What was really more wrong with Cain was not what he offered, but the condition of his heart when he offered it. God was not pleased with Cain because unrepentant sin was already in his life.
Adam and Eve immediately noted the difference in their two boys: Cain was the chosen one; Abel was the also-ran. It would have been natural for them to favor Cain as the firstborn, maybe the one to fulfill God’s great promise. If there was parental favoritism, it would help explain much of what happens in this chapter.
As chapter 4 opens, it seems Adam and Eve had picked up the shards of their broken lives and begun to build a new life, out of the hard scrabble of a cursed ground. The story begins from Eve’s perspective, “Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.’”
God intended the Sabbath to be something for creation, for created beings which have finite energy and resources, to be regularly replenished. Rather than a deliberately defiant and presumptuous disobedience of God and His intent, Jesus was providing that physical replenishment, in the spirit of King David, and in God’s Spirit, by gathering grain.
Moses was describing a basic principle of life, life goes well for us when living God’s way, by God’s law. Even for Job. In the middle of his story, life was awful. At the end of the book God not only restores Job’s fortunes, they’re even better than when the book starts out. Job successfully endured the ordeal God permitted in his life, and he was blessed.
I think we call it the Fall of Humankind because the first humans were at the pinnacle of human experience, where everything was good, their relationships were healthy and filled with love, their work was satisfying and productive, their resources were ample, the world was their oyster, and their spiritual communion with God and each other was full.
People ask, “Is the Bible trustworthy?” Does the Bible accurately represent what God has said and done, and how God thinks and feels?
It’s a foundational question, since the events in Genesis 3 leave us with a possibly disturbing impression of God.
God would not leave Adam and Eve destitute. The promise God made in this chapter is called the proto-evangel, the first prophecy of the Messiah. Understanding Who the Messiah would be, and what He would do, was going to slowly unfold throughout the Old Testament. Then, throughout the New Testament, Who Jesus is and what He has done is revealed.
For the woman, the consequences would primarily affect her relationships. Interestingly, God said her pain would be increased, evidence that pain would have already existed, even in the perfection of Eden. We can learn that pain is not necessarily a bad thing, but could be a good thing, able to strengthen and deepen the man and the woman, and their relationship with each other, as well as with God. But now, that pain would be greatly increased.
Imagine the moment they entered the hushed glade where Life and Knowledge stood, in their quiet power. The Tree of Life, he told her. We may eat of all the trees in the Garden, including this tree. But already she was looking at the other, beguiling, Tree, spellbound by its exotic loveliness, its alluring fragrance redolent with rare spices, sharp and tangy, the perfume of hidden mysteries.