The word sin has become unpopular in current society, especially when applied to specific behaviors that are no longer illegal. I propose that we define sin as any behavior that an individual engages in, or fails to undertake, at the unjust expense of others. This behavior is so evidently a part of everyone’s naturally occurring behavior, even from birth, that is is a rational deduction rather than an act of faith to say that humans have a “sin nature”.
- There is none right-eous [always doing the right thing], no, not one:
- There is none that understandeth [always rational, we are often controlled by our emotions or physical desires despite awareness of negative consequences of actions],
- there is none that seeketh after God [wanting to be morally correct].
- They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable;
- there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
- Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
- Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
- Their feet are swift to shed blood:
- Destruction and misery are in their ways:
- And the way of peace have they not known:
- There is no fear of God before their eyes…
- For all have sinned. (Letter to the Romans 3:10-18, 23)
This is why any size group of individuals need laws, from as small a group of two with a safe word and process of conflict resolution, to the United Nations. Laws / rules safeguard and balance the rights and needs of individuals who depend on each other.
Laws serve to protect people from evil. Every society has individuals willing to harm others. Law creates a framework for reducing crime. First, it lays out the nature of proper and improper human conduct. It proscribes punishment for delinquency as a deterrent, and establishes the creation of enforcement mechanisms, such as police, that both prevent crime and enact punitive measures.
Law also promotes the common good. Humans tend to act out of self-interest. However, there are cases in which everyone benefits by pursuing a common interest and working together in cooperation. Anti-pollution laws, for instance, limit peoples’ freedom to dispose of waste as they please to promote the common good of a clean environment and resultant health benefits.
Laws provide for the peaceful resolution of disputes. Without legal processes for settling differences, people would act against one another in aggression. Laws create peaceful processes for conflict resolution through the court system.
Laws and rules help people develop good behavior. Often, people initially obey rules due to fear of punishment. However, consistent behavior causes them to internalize lawful conduct and eventually do it, even when they are not being watched.
The Bible records that all humanity was affected in the exact same way by the original sin, described in a previous post as triggering genetic changes passed down to all of the Adams’ descendants. This is observable in the sin nature that exalts self while simultaneously harming self by losing resources, and rebels against authority while losing essential protection, as well as the inevitable deterioration and death of the body, often hastened by reckless behaviors.
If you find this judgmental, consider your own experience of the behavior of people when there are not enough lawmen around to maintain security and order. We lock our homes and cars for a reason. Robbery and murder weren’t just in the American Wild West. The military is called in after disasters to minimize the inevitable breakdown of social order during which the weak suffer at the hands of the strong.
No matter how moral and socially conscientious we believe ourselves to be, we all have our breaking point, a thin line that triggers a response when it gets crossed. This may be as amoral as rationalizing driving faster than the posted speed limit because no-one else is on the expressway to as immoral as stealing and killing under certain circumstances.
[During Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans] Inside the Superdome, things were descending further into hell. The air smelled toxic. People had broken up into factions by race, separating into small groups throughout the building that the National Guard struggled to control. A few of these groups wandered the concourse, stealing food and attacking anyone who stood up to them.
The tiny jail cell down in the bowels of the Dome, which they kept for game-day security, was filling up. A man had been caught sexually assaulting a young girl. Reports of other rapes were widespread. Three people died in the Superdome; one apparently jumped off a 50-foot high walkway.
Supplies were running low, and as the National Guard began to ration things like water and diapers the crowd grew incensed and accused them of hoarding goods for their own use…
That night a National Guardsman got jumped as he walked through a dark, flooded locker room. His assailant hit him with a metal rod taken from a cot. The guardsman’s gun went off during the confrontation. The bullet went through his own leg.
In response, guardsmen put up barbed wire at various areas around the building, protecting themselves from the general population. [Emphasis added.]
