I realized as I was transcribing today that I haven't heard this story as often as I thought. At least not the whole story. It is remarkably like the sin of Adam and Eve.
God asks the same questions (Where are you?/Where is your brother?), opening up the avenue for honesty. God is in relationship with Cain all along (how is it diff. than adam/eve in the garden).
The answer of the question is a diversion from the topic (I"m naked/ I'm not his keeper)
The consequences are similar (weeds, sweat of brow/Land will not give its fruit)
Enter the theme of land and either entering or being driven from it. For A&E it was the garden. . . exiled. For Cain it was wherever he went after that. . . exiled. Noah's next and the whole world will be. . . exiled. How can we only focus on heaven when land is over every page of the Bible? (cf. Wright, Surprised by Hope; NT and the People of God) For Cain, to wander is to lose his anchor, lifestyle, and in an ancient near east world, one's local god.
All of life is wrapped up in the consequences of our actions. Our relationships with God, others, and the world are all affected (cf McKnight, Embracing Grace).
Interesting, the idea of city comes in after this. Where was the city before? Were Adam and Eve unique after all, or were there other humans? When and where did this city arise from? There is an interesting discussion of origins over at Jesus Creed. Look for posts by RJS.
The picture painted by Genesis is less straightforward than we make it look sometimes. Do we embrace these tensions or try to solve them?
-P.s. coming soon: a theoblogger consortium post . . . kind of an online discussion of a thing called process theology.
10 hours ago