Cain all over again

A common objection to Christianity is that people don’t like the concept that they could be condemned, despite being “good” people. Ignoring the difficulties around goodness and morality outside of God, people are opposed to the idea that they might deserve an adverse fate.

People like Oprah (to use the cheesy American pop-culture example) say they can’t deal with the idea of a God who condemns. They dismiss the concept of God, even hate the idea of God, because they dislike that their failure to acknowledge God could have eternally negative consequences.

It strikes me that this is quite similar to the attitude of Cain in Genesis 4.

Here’s the crux of it;

The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6, 7 ESV)

Cain is understandably disappointed to have his sacrifice effectively rejected by God. But the reality is, his devotion to God was not real enough, and he was not ruling over his sinfulness – he skimped on his dedication to God. And he responds to the rebuke not with humility but anger – he rejects God’s rule and murder his brother.

To me, the parallel is pretty strong. People don’t want to commit their lives to Christ. But when they hear that a life that is not right with God (obviously there is a significant point of difference here, as we are under the new covenant rathe than the old) is not good enough, they don’t like it.
Sin still rules, they are not dedicated to their rightful Lord.

The majority of people, like Cain, fail to respond appropriately to God. People let sin rule. And instead of hearing God’s rebuke (through his Spirit and Word) humbly, they react with denial and [edit] sometimes anger (be that actual emotional anger or mere intellectual lack of acceptance. They follow Cain’s example not necessarily with murder, but certainly in turning away from God’ command. This is not to say that that every person who rejects God does so out of anger. But for many people, hearing they are not right with God leads to rejection of God rather than repentance.

Ultimately, Cain suffers for his sin. Our society needs to understand that the world has already seen someone personify their attitude.

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2 comments on “Cain all over again

  1. ManicMarine says:

    This is a really really weak argument because you're placing emotions into the hearts of those who don't believe in God (anger, in your 2nd last paragraph) which they probably don't actually have. Claiming that people who don't believe in God are actually just angry and that is the source of their denial is plainly inaccurate, and intellectually dishonest.Plenty of people lead good lives and aren't angry at God, they simply don't believe that the idea of eternal condemnation is compatible with the idea of a loving God. You have failed to engage with the crux of their objections, and instead have claimed that they are angry, avoiding the issue and instead asserting your own beliefs about why some people reject God.

  2. Amacdonald56 says:

    Hey, thanks for commenting. I think I wasn't fully clear with something – I'm not saying that everyone who turns away from God does so because they are angry. Angry was probably not a great choice of words. What I am saying is this;a) People generally think of themselves as good people, who are going to heaven. b) The bible teaches that nobody is righteos, everyone is sinful.c) When people hear that their level of devotion to God, and their general attitude and conduct are not "good" enough for God, they often reject God.This draws parallels to Cain, in that he also lived a life that lacked the proper recognition of and devotion to God. When he was told that his devotion was not enough, he rejected God's rule. Now obviously there are differences – we come after Jesus, so we see things in a different light. The response of Cain (emotional anger, murder) are responses we probably don't see much of. But there is a level to which people reject God because they don't like the idea that they might deserve condemnation. Does that make more sense? I can chat more about it if you're keen.Thanks Again.A

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