Tuesday, October 15, 2019

In The Beginning. Day 22, Did Cain Repent?

In yesterday's passage the Lord told Cain he would no longer be able to work the ground but would be a restless wanderer on the earth. We are going to look at Cain's reaction to the Lord's words.

"Cain said to the Lord, 'My punishment is more than I can bear.'" (Genesis 4:13) It sounds like he is saying, "I know I killed a man, but my punishment seems too severe." Some scholars believe that the Hebrew word which we find translated as "punishment" should be translated as "iniquity". If this is so, then they feel Cain is saying something like, "My sin is more than I can bear," or, "My sin is too great to be forgiven." The word translated into English as "bear" can also mean "forgive", for this same word is translated as "forgive" in various other books of the Bible.

Does this mean Cain repented of his sin? His words, in the original Hebrew, indicate acknowledgment that he was a sinner and that his sin was severe. The Bible doesn't state that he asked the Lord for forgiveness, but he does appear to be expressing a desire for forgiveness along with his doubt that such a heinous sin can ever be forgiven. How do we come to repentance and salvation? Isn't it by admitting we are sinners in need of forgiveness? Isn't it by acknowledging that our sins are terrible and that we don't deserve forgiveness? Then salvation comes by accepting the forgiveness that God so graciously bestows upon us. The Bible assures us that when "we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

I believe it's quite possible that Cain repents here in Genesis 4. His next statement reveals that it is now man's judgment he fears, not God's judgment. This indicates that he has received forgiveness from God because of his sorrow and repentance over his sin. "Today You are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from Your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me." (Genesis 4:14) The Lord didn't kill Cain for being a murderer, but Cain thinks other people might.

Who are these other people? So far the Bible hasn't told us about any other people being on the earth. We are going to take a brief look at the top two theories about this.

1. Adam and Eve lived an extended lifespan, as did all their offspring, as did their descendants for many generations afterwards. The Bible tells us that Adam lived to be 930 years old. During that time he and Eve had children. Their children had children. Their grandchildren had children. We don't know how many descendants there are of Adam and Eve by the time Cain killed Abel. We will see later on in Genesis that Eve bears another son named Seth, but we don't know how many daughters she and Adam have had since the Bible tends to only name the sons a family has and not the daughters. There may have been quite a few people on the earth, descended from Adam and Eve, by the time Cain killed Abel. It would make sense that he fears one of them might kill him to avenge their kinsman.

2. God created other couples on the earth after creating Adam and Eve. The problem with this theory is that the Bible makes no mention of Him doing this. The attractiveness of this theory is that it explains how Cain has a wife (as Genesis 4:17a will state) and how she would not have been fairly closely related to him. Incestuous relationships are forbidden in the Bible. The more closely related a couple is to each other, the greater the risk that their children will be born with disabilities. If God didn't create other families on earth, who did the children of Adam and Eve marry? It's difficult to believe they married each other, but some Christian geneticists argue that in the early days of human population on the earth there may not have been genetic weaknesses that could be passed along to offspring. These people were living close to the dawn of creation when the earth's atmosphere and the food on the earth was still close to perfection. It could be that genetic problems hadn't yet cropped up in human beings yet. If that's the case, then this may be why we don't see God making a law against marrying a close relative until later on in the Bible.

We simply don't know the answer to this puzzling question. As I've said before in other studies, God hasn't told us everything we want to know, but He's told us everything we need to know. God has given us all the information we need in order to recognize our sinful natures, to be sorrowful over our sins and to repent of them, and to obtain salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

In tomorrow's study the Lord is going to protect Cain from being killed for his crime, then the Bible will tell us a bit about what Cain does with his life.

No comments:

Post a Comment