Gold Coast Bereans

Out of Ghana, West Africa; Christian hearts and critical minds seeking, speaking and writing the truth with love. This is a conversation of a group of friends, now living in the USA and the UK, who have known each other for more than 20 years.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lessons from Cain and Abel. Part II


There are a lot of spiritual truths brought out by G Columbus in yesterday's post but I still don't get it about why God didn't prevent Abel's death. There was a purpose to Jesus' death but what purpose could Abel's death have served?

Throughout this early part of Genesis, God is like an absentee farmer, like a remote landlord. He creates Adam and Eve, provides for them and instructs them, then goes away and only shows up again after they've messed up and it's time to judge and sentence them. A similar situation is seen with Cain and Abel, and a few other times in the book. It is very reminiscent of some of Jesus' parables. In the account of the history of Israel, we see clearly how they keep coming to Him and going away, back and forth, especially the book of Judges.

A more subtle theme is the ways in which God APPEARS (it's a perception only) to be close at times, then distant, then close, then distant again. There are times when He "hides His face from us", what someone has called the "my God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me" periods, but what is their purpose? I believe, of course, that all this is our perception, because God is Omnipresent and Omniscient and knows the future.

So in actual fact, God was there all the time; when Eve picked the fruit and as Cain tightened the shoe-lace around his brother's neck. However, our awareness of His presence is not there all the time, so that we have to be careful to live right, even when He seems to be gone.

I remember watching movies like "Escape from Sorbibor" and "Schindler's list" and "Roots" and thinking where was God at that time? I think the answer is, exactly where he was during Abel's murder; He was right there. When bad things happen to "good" people, it is no indication that God has abandoned them.

It reminds me of what I was once told about a sermon Paa Willie (the late William Ofori-Atta) preached from Genesis. He preached that when Cain asked "am I my brother's keeper?", it was rhetorical but if God were to answer it, one answer which is different from what we are usually taught from this passage might be to say, "No, Cain, it is I the Lord who is your brother's keeper" . Cain was being insolent, pointing out that what had happened was in part due to God's failure to protect Abel, to be Abel's keeper in the sense that we often expect. How we understand God to be our keeper is very important. It will prevent us from losing faith when certain things come our way. The prosperity doctrine people will probably cut my head off if they hear this. - Calorius

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