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Cain and Abel: Murder and Morals

The lessons from the event of Cain and Abel are important for us to understand and for that purpose it is important to understand that it is indeed a historical event that truly occurred. Jesus Christ acknowledged the account as history when He said, “that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation” (Luke 11:50-51). This comment from Christ indicates that He taught as fact the earth’s history began with people populating on earth “from the foundation of the world.” There is no bypassing the issue that Christ indeed expressed the young earth view and that sin and even murder began very early in history. Furthermore, this comment identifies Christ’s position on the Old Testament cannon (the accepted books of the Bible). Abel was the first martyr (Genesis 4:8) and Zacharias was chronologically speaking the latest martyr spoken of in the Old Testament (2 Chronicles 24:20-21). “There were other martyrdoms recorded in the Apocrypha, but Jesus did not regard these writings as Scripture, and never cited them. Jesus agreed with the Pharisaic canon (Luke 24:44, John 5:39), but not the Saddusaic one which was Torah-only.” 1)Johnathan Sarfati, The Genesis Account: A Theological, Historical, and Scientific Commentary on Genesis 1-11, Creation Ministry International (Powder Springs, Georgia: 2015), p. 416
When Cain rose up to murder his brother, it was premeditated. Immediately after God warned Cain of the sin in his heart for anger towards Abel (Genesis 4:6-7), Scripture records, “And Cain talked with Abel his brother” (Genesis 4:8) apparently to invite him out to “the field” where he had planned to kill him. Some have suggested Cain may have not understood that his attack would actually cause Abel’s death, but this is ridiculous as they were familiar with blood sacrifices and that was the whole reason Cain was angry towards Abel. John states, “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12).
Why is murder wrong? First, because man was made in God’s image: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6). Secondly, because it is an attack against God, by attacking one made in His image, it is commanded to be prevented with swift and strong recourse—capital punishment, “And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 24:17; see also Numbers 35:30-34; Deuteronomy 19:11-13; Judges 20:13; Proverb 28:17;; Romans 13:1-5).Third, murder defiles the land: “So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land…” (Numbers 35:33). Fourthly, murder is equated with hate, “But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die…” Deuteronomy 19:11; cf. Matthew 5:21-22).
Such basic moral thought is excluded from a consistent evolutionary mind set. According to Evolution man has no value. Francis Crick wrote:

“You,” your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.2)Francis Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul, Simon & Schuster, 1994, p. 3

Thus your life is simply a chemical concoction with no more value than any other chemical combination. Your sense of a personality is not accurately understood for you are just as impersonal as all other things. To add a bullet into the skull of another human is no more immoral than adding vinegar to baking soda to cause a chemical reaction and the brains of that other human splattering on the floor is no more immoral than the reaction cause when adding vinegar to the baking soda making an “eruption” that spills over. Richard Dawkins wrote: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”3)Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden, Basic Books, 1996, p. 133 In an interview by another evolutionist Jaron Lanier, Dawkins was asked: “There’s a large group of people who simply are uncomfortable with accepting evolution because it leads to what they perceive as a moral vacuum, in which their best impulses have no basis in nature.” Dawkins replied: “All I can say is, That’s just tough. We have to face up to the truth.”4)“Evolution, The dissent of Darwin,” Psychology Today, 30(1):62, Jan.-Feb 1997
In the evolutionary paradigm, murder is not only viewed as morally neutral, but also it is encouraged. The teaching of natural selection, or as it is often referred to as survival of the fittest, embraces the premise of slaughtering whoever may be weaker in order to succeed. Charles Darwin wrote: “I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit…. The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”5) Charles Darwin, Life and Letters, I, Letter to W. Graham, July 3, 1881, p. 316 Elsewhere he wrote, “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”6)Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, (London: John Murray, 1874), Second Edition, Vol. 1, p. 156 Thus he was advocating genocide of those he considered to be less civilized.
These evolutionary morals have been propagated through entertainment. Eminem is the best selling hip-hop artists of all times. In one of his songs, he stated:

And that’s the message that we deliver to little kids
And expect them not to know what a women’s clitoris is.
Of course they gonna know what intercourse is, by the time they hit 4th grade,
They got the discovery channel don’t they?
We ain’t nothing but mammals,
Well some of us cannibals, who cut other people open like cantaloupes.
But if we can hump dead animals and antelopes
Then there’s no reason that a man and another man can’t elope
But if you feel like I feel I got the antidote.
Women wave your pantyhose, sing the chorus and it goes7)Eminem, “The Real Slim Shady,” The Marshal Mathers LP (2000).

