Cain and Abel were sons of the first human couple Adam and Eve, Cain being the first born. Cain grew jealous of his brother Abel, whose sacrifice was accepted by God whilst his was rejected. Cain’s growing hatred for his brother led him to kill Abel, for which he was cursed and banished. The relationship between humans and God, according to the bible changed drastically when Adam and Eve sinned against God. However, the account of Cain and Abel illustrates that the relationship between humans and God could be different as analyzed in this essay. This paper is going to analyse God’s reaction to Cain’s and Abel’s sacrifice and the impacts it had on the relationship between God and humans.
According to the book of Hebrews 11:4, one reason why God accepted Abel’s sacrifice was because he offered it in faith and thus the offering was considered of greater worth than that of Cain’s. Besides having a greater insight, he had a positive attitude towards God than Cain. Since God didn’t accept Cain’s offering, it was probable that Cain developed a superficial thinking on his offering and more so developed emotions which were unnecessary. This way, God discerned the wicked motives behind Cain’s offering. Cain reacted in a way that clearly showed that he lacked a clean heart and that he had wicked intentions.
Human-God relationship is enhanced through worship, thus, our means of worship should not just be a mere formality; rather it should be coupled with the right motive hence forming a close relationship with God. Genuine love for God should be the motivating factor behind any form of worship. The reaction that Cain portrayed clearly indicates that the quality of human relationship with God is the human choice. Sinners develop a weak relationship with God and the vice versa is true for the righteous and faithful people.
Abel offered to God the best out of his flock. The account of Genesis 4:4 applies the term “fatty pieces” indicating that Abel gave God the best of what he owned. This was not in terms of outward appearance but in his inner self he felt this was his best, even though the laws on giving sacrifices had not been laid out yet. This again indicates that the relationship between God and humans can thrive if human worship is whole-souled. The account about Cain and Abel does not indicate that God treated with disfavor upon Cain’s offering. Thus, the main issue was not the quality of the sacrifice but rather the heart condition of the worshiper. Therefore in having a relationship with God, humans must recognise that God does not look at the outward appearance, but considers the inner motives in any given act of worship.
Abel’s offering involved shedding of blood which might have been the right interpretation of what God desired. The level of value between the sacrifice that the two brothers offered could have been utterly different. The sacrifice that Abel offered could have literally been equated to life, which God could have deemed to be of more value based on the sins that had been inherited by the two brothers from their parents. Abel thus to some degree understood the essence of inherited sins from his parents. This way, having a direct relationship with God was not possible; hence a high level sacrifice was necessary. In the contrary, Cain did not seem to realize the huge barrier that existed between God and man. It is then necessary for humans to recognise their sinful state when approaching God and the need for atonement for us to have an approved relationship with him.
It is therefore apparent that the relationship between God and humans as illustrated by the story of Abel and Cain is possible. The choice depends on an individual by fulfilling the various prerequisites that have been analysed i.e. showing faith, having the right motive, whole souled worship and recognizing humans’ sinful nature.
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. New York: 1984. Print.