Genesis Chapters 4 and 5

Chapter 4

The man and his wife, Eve, had sex and she bore Cain and then Abel. There is no time for discussing growing up, because they’re already men and working in the fields. Abel is tending to the livestock and Cain is tilling the ground and growing fresh veggies. They both make offerings to God, but God didn’t recognize Cain’s offering. Cain get mad at Abel and lures him out to the field to kill him. Eventually, God finds out and curses Cain by making leave and go wandering (Nod is “wandering”), but nobody can kill him or else they will receive a sevenfold punishment.

There is no explanation as to why God did not accept Cain’s offering. Is he not a vegetable fan? I can see why God chose Abel’s offering. I mean, some fresh young animals are perfect for a barbecue. But why does Cain get mad at Abel and kill him? He should be mad at God for not giving a reason for his decision. As an aside, from AJ Jacobs’ book, The Year of Living Biblically, there is a hierarchy of sacrifices and animals are number one on that list.

I will bring this story up again in a couple posts because I see it as telling that Cain gets off pretty easy for murder. OK, I mean, he hasn’t been given any commandments or anything, so maybe he didn’t realize that murder was wrong. Oh, right, except that humans know the difference between good and evil thanks to mom and dad eating from that tree in the last chapter.

Chapter 5

It’s a tree…

“Cain knew his wife…” Huh? This would only make sense if the first chapter creation narrative is included and God created humankind and not just one human and a rib woman. Anyway, I’m not going to get hung up on this. We get genealogy of Cain, then we return to Adam and Eve knowing one another and producing Seth because Cain killed Abel. Seth had a son Enosh.

We get yet another genealogy, this time of Adam which is actually a genealogy of Seth. This one has some common names to Cain’s lineage, including Lamech and Enoch. The latter of which is interesting in that, despite having only a few lines written about him in this book, spawned an entire volume known as the Book of Enoch. It is only found today in the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible and as a separate book. There is a great video on this book on the YouTube channel, Religion For Breakfast.

Ages in the bible are interesting. Methuselah lived until he was nine hundred sixty-nine years old. The idea of ages in the Bible is one that has confused me for a long time, and it still does because of the counting system used. There is an excellent primer on the BioLogos blog that breaks down how to calculate the ages in years of the patriarchs in the Bible ( Quick and dirty explanation: It’s most likely based on a base-60 counting system and “years” are most likely months, which would make sense since the moon cycle would be a better measure of time back in those days since the full phases could be observed. Also, the Jewish calendar is based on months, and the Christian holiday of Easter moves based on when Passover falls.

And to think, I didn’t think I would say anything about the genealogy chapters.

Saturday Sermon: Original Sin

Since this is my first Saturday writing this blog, I thought that on the weekend I would take some time to discuss other topics related to the bible, religion, or even myself. Sometimes there will be a connection to the parts of the Bible I posted about in the past week, but it’s going to be whatever enters my heathenistic head. Since I used to go to church on Saturday evening instead of Sunday morning, I will be calling this feature, Saturday Sermons.

Since I just posted my take on Chapter 3, I thought I would take this Saturday Sermon to talk about the concept of Original Sin. That is, the stain put upon all of mankind’s souls because Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. According to the story, everyone born after them will be born with their sin and would have to be baptized to rid themselves of it or they will be cast into hell.

As an addendum to the previous post (chapter 3), I would like to ask a question. Was it even possible for Adam and Eve to knowingly disobey God when they ate the fruit? The fruit is what would give them the knowledge of good and evil, that is I would assume, knowing right from wrong. If they didn’t already know right from wrong, how would they know that disobeying God is wrong?

As will be a common mantra throughout this blog, I was raised Catholic and learned all about Original Sin and heard the justifications from priests, nuns, and lay pastors for this concept. The idea that my father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc., could have done something before my birth that I would have to pay for makes absolutely no sense. Even if one of my relatives committed a murder doesn’t mean that I’ve committed a murder, which means that I should not have to be punished for it. I might certainly feel some burden of guilt and would want to reach out to the family of the victim, but that would be more in line with saying, “I am not my relative.”

The crime that we’re talking about here is not even akin to murder. It’s nothing more than being caught with one’s hand in the cookie jar. Maybe we shouldn’t be allowed to have anymore cookies for a week, but to be damned to an eternity of torment in the Lake of Fire? That’s a bit excessive.


I am going to start posting larger sections of my Bible commentary to the blog. I will try to keep the reading at a reasonable length, but I also don’t want to pile too many topics on top of one another.

As always, I welcome discussion and disagreement. I only ask that you keep the discussion civil. Address the message and not the messenger.

Genesis Chapter 3

Any five year old who went to any type of Christian school or was carted off to Vacation Bible School to get out of their parents’ hair for a few hours (I did both) will know the story. Eve gets tempted by the snake, eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, gives it to Adam, yadda yadda yadda, they’re booted out of the garden and Azeraphael has to stand guard with a flaming sword.

The snake is just a snake. Snakes have always been considered wily and sneaky in the animal kingdom. This story is nothing more than an allegory to explain why humans are flawed and why the world is the way it is. This story is a ham-handed attempt to explain the world. Remember in the last chapter, God started off his relationship with man by lying to him when he told him that if he ate from the Tree of Knowledge he would surely die. The snake told Eve that the fruit would make them like the gods. That was the truth as confirmed by God in verse 22.

Then the LORD God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Gen 3:22, p. 34). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Another question that I have is, who is God talking to and who is “us”? Likely this story was written while polytheism was still a thing.