In the beginning there was just one law – don’t eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” The concrete terms of this law provided unquestionable evidence that the Adams had violated this law. But it wasn’t just about eating a fruit, it was the reason someone would eat the fruit that is the abstract essence of this law, stated in the law and in the serpent’s encouragement to break the law – “becoming wise, i.e. the authority to decide what is right and what is wrong for ME.” Not because God wants his children to be robotically under his control, but because immature children need supervision to prevent the strong hurting the weak.
I’m fairly certain that the home quarantine conditions under COVID 19 have convinced a lot of parents that they need to establish, their children need to be taught, and they need to enforce, household rules to prevent strong-willed children from harming the structural integrity of the environment and the physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing of themselves, siblings, and other household members, not the least being the parents themselves. Ever consider what could happen to everything sustained by God if he stops being in control? The answer can be derived from considering what would happen if you let your child run amok without supervision. Other- and self-destruction.
With this in mind, can we understand the following explanation of the purpose for creating laws? Without a law to break, there is no proof that someone who committed a certain act is guilty, and no legal ability to restrict that person from preventing further harm to society.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God…by the law / establishment of what is unlawful is the knowledge of sin / wrong-doing.” (Romans 3:19-20)
It is obvious that lack of knowledge that something is a sin / wrongdoing causes harm even when people act out of ignorance. For example, before there was a law requiring parents to put small children in car seats, don’t you think that fatal consequences occurred from being unrestrained? But since parents weren’t held legally liable, there was no punishment for failure to safeguard their children, ergo no incentive to do so, and most importantly – no general awareness of the importance of doing so.
Cain didn’t have to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil to break the abstract essence of the first law given to mankind. He set himself up as his own god, judging good and evil, when he decided that a fruit basket was as least as good as, if not better than, a blood sacrifice. In the process he also defied God’s moral law – and natural laws like conservation of energy – mandating that he exchange life for life.
“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. ” (Gen 4:3-5)
Don’t we habitually follow this same pattern of behavior, deciding that its OK for us to do something that the Bible – or even simply our own conscience – states is wrong?
I suspect that the television series Better Call Saul is so popular because it brings to our attention a deeply troubling reality every viewer senses in his or her own life experience. The characters’ choices of action in response to crises does much more than reveal their inner character. Their choices shape their character, and their future. As they face crossroad after crossroad of decision they proceed towards a destination, usually not of their liking, but unquestionably of their choosing.
It does this so effectively because the show doesn’t define its characters’ personalities and fatal flaws, which would allow us to treat the characters as fictional. Instead, it gently nudges us into a dawning awareness of essential human nature through the use of “precept upon precept” as we’re able to track their disasters back to the start when their bad choices set them up to fall. If we’re wise, we’ll take a lesson for our own lives.
Cain chose to trust Satan and his lie that he didn’t need God, he could live on his own terms. Abel chose to trust God and his promise of a future redeemer – and acted on his faith. This trust in God’s word – as in “you have my word on it” – is what counts as “deeds” of “good works.”
“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh [through his spokesman].” (Hebrews 11:4)
The reason Abel’s blood sacrifice was accepted by God is that
- life for life is required when dealing with natural laws, such as “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction“
- as the necessary means of forgiveness – shifting the consequence of sin to an innocent party
- using the lifeblood of animals temporarily until the Seed of the woman was born to permanently overcome sin and death through his human life’s blood.
Yahweh’s Savior / Jesus restates the foundational law for all mankind in unmistakable terms – choose to become the son of God, as originated by the Father of mankind. Anyone who has been in a family relationship understands that requires love. Not the feel-good kind of love, but the doesn’t-always-feel-good sacrificing your own desires to do what’s best for the ones you love because you are united as one with them.
