Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nate Reads the Bible

Most people, including myself, know the story of Cain and Abel without ever having read the bible. What surprises me is the brevity of the tale, and yet this passage of roughly 250 words contains some of the more poetic language I have found in Genesis so far, including:

Then the lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" And the Lord said, "What have you done? Listen; your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground!"

God is dismayed and no wonder: Cain has just wiped out 1/4 of the human population. I also find it interesting that god walks among people in the early part of the bible and interacts with them.

Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

"East of Eden" is a lovely little phrase, and I'm not the only one who seems to think so. John Steinbeck thought enough of it to make it the title of his epic novel, which, incidentally, is the greatest novel of all time. Or at least top 10.

Anyway, Cain has his jealous fit, kills Abel and is driven by god out of Eden. His fear is that, as a "fugitive and a wanderer," people may want to kill him. Of course the skeptic in me must ask at this point: what people? By my count there are only Adam, Eve and Cain. That makes three, but who's counting? And who is Cain's "wife" whom he "knew" and subsequently had a son, Enoch, with? There is no one to marry, not even Eve, who does not live in Nod. Are we meant to believe that god has created more people in the meantime? Maybe, according to the bible, but certainly not according to Christian doctrine.

There are some holes here.


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