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Cain and Abel
07-12-2009, 10:59 PM
Post: #1
Cain and Abel
So, in another post I mentioned a novel I'd written about Cain & Abel. And that got me thinking on the question that I'd wondered, the one that had driven me to write the novel.

Assuming at least a somewhat literal story (i.e., that it's not an allegory for agricultural groups driving the hunter-gatherers to extinction,) why did Cain do it? Why would a man, born of two godly parents, choose not only to commit, but according to the Bible to invent the crime of murder? I know my theory, but I'm interested in what others have to say.

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07-13-2009, 04:10 AM
Post: #2
RE: Cain and Abel
I s'pose the writers may have had Cain kill Abel to develop the theme of mankind being damaged goods following the fruit incident, in the build up to the tale where God loses his rag and drowns everybody.

Either that or God foresaw with his omniscient vision that if the murder took place, many centuries later, Bruce Springsteen would write the rather good Adam Raised A Cain for inclusion on his gloomy but great Darkness On The Edge Of Town album..
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07-13-2009, 09:38 PM (This post was last modified: 07-14-2009 08:35 AM by Parousia.)
Post: #3
RE: Cain and Abel
(07-12-2009 10:59 PM)GTseng3 Wrote:  Assuming at least a somewhat literal story (i.e., that it's not an allegory for agricultural groups driving the hunter-gatherers to extinction,) why did Cain do it? Why would a man, born of two godly parents, choose not only to commit, but according to the Bible to invent the crime of murder?

The early chapters of Genesis are a patchwork quilt apparently copied from surviving pieces of several older documents. And so we have such overlaps and discontinuities as the creation story ‘rebooting’ at Gen. 2:4, and Cain in Gen. 4 – one of four documented human beings – going off by himself and finding not just a wife but enough manpower to build a city. So it should not be a surprise if one reads between the lines and draws some non-obvious inferences.

*** Warning: Unbridled Speculation Alert ***

[Unbridled Speculation]
EDIT: Fixed coding error Wink

Let’s take a look at Genesis 4.

The root of the problem is the sacrifices of course.

Quote:2 …When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground.
3 When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord.
4 Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift,
5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.

Abel sacrifices an animal, the best he had. But Cain only presented “some of his crops”. Abel is made to sound more sincere in honoring the Lord and his sacrifice worthy of acceptance.

Also, Abel offers a blood sacrifice. This has echoes of the ancient practice of communal feasts when an animal was slaughtered – no refrigeration you know. Throw in some ritual and you have a religious occasion helping to bind a community, sort of like a church picnic.

Note that it is not just the sacrifice but Abel himself who is accepted, and Cain himself who is not accepted.

Quote:6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected?
7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

Cain has done the wrong thing. This is not just a matter of degree or sincerity. Cain has not observed some rule. The statement that he “will be accepted if you do what is right” suggests a need for a ritual observance. We may suspect that it is that he failed to offer a blood sacrifice and by implication has separated himself from the community. And this separation places him in danger of sin, which is “crouching at the door, eager to control you”.

And of course Cain does sin, the worst sin to date – premeditated murder of his brother. Which brings us to the question of Why?

A jealous rage because his brother’s sacrifice was accepted and his was not? This does not sound right. The Lord told him what to do to get in the right again. Let’s try to put ourselves in Cain’s place and see where it gets us.

“Has to be a blood sacrifice, my crops are no good. My crops that I busted my hump over all year while Abel played with his dog in the fields is no frigging good, eh? So now I am supposed to go beg an animal from my stuck up brother to get in good with the Lord again. He wants a blood sacrifice, huh? I’ll give him a blood sacrifice alright! Oh Abel! Come out here in the field. I want to show you something…”

Quote:10 But the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!
11 Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood.
12 No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.”

“…the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood.” That sounds a lot like the human sacrifices practiced by the early agricultural societies to ensure a good crop. But of course human sacrifice is forbidden in Judaism. Animals yes – in the Temple with all due rituals. People? NO! Could this be a fragment of some writing about a culture clash between Jews and non-Jews? After all, a whole lot of the OT is exactly that. Hmmm?

