I had some interesting thoughts during our church service this past week, thought I would share them with you. Sorry Pastor Will, they don’t have a whole lot to do with the message, but I was paying attention.
If you know much about the book of Genesis, you know that there were two lines of descendants that came from Adam. You had the line of Cain, which as time passed, became progressively more evil. In the fifth generation from Cain you see a guy who is a murderer and corrupts God’s plan for marriage by taking two wives. Then you had the Godly line of Seth, which we are told when his son is born, people are calling on the name of the Lord, and in the fifth generation from Seth you see a man so righteous that he is walking and talking with God, and is then taken straight up to heaven. He was so righteous God didn’t want him to die. Eventually from the line of Seth you also have Noah, whom the Bible tells us was a righteous man, who was blameless, and that he “walked with God”.
So the question came to my mind as I was sitting in church, “Why was the line of Seth Godly, yet the line of Cain was so evil?” Obviously we know the story of Cain, and we know he was a pretty bad dude. Surely this had an impact on his children and grandchildren…but did Adam’s parenting have anything to do with it? Also, did Adam’s parenting have any impact on Seth, and his children and grandchildren?
I made one interesting observation that I think can shed some light on the situation, and hopefully it will make us think. This is just my opinion, from my reading of Scripture, but look at what it says in Genesis 4 verse 1, when Cain was conceived. “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain…” Pretty straight forward, it doesn’t tell us much about Adam or his involvement with either Cain, or his brother Abel for that matter. But now flip over to Genesis 5 verse 3, when describing the conception and I believe rearing or Seth. “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”
Perhaps I’m reading something into the text that isn’t there, but I find it interesting that it talks about Seth, being in the image and likeness of Adam his father, who by the way was created in the likeness and image of God. Yet with Cain, we have no such language. Is it possible that this is why we see such a difference in the two family lines? Is it possible that for whatever reason Adam was more of a “father” to Seth, and took a more active role in molding him as a man? Is it possible that those traits were passed down and learned by the proceeding generations? Is it possible that we also see Adams’s failures as a father, and as a man reflected in the life of Cain, and his subsequent generations? This is all conjecture, but perhaps at some point, perhaps after Adam’s youngest son Abel was murdered by his older brother, and then his son Cain was sent away from the presence of the Lord, he realized he was doing something wrong. Perhaps he blamed himself. What father who has had a son go the wrong way in life hasn’t wondered if he could have done something different? What father hasn’t blamed himself, at least partially for their son’s failings? Perhaps these things were going through Adam’s mind as well, and when his next son, Seth, was born he made an active decision to do things differently.
Like I say, perhaps I am reading something into the text that isn’t there, but it does make you think doesn’t it? If nothing else, hopefully this post will make the guys out there realize what an awesome responsibility it is to be a father. How important it is for us to reflect the image and likeness of God, so that our sons and daughters can do the same. I believe Adam finally came to this realization. As history tells us, Adam very rarely did things right the first time around. I think many of us are in the same shoes. But I think God redeemed Adam, both personally and through his children. Luckily God can do the same for us.