WHY CAIN AND ABEL?
BY: ADOLPH E. KNOCH
QUESTION: What caused the difference between Cain and Abel? Two boys with identical heredity, environment, education… no neighbor’s children to teach them evil at school. Cain rebels and is lost. Abel submits and is saved. What in Cain made him rebel? How did it get into him? Why was it not in Abel? What in Abel made him submit? How did it get into him? Why was it not in Cain?
GOD caused the difference between Cain and Abel. Abel believed God (Heb.11:4), Cain was of the wicked one (1 John 3:12), hence his acts were wicked, yet his brother’s just. God wished to show, at the very beginning, what is in humanity, apart from Him. To do this effectively a sharp contrast was needed. As their heredity, environment, education, and, indeed, all physical and earthly influences were the same, these could not be used. Spiritually, however, Abel was dominated by the spirit of God, but Cain by that of the wicked one, according to God’s intention.
There was nothing in Cain or Abel themselves which determined their fate. The fact that Cain was the first-born of Adam, and that Eve gave him a name which means acquired (by her efforts), sealed his doom. It is of the utmost importance that mankind should learn that all is of God and is His gift, and is not “acquired” by human effort. Moreover, we must be humbled, before God can exalt us to the place he has prepared. Therefore the first son of Adam, irrespective of his personality or destiny, must exhibit what is in the human heart when alienated from God. Hence Cain became a murderer. God’s purpose to humble and elevate the race demanded that its firstborn be branded a murderer, and go out from the presence of Jehovah. Such is the human race apart from faith. They have wandered away from God and murdered His Messiah.
To many this simple and satisfactory solution of the question will raise an even more difficult problem. If Cain was not responsible, but acted in accord with God’s intention, how can he be damned forever and God be just? The answer is quite as simple. God has nowhere said that he would be lost eternally. He will be judged by Christ at the great white throne, not in order to “punish” him, but that the matter may be set right as between him and God. This will settle for his acts. Being still mortal, he enters the second death, until death is abolished. Then he is made alive and reconciled to God. God will not merely be just to Cain, but He will reveal Himself to him, as to all mankind, as a God whose essence is love.
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WHY CAIN AND ABEL? [Adolph E. Knoch] 1