[/Unbridled Speculation]
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07-14-2009, 01:30 AM
Post: #4
RE: Cain and Abel
I think this passage is symbolic of man's imperfection and tendency towards sin. This is a good place for this since it takes place right after man's first sin the bible.

(07-13-2009 09:38 PM)Parousia Wrote:  “…the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood.” That sounds a lot like the human sacrifices practiced by the early agricultural societies to ensure a good crop. But of course human sacrifice is forbidden in Judaism. Animals yes – in the Temple with all due rituals. People? NO! Could this be a fragment of some writing about a culture clash between Jews and non-Jews? After all, a whole lot of the OT is exactly that. Hmmm?

[/Unbridled Speculation]

There could be something to this. The story might have been written in reference to human sacrifices which took place in other religions. Early Jews could have used this story to show that this was a bad practice which they believed God didn't like.

By the way, you didn't properly code, you forgot to open with [Unbridled Speculation] Tongue

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07-14-2009, 01:45 AM
Post: #5
RE: Cain and Abel
Just to toss this into the mix, in the prologue for White Wolf's role playing game "Demon: The Fallen", they present another possibility of this story - that Cain was a sociopath sincerely trying to do good. This innocent, childlike Cain takes to heart the Lord's admonition that his sacrifice, not being his best, was not good enough, so he sacrifices that which is most precious to him - his brother.

Just to toss more into the mix, according to Jewish myth both Cain and Abel were twins. Each had a twin sister (younger sisters in some stories) which they were to marry. In some of these tales the murder is because Cain wanted to marry the beautiful sister, named Luluwa or Awan, who was betrothed to Abel.

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07-14-2009, 12:57 PM (This post was last modified: 07-14-2009 02:05 PM by Parousia.)
Post: #6
RE: Cain and Abel
(07-14-2009 01:30 AM)God Rocks Wrote:  I think this passage is symbolic of man's imperfection and tendency towards sin. This is a good place for this since it takes place right after man's first sin the bible.

I agree. But this goes beyond just symbolism. It offers protection against sin grabbing control of our will. That protection is proper ritual observance, which binds the community and so provides mutual support. At this early stage we still see individuals offering the ritual sacrifices. Later there would evolve a formal priesthood as well as an elaborate set of ritual laws for the common people. As time went on, the community was taken for granted, and the priesthood became an established fixture. The rituals themselves, both in and out of the Temple, became the object of attention rather than the purpose of those rituals. Eventually we see Jesus criticizing the hypocritical adherence to the strict letter of the Law to the detriment of its spirit.

Anyway that’s how I see it.

(07-14-2009 01:30 AM)God Rocks Wrote:  There could be something to this. The story might have been written in reference to human sacrifices which took place in other religions. Early Jews could have used this story to show that this was a bad practice which they believed God didn't like.

If we view Cain’s killing Abel as a sacrifice to make the crops grow – a distinctly pagan sounding custom – we can see this also as a demonstration of the superiority of the Jewish God over ‘false’ gods. As v 12 says:

“No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.”

Cain’s sacrifice to the wrong god backfired.

(07-14-2009 01:30 AM)God Rocks Wrote:  By the way, you didn't properly code, you forgot to open with [Unbridled Speculation]

Edited and re-compiled. Wink
(07-14-2009 01:45 AM)GTseng3 Wrote:  Just to toss this into the mix, in the prologue for White Wolf's role playing game "Demon: The Fallen", they present another possibility of this story - that Cain was a sociopath sincerely trying to do good. This innocent, childlike Cain takes to heart the Lord's admonition that his sacrifice, not being his best, was not good enough, so he sacrifices that which is most precious to him - his brother.

Interesting…

I am not a gamer and never heard of White Wolf. I do not know where I got the idea of Abel as sacrifice from, whether I read it somewhere or just thought it up. Either way it is not all that astonishing an inference. (One good thing about getting old is that when you can’t remember your sources you can pretend you came up with all those good ideas yourself. Cool )

(07-14-2009 01:45 AM)GTseng3 Wrote:  Just to toss more into the mix, according to Jewish myth both Cain and Abel were twins. Each had a twin sister (younger sisters in some stories) which they were to marry. In some of these tales the murder is because Cain wanted to marry the beautiful sister, named Luluwa or Awan, who was betrothed to Abel.

