Week 4: Cain and Abel

Reading

Genesis 4–5 (Cain and Abel, and some very old people)

Questions

Why does God prefer Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s?

Is it more of a punishment to die, or to live?

This picture is ClipArt that I, Lucifer, found online. Mostly I include it because I find it hilarious. But it’s also oddly disturbing. We have our key players: two little boys, wearing some tasteful hides, holding up sacrifices to God. They’re instantly recognizable—on the left, Abel’s little sheep is in for a snooze, and Cain’s corn on the cob is honestly looking pretty good. So why doesn’t God like them equally?

Because God is thirsty for blood.

Or… maybe not?

Some perspectives:

Metatron: Is Abel’s sacrifice a murder of a lamb?… the Lamb? Or is this all simply a test, a whim of God?

Michael: How do they even know what God likes? Does he show up?

Gabriel: Sacrifice establishes a concept of ownership, but also creates a future. A collective promise that something has been sacrificed and then will be restituted at a later time.

Lucifer: But can we really have a reciprocal relationship with God, especially Yahweh-God? Or is the idea of reciprocity post-Christian?

Mammon: Perhaps sacrifice is more of a way of showing gratitude, and the lambs are worth more because they take longer to raise. (Reproduction is a huge theme in these chapters!)

Azazel points out that the term “doorstep” or “tent-flap” (where Sin is allegedly crouching) is next used in Exodus. What exactly is sin here? Just general “fucking up” or a specific type of transgression? Also, side note, stories that take jabs at the agrarian way of life (aka Cain) are good for a herding, nomadic people. Cain goes on to found cities, suggesting that the people responsible for this story were somehow opposed to them…

Lucifer: What about Cain’s punishment? Is it immortality? Perhaps you can only atone when you are alive. Cain has to be alive, and wandering, in order to come to closure.

Gabriel: What is the mark of Cain? Could it be the mark of non-nomadic settlement? Cain does found the first cities.

Metatron: I think of the mark as something more visibly identifiable. A scarlet letter!

Lucifer: What about Seth, Adam and Eve’s third son? He seems like kind of an add-on. As Michael pointed out, there are so many parallels in the genealogies of Enoch/Enosh, Irad/Jared, etc. Might be some kind of oral history, that was then altered so that all of humanity isn’t descended from Cain, the evil brother.

Phanuel: We can also think about the media perspective, the way that memory is being encoded. The scroll as an unbroken form!

FINAL TAKEAWAYS…

Michael: Farming sucks. I hate farming!

OK, Michael!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s