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Summary: Adam and Eve double the human population and then several years later they’re down by 25% because SOMEONE got salty about God liking his brother’s sacrifice over his and decided to commit the first ever capital crime about it. Eve births a Replacement Son™ and the next chapter is all about the family lineage from Adam to Noah. More humans happen, wickedness begins to spread, and God decides to do a Ctrl+Z on humanity, but is courteous enough to let his boi Noah in on it.
l’ll try to keep it shorter this time…mostly because I’m v tired lmao. It’s also possible that this post will be even loopier than yesterday’s as a result. I hope you enjoyed how it initially started off very earnestly and talking about science and faith and then devolved into “lol snek go hiss”.
Chapter 4: Cain and Abel
Adam and Eve discover how to do sex, which I can only imagine was through a lot of very confused trial-and-error (unless God gave them an instruction manual, in which case purity culture takes a final L), and congratulations! It’s a boy! Welcome to the world, Cain Adamson. A few years later, they welcome Abel. Cain works the fields, Abel works the flocks and as far as we know, those are their entire personalities…at least for awhile.
Here, again, is where God is either needlessly confusing or the writers decided to pack it in because it was 4:00 on a Friday when they were writing this chapter, I guess:
3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 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.”Genesis 4:3-7, NIV
Okay, but like…did Cain actually know that his sacrifice wouldn’t be pleasing to God? My dude is working the fields, giving the literal fruits of his labor as sacrifice, but God’s like “nah, I’m all about sheep this season”. Was his sacrifice lesser in quantity than Abel’s? Quality, even? Did the Mesopotamian apples have some bruising or something? It is not at all clear why the sacrifice is unacceptable, but we are simply supposed to take the Bible at its word that it wasn’t.
“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Idk, God, maybe it would be cool if you could tell us what is right in this instance?? And quit tone-policing; who among us wouldn’t be angry with a downcast expression if the God Of All Creation, Etc. didn’t accept our sacrifice? Sooooo sorry that Cain wears his heart on his sleeve, sheesh.
People of the jury, I now have to recuse myself as Cain’s lawyer, given my client has now severely overreacted and severely misplaced his anger.
Cain suggests to Abel that they go out to the field. Abel, of course, readily agrees, because why shouldn’t he? After all, Cain is a very able (heh) gardener and wow aren’t these fruit trees coming in nicely and oh my what’s this 7x6x3 hole in the ground and brother what are you doING WITH THAT LARGE AND HEAVY ROC–
If only all books opened with a cold-blooded murder in the first four chapters.
The aftermath is something else, honestly. The way it plays out reads like Brock Turner’s sentencing hearing:
- God: Caaaaaaain? Caaaaaaain, where is your brotherrrrrr? What did you doooooooo?
- Cain: Dude idk, it wasn’t my turn to watch him.
- God: Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain…
- Cain: FINE, I killed him.
- God: Caaaaaaaaaain, this is a most grieeeeeevous sin. All of your crops will dieeeeeeee and you will never win the prize at the county fair for Biggest Pumpkin ever agaaaaaaaaain. Also you’re banished kbye.
- Cain: What the ACTUAL FUCK, this is SO UNREASONABLE, you are giving me a DEATH SENTENCE because now whoever finds me will KILL ME just because I made my OWN brother unalive, it’s not faaaaaaaaairrrrrrr
- Abel’s ghost: ???????
- God: FINE, WHATEVER. I’ll put a mark on you so no one kills you and if they do, they’ll suffer vengeance seven times over.
- Abel’s ghost: !!!!!!!!!!!
I just…Cain commits fratricide and God, quite kindly, decides his punishment is that he can’t grow anything anymore and has to leave. AND HE COMPLAINS ABOUT IT. If I were Abel, I’d turn down heaven and become a ghost to haunt his ass forever. What in the world.
As I was writing the previous paragraph, it dawned on me that the whole “God’s grace” thing Christians talk about shows up pretty immediately here. I wrote some other stuff around grace and forgiveness, but it’s pretty half-baked, so I’ll save it for another post. It’s not like this is the only example of where God forgives someone who very clearly hasn’t earned it.
The rest of the chapter talks about Adam and Eve’s new son, Seth, who Adam ACTUALLY calls Abel’s replacement. Would love to know how he turned out with that sort of thing hanging over his head.
Chapter 5: From Adam to Noah
More like From Justin to Kelly since no one asked for this, either. This chapter is what’s on the tin: a genealogy of Adam’s descendants (who all live to almost quadruple digits????? Were they all Yoda??) until Noah, who becomes the new Main Character.
Chapters 6-7: Wickedness in the World
No point in separating these two chapters; it’s all the flooding stuff.
Honestly, the Noah’s Ark story has always been a huge bummer to me. Imagine having to build this big-ass boat, gather two of every creature, wrangle them all onto this boat, then also store food for you, your family and all these freakin’ animals (and, btw, a lot of those animals are the food for some of those other animals soooooo…), then you’re on this boat with all these animals for over a month and then another five months while the earth remains flooded; not to mention Noah probably had, you know, friends that probably weren’t allowed to go with him and had to die, like…honestly, I’ll go ahead and drown with everyone else, thanks.
But Noah does it anyway, because he is good and faithful and not afraid of the most ridiculously hard work imaginable.
I often wonder what Noah and his family did in the ark during all that time, until I remember that there were approximately nine hundred thousand pairs of animals on a boat. I have no doubt they kept busy.
The more I think about this story in general, the more non-sensical it seems and I wonder how people actually take it literally. I think whoever wrote this part of Genesis remembered that time when his buddy Eric took a favorite calf on his boat and got caught in a sudden downpour in the middle of the Euphrates and decided to embellish it until it became a good enough story to prove a point.
But hey, it’s certainly a story that’s stood the test of time. And after all, isn’t it really the message that counts?