“And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ish-i [my “one flesh” ]; and shalt call me no more Baal-i [my lord, my ruler]. For I will take away the names of Baal-im / lords out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name…And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know / be one with the LORD. And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people / one nation under a Father and they shall say, Thou art my God. (Hosea 2:16-23)
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart /gut instinct, control center, and with all thy soul / emotions and drives, and with all thy mind / thought processes. This is the first and great commandment.” (Mat 22:37-38)
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
God does not initiate us into a religious club with a set of rules and practices that sets us apart as being better than other people. God invites us to engage in relationship with him and his family. When we love someone, our behaviors are based on what brings us into a closer relationship with them, becoming more and more like each other. The guidelines and boundaries that make for a loving relationship with God and the members of his family are written down for us to follow to ensure our own protection, and enhance our growth and development within the family.
“And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” (Genesis 4:5-7)
We destroy relationships when we knowingly do things that hurt or alienate the ones we are supposed to be in unity with. Ironically, we often harm ourselves most of all by losing resources vital to our own well-being when we selfishly refuse to submit to one another, i.e. give as well as take, in relationships.
“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” (Genesis 4:8-12)
Don’t we all have a sense of justice when someone who transgresses / trespasses our limit on the wrong-doing spectrum gets what we think they deserve? I relieve the boredom of housecleaning by listening to Cold Case and Forensic Files podcasts. Gruesome? Not to me. I vicariously share the flood of vindication experienced by friends and family of the murder victim when the killer is invariably brought to justice – after a time of frustration while the murderer goes free because there isn’t enough evidence of wrong-doing, causing terrible suffering for the bereaved. These examples of true-life justice restore my soul.
God cursed the ground so Cain could not farm. We can see how the punishment exquisitely fit the crime in that instance. But can we see how this is also chastening from a loving Father? Cain was no longer able to offer God a vegan sacrifice, he had no other option but to offer a blood sacrifice. God was guiding him into the way of salvation.
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:6)
“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding…Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding…Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.” (Proverbs 2:1-20)
I think we are so used to having the Bible “story” of Cain and Abel presented as a simple black and white comparison of the good seed vs the bad seed that we don’t see the bigger picture – the need, and opportunity, for every single human being to be saved from their sin.
The statement that Cain would be a fugitive and a vagabond has been understood to be punishment, but that did not have to happen. Forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation with God and mankind were as available to Cain as they were to his parents and all the rest of mankind. Most humans don’t farm, we work in harmony with our community and trade whatever we produce in goods and services to meet each other’s needs. Cain just chose not to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.
The statement that Cain would be a fugitive and a vagabond is better understood as an astute observation of the consequences of Cain’s decision not to seek forgiveness and restoration of relationship. It is important to recognize the difference.
- Punishment is imposed by a social law and is generally not under our control.
- Consequence is the inevitable effect of our own actions, and any future consequences are under our control. We simply have to repent – rethink – what we are doing and change the behaviors that cause us harm.
Cain didn’t repent and take responsibility for his own actions. Don’t take his word for it that he was being punished. Like every recalcitrant drug abuser I’ve dealt with, he whines that the inevitable results of his behavior – homelessness, rejection by family, ruined social relationships, unemployment, poverty – is “unfair punishment” imposed by an overly strict law, and wants the person(s) trying to help him reform to repent / rethink their plans and change their behavior in order to lighten his burden of responsibility to reform. Cain chose to become a fugitive from justice in the first feud.
“And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” (Genesis 4:13-15)
The mark of Cain has been cause for speculation, such as being the origin of dark skin. The Bible gives us no reason to believe that this mark was inherited by Cain’s offspring, and in any case they all died in the flood. All we are actually told about the mark of Cain is that it protected him. God also put a mark of protection on men many years later.
“And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man [angel] clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.” (Ezekiel 9:3-6)
It should come as no surprise that Anti-christ mimics this strategy, promising protection to those who take his mark.
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” (Revelation 13:15-18)
With God’s mark, Cain was, even if unwillingly, a witness of God’s mercy “in the midst of a perverse and crooked nation.” (Philippians 2:15)
“Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee? Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.” (Deuteronomy 32:2-7)
We know that Cain did in fact testify of God’s saving grace because five generations later one of his descendants referenced him while claiming this same protection for himself.
