Dr. Jack L. Arnold Equipping Pastors International Genesis
The Godly and Ungodly Lines
A. When Cain was cursed by God, a mark was placed on him and he was to wander over the earth in a meaningless existence. From Cain comes an ungodly seed that is antagonistic to God.
B. Cain becomes the first founder of civilization, but this civilization is characterized by ungodliness. It is a culture built on man rather than God.
II. THE UNGODLY SEED OF CAIN 4:16-24
A. Cain’s Residence (4:16). “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” Cain went from God to Nod (the land of wandering and straying). Nod was east of Eden and probably in the country of Elam. However, we cannot be sure,
B. Cain’s Wife and Son (4:17). “And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.”
1. Who was Cain’s wife? Did he marry his sister? The answer is that Cain either married his sister or some other relative. Those who object are thinking in a shallow manner. The arguments are:
a. It is nowhere stated that Cain was the only living child of Adam at that time. Adam and Eve had many sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4).
b. Adam lived 930 years and could have many children, for he was to be fruitful and multiply. Furthermore age did not hinder having children. Noah, for example, was 500 years old before he begat Shem, Ham and Japheth. Adam had many children and Cain undoubtedly married a sister. NOTE. This was not an uncommon practice in early history. Abram’s wife, Sarai, was his half-sister (Gen. 20:12; 24:4; 28:2). NOTE. Nor do we know the age of Cain when he murdered his brother. He could have been fifty years old. If 50 years, Adam and Eve could have had many other children.
c. If marriage and birth rates are calculated, there could have been at least 20 million people on earth by the death of Adam. There could have been an ample selection from which Cain could choose a wife, in plenty of time to build a great many cities.
d. It is foolish to assert that, in that early day before disease and the evils of inbred heredity had begun to have the effects they have now, such a union would result in feebleminded or deformed offspring. NOTE. Later, under the Mosaic Law, God forbid incestuous marriages so as to keep the human race from running its shoots back to the parent stem.
2. Cain’s son was Enoch which means “dedicated” or “initiated.” Perhaps this means that the original Cainites still had some knowledge of God and spurned it, or that Enoch was dedicated by Cain to a materialistic way of life.
3. Cain built a city and named it after his son Enoch. It is interesting that it was Cain who built the first city and turned the family into the state. It is very suggestive that the first city was built by a condemned murderer. NOTE. That Cain built a city does not conflict with his curse of wandering. The Hebrew literally says, “he was building” or “he was engaged in building” a city. The city may have been finished, but not by Cain. Others may have lived there, not he. NOTE. Cain was afraid of the retribution of men for the murder of Abel. In spite of God’s promise and sign upon Cain, he never felt safe. He probably felt that a city would afford him some kind of security, but he never got to finish the city. NOTE. Archeologists have found evidence that the word “Enoch” is the earliest word for city in the human language. In the ancient areas of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the oldest inhabited cities known to man are called “Enoch.”
C. Cain’s Materialistic Society (4:18-22)
1. “And unto Enoch was born Ired: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.” In these names, we see that Cain built a city that was antagonistic to God. It was a civilization characterized by ungodliness. It was a society based on man rather than God. There are differences of opinion as to what these names mean, depending upon the root meanings. Irad means “the city of witness,” implying that this city would witness to the glory of man. Mehujael means “smitten of God” which is suggestive of a rather defiant attitude: “God has smitten, yes, but we are going to make a success of this anyway,” is man’s attitude. Methusael may mean “the death of God,” indicating that the death of God theology goes as far back as the Cainite civilization. Lamech means “strong” or “powerful” and is clearly the boasting of man in his fallen state. NOTE. Already the idea of the exaltation of man is coming in and it will culminate soon in the tower of Babel, erected to the glory of man.
2. “And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah” Here we have the first case of bigamy, which in later time would lead to polygamy. The names of the two women show that it was physical lust that caused Lamech to involve himself in bigamy: the name Adah means “ornament” and Zillah means “tinkling”. NOTE. God originally planned monogamy for the human race, but in just seven generations from Adam comes a man in the line of the Cainites who dares to fly in the face of this divine institution. Society apart from God openly tolerates sexual excesses.
3. “... Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle ... . Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ . . . Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron:” This development of earthly civilization and culture in connection with Cain’s line is very suggestive and significant. From the sons of Lamech come the founders of agriculture, music and manufacturing. NOTE. In the Cainite culture, there was art and civilization but no religion, other than the glorification of man. Not all of them were flagrant sinners but they were living in a materialistic world apart from God. It is suggestive that the first time art, trade and manufactures are mentioned they are associated with godlessness. Is it, or is it not an accident that art has often flourished most when religion has been at its lowest? It is a fact that there is in music, art and civilization that which easily pander to the very lowest in man. In this godless, Cainite society these things became a substitute for one’s relationship to God. NOTE. It is not that God did not intend for true believers to enjoy art and civilization or to avoid agriculture or business in this life. No, God meant for men to have these things, but Cain and his progeny wanted these things apart from God. Cain wanted everything now without God. He wanted instant comfort, instant luxury and instant relief and founded a society that ignored man’s real problem and that is sin. Natural man builds society without the recognition of evil and sin, having no desire for forgiveness, and the result is chaos. While culture and civilization should be, and can be, devoted to the highest interests in human life and the glory of God, the possibilities of evil they contain must never be overlooked. NOTE. This Cainite society thought that it could live together apart from God and the forgiveness of sins. Man, in his pride (just like Cain’s society) has assumed that he is quite able to live in close relationship with his fellow man and has clustered together in cities throughout history. The result has been all the violence, intrigue, social injustice, and long unending record of bloodshed which history records. NOTE. These verses also show that unsaved men can attain to great heights in cultural things, but the Bible says they are spiritually dead (1 Cor. 2:14).
D. Cain’s Attitude in Lamech (4:23-24) “And Lamech said unto his wives, Adab and Zillah, Hear my
voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.” Lamech boastful sword song portrays the worldly view of Lamech, which was passed down from his ancestor Cain. This statement may speak of something Lamech has done or be prophetic anticipating something he will do. The meaning is the same: God would avenge any injury to Cain sevenfold, but Lamech boasts in carnal, proud extravagance that by his own muscle without God’s help, he will avenge any injury to himself. He can do a better job than God Himself--seventy-seven fold rather than sevenfold. NOTE. Here we have Lamech justifying violence on the ground of the protection of rights.
E. Conclusion. In this general section, we have a picture of society--technical brilliance, producing comforts and luxuries, the substitution of the state for the family, the trend toward urban over rural life, the increasing toleration of sexual excesses, and the passionate vindication of violence on the grounds of the protection of rights. Sound familiar? Human nature and society have not changed in the thousands of years since the Cainities.
III. THE GODLY SEED OF SETH 4:25-26
A. “And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” Seth means “set” or “appointed” and God gave Seth to Adam and Eve to continue the godly seed that would worship the one true God with all the heart, soul and mind. Seth was a replacement for Abel. NOTE. When faith is taken out of this world, God’s work does not end; be raises up another. John Wesley said it well: “God buries His workman but He carries on His work.”
B. “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos; then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” Enos means “mortal.” The suggestion in the name Enos is that Seth and his godly seed line recognized their mortality before God and their utter dependence upon Him. They were in contrast to the ungodly seed of Cain. This godly seed “called upon the name of the Lord.” While the family of Cainites, by the erection of a city and the invention and development of worldly arts and business, were laying the foundation for the kingdom of this world (devil’s seed); the family of the Sethites began, by united invocation of the name of the God of grace, to found and to erect the kingdom of God (Christ’s seed cf Gen. 3:15).