Tag Archives: Religion

Genesis Chapter 4

Genesis chapter 4

In this chapter:  Adam has sons, one son is a murderer, God’s punishment, incest, capital punishment created, and our first begat list.

It’s a boy!  The chapter starts with Eve giving birth to a son, Cain, and giving God credit for him. (Gen 4:1)  Then Eve gives birth to Cain’s brother, Abel, and we learn that Abel  took care of the sheep, and Cain was a farmer. (Gen 4:2)

Cainabel[1]Time goes by and Cain brings an offering to God from his fields, while his little brother brings lambs and fat.  God, an obvious carnivore and lover of fat, likes Abel‘s offering (Gen 4:3-4) but, doesn’t like the veggies which upsets Cain. (Gen 4:5)

My father always told me that God rejected Cain’s offering because it was somehow flawed, as if Cain kept all the good brussel sprouts and took the old nasty ones to God.  However, there is absolutely nothing to back this up except for God’s attitude, so unless my father, or any other literalist, had or has some kind of psychic connection with the author then there is no proof of this idea.

So God gets a little snooty with Cain and says:  “what’s your problem?“ Then tells him that if he does a good job he’ll be rewarded, but if he doesn’t do a good job, that sin will get him. (Gen 4:6-7)  Obviously, God doesn’t like farmers even though he created them when he cursed Cain’s father to be a farmer.  The whole, farmers-vs-ranchers thing is a common sub-plot in American western novels and movies.  I had always assumed that the farmers were the good guys or victims in these stories; this story shows just how wrong I was.

CainkillshisbrotherAbel[1]As any set of brothers will do in such a situation, Adam’s boys get into an argument.  Then Cain kills his little brother. (Gen 4:8)

God notices that Abel is missing and asks Cain where he is.  Cain, returning the snooty attitude that God had thrown at him says “I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9)  Why Adam and Eve didn’t do a better job raising their kids is unclear.

In a Poe-like moment God hears Abel’s blood crying out from the grave and knows what Cain has done. (Gen 4:10) So he curses Cain to be a bum and fugitive who can’t grow anything.  (Gen 4:11-12)

Cain, without showing remorse for what he’s done, says that the punishment is too harsh, because someone will kill him. (Gen 4:13-14)  Obviously either bum killing was a big thing then, or Cain’s sisters (the only possible people on the planet besides his parents) were really upset about Abel.

So God proclaims that anyone caught killing Cain will be killed seven times, and marks Cain so no one will kill him. (Gen 4:15)  Thus we have the start of capital punishment, but only for killing someone who has been convicted of murder.

Some of the more enlightened Christians have used Cain’s unspecified mark as an excuse for slavery, bigotry, and other seemingly Christian attributes.  Why God had to mark Cain in the first place is a little unclear since the only people on the planet were his parents, and some sisters, and God being all-powerful and such had already told everyone to leave Cain alone.

I have heard it said, many times, that Cain’s mark was meant to be a visual cue to his being evil, and that all of Cain’s descendants also had the mark so that people would know that these people were descended from evil and therefore evil themselves.   If this is true, then why, when the mark was so obviously important, didn’t the author fill us in as to what exactly this mark looks like?  It seems that such information would be rather useful.  Could it be that the Iron Age author of the story was using this story and a visual cue of some kind as a way to justify his own bigotry and hatred against a people whose name was a lot like ‘Cain’ (i.e. Caananites) and assumed that his contemporaries would know what he meant?  The answer to this is unknown, but we do have a modern-day precedent for such a thing with the way some Christians and politicians have used hyperbole, inaccurate and made up statements about teachings; as well as head scarves and other pieces of clothing as excuses to discriminate against and kill people of a certain religion that they don’t like.

Anyway, back to the story.

Feeling a little safer, Cain heads east to the land of Nod (Gen 4:16)  Nod is not on any maps but if it’s east of Eden then it would have been in modern-day Turkey or Maybe Iran.

One of Cain’s sisters (the only women on the planet other than his mom) joins him in Nod, they get married and start having babies.  Their first son/nephew was Enoch.  Cain was so happy with having a son that he built the world’s first city and called it ‘Enoch’. (Gen 4:17)  Probably not a very big city since there were only three people there, but a city none the less.

Most of the rest of the chapter is a ‘begat’ list of Cain’s family line. (Gen 4:18-24)  The only notable people are Cain’s great-great-great-great grandson Jabel who was the first nomad and rancher (Gen 4:20); Jabel’s brother Jubal who was the first musician (Gen 4:21); and Jabel and Jubal’s father Lamech who, like his ancestor Cain, was also a killer. (Gen 4:23-24)  Note that Lamech will have to be killed 77 times.

Following along with the oft’ proposed theory that all of Cain’s descendants are evil, this means that all nomads, cattle ranchers, and musicians are evil.  So, now we have another reason to hate Justin Bieber.

The chapter ends with Eve giving birth to another son, Seth, and again giving God the credit. (Gen 4:25)  Poor Adam just gets no respect from his wife.

