We read in the Genesis account that God provided a “garden eastward in Eden” for Adam; an orchard not only beautiful to behold, but its trees provided fruit “good for food” (Genesis 2:8-9). In the midst of the garden God planted two trees described as the “tree of life” and the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9).
God charged Adam to act as the steward (Genesis 1:28) and servant (laborer) of His creation (Genesis 2:15); and commanded him, “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
“Why did God put a tree in the midst of Eden and forbid Adam to eat its fruit?”
Adam and Eve were not robots and the forbidden fruit was a test of man’s love for God. Tragically, Adam and Eve disobeyed the LORD, ate of the forbidden fruit, “and the eyes of them both were opened” (Genesis 3:1-8). In an act of grace, the LORD covered their nakedness with animal skins (Genesis 3:9-21).
The curse and tragic nature of sin was soon evident in the conflict between Cain, Eve’s firstborn son, and his brother Abel (Genesis 4). Obedient to God’s model of atonement for sin, Abel brought a sacrificial offering to the LORD (Genesis 4:4); however, God refused Cain’s bloodless sacrifice (Genesis 4:3, 5). Rejected, Cain burned in anger toward the LORD and his “countenance” betrayed his rebellion (Genesis 4:5). Ever merciful, the LORD questioned Cain,
Genesis 4:6-7– 6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall behis desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Rather than repent and do right, Cain’s wrath escalated and he slew his brother (Genesis 4:8). Consider the dialogue between the LORD and Cain after he killed his brother.
Genesis 4:9– “And the LORD [Jehovah] said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: AmI my brother’s keeper [watchman; guard; keeper]?”
Presented with an opportunity to confess his sin, Cain turned insolent and defied the LORD asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9).
Why did Cain refuse to humble himself and repent of his sin? The answer: “[Cain’s] own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12). Cain murdered Abel for he hated his brother’s righteousness. When the LORD confronted Cain, he shirked responsibility for his sin and refused to repent (Genesis 4:9-12). Characteristic of hardened sinners, Cain’s focus was not on the evil he had done, but on the punishment, the consequences of his sin (Genesis 4:13-16).
“To grieve over sin is one thing; to repent is another.”– Anonymous
Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith