Life After Paradise (Genesis 4)

The Significance of Genesis 4; Life After Paradise; The People Leave the Garden (selected verses from Genesis 4)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26, 2022

In 1991 two hikers in the Italian Alps stumbled upon a 5,300-year-old corpse that would later be dubbed “Ötzi the Iceman.” Preserved for more than five millennia in the ice and dry mountain air, Ötzi is the oldest intact corpse ever found. Forensic investigation revealed that Ötzi was most likely a shepherd. Ötzi was also a murder victim. He had been shot in the back with an arrow. As a Bronze Age shepherd who became a murder victim, we might think of Ötzi as the Abel of the Alps. In other words, the oldest human corpse was not found resting in a peaceful grave with attendant signs of reverence, but sprawled upon a bleak mountainside with an arrow in his back.

It’s a distressing commentary on the origins of human civilization. It seems that human civilization is incapable of advancing without shooting brothers in the back. From the lonely death of Ötzi in the Italian Alps to Neda Agha-Soltan in Iran, whose violent death in Tehran during the 2009 election protests was captured on a cell-phone camera and witnessed around the world, the number of Abels who lay slain by a Cain are incalculable. In a world that spills the blood of the innocent, it’s easy to despair. But the world Abel, Ötzi, and Neda were slain in, Jesus came to save.[1]

We have been focusing on how Genesis chapters 1-11 are foundational to our faith. We come to Genesis 4.

In Genesis 3 we have the devil slithering around as a serpent, talking, tempting, and distorting the Truth and Adam and Eve fall into sin. Then we come to Genesis 4 and we have a description of sin as an animal crouching at the door with a desire to overtake an individual, what an image.

In Genesis 3 we have the “why.” Why do these bad things happen, why sin? In Genesis 4 we have the “what.” What is happening that is sinful. Chapter 3 gives the cause and chapter 4 the effect.

In Genesis 4 we have this picture of sin wanting to overtake Cain, like a snake, a lion, a bear crouching, ready to pounce. When Cain gives into sin it does not stop with him. This is life outside of paradise.

We are not going to read this whole passage. Also, a few years ago I preached on Cain and Abel, so today I want to focus on a few verses. To start I want us to read a few passages of Scripture.

Let’s start with the New Testament:

1 Cor. 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Now, let’s look at a key passage in Genesis 4:6-7: The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

Now, Genesis 4:8: Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.

Lastly, Genesis 4:25-26: And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.

Now, we are ready to talk about Genesis 4 as foundational to our faith.

My theme is: The Significance of Genesis 4; Life After Paradise; The People Leave the Garden

