Essay, Research Paper: First And Second Sins


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After the first sin man no longer has to love and serve God, but can do so with
the option of going against Him. The implications of the sins of Adam and Eve
and Cain ultimately define their importance. Without the first sin humanity
could never truly show God obedience and love, but would instead be automatons
of his will. Before they eat of the tree of knowledge, they have no choice of
whether to disobey God or not, save eating from the tree. God, by not allowing
them to eat from the tree, also does not allow them the knowledge to know any
better than to eat it. The first sin also makes the second sin possible. Man
would never have been tending flocks and working to get food from the earth had
Eve and Adam not eaten from the forbidden fruit. Jealousy was also a trait man
would not have without the ability to tell good from bad. Cain's sin is also
more than just an act of jealousy. By God giving Cain such harsh punishment, the
readers of the bible are treated to just how seriously the bible goes against
murder. Had the first murder not been chronicled and dealt with, murder may not
have had the baneful reputation the Christian and Jewish religions have given
it. Neither sin is unimportant for these reasons, but the first sin is more
important. This makes the love of God genuine as opposed to Adam and Eve being
robots of God before the fall of humankind. The motives for the first sin all
rely on Eve listening to the serpent. The serpent piques her curiosity in the
tree by saying the tree will make her and Adam like God. After the serpent has
given her a reason to want to eat from the tree, Eve makes up other reasons it
would be okay to eat from it. "When the woman saw that the fruit of the
tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining
wisdom, she took some and ate it," (Genesis 3:6) the reader can clearly see
here that Eve makes up other excuses for wanting to gain wisdom from the tree.
The other motive is also the responsibility of the snake: he said to Eve that
she would "not surely die," even though Eve tells the serpent that God
told her she would if she ate or touched of the tree. A blatant lie like that
being told to someone who cannot know the difference between good and bad should
remove the blame of the first sin on Eve's shoulders. The motives for the second
sin are somewhat less obvious than the motives behind the first. Cain is
firstborn and the tiller of soil, while Abel, his younger brother, is the
caretaker of the animals. When the two makes offerings to God from their
professions, fruits of the soil and fat portions of the firstborn of the flock
respectively, God looks with favor on Abel and without favor for Cain's
offering. This makes Cain very angry and so God has a little talk with him
telling him that as long as he does what is right, tilling the soil in this
case, then everything will be alright. God then says that if he does not do what
is right "sin is crouching at your door" (Genesis 4:7). Cain is
extremely hurt by the rejection he experiences at God's hands, and God simply
telling him that he will be "accepted" is not good enough for him.
Cain is extremely jealous and desiring of Abel's favored position in God's eyes.
God not favoring Cain's offering was to be expected, however. When Adam and Eve
were cast out of Eden, one of the consequences was that he cursed the ground.
Naturally God is not going to look with favor on an offering he cursed himself.
Therefore, the only way Cain can see to get in God's favor is take his brother's
job, since his job will never be pleasing to God. A clear pattern is seen for
the motivations of both sins here: desire. Eve desires to be more like God and
Cain desires to be in God's favor. In both cases, the humans are not told what
to do in the situations they are put in. Eve is never told to not trust the
serpent, and Cain is just told to master his sin, not to not murder. Eve and
Adam's sin was eating from the tree of knowledge when God had already told them
that to do that to do that surely meant death. Eve ate some of the fruit from
the tree of knowledge and then gave some to Adam to eat. There is no deception
or secrecy about the act itself. Adam and Eve simply went ahead and ate. Cain's
sin was the murder of his brother Abel. His sin is much less straight forward
than the first sin. Cain tricked Abel into going out in a field with the
intention of murdering him, and then he did murder him. There is obviously both
deception and secrecy about the sin of Cain. This implies that Cain knew that
the act was wrong, and that he did it anyway. The most obvious difference
between the first and second sin is that the second was premeditated as a crime;
something to be done covertly. The most obvious reason for this difference is
that man now has the ability to tell between good and bad because of the first
sin. Immediately after eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge Adam and Eve
"realized they were naked" (Genesis 3:7) and covered and hid
themselves. God found them and asked them why they were hiding, and when they
told Him, He was immediately incensed. God found out that the serpent was
ultimately responsible and punished him by having him crawl on his belly, eat
dust and be the mortal enemy of woman. God punished Eve for listening to the
serpent by making her pains during childbirth great and making her subservient
to her husband. God then punished Adam by making all mankind mortal and cursing
the ground so that man must toil to get food by it and put up with thorns and
the like. Immediately after God punished man and woman he also banished them
from Eden, and put cherubim with a flaming sword to ensure they do not come
back. Adam and Eve go down to earth and immediately lie down together and have
two children, Cain and Abel. Adam himself lives to be 930 years old, and has
another son, Seth, among many other sons and daughters. Eve reports no great
pain for the world's first birth to Cain, she simply states "With the help
of the Lord I have brought forth a man" (Genesis 4:1). Immediately after
Cain kills Abel, God asks him where his brother is. Cain lies to God saying he
does not know, and God, being Omniscient among other things, immediately cries
to Cain that he has killed his brother. He punishes Cain by decreeing that the
ground will not grow anything for him, and that he will be a restless wanderer
of the Earth. Cain himself is upset by this conversation with God even more than
the last one, and lets Him know this time. God feels some pity on him and gives
him a mark that will make sure no one attempts to kill him because of his sin,
and anyone who does would suffer vengeance seven times over whatever is done to
Cain. Cain goes on to have a family and start a city and has among his offspring
the ancestors of all musicians, and shepherds. However, one of his sons is also
the second murderer in history. In both the first and second sins the
consequences are instant and severe from God. God punishes immediately and
harshly in both cases, but God punishes only Cain after the second sin and He
gives all of humanity the same punishment as Adam and Eve. Banishment is common
ground between the first and second sins, as Adam and Eve are exiled from Eden
and Cain is to wander endlessly over the earth. Adam and Eve's punishments seem
harsher than Cain's does, although their sin does not seem as bad as the murder
of Abel. The message relayed is that obedience of God, as seen in the story of
the tree of knowledge, transcends human affairs and is most important.
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