Our Bible Reading Plan for today includes a text from Genesis 4. The first murder- Cain killed his brother Abel. Yesterday we read that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and this has been true of all humans ever born or made, including Adam and Eve, with the sole exception of Jesus. The wages of sin is death.
Shortly after the Fall, we see all the sins begin to rear their head; lying, blame, guilt, jealousy, rebellion, and murder. Cain did not fear God. He argued with God and was irreverent with Him. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Soon after, he killed his brother.
A scene which is not in the Bible but must have happened, was depicted in the painting called The First Mourning (Adam and Eve mourn the death of Abel); oil on canvas 1888 by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Here it is:
God had said when He told the First Parents not to eat of the fruit that on the day they eat of it they shall surely die. They did die, spiritually. Their physical death took place many years later. Adam lived over 900 years. That is a long time to remember. Eve, the mother of all the living, was now the mother of the first to die.
When they discovered the body of their son lying lifeless on the ground, they must have mourned. They knew what death was, since God had killed an animal and given them its skins to wear for clothing. They must have killed animals in order to eat, since having been thrown out of the Garden. Abel was a keeper of sheep. Their death was graciously staved off, but their son! O, their son! Their original sin comes back to haunt them in a devastating way. I wrote about this scene in 2014:
We know both of them were familiar with death. Their spiritual life died the moment they disobeyed (“surely you won’t die” the serpent lied in Genesis 3:4). They were familiar with death because God killed the first animal to make clothing out of its skin (the first sacrifice to cover them in their sin). We know they must have killed an animal themselves because they had to eat.
And then…the blood of their son. The Bible does not record the discovery of Abel’s body, nor his burial (as far as I know). But perhaps the scene looked like the one above.
Oh, the searing pain of losing a son! A pain that would be replicated again and again through history as sin took its toll on a million mothers in epochs to come! A grief that the Father Himself would know soon enough!!
The first death was of a beloved son.
The last death was of a beloved Son.
Praise our Holy Savior for His death, for through Him we have life! Praise our Resurrected Savior for vanquishing sin!