Commentary on Genesis 4

Verse one: “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.”

1) A catalog of beginnings: When the First Adam went unto the First Eve, then was carnal knowledge first introduced to this world. Note in particular the four verbs: “know,” “conceive,” “bear,” and “say.” The proper vocation of First Adam is to know. First Eve is then called to conceive, to bear, and to say.

2) In the new covenant, the roles will be reversed. The Second Eve’s vocation will be to know (the will of God through the Spirit of God); the Second Adam will be the one who conceives (the covenant), bears (the sins of the world), and speaks (the gospel of light).

3) A triad of persons: First Adam; First Eve; and Cain. Two will be recapitulated in the latter days: Adam/Yeshua & Eve/Miriam. But for Cain, there is no recapitulation; for Cain, there is only covenant. For his creaturely hour is limited to the days of the canopy.

4) In Eden:  The First Adam got a woman from the LORD. Here, outside of Eden: the First Eve gets a man from the LORD. The Spirit, speaking through the author of holy scripture, intends for us to know that the twofold pattern will continue for Adamic humanity, to perpetuity. For soon, Cain will receive a woman from the LORD, and she will, in turn, receive a man, et cetera.

5) Carnal knowledge (intercourse of the flesh) brings about two distinct ends: the begetting of (fleshly) offspring; and (spiritual) intercourse with the LORD. It is not until First Eve engages in (carnal) intercourse with the First Adam that she is able to engage in (spiritual) intercourse with her LORD. In turn, the (spiritual) intercourse with the LORD will bring about (spiritual) offspring in the form of good works. Let the reader pay close attention to archetypes!

6) A triad of persons: First Adam; First Eve; and Second Adam (Yeshua). The three who are not born, but begotten. First Adam is begotten of soil–or humus. First Eve is begotten of Adam’s ribcage, flesh fashioned from flesh, to which it will return in the carnal embrace. Second Adam is begotten of Spirit and of Water; his celestial flesh is fashioned not from flesh, but from spirit, to which he returns in a spiritual embrace.

6b) Just as there are three whose bodies were not conceived in a fleshly way (First Adam; First Eve; Second Adam [Yeshua]), so there are three whose bodies never suffered corruption, whose bodies never returned to the humus from which the LORD fashioned the adam (Enoch; Elijah; Second Adam [Yeshua]). This–O mortal–is recapitulation in Christos/Messiah!

7) Let the wise reader gather the fruits to be gathered herein. Every verse of scripture contains instructions for the wise. Wisdom herself hath called your attention to the relationship between knowledge, conception, and the bearing of burdens. May the LORD cause his light to shine upon you, within the nether parts of your (spiritual) flesh, and may you get a man from the LORD.

Selah.

Verse two: “And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.”

1) We are told that Adam knew Eve, and that this knowledge brought about Cain. However, we are not told how Abel was conceived. Things of the flesh we see with fleshly eyes, caress with fleshly hands, taste with fleshly lips, as Adam saw/caressed/tasted Eve. But things of the Spirit are hidden from us, until the Spirit reveals them to us. Wickedness is in plain sight; righteousness is hidden within.

2) Genesis as Book of Dyads: God/humanity, Adam/Eve, Cain/Abel, husbandry/farming, sheep/wolf. Let the spiritual reader make the intrinsic connections.

3) The beginnings of brotherhood. The reader of Genesis has been told of several human relationships. The relationship of man to his God (in image & in mediation: dust); of woman to man (in origin); of woman to her God (two-way mediation: flesh & dust); of man to woman (in delight); of Serpent to woman (in deceit); of woman to woman (self-deception); of woman to man (seduction); of God to woman/man (condemnation, justice, mercy); of man to woman (sexual intercourse); of child to mother (birth); and now of brother to brother.

4) The first relationship of brotherhood is that of Abel to Cain; the final relationship, that which entails, surpasses, and recapitulates the first, is that of Yeshua (Second Adam) to all of our Adamic humanity. Let the wise reader perceive relationships of brotherhood in Holy Scripture.

5) For Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of ground. What is the intrinsic relationship between the realm of earth (the ground, soil, humus) and that of the grasslands (the realm that includes not only the green growing things, but also the beasts that crawl and walk the earth)? Let us consider the priority of creation. Both land and grass were created on the third day, according to the first chapter of Genesis. And yet the author of Holy Scripture clearly intends us to understand that the land, the soil, the ground, was created in both temporal and logical priority to the grass. Moreover, the beasts of the earth and the livestock that dwell in, and depend upon, the grass and the seedbearing plants, were not created until the sixth day, which is the same day as the creation of Adamic humanity. This is why it is appropriate that the firstborn of all creation is not Abel, but Cain. For the plants, and the ground in which they grow, are both temporally and logically prior to the livestock, and the grass which they feed upon.

6) Thus, Cainite humanity, while physically antecedent to Adamic humanity, is logically prior to it–particularly in its Abelic form. The First Adam was passively formed from the ground; Cain actively tills the ground, bringing forth life from it. In this sense, Cain participates more actively and more fully in YHWH’s creative project than does the First Adam. The First Adam creates new life by “knowing” the First Eve in a sensual, bodily way. But Cain creates life in the same way that YHWH does–by digging in the dirt and the mud, making dirty his hands. Thus, when the Second Adam cures physical blindness through the mixing of spittle and clay, he participates in an essentially Cainite activity.

Verse three: “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.”

1) On the sixth day of creation, YHWH gives himself a gift, which he brought forth from the ground. If Cain is to be understood as the first farmer (among humanity), this is only because his (spiritual) father was the first farmer of all, for YHWH tilled the ground, and brought forth its first fruits, the Adam, our fleshly father.

2) In the process of time, did Cain bring forth his offerings. Thus, this is an act not on the spiritual level (which is timeless, changeless, and is both beyond history & the ground of history). Rather, Cain’s offering to YHWH is a purely physical activity, on the level of flesh, and not of spirit. Let the wise reader perceive the meaning of this mystery.

Selah.

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