Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Suffering pt.3

Eve gives birth to two sons, Cain and Abel. In the passing of time the two boys grow up and begin working with their hands. One boy works the ground and the other works with animals. They know what each other is up to. Cain brought an offering to God of the fruit of the ground. God must have known that Cain's offering was not meeting his standard. God was not pleased with Cain's offering and it is not because it was the fruit of the ground. Later, God would accept the fruit of the ground as a standard form of offering. God spoke to Cain about the offering and that He was displeased. Abel brought his offering, the firstling of the flock and God had regard and acceptance for it. Cain told Abel about his rejected offering. After this event Cain kills his brother.

What suffering is emerging from this first murder? As I read scripture, up to this point no one has died. Now Adam and Eve have a dead son. His life is over and his body will quickly begin the process of returning to its original state, dust. Adam and Eve would have grieved, their hearts would be heavy with loss. We share human responses just as the first parents responded. The emotional loss and mental anguish that we deal with at the death of a loved one, the suffering, has been since Adam and Eve.

Cain, whether we want to believe it or not, will suffer. His suffering will be similar as his parents, the loss of family. Yet, his suffering will also be in an entire different dimension. He is guilty of murder, the taking of another life. The life of his brother is over at his hand and that fact will be ever present. He may try and disguise, reject, ignore, lie, pass the blame, the truth will be ever present with him. That is a new form of suffering for mankind.

Cain also suffers the pain of rejection. He is cast from his homeland by God and reverts to wandering and toiling a land that will reject his every attempt. Rejection is a from of emotional suffering that would be excruciating and could lead to loneliness and even more rejection. Rejection can be a monster that feeds on itself. The more a person is rejected the more rejectable they might become. Cain is given a mark so no person can take his life. That mark insures rejection. He is a marked man. No one will kill him and end his suffering, he must take his own life if he is to end his punishment. Cain passes into obscurity in scripture, his ending is in rejection.

The next piece will deal with Joseph and his suffering at the hands of his brothers. Also, the suffering of Joseph will be looked at in the light of providence. An entire piece, or two will be devoted to Job. Job suffers under the permissive hand of God, but, at the direct challenge of Satan.

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