Why was Cain's offering rejected by God?

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FlyingDove

Senior Member
Dec 27, 2017
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I like what you are saying here.
How do those of us that do not work in agriculture give our "first fruits"?
I don't buy the standard answer on this subject.
Seems worthy of discussion.

Let's explore some theories. Thanks.

The standard answer is that Abel's offering was a blood sacrifice.
I don't think that was the reason that Cain's offering was rejected.
They both brought something from the work of their hands.
Was Cain condemned for working the soil rather than keeping a flock?
Cain could have traded some of his agriculture goods for a sacrifice that was acceptable to God.
 
Dec 12, 2013
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Cain was of that wicked one, a lost man with no faith.....he would have never offered an acceptable sacrifice and or offering........
 

Sketch

Well-known member
Nov 1, 2018
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that raises ((an incomplete list of)) questions:
  • was this the first time Cain's offering was rejected and Abel's accepted?
  • was this the first time they had brought offerings?
  • how often did they do this?
  • who taught them to do this? were they commanded or was it their custom?
  • did Adam & Eve do it too?
  • was it commemorating some event? what event?
  • is there a complementary recurring offering in the Law?
  • if so which one? e.g. firstfruits? Yom Kippur?
  • why would they repeat the same offerings?
  • did they make them with the expectation that they would have to continue making them?
Thanks. I appreciate that you are really digging into this.
This is the sort of in-depth discussion I was hoping to see on this.

I find the inferences in the passage interesting.
It seems that offerings to the Lord from someone's occupation were common.
And that the one making the offering would know whether God found it acceptable or not.
In the case of Cain, God even took time to talk to him about it.

None of this was headline news. It seems to me that the big deal was Cain murdering his brother.
This story has little to do with offerings. And there was no law except the law on human conscience. IMHO

Romans 2:14-15
(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

Romans 5:13
To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.
 

Sketch

Well-known member
Nov 1, 2018
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Cain could have traded some of his agriculture goods for a sacrifice that was acceptable to God.
I don't think that was the problem.
The text tells us that he didn't give his best, or put little effort into it.
 

FlyingDove

Senior Member
Dec 27, 2017
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Jude puts Cain, Balaam & Korah together:

Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.
(Jude 1:11)

so we should see something analogous between these three; that's going to be a clue about what was lacking in Cain's offering - is there a connection to firstfruits?
Jude 1:11 is speaking to Cain killing his brother
 
Dec 12, 2013
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Jude 1:11 is speaking to Cain killing his brother
Actually, Jude compares all false teachers to the three listed in Jude.....

One offered works
One did it for financial gain
One attempted to Usurp the man God has chosen to lead
 

FlyingDove

Senior Member
Dec 27, 2017
910
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Actually, Jude compares all false teachers to the three listed in Jude.....

One offered works
One did it for financial gain
One attempted to Usurp the man God has chosen to lead
I agree, the poster I replied to was tying Jude 1:11 to Cain's offering. Cain hated his brother, a fatal error today as well.
 
Dec 28, 2016
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I don't think that was the problem.
The text tells us that he didn't give his best, or put little effort into it.
Yes, if only he'd sauteed the veggies in some olive oil, garlic, salt, and Italian seasoning we'd have a whole new narrative. And Bible! Instead he got Chopped.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
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I do kinda wish Moses had written a bit more to explain that situation in Genesis.

Why did abel keep sheep but cain tilled the ground. Were they both supposed to keep sheep. Maybe Cain didnt want to keep sheep. Note that Cain asked 'am I my brothers keeper?'

Also note that God created adam so he could till the ground...in Genesis 2:5 that was Adams job God gave him to do.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
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I think God respected Abel's offering because it showed the best he had belonged to God.
While this may be true, there is much more to the acceptability of Abel's offering.

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. (Heb 11:4).

Abel was justified by grace through faith, and in faith he offered a sacrifice which represented the finished work of Christ. Hence a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.

We can bring our best to God but unless we first believe and acknowledge that God gave his best for us in the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, it will avail nothing.

There can be no doubt that Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel had all been taught by God that a sinless substitute was necessary to atone for their sins. Until the coming of Christ, the blood of clean animals made an atonement for sin. But it could only COVER sins until the Lamb of God took away the sin of the world.
 

John146

Senior Member
Jan 13, 2016
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While this may be true, there is much more to the acceptability of Abel's offering.

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. (Heb 11:4).

Abel was justified by grace through faith, and in faith he offered a sacrifice which represented the finished work of Christ. Hence a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.

We can bring our best to God but unless we first believe and acknowledge that God gave his best for us in the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, it will avail nothing.

There can be no doubt that Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel had all been taught by God that a sinless substitute was necessary to atone for their sins. Until the coming of Christ, the blood of clean animals made an atonement for sin. But it could only COVER sins until the Lamb of God took away the sin of the world.
Agree that the blood sacrifice was necessary before the cross. No sacrifice, no justification. After the cross, no work whatsoever on man’s part.
 

Sketch

Well-known member
Nov 1, 2018
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I do kinda wish Moses had written a bit more to explain that situation in Genesis.

Why did abel keep sheep but cain tilled the ground. Were they both supposed to keep sheep. Maybe Cain didnt want to keep sheep. Note that Cain asked 'am I my brothers keeper?'

Also note that God created adam so he could till the ground...in Genesis 2:5 that was Adams job God gave him to do.
That's what they did. Just like today. We have plumbers and electricians and bakers and butchers. It's what we do.
Plumbers don't bake, electricians don't do electrical work, butchers don't do electrical work.

… Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. - Gen.4:2
 
Mar 28, 2016
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Except Cain did hear the Gospel from papa Adam, and how God covered their sin, showing mercy through the shed blood of an animal.
Gen 3:21
(21) Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Yes heard like those in Hebrews 6, heard but did not mix faith or believe God in what they did hear.Better things accompany salvation the mercy by which we can believe or mix faith in what is heard.

For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.Hebrew 4;2

The it being the hearing of faith the gift of God, not of our own selves.
 

Sketch

Well-known member
Nov 1, 2018
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There can be no doubt that Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel had all been taught by God that a sinless substitute was necessary to atone for their sins.
On what basis do you make such a claim? No doubt?
Furthermore, there is no indication in the text that the offerings that Cain and Abel brought were sin offerings.

In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. - Gen.4:3
 

Sketch

Well-known member
Nov 1, 2018
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I respectfully disagree
You disagree that the text tells us that he didn't give his best, or put little effort into it?
What in the text makes you disagree? Or do you prefer the safe pasture of the standard explanation?
 

Sketch

Well-known member
Nov 1, 2018
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Both faith and blood were involved in obedience.

Similarly, by faith the Israelites applied the blood to their door lintels.
There is nothing in the Gen.4 text to support that view.