  1. How did we get here?
    1. So, at the end of Genesis 3 God sent man and woman out of the Garden of Eden.
    2. In Genesis 4:1 Adam and Eve have children. They are named Cain and Abel.
    3. They both make sacrifices and God is pleased with Abel’s sacrifice, but not Cain’s. There may be reasons for this, possibly because Abel gave of the first fruits.
    4. Cain is angry.
    5. God speaks to Cain, we read that verse earlier, but let’s read those verses again. Genesis 4:6-8: The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.
    6. They have left paradise and now paradise has left them.
    7. They had sinned in Genesis 3 and the consequence of the sin is spiritual death and physical death. They needed a redeemer, but God has not yet provided the redeemer.
    8. They are out of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve lived a long time (Adam lived 930 years, Genesis 5:5) so we do not know how old Cain and Abel were at this time. One source makes the case that Cain is already married.[2]
    9. As I thought of this I was convicted to think about this from Adam and Eve’s perspective. Think with me. Allow yourself to go there. Have you ever gotten yourself in a pickle? Have you ever wished that there could be a do-over? Have you ever wondered how something was going to get taken care of after a BIG mess? Maybe something was irreparable?
    10. We all know what it is like when family relationships are divided. For many of us we wish that we could take the words back. We wish we could take back actions. We may wish we could make the phone call to repair things, or write the letter, or knock on their door.
    11. We know what it is like when things seem perfect, or almost perfect, and then we lose it. Maybe we did not realize how good we had it. Then we always wonder “what if…?”
    12. I wonder if after Cain killed Abel, Adam and Eve were thinking, “What if we did not eat of that tree?”
    13. I wonder if after Cain killed Abel, Adam and Eve were wondering where they went wrong.
    14. More than that, I wonder if after Cain killed Abel, they are so emotionally distraught. They did not know what to do.
    15. Murder is wrong.
    16. Murdering your own sibling is certainly not supposed to happen.
    17. This is the first sibling rivalry.
    18. This is the first jealousy recorded.
    19. This is the first anger recorded.
    20. This is the first murder recorded.
    21. BUT Adam and Eve’s emotions were not recorded.
    22. If Adam and Eve had a journal, what would it read?
    23. I imagine Eve running to Cain and letting out a blood curdling scream, “What have you done! What have you done! What have you done!” as she pounds her fists on his chest.
    24. Then, I imagine Eve going to Adam, but what would she say to him? Was it, “you should have intervened?” Or, did they grieve together.
    25. We don’t know what their thoughts were, but we do see a little bit in Genesis 4:25-26. We will come back to that.
    26. This is life after paradise. I wonder if Adam and Eve are realizing this is the new normal. Adam lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5) so he saw a lot of suffering in his descendants.
  2. What about Cain’s descendants (Genesis 4:17-26)?
    1. What was life outside paradise like? We will not read the next several verses but allow me to summarize a few key insights.
    2. In verse 19 Lamech starts polygamy. In Genesis 2:24 Adam marries one wife, but now Lamech has two. Genesis 2:24 says that a man is united to his wife, not wives. They are fallen.
    3. In verse 21 we see musical instruments (The pipe).
    4. In verse 22: we see iron and bronze. This means significant advances.
    5. In verses 23-24 we have more murder.  Lamech wants protected like Cain.
    6. Notice that these are real records. These do not read like fictional myths or allegory. They are records.
    7. They may skip generations and not include everyone but they are records.
    8. Adam and Eve sinned and now they are in life after paradise. We now see the consequence of sin. When we disobey God there are consequences. We must obey God’s ways (Genesis 4:7).
      1. Jealousy (Genesis 4:4-5)
      2. Anger (Genesis 4:4-5)
      3. Murder (Genesis 4:8, 23)
      4. Revenge (Genesis 4:14)
      5. Polygamy (Genesis 4:19)
    9. Where did Cain get his wife? Genesis 5:3 says that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. He lived another 800 years and had other sons and daughters.
    10. Cain married his sister! Yes. Now, there is the belief that Adam and Eve were one specific family that God spotlights and so there were more people and Cain’s wife was from other people. But here is the problem with that.
    11. Remember the first Adam-second Adam sermon? In Adam all die, so that in Christ all can be made alive. Romans 5:12-21 is about that. Also 1 Cor 15:21-22: For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
    12. Look at Romans 5:18: Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.
    13. Jesus paid the price of sin from the line of Adam. Plus, the New Testament seems to show that Adam’s sin trickles down to all humanity.
    14. God is faithful. He provided redemption.
    15. To be saved all humanity must go back to Adam and Eve.
    16. Now, how does that biologically work? Well, Adam and Eve would have been created perfectly. Their genetics were perfect so at this point that would not be a problem. But the longer human beings are in this sin-filled world their genetics got worse and the closer people are genetically related the more likely deformities would come.
    17. Did the law forbid marrying a relative? Yes, but the law came much later. By the time of the Law genetics would have been corrupted by sin and so God told them not to marry relatives (Leviticus 18-20).
    18. So, now, outside of paradise there is sin.
    19. Commenting on his performance in the gangster drama Black Mass, actor Johnny Deep said, “I found the evil in myself a long time ago, and I’ve accepted it. We’re old friends.”[3]
  3. God’s grace outside of paradise
    1. We see God’s grace in Genesis 4:7. We read that earlier.
    2. We see God’s grace in Genesis 4:15 when God protects Cain.
    3. We see God’s grace in Genesis 4:25-26. Let’s re-read that passage. Genesis 4:25-26: And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.
  4. God gave Adam and Eve another son (Genesis 4:25-26)
    1. The Lord provided more children.
    2. That is NOT to say that other children replace a child lost, NO WAY. Let me repeat, That is NOT to say that other children replace a child lost, NO WAY. However, Eve said it herself “for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.”’
    3. We see God’s grace.
    4. I wonder if she was concerned that they populate the earth. God told them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28).
    5. I wonder if she was concerned that without more children there would not be a redeemer. Remember in Genesis 3:15 there was the first prophesy of a redeemer. With every child Eve may be wondering, “Is this going to be the redeemer?”
    6. Adam and Eve knew paradise.
    7. Adam and Eve probably wanted paradise back.
    8. They were the only two to live in paradise, to live without sin.
    9. I am sure they wanted redemption more than anyone.

Sin is destructive.  Does sin offend us?

Parishioners of a conservative, small-town church in rural Indiana were surprised one Sunday when a biker came to visit. He stuck out like a sore thumb—pony-tailed, tattooed, and wearing bikers’ colors. But the church came alongside him and showered him with love and acceptance. He kept coming back and eventually became a Christian.

But there was one lingering question: Why did the biker always wear long-sleeved shirts—even on the hottest days of summer? One day he finally confessed to the pastor that he had a tattoo of a naked woman on one forearm, and he didn’t want the other people in the church to see it.

A few weeks later, the biker walked up to the pastor and asked, “Want to see my new tattoo?” The pastor turned a little pale as the biker proudly rolled up his sleeve. “You know that naked woman tattoo I told you about awhile ago? I had the tattoo artist put clothes on her!”[4]

God provides a way out of sin. Let’s re-read 1 Corinthians 10:13.

1 Cor. 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Seek the Lord, seek paradise. Someday we will be in the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21-22).

Prayer


[1] Brian Zahnd, A Farewell to Mars (David C. Cook, 2014), pp. 60-61. https://www.preachingtoday.com/search/?query=Genesis%204&type=scripture&sourcename=illustrations

[2] https://answersingenesis.org/bible-characters/cain/cains-wife-who-was-she/

[3] The Talk, Celebrities, Chicago Tribune (9-5-15). https://www.preachingtoday.com/search/?query=Genesis%204&type=scripture&sourcename=illustrations

[4] Source: As told by Pastor Danny Janes, Lighthouse Community Church, Kalamazoo, Michigan. https://www.preachingtoday.com/search/?query=Genesis%204&type=scripture&new-gr-c-s-check-loaded=&gr-ext-installed=&sourcename=illustrations&filter=pttype%3AHumor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s