Monday, October 18, 2010

Cain and Able
Two ways to take this story 1) at face value, and 2) to read all kinds of stuff into it that really isn’t there. At face value we have a story that doesn’t make much sense, explains almost nothing , and leaves us asking all kinds of questions about what it might mean. Thus the compulsion to read all sorts of stuff into it.
If we take it at face value: Adam and Eve recently evicted from Eden. Figure out how to have sexual relations, conceive a son, and name him Cain. Eve gives the credit to herself and God, Adam is silent on the mater. Eve then has another child and names him Able, which we are told means “nothingness” or “futility”. Something of the fascination at making a man had apparently worn off after the first occasion. With a sum total of four human beings populating the planet Cain kills one of them . In terms of today’s population figures, estimating the world population today at somewhere in the vicinity of 12billion, this act is equivalent to the illumination of 3billion in one fell swoop. The reason we are told for this set back in the peopling of the planet is that Cain becomes angry after an event in which he and his brother devise a brilliant idea to make an offering to God. Able, being a Sheppard brings forth fatty cuts of sheep. Cain, being a farmer, brings forth a basket of vegetables. God is impressed by Able’s offering and shows no regard for Cain’s. Cain, feeling dissed takes it out on able by killing him. The consequence to which is that he is put out from the place Adam and Eve were put out to, and must become a wanderer and a hapless farmer somewhere east of Eden. (East of Eden, by the way is where God stationed the cherubim to guard the tree of life.) Cain, being one of only three remaining humans is concerned for his well being and protests the severity of the judgment. He is afraid he will be killed if he is out wandering around in the hinterlands. Killed by who is a question begging but not directly addressed. God, being stern, but merciful, puts a mark on Cain that will serve as a sort of murder insurance policy. It provides that in the event of his being killed at the hands of yet unexplained other people, his killers will be subject to a sevenfold vengeance
Now, let’s look at some of what is read into this story.
• Cain kills Able because of Jealousy.
• Cain’s offering was not done right
• Cain has a bad attitude about the whole thing
• Able gives the best of what he had to offer where Cain gives only what he can do without.
• The story is about the conflict between sheepherders and farmers
• The story is really a religious battle between Cain and Able
• The story is meant to depict the spread of sin. How it goes almost immediately from overreaching to murder.
• Cain, seeing that Able killed a sheep and was regarded thinks to himself,” hum if killing a sheep pleased the lord. Maybe killing a person will please him even more”
• Cain, because he brought his brother to the field to kill him, and since his offering came from the field, than Cain meant to make a religious sacrifice of Able on the altar.
• Able was the scapegoat on which the sins of the people were set and then the goat was killed
• Cain’s murder is really a sin against God
• Cain’s murder is rally a sin against community
• Cain is trying to take from God the power to determine when live ends

Since what is read into the story by the scholars makes about as much sense to me as the story does at face value, I figure “hey. Anyone can read anything they want into this and it’s all fair games” Check out Joseph Smith’s new translation of Genesis.

So. Here is my reading into it;

Shame is lousy basis for behavior modification. Shame in Adam and Eve for being inherently sinful is passed down to their kids. Shame based people sometimes have a lot of rage to deal with.
Able, named “nothingness” or “Futility” by his parents could have had some issues of his own. Perhaps, in an attempt to win the favor his parents, he became an intolerable perfectionist and someone who, as perfectionists have a tendency to do, could make others feel less than adequate. Perhaps Able was the first to gloat and taunt.
Perhaps Cain, confronted with a seemingly inexplicable rejection by god with no explanation, and nothing he could do about it, was sent into a rage similar to the rage we experience when confronted with absurd bureaucracy.

Most likely, Able is an expendable in this story, a character brought in to be murdered, in the way a crewmember on Star Trek is brought up from the hull of the ship when they needed someone to get eaten, or struck by some alien death blight. Cain is the explanation for those other people that are not Jews who live as nomads and don’t farm very well. My guess is that the story from the Canaanite people is told a little differently.
the picture is from Google, Images, Burning Man

1 comment:

John Franks IV said...

Think about it for a moment....

If Cain and Able were the only offspring of Adam and Eve(which according to the bibles they were).

Then mankind was doomed! Unless Cain found a new way to reproduce without a female. If in fact this story were true we could not exist!

So, the theory that this "God" created mankind is full of holes!

Proving that this story is pure fiction, fallacy, and basically a myth.

IF in fact this "god" created mankind it was certainly not his most thought out work.

I still like The Douglas Adams theory:
We are all here as an experiment controlled by 2 highly intelligent mice. Make as much sense anyway.

I figger you will not post this but oh well I am writing it anyway....