Cain and Abel

Eve bears Cain and Abel. Cain doesn’t hearken unto the Lord. He is the firstborn? No, because in verse 12 it says that they have sons and daughters. I think it’s just highlighting two significant brothers, Cain and Abel. Cain says, “Who is the Lord that I should know him?” (verse 16).  I think a lot of people who are raised religiously can be like this. Their parents strive to teach them correct principles and put a heavy significance on God and importance of obeying God’s commandments, but they just say, “Who is the Lord that I should know him?” I’m sure it breaks parents’ hearts. In my opinion, parents have done their part and really can only leave it up to the Lord because their kids need to find out for themselves. They have their own agency. If the parents push two much, they will rebel.

Abel and Cain’s Profession

Cain is a tiller of the ground while Abel is a sheep herder. Contrast the two professions. The Savior is a shepherd with his sheep. Abel, knew all his sheep I’m sure, just like the Savior does. I’m sure being a shepherd taught Abel patience and care.

Cain is a ground tiller. Does this mean farmer or just someone who tills the ground? Let’s say farmer. He would probably be a little more hardened. Maybe the ground wasn’t good some years or perhaps he thinks a good hard day’s work is what you need. I think he may have looked down on his little brother for having an “easier” or “simpler” job.

So we find that Cain loves Satan more than God (big surprise). Why did he love Satan more? Satan is all about turning inward. We know Cain already thinks God thinks he’s all that. Cain probably thinks that he works harder than God (pride) because he works on a farm doing hard labor. Satan feeds off that ego and tells him what he wants to hear. Hence, the loving of Satan more than God.

A Sacrifice Not Accepted

Satan tells Cain to make an offfering to the Lord. A seemingly good thing, however, Satan knew that the Lord would accept Abel’s offering more than Cain’s. Cain brings fruit he’s grown and Abel brings a fat firstling of the flock. Is there any significance to what they brought as offerings? Does fruit signify the best of what you have? I can see the significance of the firstling of the flock as a similitude of the Only Begotten. The Lord respects Abel’s offering more. This is probably because up to this point, Abel has been more righteous. You can’t expect the Lord to honor something you do good if all the other times you do something bad. Although, the Lord is always proud of good decisions, you can’t merely be a Sunday Saint. Gotta live it at all other times.

One other thing. Why did Abel make an offering too? Did Satan tell Abel to make an offering as well? Or was it a day to make offerings and a normally unparticipating Cain decided to make an offering because Satan told him to? Either way, Satan wanted this encounter to happen and he set it up.

Cain becomes very wroth and his countenance falls. Satan knew this would happen and it makes him happy. I’m trying to imagine how Cain is feeling right now. Wroth obviously means he is angry whereas his countenance falling seems to denote sadness. I imagine he yells when God doesn’t accept it and is so mad he’s crying. Maybe feeling as if the one time he does decide to “be good” God just tosses it aside and doesn’t like it. The Lord asks why he is so angry and has such a fallen countenance. The Lord continues by saying, “If you do well, I’ll accept it. If you don’t, you are going to commit sins. Satan wants to have you. Unless you listen to me, you will be in spiritual bondage and under Satan’s grasp if you choose to go this route, you will be called Perdition and the father of lies. And it will be known that all those bad things came from you. This is what i will curse you with except you repent.”

Cain is super mad because God says this to him. Cain is probably feeling most wronged because he offered sacrifice and God DIDN’T accept it. And now he is saying that CAIN needs to repent because HE is not walking before the Lord. How dare he! See how dangerous pride is? See how Satan makes us turn inward on ourselves (see Elder Bednar’s talk: “The Character of Christ“). All me, me, me, me. So Cain is mad and decides he has had enough. He is no longer listening to the Lord or Abel. These feelings had probably been fermenting inside of him for some time. One does not simply just snap all of a sudden.

Adam and Eve mourned before the Lord because of Cain and his brethren (wicked brethren?). I believe this is what any parent would do. I’m sure this IS what many parents do when their children make bad decisions. They go before the Lord and plead with him that their children’s hearts may be softened and turned toward the Lord.

Cain Makes Secret Oaths and Combinations

Cain takes one of his brother’s daughters to wife and both love Satan more than God. Probably a bad brother’s daughter. That way, he wouldn’t have to fight the goodness in her. What can I say, misery loves company.

Satan has pretty much won over Cain and now is swearing him into secret combinations. Satan tells Cain to swear by his throat and under penalty of death not to tell anyone. In addition, swear thy brethren by their heads and by the living God that under penealty of death, they don’t tell anyone, including God, and  I, meaning Satan, will deliver Abel into your hands. Satan swears that he’ll do whatever Cain commands. Satan makes us think we are in charge and his master, but really and truly it is the opposite way. We become so subjected to him that what we think is us making the choice, is really the same thing he wants us to do. Satan wants Abel dead. Cain probably does at this point too and Satan feeds off that desire for revenge.