Here his message is “we ain’t nothing but mammals” not different from any other animal. Thus it stand to reason since we are just evolved animals, spreading sexual perversions to children is acceptable. Cannibalism is acceptable. Homosexual marriage is acceptable. Promiscuity from women is encouraged. Many other songs of his promote a more graphic lyricism of violence and murder. Sigmund Freud the founder of psychoanalysis and one who probably has had the greatest impact on psychology, wrote, “Among these instinctual wishes are those of incest, cannibalism, and lust for killing.”8)Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion (trans. James Starchy), W. W. Norton, 1961, p. 13 Thus psychology, the study of the human soul or mind from a humanistic perspective, describes man’s natural desire as incest, cannibalism, and murder. Psychology embraces this as they present man as essentially good.9)see Heath Henning, “Why Psychology Cannot be Christian (Part 1) Feb. 13, 2016, https://truthwatchers.com/why-psychology-cannot-be-christian-part-1/; and (Part 2) Feb. 13, 2016, https://truthwatchers.com/why-psychology-cannot-be-christian-part-2/ The Bible describes this as man’s sin nature. So our culture today is bombarded with the ideas that justify murder as morally acceptable, through entrainment and education and even psychology which has infiltrated churches.
Even with the great expense and effort to proliferate this philosophy man is not quick to accept it because God has created man with an innate conscience. “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves” (Romans 2:14). As much as atheist would like to deny their conscience, they also are plagued with a knowledge of right and wrong. Andrew Hymes is the grandson of the great evangelist John R. Rice, but Andrew rebelled against the God of the Bible and rejecting his upbringing, yoking himself to the socialists and immorality as he entered college. He wrote, “In October of 1967… at age of 17, I had decided that god no longer existed. For me, the notion of a loving God who cared about the welfare of the least sparrow was incompatible with slavery and segregation, with poverty and murder, with genocide and the demons of the war in Vietnam. I tossed God onto the refuse heap of history.”10)Andrew Hymes, The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family, Chiara Press, 2011, p. 141
This natural expression of a conscience is absolutely incompatible with an atheistic worldview, but the evil that exists in the world validates the biblical worldview. Christian authors have answered these issues throughout history11)see Heath Henning, “How can a Good God Allow Evil,” Feb. 27, 2016; https://truthwatchers.com/how-can-a-good-god-allow-evil/ Timothy Keller wrote, “But the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection depends on death, destruction, and violence of the strong against the weak – these things are all perfectly natural. On what basis, then, does the atheist judge the natural world to be horribly wrong, unfair, and unjust? The nonbeliever in God doesn’t have a good basis for being outraged at injustice, which… was the reason for objecting to God in the first place. If you are sure that this natural world is unjust and filled with evil, you are assuming the reality of some extra-natural (or supernatural) standard by which to make your judgement.”12)Timothy Keller, The Reason For God. New York: Dutton-Penguin, 2008, p. 26
Another question has been charged against the Bible that revolves around the Cain and Abel event, mainly, where did Cain get his wife (Genesis 4:17)? For example, during the infamous Scope’s Trial (1925) the ACLU lawyer Clarence Darrow interrogated the Christian lawyer William Jennings Bryan:

Q—“Did you ever discover where Cain got his wife?”
A—“No, sir; I leave the agnostics to hunt for her.”
Q—“Have you never found out?”
A—“I have never tried to find.”
Q—“You have never tried to find”
Q—“The Bible say he got one doesn’t it? Where there other people on the earth at that time?
A—“I cannot say.”
Q—“You cannot say. Did that ever enter your consideration?”
A—“Never bothered me.”
Q—“There were no others recorded, but Cain got a wife.”
A—“That is what the Bible says.”
Q—“Where she came from you don’t know.”13)The World’s Most Famous Court Trial, Tennessee Evolution Case (a word-for –word report,) Bryan College (1990, reprinted from the original edition), p. 302