Seth eventually has a son/nephew (remember, the only women around were Eve, and Adam and Eve’s daughters) whom he names Enos. (Gen 4:26)  Legend has it that Enos became a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia and spent his days trying to catch the Duke boys, and lusting after a woman in skimpy shorts named ‘Daisy’, but this is only a legend.

Next up in our exploration of Genesis is the start of date keeping, the family line to Noah, horny angels, and a dire forecast.  I’ll give you a hint:  It involves a lot of rain and tens of millions of animals. See you next time.

Genesis Chapter 1

So, let us begin.

And what better way to begin than the first page.

(Note:  For this and all following posts on Bible books, chapters and passages I will be using the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible.  I do this for many reasons, but primarily because it is the most often used version by people who challenge or debate atheism.  I am not saying that this version is the most accurate version in terms of translation from original manuscript, because it isn’t, however it is the one that was force-fed to me, and as I mentioned, the most referenced.

I would also mention that for those of you who either don’t have a Bible {I am lucky enough to have a beautiful old KJV Bible that my late father gave me when I was a child, as well as copies of seven other versions} or just don’t want to constantly leaf through it I will always supply a link to the relative book or passage via Biblegateway.com.  This site is very useful for study of the Bible as it is searchable and contains most of the current translations of the Bible. If it had been around years ago I wouldn’t have had to buy so many darn Bibles.)

Genesis Chapter 1 (KJV)

This book starts with that most famous of phrases: “In the beginning.”  Like I said, what better place to start.  This is the oft referenced ” six days of creation” story which is different from the story in chapter 2 which introduces us to Adam and Eve, but we’ll get to that when we get to chapter 2.

So, In the beginning (day one) God creates the heaven (sky) and earth (technically water for now).   As the story goes on it mentions that these things are basically a big, dark, empty blob of water with wind moving over it. (Gen 1:2)

God then creates light, divides that from the dark, makes day and night, as well as evening and morning, and that ends the first day. (Gen 1:2-5)

It’s important to note here that day, night, evening, and morning are specifically mentioned.  Many, will say that the six ‘days’ need not have been days they could have been eras, epochs, or whatever, but it clearly says “day”, so don’t let these arguments stand.  Either the Bible is saying ‘one day with a morning and an evening’, or it’s not: it can’t be both; e.g. either the Bible is true or it’s not.  Later on in Deuteronomy we will learn that you aren’t supposed to change or edit any word of this book.

Moving on.

Day two-God creates a dividing line between the water he had already made and the heaven (sky).  Then he takes some of the water and puts it in the sky.  Then he clocks out as he is done for the night. (Gen 1;6-8)

Day three-God finally forms the water under the sky into a less blob like state, then makes dry land appear. He calls the dry land “earth” and he calls the water “seas.”  Why he had to recreate the earth that he had already created two days ago is unclear.  But, in the scheme of things not really important.  He then causes plants to grow out of his newly created dryland and calls it a day. (Gen 1:9-13)

Day four- God creates the Sun, the Moon, and stars.  Now this day deserves a good bit of detailed reading.

In Gen 1:14 the Bible says: “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night;… .”  However, in Gen 1:4-5 he had already “…divided the light from the darkness. 5 And…called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night” when he had created light.  What we aren’t told is why he had to divide night and day again.  Did they creep back together?  Did he undo it and not tell the author? Is it a mistake?

Anyhow, Gen 1:14 finishes of by saying “…and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:”  Once again, the time span for a day is set.  It is the 24hr cycle of Earth’s rotation as it orbits the Sun as we know it today.  It’s not an era, or an epoch, or anything else:  it is a day.  Unless of course this passage is wrong.  (Note:  what I said about the Earth orbiting the Sun is refuted by the Bible later on in Isaiah. Again we will get to that later.)

Gen 1:15-18 redundantly states that he puts his new lights in the sky and that the biggest one is for day (there’s that term again) and the smaller one is for the night.  And decides that he is kind of proud of himself.

Gen 1:19 Marks the end of day four.

Day five- God creates all the animals in the water and the birds.  He tells them to have babies, but puts a caveat on the birds telling them to only live on dry land.  My guess is that he didn’t like the penguins.  Once these things are done it’s Miller time for Day five. (Gen 1:20-23)

Michelangelo's Creation of AdamDay six- Day six is a big day.  (Note:  Technically the image at left doesn’t fit this story as it is based on story #2, but I like it so there it is) First God creates all the land animals (Gen 1:24-25), then they create men and women.  No, that wasn’t a typo, I meant to put “they”, because in Gen 1:26 God says “…Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… .”  Who was God talking to?  Who ever it was it had to be female because later on in Gen 1:27 the Bible says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  It clearly says that the male created a male and a female, which according to the previous passage was in the “likeness” of himself and his female companion.

After God creates people he/they give(s) control over all the animals to the people then tells them to have lots of babies and that they are vegetarians (Gen 1:28-30).  He/they then stand(s) back and look(s) at his/their accomplishments over the last six days and decide(s) that he/they has/have done a good job, and calls it a day. (Gen 1:31)

So ends Genesis Chapter 1.  Up next in Chapter 2 we have all sorts of goodies, such as the ordination of the Sabbath and the other creation story.  See you then.