All these things were done in secret. Satan loves secrets because usually, he is in charge of the secret keepers. So he can expose them when he sees sufficient. Secrets imply hiding and darkness. God glories in light and openness. Satan thinks if things are done in secret, no one will find out. People will always eventually find out, if not in this life, then the next. Heavenly Father always knows what we are up to.

Cain glories in his secret combinations and pacts he has made with the Devil. This is because he believes that Satan can do all and that he is safe because everyone is sworn to secrecy. He believes he can murder and get gain whilly-nilly, but that is not, nor ever will be, true. Cain begins to call himself, “Master Mahan”. The footnote for “Mahan” suggests meanings such as “mind”, “destroyer”, and “great one”. It says this based off of roots in the word, “Mahan”. What are those roots I wonder?

It is interesting that “mind” is a possible definition for “Mahan”. It seems like the mind is the place a lot of the natural man can be. Either in thoughts or no thoughts. An idle man is the devil’s playground. Also, mind goes along well with secret combinations. If you think a thought, or plan something out in your head, no one can known you have done that if you don’t tell them.

Cain also glories in his wickedness. Another example of being turned inward with Satan. Boasting me, me, me, me. He probably feels powerful with Satan. Again, thinking he is in control (cross-reference the Great and Terrible series), but when in reality, he is far from it. Something that I can relate to this is Jedi and Sith from Star Wars. Sith are ruled by passions, focusing on them and their power. They get all their power from me, me, me, me, me. That’s why they never get along and there are only a few of them at a time. They don’t share their power no matter how nice they seem. Whereas Jedi, turn outwards. Helping others and protecting the galaxy. Their power comes through meditation, peace, and “being in tune with the Force”. They bridle their passions and seek for a better galaxy with the ever optimistic phrase, “May the Force be with you”. I have always wondered why people liked playing the Sith rather than Jedi in the games. I suppose being bad is associated with more power, more freedom, more adventure etc.. When in reality, it is quite the opposite. Maybe not in the short run of things, but definitely in the long run. Jedi end up surviving and the Sith die out.

Abel’s Death

Cain goes out in the field to talk with Abel (I wonder what they talk about? What was their relationship like?). He rises up and slays Abel. Cain glories (boasts) of what he has just done saying that he is free and that all his brother’s flocks have fallen into his hands. Why would he use the word “free”? The opposite is bondage. So, while Abel was alive, Cain thought he was in bondage? Maybe he concluded that once Abel wasn’t around, he would be FREE to do all the dark things he wanted without worrying that father would come unwinding what he’d done.

As with all sinners, Cain is blinded by Satan and led to wrong ideas. The Lord appears (in the field? Probably not, Cain wouldn’t want to be caught at the crime scene, right?) and asks where Abel is. Cain says that he doesn’t know and asks back, “Why should I know? I’m not is keeper.” (implying like a zoo type of keeper where he would own and keep track of him?). The Lord already knows what has happened, but it is evidence to see that guilty people are often hostile when interrogated.

The Lord asks Cain what he has done, because Abel’s blood calls to him from the ground. This is evidence that Heavenly Father knows every single one of his children. He knows when the bird sings, flowers bloom, and when his children pass away. The Lord gave Cain a chance to answer and he didn’t. Now he straight out says that he will be cursed because he knows what Cain did. When he goes to till the Earth, nothing will grow. He gets the black thumb!

Cain tries to get out of it by saying that Satan made him do it. That he made him covet the flocks of his brother. And he was wroth because God didn’t accept his offering. Cain says his punishment is greater than he can bear. Cross reference the Genesis version of this story. Translation says that his sin is too great to be forgiven. Interesting that he thought that. Did he want to be forgiven? Probably not. Maybe Cain said that as  a justification for him doing bad. When you are guilty and attempt to justify it by saying someone made you, in this case, the devil, it’s bogus. Everyone has their agency and by golly, you could have chosen to ignore the Devil. So then, Cain goes the next route of being the victim. I was wroth, you didn’t accept my offering! You can’t do this to me, people will find out what I’ve done and kill me! So first, he says he’s innocent. Then he says he isn’t but he’s a victim and he’s being picked on. Tidak bagus (not good in Malay). You need to take responsibility for your actions!

The Curse of Cain

The Lord says that if anyone kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold. The Lord sets a mark upon Cain (same one the Lamanites have? Cross reference Alma 3:7) so that anyone who found him would know not to kill him. The Lord didn’t want him to be killed. That would be the easy way out. He wanted him to live and learn from his mistakes. Therefore, he, his wife, and many of his brethren were cast out from the presence of the Lord (spiritual bondage) and went to live in the land, east of Eden, Nod.

That’s it for today. Next time, we’ll start with what happened to the posterity of Cain and more about Adam’s other sons and daughters. Stay tuned! Thanks for reading!

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