Thursday, January 17, 2013

THE WAY OF CAIN: THE ROOT OF VIOLENCE NEVER ADDRESSED


            The first man born into this world was a murderer.  His mother, Eve, had higher hopes for him: she thought that Cain might be the promised savior who would crush the serpent’s, Satan’s, head.  Instead he manifested a violent, jealous, and vindictive nature that drove him to murder his brother, Abel.

            Of Cain’s direct descendants, one stands out as more evil than Cain himself.  His name was Lamech, and he prided himself in his murderous ways:

Lamech said to his wives,
"Adah and Zillah,
Listen to my voice,
You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech,
For I have killed a man for wounding me;
And a boy for striking me;
If Cain is avenged sevenfold,
Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold."
(Genesis 4:23-24)

            In the New Testament book of Jude, we read that there are people who have chosen the way of Cain:

Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain . . .”  (Jude 1:11)

             As Charles R. Erdman pointed out, Adam’s sin was disobedience to God, but Cain’s and Lamech’s sins were “utter disregard and defiance of God.”  Bible teacher Bill Gothard has noted that often what parents excuse in moderation, their children indulge in in excess. 

            The root of violence in our world is sin.  That’s the reality that is never acknowledged, and therefore is never addressed.  It is a hypocritical society that decries violence in schools and yet forbids students to carry a Bible to school, that stops students from praying over their lunch, or mentioning God in a valedictory speech.  When a society pursues the way of Cain, disregard for God and His Word, God will give that society over to its desires and it will suffer the natural consequences.  (See Romans 1:18-32)

            There is, thankfully, another way!  Adam and Eve had another son, Seth.  Of the line of Seth we read:

To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD. (Genesis 4:26, emphasis added.)

The one who stands out in the line of Seth is a man named Enoch.

Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:21-24)

            Twice in the space of just four verses, the Bible calls attention to what set Enoch apart: Enoch walked with God!  And the only way to walk with God is by faith in God’s Word, and that’s why the writer to the Hebrews states: 

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. (Hebrews 11:5, emphasis added.)

            Erdman noted that Enoch had the same inherited genes as the murderers Cain and Lamech, yet he walked with God by faith, and as a consequence, he was pleasing to God!

            God’s judgment at last came down upon that progressively wicked world, but He would preserve mankind and begin to form a special people of God through Enoch’s great-grandson, another man God calls “righteous” – Noah.

            The Beloved Disciple, John, urged Christians shun the way of Cain, but to pursue genuine, biblical love:

For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother.  And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous.  (1 John 3:11-12)

            As long as our secular society chooses to shut God and His Word out of public life, we can only expect more violent manifestations of the way of Cain.

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