Genesis 4: Am I My Brother's Keeper?

Genesis 4: Am I My Brother's Keeper?

Journey through the Book of Genesis with me.  The plan is simple. Read ONE chapter a day. Blog or journal 5* things you learned that you previously didn't know and ask 5* questions about the chapter that you'll ponder all week. Let's go!

** You'll probably learn way more than 5 things and have more than 5 questions about each chapter. That's totally fine. The more the merrier! 

Genesis 4:1-26


Question 1: Clearly, a significant amount of time has passed in verse 3 when it says, “…in the course of time” So, how many generations of humans have filled the earth at this point and how far have they spread? After all, God said in Genesis 1:8, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…”

Question 2: The ground was already cursed for Adam (mankind) in Genesis 3:17, so when God curses the earth again in Genesis 4:11 because of Cain, work and life must have become even more dramatically difficult. What did this new life now look like, considering that shortly after, Cain (or Enoch) manage to build a city?

Question 3: Since the ground is cursed [verse 12- “When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength.”], perhaps this is why there’s no mention of any of Cain’s descendants being farmers? v.20 says “those who dwell in tents and have livestock”; v.21 says, “[they] play the lyre and pipe.”; and v.22 says, “[they were] forger of all instruments of bronze and iron.”

Question 4: In light of the double curse which resulted in work become frustrating and sometimes unfulfilling, one must conclude that work was initially designed to be life giving and fulfilling. We’re supposed to wake up on Monday mornings with joy, enthusiasm, creativity, anticipation of what we will create during the day. Sin robbed us of this, but Revelation 21-22 indicates that that blessing of fulfilling work will be restored to mankind. What will work look like in eternity for followers of Christ?

Question 5: How should one “rule over” (v.7) sin when its draw is so strong?


Insight 1:  If Adam didn’t “know” Eve till after the fall (v.1), that may suggest that the events of the temptation in Eden took place very quickly after Eve’s creation. It would seem “Pre-fall” conditions were the perfect atmosphere for Adam to have “known” Eve, thereby bearing a child before it all went south, but she doesn’t bear a child then. Hence, Eve, very possibly didn’t have a lot of “life experience” before being pulled into the Serpent’s deception.

Insight 2:  Though cats out from heaven, they were not cast out from God’s presence. Eve still loved God enough to declare in worship, ““I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” (v.1)

Insight 3: John Macarthur, in a sermon on “Dangers of Adding to the Gospel” does a perfect job of explaining why Abel’s offering was accepted and Cain was not. He says, “Cain then is the prototype of false religion. Cain is the prototype of false religion. Abel is the prototype of true religion. Abel brought a sacrifice. Cain offers the fruit of his labor; that becomes the endless pattern of false religion. Abel offers an animal sacrifice, because he knew he had nothing in and of himself to give. But he knew God would accept a death in the place of his death. That’s how it has to be. Salvation would come by the death of an acceptable, innocent substitute.

Insight 4: Sin is pictured as a wild beast, lurking and “crouching” at every door, ready with the ill intent to “master” those who pen the door and welcome it in. Hence, we must “rule over it.”

Insight 5: Genesis 4:10 supports the idea that the blood of all the righteous who have been unjustly killed cries out to God for justice/vengeance? (Revelation 6:9-10). The only blood in human history that was violently and unjustly spilled that speaks “a better word than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24 is the blood of Jesus. His blood doesn’t cry out because HE HIMSELF is our justification and the bearer of all the wrongs that have been committed. So His blood speaks good news to those in whom it flows (believers).

Insight 5b: Verse 17 says (either Cain or Enoch) built a city, and from there on, the world experiences advancements in cultural and technological developments as the first city is constructed v.21 – “…the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe” / v.22 – “e was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron.”

Insight 5c: Everything goes downhill by the time we get to Lamech. He’s the second recorded murderer in history (v.23 – “I have killed a man for wounding me,”), and the first polygamist (v.19, “And Lamech took two wives.”) This is a violation of Genesis 2:21, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife [singular], and they shall become one flesh.”

Insight 5d: God hits “reset” with the birth of Seth. Hope lives! (v.26 - “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.”)

Husband. Dad. Pastor. Nigerian American. Storyteller. Aspiring Prayer Warrior. Steak Lover. Follower of Jesus Christ reminding you that God the Father still loves you.