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8. Cain and Abel.

After the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, they began to bear children, sons and daughters (cf. Gen. 5:4). They called their first son Cain and the second Abel. Cain was a worker of the soil and Abel shepherded flocks. Once, they brought offerings to God: Cain of the fruits of the earth, but Abel of the best beast of the flock.

Abel had a kind and meek nature; he brought his offering from a pure heart, with love and faith in the promised Saviour, with prayer for mercy and hope in the mercy of God; God accepted the sacrifice of Abel and its smoke rose into Heaven. Cain was cruel and evil. He offered his sacrifice only out of habit, without love and fear of God. The Lord did not accept his sacrifice, for the smoke from his sacrifice only spread along the earth.

After this, Cain became jealous of his brother. He called his brother out into the field and killed him. God spoke to Cain to make him repent, asking him, "Where is Abel, thy brother?"

Cain brazenly answered, "I know not; am I my brotherís keeper?"

Then God said to him, "What hast thou done? The voice of thy brotherís blood crieth unto Me from the ground. And now thou art cursed from the earth...a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be."

Cain, tormented by his conscience, ran with his wife from his parents into another land.

Human life is the gift of God; therefore, man does not have the right to deprive himself of it or to take another manís life. Taking the life of oneís neighbor is called murder, and the taking of oneís own life is called suicide which is the most terrible sin. Only in the case of the insane is the sin of suicide sometimes pardoned.

In place of the murdered Abel, God granted Adam and Eve a third son, the pious Seth, and then there were many other children. Adam and Eve lived for a long time on the earth. Adam lived 930 years. They endured many sufferings and anguish, and in their hearts they repented of their sin and firmly believed in the promised Saviour. This faith saved them and now they are numbered among the Holy Forefathers.

Note: See Genesis, chaps. 4:1-16, 25; 5:3-5.

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