Cain’s Judgment -tmp(Genesis 4)

God’s interrogation of Cain was as gentle as Adam’s: asking
questions without accusing until the need comes for that. It is the honest
seeking of a repentant heart—even though the black heart before Him would lie
and prance around the truth and finally whines upon hearing God’s righteous
judgment.

Question 1: “Where is Abel your brother?” Here is an
invitation to own up to what he did, yet Cain decides to both lie to him and
refuse to let God corner him. He would not own up anything as “dumb” as Adam’s
“Um…I noticed that I was naked so I sorta’ hid.”Answer 1: “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Question 2: “What have you done?” A question that both
acknowledges Cain’s guilt and demands an explanation. No answer is recorded and
probably not given.
Statement 1: There is no need to answer. Abel’s blood
answered already. “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the
ground.” This is interesting in that it seems to state that God can hear the
cries of victims even after they die.

Judgment 1 ({{Gen 4:11}}): “You are cursed from the ground which
has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood.” This is a major hurt
especially in light of the man being a farmer…a tiller of the ground. What
exactly does it mean to be “cursed from the ground“? It means that when Cain
cultivates the ground it will no longer give Cain good results. So although
Adam sinned and the ground was cursed making the work hard, Cain’s sin results
in making the work weak. His hands buried life, the ground yields weakness.

Judgment 2 ({{Gen 4:12}}): “you will be a vagrant and a wanderer
on the earth” So instead of being a farmer on a patch of land, he now is sent
to be a nomad with no land. This judgment proves difficult with Cain later
setting up a city and it may make more textual sense (like some translators
state) that Cain’s son built the city. What is immediately difficult is that
Cain settled in the Land
of Nod and is not a
wanderer. Is he disobedient to God’s curse? Does the curse end? Or is this
settling just the setting up of his home before moving on in another day. The
text tells us nothing in that respect and I personally am left with the
difficulty.

Answer 2: “My punishment is too great to bear” because:Y

  1. You
    have driven me this day from the face of the ground
  2. I am
    hidden from Your face
  3. I
    will be a vagrant and a wanderer in the earth
  4. And
    whoever finds me will kill me.

What’s interesting about this is that it sounds like Cain is
concerned about his position before God but in actuality he fears his position
before men. He’s not sorry about his sin or even asking forgiveness—he fears
that someone will kill him on top of everything God has stated.

God’s Judgment 3 is merciful yet not lenient. He doesn’t
open it up for men to kill him—but rather declares a seven-times worst
condemnation on whoever kills Cain and God gave Cain a sign—whatever that
means—so that when found no one would kill him.

So Cain is judged according to his actions which were based
on his decisions despite God’s word (which he heard) and despite God’s warning
(which he knew). Cain’s condemnation doesn’t include death which is later
demanded by the Law—which some may think unfair. I would posit that God has
given men a conscience and is holding them responsible for that whereas after
He gives the Law He will hold men responsible for the keeping of the Law and
for their Conscience.

Now this isn’t to say that men come to God on different terms in different ages
as some misrepresent dispensationalists as saying. Men always stand before God
by faith in what He has said—it has been so since Adam’s day when He ignored
God’s Word and acted accordingly and it is so in our day when people hear God’s
Word of salvation and ignore it and act accordingly. And yet, despite that God
always furthers man’s responsibility in Man’s standing before Him in the twofold
effort of (1) giving Mankind what he wants and (2) teaching Mankind that they
will fail.

So when God makes man a steward of a conscience the man is
being held responsible for knowingly acting on what is right and what is wrong.
When God later (Genesis 9) makes man a steward of governing men, God is making
Mankind responsible for judging those who knowingly act on the wrong over the
right. In each of these stewardships of responsibility man fails and God judges
accordingly.

Since Cain is responsible by means of his conscience he is
singularly held responsible for his actions. Since men have not been made
responsible to judge Cain’s actions, men are not authorized to penalize him via
death. They might do so of their own accord (Cain understood this since he
himself had done so to Abel) but they would not be responsible as a governing
body to do this.

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