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Genesis 4b-5: Humanity Chooses Two Ways

Posted by Gary Labels: , ,

Humanity now separates into two distinct camps. Cain goes off on his own to raise a family and build a city. What follows is a short five-generation genealogy that climaxes with Lamech. While Lamech is in power, his sons become the pioneers of music, nomadic herding, and even metallurgy. So he is pretty much king of the world and the bastion of secular power.

He becomes the first polygamist and idolater setting himself up as if he were eleven times as great as God himself. Lamech's trust is in the advance of civilization and the power it brings. Strangely, nobody in this lineage is recorded as dying. Why is that? To not record someone's death is akin to not attending their funeral. It speaks very negatively of those whose death is unrecorded.

While the line of Cain is left an open-ended question, such is not the case for Adam and Eve. God granted them another child, Seth, in place of their dear Abel. 4:25 shows how much bitterness arose between Cain and his parents: even though he was firstborn, his absence is not mourned. Seth replaces Abel, and Cain is disowned as if he had never been born. And then, people begin to call upon the name of the Lord.

God grants Adam and Eve mercy and allows them to continue their lineage, despite this bitterness toward Cain. So, Seth gets a nice ten-generation genealogy climaxing with Lamech. Let's note some of the differences between the line of Cain and the line of Seth: for every name in Cain's genealogy, there is a counterpart in Seth's. Seth's also has twice as many generations. They live incredibly long lives, and their deaths are recorded. They have several progeny recorded. In short, they are quite blessed.

The capstone, again, is with someone named Lamech. Whereas the sons of Cain-Lamech learned to thrive under God's curse on the ground, the son of Seth-Lamech is the one who will remove that curse from the ground. Cain's line trusted in themselves and advanced in technology; Seth's line called upon the Lord and advanced in God's blessing. Lamech lives 777 years, hits the jackpot, and passes the torch on to Noah.

Essentially, the entire flood story is an extension of the line of Seth. Cain's little genealogy gets no torch-passing, but Seth's lineage lives on through Noah and continues throughout the Bible.