Today, I am reading and commenting on Genesis 4-7.
There are two key stories in today’s passage: the story of Cain and Abel, and the story of Noah. For the longest time I felt bad for Cain because God did not find his offering acceptable. From the way it was taught to me I thought the problem was that Cain offered crops while Abel offered lambs. However, as I read the passage now I see that Cain just offered “some” of his crops while Abel offered the “best portions of the firstborn lambs”. Rather than change his actions going forward and making better offerings in the future Cain became resentful of Abel and killed him. Another interesting thing about the story of Cain and Abel is that there are numerous other people in the world. We do not know where these other people came from. They may be other descendants of Adam and Eve, or perhaps God had created other people as well. A straightforward reading of the passage makes the first unlikely (the wording suggests that Seth was Adam’s and Eve’s third child, although it does not spell that out and therefore that may not be the case). I personally do not have an opinion on the answer to where the other people came from, but it is a question I am looking forward to having answered when I get to Heaven.
As an introduction to the story of the flood, and as a means of explaining how corrupt the world had become, we are told that the “sons of God” took any of the beautiful women they saw as wives and had children by them. The heroes of ancient renown were the offspring of such marriages, but we have no real understanding of who the “sons of God” referred to here were. Another answer I am looking forward to receiving in Heaven. The passage tells us that the people were totally and consistently evil so that God chose to wipe the earth clean of them. However, there was one man who walked in close fellowship with God. that man was Noah. God gave Noah instructions to build a boat and take aboard his family and “a pair of every kind of animal”. I have wondered for many years whether “every kind of animal” was story tellers short hand, since only those animals which Noah brought on the boat would have been around after the flood.