Let me get this straight: Cain’s twin sister was not the beautiful one. So, Cain was ugly as well. And he was supposed to marry his ugly twin. Hideousness and genetic defects? It is beginning to sound like justifiable homicide. Big Grin

Genesis is hard enough to figure out as it is. I think I will leave the Jewish myths out of the mix, thank you. Wink
(Just kidding of course. Things like that are interesting.)
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07-14-2009, 03:50 PM
Post: #7
RE: Cain and Abel
(07-14-2009 12:57 PM)Parousia Wrote:  Genesis is hard enough to figure out as it is. I think I will leave the Jewish myths out of the mix, thank you. Wink
(Just kidding of course. Things like that are interesting.)

Is it.
Use a bit of modern 'science'?
As the scientist climbs the mountain of knowledge...he finds the theologian already there perched and ready.

so how about ... a gene synthesis or geneSiS for short?

and science might suggest that Cain and Abel represent something called asymmetry.

till 1956 the scientists thought the four forces of physics were symmetrical ... or evenly balanced .... however WRONG.
...CP violation, or symmetry breaking was observed in the nuclear weak force.

Thus Cain represents the breaking of symmetry.

And in 2008 the scientist who is getting much closer to climbing the mt. doom, PROVED that matter and its anti-particle are asymmetric....

Thus jesus and the anti-christ are simply archetypes representing asymmetry that is observed in the real world we inhabit.

This might help you better understand.
Science and Religion are soon to be reconciled...long ago their egos caused a separation.
http://kachina2012.wordpress.com/2008/07...hand-path/
http://kachina2012.wordpress.com/categor...hand-path/

namaste

NATURE cannot be HIDDEN only VEILeD with NARRATIVES that defy NATURE

CodeX4 and the Reconciliation of Science and Religion
http://kachina2012.wordpress.com/about/
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07-14-2009, 10:28 PM
Post: #8
RE: Cain and Abel
(07-14-2009 03:50 PM)Raphael Wrote:  As the scientist climbs the mountain of knowledge...he finds the theologian already there perched and ready.

You are referring to the closing of Jastrow’s book? When I read that many years ago it occurred to me that whatever mountain the scientist climbed he would find theologians there.

(07-14-2009 03:50 PM)Raphael Wrote:  till 1956 the scientists thought the four forces of physics were symmetrical ... or evenly balanced .... however WRONG.
...CP violation, or symmetry breaking was observed in the nuclear weak force.

CP violation is resolvable by CPT symmetry. CPT violations are possible in some projected theories of quantum gravity. By the way, CP-symmetry violation was discovered indirectly in 1964, not 1956. It was not observed directly until 1999. P-symmetry violation was 1956.

(07-14-2009 03:50 PM)Raphael Wrote:  And in 2008 the scientist who is getting much closer to climbing the mt. doom, PROVED that matter and its anti-particle are asymmetric....

What are you referring to here? Do you have a link? The gross asymmetry of matter and anti-matter in the universe at large has been obvious since anti-matter was first discovered. Are you perhaps referring to the new technique of generating positrons in large numbers that was demonstrated in late 2008?

Concerning ‘the’ anti-Christ, read 1 John and discover what is really meant by the term.

“2:22 And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist.”

All that son of the devil business is just Hollywood, I am afraid.
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07-14-2009, 10:39 PM
Post: #9
RE: Cain and Abel
. . . Parousia, you are so full of awesome that I cannot express it properly.

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07-15-2009, 05:29 AM
Post: #10
RE: Cain and Abel
(07-14-2009 10:39 PM)GTseng3 Wrote:  . . . Parousia, you are so full of awesome that I cannot express it properly.

Thanks much! I have often been told I am full of it...um...I mean...

...thanks...Smile
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