“And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.” (Genesis 4:23-24)
It doesn’t sound to me that Lamech was humbly calling on the Most High God. I do know that God is not a mercenary soldier at our beck and call. Like subjects in an earthly kingdom, we gain the king’s protection when we submit to his authority. Lamech’s inflated claim sounds like what psychiatry describes as “hyper”-religiosity – boasting of self-serving power based on imagination. He was very likely calling on the anti-christ worshiped in his day.
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee…Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalm 2)
Is it inconceivable that God blessed Cain in spite of his wickedness? Years later another wild brother with a murderous heart had the audacity to ask for God’s blessing, and he too got it.
“And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck. And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.” (Genesis 27:38-41)
The fact is, none of us deserve God’s blessing, and all of us are as guilty as Cain and Esau.
“Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I [Savior] say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. ” (Romans 2:1)
“And Cain…builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech. And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father [originator] of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp [stringed instruments] and organ [wind instruments]. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron…” (Genesis 4:18-22)
Like unto Cain were all his descendants, impious and godless…
The two wives of Lamech, Adah and Zillah, bore him each two children, Adah two sons, Jabal and Jubal, and Zillah a son, Tubal-cain, and a daughter, Naamah. Jabal was the first among men to erect temples to idols, and Jubal invented the music sung and played therein. Tubal-cain was rightly named, for he completed the work of his ancestor Cain. Cain committed murder, and Tubal-cain, the first who knew how to sharpen iron and copper, furnished the instruments used in wars and combats. Naamah, “the lovely,” earned her name from the sweet sounds which she drew from her cymbals when she called the worshippers to pay homage to idols.
And when Cain had traveled over many countries, he, with his wife, built a city, named Nod, which is a place so called, and there he settled his abode; where also he had children. However, he did not accept of his punishment in order to amendment, but to increase his wickedness; for he only aimed to procure every thing that was for his own bodily pleasure, though it obliged him to be injurious to his neighbors. He augmented his household substance with much wealth, by rapine and violence; he excited his acquaintance to procure pleasures and spoils by robbery, and became a great leader of men into wicked courses. He also introduced a change in that way of simplicity wherein men lived before; and was the author of measures and weights. And whereas they lived innocently and generously while they knew nothing of such arts, he changed the world into cunning craftiness. He first of all set boundaries about lands: he built a city, and fortified it with walls, and he compelled his family to come together to it; and called that city Enoch, after the name of his eldest son Enoch. Now Jared was the son of Enoch; whose son was Malaliel; whose son was Mathusela; whose son was Lamech; who had seventy-seven children by two wives, Silla and Ada…Tubal, one of his children…first of all invented the art of making brass…Nay, even while Adam was alive, it came to pass that the posterity of Cain became exceeding wicked, every one successively dying, one after another, more wicked than the former. They were intolerable in war, and vehement in robberies; and if any one were slow to murder people, yet was he bold in his profligate behavior, in acting unjustly, and doing injuries for gain.
The Edenic way of life is only possible for those with a humble spirit of brotherhood and a compassionate heart to share God’s blessings. In other words, people filled with God’s spirit.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (I Timothy 6:6-8)
Will Durant’s classic history series gives insight into the differences between urban and rural cultures.
