Dec 08

Part 21: The City of Man

|Series: Genesis |Genesis 4:16-26

People often wonder where Cain’s wife came from. Our hesitancy to admit the obvious is often due to our discomfort in acknowledging that Cain’s wife had to be from the line of his own parents. As we read in Genesis 5:4, the first couple had other sons and daughters. We are not told at what age Cain married or any other details for that matter. The inspired writer is not interested in answering such questions.

What is important for us to know is that as Cain, under the curse of God, wandered east he established a settlement that he named after his son Enoch. Though they did not acknowledge the Lord, they nevertheless bore the image of God. Therefore, even from the ungodly line of Cain came necessary building blocks of culture: the growth of families, agriculture, metallurgy, tool-making, and the arts.

In the 5th century masterpiece, The City of God, Augustine traces the origins of the sinful city of man to this first settlement founded by Cain. The advancement of the culture did not reduce the rot of sin. From Cain’s disregard to the sanctity of the life of his brother eventually came the greater disregard for life displayed in Lamech’s violence (vv. 23-24). The first recorded instance of polygamy – an attack upon the sanctity of marriage – belongs to Lamech as well. There is also the matter of Cain’s pride in naming the city after his son. This pride will grow in the line of Cain until, on the plains of Shinar, the builders of the tower seek to make a great name for themselves (11:4).

Only God can offer hope in the face of rising sin. And this he does by granting to Adam and Eve another son whom they name Seth which means “appointing.” In spite of the great sorrow they suffered from the wreckage caused by Cain’s sin, they did not abandon hope in God’s gracious promise (3:15). And their hope was well grounded. For from the line of Seth men once again began to seek after the Lord as Abel once had done.

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