever do they birth daughters. They’re all men! This isn’t really surprising but it’s worth noting because women back then were regarded as little better than livestock. The birth of a daughter wasn’t something to celebrate. Boys were what really mattered and the Bible provides evidence for it.
One day, Pimp Daddy Lamech tells his wives that he has killed a man for striking him. He then declares:
If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold,
Then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.”
Yep, that sounds fair. Maybe if someone else is murdered, we can up the ante to seven hundred and seventyfold.
After this declaration, we have a list of descendants up to Noah. The only thing to note here is that again, it’s males being born and all of them live absurdly long lives. I mean, as an example, Enosh lives to be 905 and he was still fathering kids at the age of ninety. That alone stretches the imagination and flies in the face of what we know scientifically.
Also at the time of Lemach, there were nine generations still alive. So Adam got to visit his great, great, great, great, great, great grandson.
So like the creation myth we’ve learned little that can be taken seriously. We’ve learned God still has to ask questions, that people can live to be 900 years old and have kids in their 90’s, that Cain had to run from non-existent people who were out to kill him, that women are either hardly ever mentioned in the Bible or are warped down Star Trek style and God isn’t a big fan of fruit.
Next up is Noah.