The North American Indians were described by Captain Carver as… “extremely liberal to each other, and supply[ing] the deficiencies of their friends with any superfluity of their own.” “What is extremely surprising,” reports a missionary, “is to see them treat one another with a gentleness and consideration which one does not find among common people in the most civilized nations. This, doubtless, arises from the fact that the words ‘mine’ and ‘thine,’ which St. Chrysostom says extinguish in our hearts the fire of charity and kindle that of greed, are unknown to these savages.” “I have seen them,” says another observer, “divide game among themselves when they sometimes had many shares to make; and cannot recollect a single instance of their falling into a dispute or finding fault with the distribution as being unequal or otherwise objectionable. They would rather lie down themselves on an empty stomach than have it laid to their charge that they neglected to satisfy the needy. . . . They look upon themselves as but one great family.” (Retrieved from Chapter II, Section III, Economic Organization)
Traces of Genesis, proof that knowledge of the true God indeed was known to the whole world, can be found in “…this quote from Weatenatenamy, Young Chief of the Cayuse nation, which seems to encapsulate this feeling which is at the heart of Native American spirituality:
I wonder if the ground has anything to say: [It does – “And the LORD said unto Cain…the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:9)
I wonder if the ground is listening to what is said…the earth says, God has placed me here. [“And…the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice…Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:37-40)]
The Earth says, that God tells me to take care of the Indians on the earth; the Earth says to the Indians that stop on the Earth feed them right. God named the roots that he should feed the Indians on; the water speaks the same way…the grass says the same thing… The Earth and water and grass say God has given our names [i.e. characteristics, function]
and we are told those names; neither the Indians nor the Whites have a right to change those names, [And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.” (Gen 1:4-5) “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness…Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21)]
the Earth says, God has placed me here to produce all that grows upon me, the trees, fruit, etc. [“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” Genesis 1:11)]
The same way the Earth says, it was from her man was made [“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7)].
God, on placing them on the Earth, desired them to take good care of the earth do each other no harm. [“And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)]
God said.” [“…the worlds were framed by the word of God…” (Hebrews 11:3)]
On one fateful morning in the Spring of 1758…began the remarkable captivity of Mary Jemison. Mary was taken to a Seneca village near Fort Duquesne, where she was adopted by two Indian women…They taught her the traditional duties and manners of a Seneca woman, and when Mary had reached the age of seventeen…married according to Indian custom.” Mary came to love Sheninjee, whom she later describes as “a noble man, large in stature, elegant in his appearance, generous in his conduct, courageous in war, a friend to peace and a great lover of justice.”
At the conclusion of the French and Indian War, Mary and her newborn son Thomas moved to New York [State]…Sheninjee died that winter, and Mary soon remarried…The next decade proved quiet, happy, and full of children. Mary and Hiokatoo had four daughters (Jane, Nancy, Betsey, and Polly) and two sons (John and Jesse). Between the end of the “French war” and the Revolution, Mary comments that “our tribe had nothing to trouble it.” Her tribe avoided war “with the neighboring whites, though there were none at that time very near,” and “our Indians lived quietly and peaceably at home.” She…found that “no people can live more happy than the Indians did in times of peace.” [Emphasis added.]
The conflict between the American colonies and King George III ended this peaceful existence…in 1779…the American General Sullivan invaded western New York on a mission to burn every Indian farm and cornfield he could find. When the Americans burned Mary’s village, she fled with three small children “who went with me on foot, one who rode on horse back, and one whom I carried on my back.” She arrived at the Gardow flats [on the Genesee River, now part of Letchworth State Park], where she resided with two runaway slaves who hired her to husk corn. Mary remained at the Gardow flats for the rest of the war.
After “the close of the revolutionary war,” Mary’s “Indian brother, Kau-jises-tau-ge-au (Black Coals), offered me my liberty [to return to the Whites]…”However…Mary decided to remain with the Senecas.
Life did not improve much for the Senecas in the years immediately after the Revolution…western New York was still a war zone, and American settlement into the backcountry proceeded rapidly. The influx of so many whites brought increased trade and higher rates of whiskey consumption among the Senecas. In the same year she lost her husband, her son John murdered his half-brother Thomas, and a year later, John also murdered Jesse. Mary attributed these senseless tragedies to John’s alcoholism. When she reached her eighties, Mary reflected that her life had been “a tragical medley”…She died as a Seneca woman in 1833, at the age of ninety-one.
Interestingly, there were few cities found among the North American Indians. In contrast, the collection of people brought together in Cain’s city provided the first opportunity for diversification of labor, freeing some people from the daily grind of food production to engage in cerebral pursuits, inventing technologies and creating the arts. Civilization was born where “…in the city invention and industry multiply comforts, luxuries and leisure…” (Retrieved from Chapter I)
Cain provides a guide on how to bring a perpetual state of war by building walls.
