Read Genesis 4:8-16
It’s so, so, sad, how fast the story changes from a beautiful dance into a bloody murder.
But there’s an evil dragon in it, and the humans have eaten his fruit.
I like these word pictures: dance for innocence; a dragon for Satan; and the craving for sin. As we read through the story, I’ll probably use more as different ideas come up that need explaining. God uses word pictures too, but he’s the Creator so his word pictures are often real things. You’ll see this as the story progresses.
Calling the Serpent a dragon, and the craving for his fruit sin: these aren’t my own ideas. Later in the story Satan will appear again and sometimes he will – truly – be a dragon; and craving his fruit is an idea I borrowed from C.S. Lewis, who tells the story of Edmund eating witch’s food in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. The food was Turkish Delight, and it created a hunger in Edmund for more and more – so strong that he became willing to do whatever the witch wanted, just so he could have more Turkish Delight. The craving nearly killed him, but now I’m getting ahead of myself.
Cain attacks Abel and kills him.
The dragon isn’t making him do it. He’s not standing behind Cain, moving his hands – but his hunger is in Cain. The same things the dragon wants, Cain wants: to decide for himself what is right; to give in to his feelings, his desires, and not worry about them being in any way wrong.
It’s from this hunger that Cain acts.
Still, God doesn’t say, ‘I see that you were overpowered by sin, so I can’t blame you.’ No, God puts the responsibility squarely on Cain. “What have you done?”
He can do this because he knows that Cain could have chosen differently. He had warned Cain about sin: He had told Cain to master it. Cain could have mastered it, but he didn’t. He could have ‘done what is right’ and been accepted by God. Instead, he chose to be led by his anger. So sin mastered Cain, and through him destroyed Abel.
That’s what sin does.
It also brings suffering to Cain. Now, God banishes him from all he knows and cares about. Cain is frightened but God – our infinitely merciful God – comforts him. “The Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.”
Sin destroys: God loves.
Which will you choose?