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Cain - First Human Child to be Born

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Cain and Abel

The sacrifice of Cain and Abel (circa 1800).

Public Domain

Profile of Cain from the Old Testament Book of Genesis:

Cain was the first-born son of Adam and Eve, making him the first human child to be born in the Bible. Like his father Adam, he became a farmer and worked the soil. The Bible doesn't tell us a lot about Cain, yet we discover in a few short verses that Cain had a serious anger management problem.

The story of Cain and Abel begins with the two brothers bringing an offering to the Lord. The Bible says that God was pleased with Abel's sacrifice, but not with Cain's. As a result Cain grew angry, dejected and jealous. Soon his fierce anger led him to commit murder.

This account leaves us wondering exactly why God looked with favor on Abel's offering, but rejected Cain's. This mystery is often a point of confusion for believers. However, verse 6 and 7 of Genesis 4 contain the clue to solve the mystery. After seeing Cain's anger over the rejection of his sacrifice, God said to him: Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it. (NIV)

Cain should not have been angry. Apparently both he and Abel knew what God expected as the "right" offering. God must have already explained it to them. Both Cain and God knew that he had given an unacceptable offering. Perhaps even more important, God knew that Cain had given with a wrong attitude of heart. Yet God still offered Cain a chance to make things right and warned him that the sin of anger would destroy him if he did not master it.

Cain was faced with a choice. He could turn from his anger, change his attitude and make things right with God, or he could intentionally give himself over to sin.

Cain's Accomplishments:

Cain was the first human child to be born in the Bible, and the first to follow after his father's line of work, cultivating the soil and becoming a farmer.

Cain's Strengths:

Cain must have been physically strong to work the land. He attacked and overpowered his younger brother.

Cain's Weaknesses:

The brief story of Cain reveals several of his character weaknesses. When Cain faced disappointment, rather than turning to God for encouragement, he responded with anger and jealousy. When given a clear choice to correct his mistake, Cain chose to disobey and further entangle himself in sin's trap. He let sin become his master and committed murder.

Life Lessons:

First we see that Cain did not respond properly to correction. He reacted in anger—rage even! We should consider carefully how we respond when corrected. The correction we receive may be God's way of allowing us to make things right with him.

Just as he did with Cain, God always offers us a choice, a way of escape from sin, and an opportunity to make things right. Our choices to please and obey God will make available to us the power to master sin, but our choices to disobey him will leave us abandoned to sin's control. God warned Cain that sin was crouching at his door, ready to destroy him. God continues to warn his children today. We must master sin through our obedience and submission to God and by the power of the Holy Spirit, rather than let sin master us.

We also see in Cain's story that God evaluates our offerings. He watches what and how we give. God not only cares about the quality of our gifts to him, but also the manner in which we offer them.

Rather than giving to God out of a heart of thankfulness and worship, Cain may have presented his offering with evil or selfish intentions. Maybe he had hoped to receive some special recognition. The Bible says to be a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) and to give freely (Luke 6:38; Matthew 10:8), knowing that everything we have comes from God. When we truly recognize all that he has done for us, we will want to offer ourselves wholly to God as a living sacrifice of worship to him (Romans 12:1).

Lastly, Cain received a severe punishment from God for his crime. He lost his profession as a farmer and became a wanderer. Even worse, he was sent away from the presence of the Lord. The consequences of sin are severe. We should allow God to correct us quickly when we sin so that fellowship with him can be swiftly restored.

Hometown:

Cain was born, raised, and farmed the soil just beyond the Garden of Eden in the Middle East, probably near modern-day Iran or Iraq. After killing his brother, Cain became a wanderer in the land of Nod, East of Eden.

Referenced in the Bible:

Genesis 4; Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12; Jude 11.

Occupation:

Farmer, worked the soil.

Family Tree:

Father - Adam
Mother - Eve
Brothers & Sisters - Abel, Seth, and many more not named in Genesis.

Key Verse:

  • Genesis 4:6-7
    “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” (NLT)

Old Testament People of the Bible (Index)
New Testament People of the Bible (Index)

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