Genesis chapter 4

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What does Genesis chapter 4 mean?

Even as God continues to provide for the first few generations of humans, the consequences of human sin and spiritual separation from God become obvious. Adam and Eve start having children, including Cain and his brother Abel. Eve knew she was directly responsible for the pain she experienced in childbirth (Genesis 3:16), but she still gives God credit for helping her to bear Cain.

Cain and Abel grow up and choose different professions, both apparently maintaining a relationship with God. When both bring offerings to God, He shows favor on Abel and his offering of the fat of one of his slaughtered lambs. God does not, however, show favor on Cain or his offering of the fruit of the crops from the fields he has been working. This might have been due to a poor attitude on the part of Cain. Or, Cain's offering might have been smaller or less sacrificial than it ought to have been. For whatever reason, God does not find his efforts pleasing.

Cain becomes angry, and envious of his brother Abel. God warns Cain that sin is crouching at the door and Cain must master it. If sin and temptation are allowed to be in control, tragedy is soon to follow. Instead, Cain meets Abel in a field and murders him. This first recorded human death, and murder, once again sees God confronting His own creation over their sin. He comes to Cain and says that He can hear Abel's blood crying to Him from the ground.

In a scene similar to God's curses on Adam and Eve after their sin in the garden, God punishes Cain by cursing him from the ground. It will never again give him crops. God also sends Cain away from his family to wander the earth. Cain complains that without God's protection someone will surely kill him in retribution of Abel's murder. So, God marks Cain somehow for his own protection and promises to avenge seven-fold anyone who kills him.

Cain wanders to the land of Nod (which means "wander"). He marries, helps to build his city, and has a son, who has a son, who has a son. Lamech, Cain's descendent who was seven generations from Adam, seems to share Cain's rebellion, arrogance, and violence.

Adam and Eve have another son, though. Eve sees Seth as God's replacement for lost Abel. Seth and his line become known as people who rely on God and call upon His name.
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