Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday Sermonette: Competitive Creation?

If you thought Genesis 1-3 had continuity problems, get a load of this.

Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 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, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
So this is already weird. God, it seems, prefers meat to vegetables. Who knows why? This seems unreasonable since presumably God knows what business Cain is in and that he doesn't happen to have any animals to slaughter. God is also regularly having conversations with people.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 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.”
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
So offering the vegetables to God was a sin. At the same time, God is not omniscient.
10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 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.”
A strange concern since there are only two other people in the world, right? Cain's parents.
15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.
I don't know what "vengeance seven times over" would be. Later Christians, and Mormons, interpreted the "mark of Cain" to be dark skin, BTW, and claimed it meant all dark-skinned people are cursed. However, as it turns out God didn't really mean it when he cursed Cain, who does not become a restless wanderer in the earth after all. He builds a city, in fact.  He does so after meeting a woman who was presumably the product of a separate creation by some other god over in Nod. Enoch also finds a wife somewhere, as do the other named descendants. Who populated the city of Enoch? I count twelve people, including the unnamed wives, but that includes Cain's great-great-great grandchildren.

While this is utterly ridiculous, it also seems quite pointless.

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