“…And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden…and he builded a city… (Genesis 4:16-17)
Archeology provides clues to the cities built by Cain’s Rebel Alliance.
From a biblical perspective, this dates this site from the beginning to the end of the pre-flood era, under the domination of Cain and his line.
The 3000 to 8000 people that lived in Catalhoyuk at a given time were farmers and herders of cattle. They venerated bulls and worshiped a mother goddess…
The house clusters of Çatalhöyük, characterized by their streetless neighbourhoods, dwellings with roof access, and [small one-room] house types representing a highly circumscribed distribution of activity areas…
the buildings were embedded in extensive midden areas piled with trash, fecal material and rotting organic material…
homes were constructed so close together that residents had to enter by first climbing a ladder to the building’s roof and slipping inside.
This picture that emerges is that of a fort or a prison.
Louis Ginzberg’s collection of Jewish legends (published 1909) provide glimpses of ancient culture which we in our own imaginations cannot conjure.
Cain…endeavored, therefore, to immortalize his name by means of monuments, and he became a builder of cities [this is a known practice of later civilizations, famously but certainly not only Egypt]. The first of them he called Enoch, after his son, because it was at the birth of Enoch that he began to enjoy a measure of rest and peace. Besides, he founded six other cities [including, according to legend,Kabul in Afghanistan]...This building of cities was a godless deed, for he surrounded them with a wall, forcing his family to remain within. [Sounds like the first recorded incidence of domestic violence.] All his other doings were equally impious. The punishment God had ordained for him did not effect any improvement. He sinned in order to secure his own pleasure, though his neighbors suffered injury thereby. He augmented his household substance by rapine and violence; he excited his acquaintances to procure pleasures and spoils by robbery, and he became a great leader of men into wicked courses. He also introduced a change in the ways of simplicity wherein men had lived before, and he was the author of measures and weights. And whereas men lived innocently and generously while they knew nothing of such arts, he changed the world into cunning craftiness.
Jericho has rightly carved its name in history…At the beginning of 3000 BC, Jericho emerged as an urban centre. Its material prosperity was manifested in its domestic architecture and the mud-brick city wall that surrounded it.
There is, of course, a religious challenge to the location of Eden, based on the fact that three of the named four rivers conveniently meet in southern Mesopotamia. Islam asserts that Eden is located there, and designates a nearby river as Gihon. This river, however, is not mentioned in the text that provides solid clues for the identity of all four rivers, including the Gihon as the Nile. From a biblical and archeological perspective this is historically consistent with Antichrists’ cities in southern Iraq, challenging Jerusalem as the city where God put his name forever.
Another clue for the true location of Eden is that iniquitous Ham’s offspring made a beeline for the territory bordering the Mediterranean. There is something historically special about this land even before it became the bridge between warring continental empires.
Contrast the fortress cities with the freedom of movement enjoyed by the residents in
Boncuklu Höyük, not far from Çatalhöyük…Villagers lived in oval-shaped, mud brick houses and hunted, farmed and traded with other local communities…
“This farming lifestyle then spreads around the world – it goes across Europe and it goes across Asia,” Dr Fairbairn said. “And so where Boncuklu is is that sort of first area where you have this spread of this new lifestyle. “We’ve been very interested to find out whether it was, as it’s always been suspected, due to farming people moving from this area of origin, the Fertile Crescent …”
Boncuklu Höyük, which means “beady mound”, was discovered about a decade ago by the head of the British excavation team, Dr Douglas Baird, who had worked on the nearby, famous village site of Çatalhöyük. Dr Fairbairn says Dr Baird was trying to place the excavation of Çatalhöyük in its regional context and, in typical archaeological fashion, found Boncuklu, which is 1,000 years older, on the last day of a field survey.