The obvious answer is that Adam and Eve had daughters, one of which Cain would have married. Josephus, and ancient Jewish author writing in the first century A.D. introduced the discussion of Cain and Abel by explaining this fact. “Adam and Eve had two sons, the elder of them was named Cain… They also had daughters.”14)Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chap. 2; The Complete Works of Josephus, Master books, 2008, p. 2 This is also what is implied in Scripture which says “and he [Adam] begat sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:4). It is true that the Mosaic law prohibits incest (Leviticus 18:6-16), however, this law was not revealed until approximately 2,500 years after Cain was born. Besides that, Cain would not of had any other option since all the living women were either his sisters or his mother Eve. There is also biological reasons why one should avoid marrying close relations, such as the higher chance of children inheriting genetic mutations. “However, God made Adam and Eve perfect. So they had no mutant genes… Their children would likewise have very few mutations. So this problem just would not arise.”15)Johnathan Sarfati, The Genesis Account: A Theological, Historical, and Scientific Commentary on Genesis 1-11, Creation Ministry International (Powder Springs, Georgia: 2015), p. 427 Ken Ham expressed:

By the time of Moses (about 2,500 years later), degenerative mistakes would have accumulated to such an extent in the human race that it would have been necessary for God to bring in the laws forbidding brother-sister (and close relative) marriage (Leviticus 18-20).
(Also, there were plenty of people on the earth now, and there was no reason for close relations to marry.)16)Ken Ham, “Cain’s Wife—Who Was She?”, in The New Answers Book (ed. Ken Ham), Master Books, 2007, p. 73

Furthermore, herein is found further evidence that Moses wrote the words revealed to him by God and not of his own mind. As he wrote laws condemning incest relations he condemned his own parents as his father had taken his aunt as his wife (Numbers 23:59). This genealogical information was written two months prior to entering the Promised Land (Numbers 1:1 cf. Joshua 4:19) so it was written after the law prohibiting incest marriages. Normal people would not want to condemn their own lineage as such or expose the skeletons in their closets by making themselves appear as hypocrites. Moses, however, willingly wrote every word God commanded him to.

We are familiar with how the double helix DNA is produced as a strand inherits combined information from the father and mothers lineage. The concept of how near relations causes inheritance of harmful mutant genes is illustrated in the picture below.

Since God created everything “very good” (Genesis 1:31) in the beginning, such mutations in human genetics had not developed as early Cain and Abel to influence offspring of marriages in close relations.

It is also notable that not just genetics influence our offspring, but also our character traits which our children can learn by observing. In following Cain’s lineage (Genesis 4:17-19) we find the first polygamous marriage by Lamech (Genesis 4:19) who is also recorded as the second man to commit murder. Lamech has two significant sons mentioned: Jubal, who invented musical instruments; and Tubal-cain, who metallurgy. After the parenthetical explanation of his sons who were inventors we find Lamech boasting of his murder (Genesis 4:23-24). In Lamech’s boasting we find the first poetic structure in scripture thus identifying that he used his son’s instrument to make a song of his murder and most probably his other son’s working with metal to produce a weapon:

(1) Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice;
(2) ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech:
(1) for I have slain a man to my wounding,
(2) and a young man to my hurt.
(1) If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,
(2) truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

In this we find the sin of pride which Cain had in driving him to murder, and Lamech had, not only in his sons accomplishments as inventors, but in himself who premediated the murder of a younger man who caused him hurt. This reveals that Cain never truly humbled himself to repent of his action of murdering his brother, and his pouting about God’s punishment had produced a similar mentality in his children who continuously heard from Cain how unjust it was in his eyes to be punished more than he deserved (Genesis 4:13).



Heath Henning
Heath Henning
Heath heads the Set Free addictions ministry on Friday nights at Mukwonago Baptist Church and is involved in evangelism on the University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus, offering his expertise in apologetics at the weekly Set Free Bible Study every Tuesday evening. He currently lives in East Troy, Wisconsin with his wife and nine children. Read Heath Henning's Testimony

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