the father of those who…
gen 4:19, 21
Despite the awful sin of Cain, and his pitiful existence God doesn’t abandon him to complete lawlessness. The mark which he bears prevents the full force of evil from exercising its destructiveness. But it also serves to ensure that Cain bears his punishment for if anyone had killed him prematurely, it would in fact cut short his punishment. This is tough to hear.
Furthermore, God acts through his increasingly corrupt family line to restrain evil.
In the genealogy that follows we see the emergence of a number of things worth noting:
- :17 Cain and Enoch – community living in a city. Also suggests some form of politics and organisation of community living
- :20 Yabal – a businessman who raises livestock for trade, not just for food;
- :21 Yubal – the first musician;
- :22 Tubal-Cain – a smithy, introducing technology, sharpening copper and iron;
- :23 Lamech – poetry and song to join the musicians.
All of this suggests that despite the presence of sin, society and culture develops. New inventions and discoveries, all forms of the arts thrive in society. These signs of the grace of God in the presence of evil, help restrain evil. But since they emerge from the line of Cain, we need to be aware that they are all touched by the sin of Cain. No part of culture is without a hint of darkness. Lamech is singled out for notice. He has corrupted the nature of marriage by taking at least two wives. And the violence of Cain is multiplied in his descendent.
And whilst we can be moved to the heavenlies by a particular piece of music. we also know of music that is almost demonic in it’s nature. Technology detects and cures all forms of illnesses, but it also murders millions. We do well to develop our critical faculties to help us discern the good and the bad in aspects of our culture.