For many years now I occasionally ask other Christians a simple question, “Why is the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible? What is it meant to teach us?” Most often the response is something like the following, “It teaches us that killing is wrong.” Others in the conversation often agree and then look at me and say, “I’m guessing you disagree.” I have always been amazed at this little story. It is the only story that we have of Cain or Abel. We learning nothing more about them in the Scriptures. The NT makes some passing references to Cain being evil and to the blood of innocent Abel, but that is it.
The amazing aspect of the story is not murder, it is not about jealousy, and it is not about right sacrifices and offerings to God. Instead it is about our God. Cain murders Abel. God does not kill Cain. Cain is angry and thirsts for blood. God is angry but forgives. God not only forgives but goes even farther to putting a mark on Cain in order to protect him from the revenge of the human community.
Right here at the beginning of our bibles is this phenomenal story about forgiveness, peace, and the way forward for fallen humanity. Why don’t we pay more attention to it?