Murder 101 – sent to Adventist World, Oct. 28, 2014

Cain turned on his brother and killed him. Genesis 4:8, GNT

Water garden MGD©

within lush beauty lurked evil

It must have been awesome to be the first lady of our planet, intimately created from her husband’s rib. It must have been awesome to be married to God’s creation formed from the dust of the ground. It must have been awesome to live in perfection, be perfection, marry perfection, and to top it off, walk and talk with God.

Eve should have left big shoes to fill ~ they would have been big shoes if she hadn’t chosen to listen to a sneaky snake bent on her destruction. Because of her decision and those that followed, we are where we are today. As for us, we know too much about death, but for them it was as if they were assigned a class, Death 101 for beginners. This couple would experience heartache without instruction; they would only have each other to weather the storm of emotions that followed their horrific loss.

After God forced humans out of the garden, he placed angels and a sword of fire that flashed around in every direction on its eastern border. This kept people from getting to the tree of life.  Genesis 3:24, NCV

Security was tight. These angel guys were the best of the best. There was no getting back into the Garden of Eden, their beautiful home. It must have sounded impossible to their ears. Kicked out? You mean we really don’t get to meet with you every evening like before? Just because we ate a piece of forbidden fruit? Was the infraction all that serious? Apparently so.

Perhaps when death did not strike immediately they hoped God had changed his mind. Their first peek at death was knowing an animal was killed to give them clothing. They were to experience death as beginners who had never lived with it as we do today. We are no longer beginners but fully aware of the pain and suffering that follows death, particularly the death of a precious child.

From now on they would live with beauty, but there would also be thorns and thistles where before had been perfection. They would eat, but it would take back-breaking toil to put food on the table. There would be children, but not without painful labor. And there would be death. Perhaps Adam and Eve got over the shock and began to work to make their new home the best it could be. We know that they welcomed children. First there was Cain and then Abel was born. We aren’t told if there were more in the early years, perhaps there were, but the story centers on the lives of these two boys.

As it also happens today, these youngins’ grew up as different as night and day. Abel was compliant and obedient to his parent’s instruction. Cain was unruly and determined to have his own way no matter what his parent’s said. It is in this framework that grief entered. The dispute was over an offering to God. Cain brought vegetables and Abel brought a lamb, the required offering, and God accepted Abel’s gift, but not Cain’s. Cain sulked and became angry. Let’s  pick up the story in Genesis chapter 4.

So Cain became very angry and felt rejected.  The Lord asked Cain, “Why are you angry? Why do you look so unhappy?If you do things well, I will accept you, but if you do not do them well, sin is ready to attack you. Sin wants you, but you must rule over it.” verses 5-7, NCV

Apparently Cain ignored God’s warning because the next verse says that he attacked his brother out in the field and killed him. Then he buried him. God asked Cain where his brother was and Cain retorted, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” As it is with all sin, God already knew, but Cain was unwilling to admit the murder and he would be cursed the rest of his days.

Can you imagine what the death of Abel must have been like for Adam and Eve? No doubt they dug up their son and wailed over the loss of him. We know the shock of looking upon death. Death to plants and flowers and sheep for sacrifice was one thing, but they had never seen a dead person before and this was their precious child! Our first parents would have had no idea what this was like. They were beginners. Now they were to experience the horrific, tragic pain and suffering from the loss of their beloved child and not only that, to know that their firstborn was the murderer!

Do you think Adam and Eve looked around for someone to blame? Do you think they blamed God or Cain? Did they blame themselves, remembering that it was their sin that got them kicked out of the Garden of Eden? Or do you think they put the blame squarely on Satan who hid his identity inside the snake?

When my boy died by his choice I was convinced that I was the only mother suffering such a loss.  Of course there were many survivors around the globe, but in my little corner of the world I didn’t know any. Knowing someone else has a similar experience makes one feel less alone, doesn’t it? There are places and groups and friends on social media where we can turn for support. I am blessed to be able to contribute by writing which hopefully provides encouragement for someone at just the right moment when they need it most. God is good about that; His timing is perfect.

Tucked inside God’s somber pronouncements to our first parents were promises of hope. We continue to wait for the end of suffering and the beginning of eternity where the blight of sin will never, ever mar its beauty. God has promised and he always keeps his promises.

He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time.  Nahum 1:9, NKJV









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