Cain holds a number of record firsts. We mostly remember him for being the first murderer. But he was also the very first human being to be born. Remember that Adam and Eve were created as adult humans. Cain was born as a result of their obedience to God to begin populating the earth.
Now the man was intimate with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. Then she said, “I have created a man just as the Lord did!” Genesis 4.1.
Maybe they listened more to their sex drives than to their God for Cain to have been born. Nevertheless, he was born. Some religions teach that sex is inherently evil. They claim the first sin was the act of sexual intercourse. The Bible never even hints at such nonsense. In the birth of Cain, no censure is attached to their sexual intimacy.
Eve shows a bad attitude, if we follow the rendering of some versions like the NET. She apparently is still trying to be divine, or at least compete with God. Her attitude was not Cain’s fault, but it’s likely that the sour note of her attitude and the bad relationship which probably ensued post-Fall between the first couple influenced their son. Maybe they worked things out over the ensuing centuries, but the home atmosphere probably wasn’t a positive one when Cain came along.
Before long, Abel was born, Genesis 5.2. In the fallen family, Cain learns the blame game and the spirit of competition. At the least, the sighs and longings for Eden must have made quite the impression on the young lad as he grew.
Cain’s sad story reminds us that birth leads to death — all sorts of death, including by violence. It reminds us that birth doesn’t mean you know how to live. A lot of learning is involved, and most people don’t put forth the effort to figure out the Eden we lost and the heaven we can still gain.
Centuries later another birth ocurred, another first, this one unique in all history. God came in human form. Here began a different genealogical line, not counted from physical descent — since Jesus of Nazareth never married, never fathered children — but from spiritual descent. While Cain’s birth resulted in death, Jesus’ birth and death brought life. More and better and greater life. Eternal life. The Lord said, “I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly” John 10.10b.
Some have speculated that if Adam and Eve had never sinned they would still at some point have died physically. Or maybe God planned to just sweep people up to heaven after their time in Eden, like he did later with Enoch and Elijah. It’s all speculation now that man broke the first prohibition.
What we can affirm is what the Savior said to Martha,
I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11.25-26.
Whatever God’s plan for man in Eden, back then, we now have it all mapped out for us starting on Earth and ending in Eternity. Life beyond death.
But first, we must submit, willingly and fully, to another birth. A spiritual birth. A birth in water and Spirit. That new birth brings a death in order to bring new life.
Therefore we have been buried with him through immersion into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. Romans 6.4.
I had no choice in my natural birth, but I was glad it happened. I chose the new birth, and I’m even more glad of it. Something the very first human to be born could never dream of. But you and I can.
The editor just released his new book, O SOUL! THE BOOK OF EXHORTATIONS.