Read Genesis 4:1-8, 17-24, 5:3-5
Many people are interested in their family history and genealogy. The writer of Genesis, Moses, after relating the origin of human sin, gave the account of the descendants of the first human pair. Although God gave Adam and Eve a family, our first human parents gave those children and succeeding generations a nature which was inclined increasingly to sin. Moses two incidents to illustrate this. Two of Adam and Eve’s children, Cain and Abel, began to offer sacrifices to God for their sins. The text says that Abel’s sacrifice of his flock was the best of what he had. In contrast, Cain offered some of his produce. Abel’s sacrifice was accepted by God while Cain’s offering was rejected. The reasons for God’s rejection of Cain’s sacrifice has been debated, but two things are clear. First, there was a difference in the quality of Abel’s offering. Second, the writer of Hebrews suggested that Abel made his offering to God in faith (Heb. 11:4) with an open heart. The rejection made Cain angry, resulting in him murdering his brother. God graciously warned Cain that sin was waiting to overpower him, but Cain did not listen, resulting in a grievous sin.
Moses continues a history of significant descendants of Cain, many of which contributed materially to the advance of human civilization. But, Moses also includes one man who made no such contribution. Lamech was the first man to have two wives, violating God’s standard for marriage. His other claim to infamy was in the account of his killing another man. The differences between Lamech’s act and the act of his ancestor Cain is stark. A man wounded Lamech. The Hebrew for wounding carries the idea of striking or bruising, not a serious injury. But Lamech responded disproportionately, killing the other man. Cain was fearful of someone who might take revenge, but Lamech was openly proud of his deed. Sin grew, not only in pervasiveness, but also in severity.
Did Adam see in his final glance at his long life what he had wrought in the garden? We don’t know. However, another son was born to the first couple, Seth. It was through the line of Seth that God’s promised Redeemer would come. Although death was an ever-present reality, there was also hope. We know that hope through Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross, which brought us salvation and will bring about the ultimate end of sin and evil.