Summary: This is the 11th sermon in a series on the Book of Genesis. In this sermon we discuss the division between the line of Cain and the line of Seth
Genesis (11) (A Two Part History)
Text: Genesis 4:16 – 26
By: Ken McKinley
Now if you remember last time, we talked about how most likely Eve thought that her first born son Cain was going to be the one through whom God would accomplish redemption. And we also saw how; if that was the case, she was mistaken when Cain murdered his brother Abel. We also saw God pronounce judgment against Cain, and Cain’s selfish response and refusal to repent.
So Cain is banished from the presence of God (sin always brings a separation from God), and he heads out on his own. Now we understand, at least I hope everyone does, that Adam and Eve had other children, and so Cain was probably actually married to one of his sisters even before he was banished, and it is possible that some of his other brothers and sisters traveled along with him, and it was also probably some of his other brothers that he feared would be the ones who would try and kill him for murdering Abel. And as we read on, we learn that Cain names one of his children Enoch. Now that’s interesting, because Cain’s brother Seth also names one of his sons Enoch. And the name Enoch means “To Forge”, so most likely both Cain and Seth were thinking that their sons were the beginning of their new lives. But there’s a difference in these two Enoch’s. Cain’s Enoch has a city named for him, whereas Seth’s Enoch is taken up to the “city whose foundations and whose builder is God.”
And if we follow these two lines of history, we see that Cain’s descendants go all the way down to Lamech, here in chapter 4, and Seth’s descendants go to another Lamech, who is the father of Noah – and it’s interesting to study the contrast between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. Because in Cain’s line, it’s a study of rebellion and sin – But in the line of Seth, it’s a study in grace, and like I said, it’s quite a contrast.
And so; Cain’s sin against God, has resulted in a broken fellowship with God, but also a broken fellowship with his own family. And that’s what sin does, it destroys families and separates us from God, but it also eventually, dehumanizes us.
If we look at verses 19-24 we begin to read about Cain’s line. And I think that this passage is one of the proofs that “All Scripture is given by inspiration from God.” Because what we read here is both the good and the bad. IF it had been uninspired human authors retelling this history, instead of Moses who was inspired by the Holy Spirit, I would imagine that all we would read about Cain and his line are the bad things. But here we are actually told some of the positives found within his line. Cain’s people are excellent herders and musicians; they are the first metal workers, and very adept at the nomadic lifestyle. And what this is telling us is that God gives what we call “common grace” to all. In-other-words, God gifts all of mankind with certain abilities, some have special talents, others have great knowledge, others are strong or athletic. The Bible tells us that God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust. And again, theologians call this “common grace.” Meaning that it is not the special grace that is given during salvation, but that it is blessings that are bestowed on all of mankind alike, even though they might use it for evil or wrong purposes.
Also in those verses (19-24) we learn what kind of man Lamech, Cain’s son, was. We learn that he was a polygamist, that he was a murderer, and that he was just like Cain in the fact that he didn’t repent, but he was actually worse than Cain in the fact that he boasted about his murder. So what we see here is the progression of sin. Cain didn’t repent, but he feared God’s judgment. Lamech has no fear of God. He’s also an unforgiving person. What the text literally says here is that a child wounds him and Lamech strikes the child down with furry and anger. Now it’s interesting, that in the NT, Peter asks Jesus how many times we should forgive someone who sins against us, and he says “Seven times?” And Jesus responds by saying, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven…” Jesus very well may have had Lamech’s own words in mind when He told Peter this. So what we’re seeing here in the line of Cain, is actually a mini-picture of so many great nations throughout history. They are technologically advanced but morally bankrupt. We ourselves live in an age that is characterized by technological advancement, our knowledge increases daily. We can put men on the moon, and robots on Mars, we can communicate with people on the other side of the world through the internet, and fly over to see them in just a matter of hours, but none of our science or technology, or know-how has brought about moral improvement. The fact is, and the Bible teaches this over and over and over again, we are not evolving… if anything we are devolving. We are becoming less and less of whatever it is to be human. When we sin, we become less of what God intended of us. And sometimes; when people sin, you’ll hear them say something like, “well I’m only human.” But let me tell you something; humanity is not the root of sin. Moral rebellion in the heart is the root of sin. We don’t sin because we’re human, we sin because we are sinners, and because sin has taken root in our hearts.