The Fall of Cain

Luther Walker

In Genesis 4:7, God instructs Cain concerning the rules of his household. After God rejected the work of Cain’s hands as an offering, Cain was very angry. In response, God lays out the rule by which Cain is expected to govern his life.

And if you do good, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do good, sin lies at the opening, and its desire is unto you, and you are to rule over it – Genesis 4:7.

This is the first time in Scripture we are introduced to the sin nature. The sin nature describes the human nature bent by Adam’s fall. Through Adam’s trespass and sin, his nature became bent towards doing what is wrong, for although Eve was thoroughly deceived, Adam was not, 1 Timothy 2:14. Adam passed on this bent nature to his offspring, Genesis 5:3. Therefore, even though as humans we now inherently possess the knowledge of good and evil, we are all born with a nature that is separated from God in our spirit and bent towards wrong. However, with this knowledge, we are also to rule over our nature, not permit it to rule over us.

After Cain does not heed God’s instructions and slayed his brother as a sacrifice, he was punished. The works of his hand will no longer produce good, and he is to wander the earth, never possessing a homeland to reside in. In Cain’s response, we again encounter the sin nature when he states, “My perversity is greater than I can bear.”

And Cain said to the LORD, “My perversity is greater than I can bear.” Genesis 4:13.

In Genesis 4:7, the word for sin is in a specific form typically used for a sin offering. However, it is not restricted to only for a sin offering. חַטָּאת (hat-ta) is also used for the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 18:20. When Jacob questioned Laban concerning what sin he had committed against him, חַטָּאת (hat-ta) is used, Genesis 31:36. Since the law had not been implemented at the time God gave instructions to Cain and used this form for sin, we cannot impose the meaning of a sin offering upon it. Until the law, even though sin was in the world, it was not imputed because there was no law, Romans 5:13. Instead, this form is used to emphasize the sinful human nature, which sought to rule over Cain.

עָוֹן (a-won) expressed perversity, which describes an action that is willfully in opposition and resistance to what is right, expected, or reasonable. This is the primary Hebrew word that is used to describe the human nature after the fall of Adam. In Genesis 4:13, some English translations use the word punishment; however, the concept of punishment is expressed in a couple of different ways. Discipline or chastening, Leviticus 26:18. Avenge, Exodus 21:20. Therefore, in Genesis 4:13, Cain is not questioning his punishment but crying out because of his perverse nature that resulted in him killing his brother. Genesis 4:13 does not say, “And Cain said to the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.” Genesis 4:13 states, “And Cain said to the LORD, My perversity is greater than I can bear.”

Although we are born spiritually separated from God, which means in our rational we lack understanding concerning spiritual things, when a person yields to their bent nature, as Cain did, their mind becomes corrupted to the point that the conclusions are contrary to the truth, Romans 1:28. When Cain rejected God’s instructions, the result was a determination in his mind that sacrificing his brother because Abel’s works were righteous and his were malignantly evil, 1 John 3:12, was an appropriate response to God’s rejection of his sacrifice.

not as Cain who was out from the malignantly evil  one and slayed as a sacrifice his brother. And why did he sacrifice him? Because his works were malignantly evil and his brother’s righteous.

In the same way, the sin nature negatively impacts the minds of those who reject God today, professing themselves to be wise while becoming foolish in their minds, worshiping the creation and changing the incorruptible God into the image of corruptible man. They exchange the truth for Satan’s lie of independence from God, dishonoring their own bodies and going after vile passions, Romans 1:24-27,

Wherefore, God handed them over in the desires of their hearts unto uncleanliness to dishonor their bodies among themselves, whoever exchanged the truth of the God with the lie, and reverenced for themselves and rendered religious service to the creation rather than the Creator, Who is well spoken of into the ages, Amen. Because of this, God handed them over into dishonorable passions, for both the females among them exchanged the natural use unto that which is against the nature. Likewise both also the males sent away the natural use of the female, caused to be kindled in their longing unto others of the same kind, males among males working out for themselves the disgraceful and receiving the recompense that is necessary concerning their wandering among themselves.

and possess a mind in which no value is found, Romans 1:28.

And just as they did not approve worthy to have the God in full experiential knowledge, the God gave them over to an unapproved mind to do what is wrong,