What is Truth?

The story of Cain and Abel.  The continuation of the story of the fall of man, from the paradise of Eden, all the way until our day.  We see here the first offerings to the Lord.  Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.   Notice the offerings here.  Abel brought a blood offering, Cain an offering of harvest.   Abel’s offering was acceptable, Cain’s was not.  Why?  Abel brought a blood offering, a sin offering.  From the fall, we are all sinners.  Even though this had not been defined in the law yet, God is defining what is necessary to be acceptable before him.  This is why Abel’s offering was acceptable – he brought a blood sacrifice for his sin.  So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”   Sin certainly was crouching at Cain’s door, as it still does for all of us.  The sin sacrifice would have meant repenting of his sin, humbling himself. 
But instead of repenting, Cain remains angry.  He is angry his brother might be more acceptable than he is.  He is jealous.  And so he acts on his jealousy and rage – Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.  Rather than repenting of his sin before God and bringing an acceptable sin sacrifice, Cain made his own blood sacrifice – the blood of his brother!!   That blood cries out to the Lord from the ground, convicting Cain, just as Jesus’ blood cries out to this day, convicting us.  We see Cain and the Lord following the death of Abel, and God punishes him by cursing the ground.  Cain still refuses repentance.   “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.”  So Cain chooses anger and misery rather than repenting of his sin.   And God gives him special protection from the surrounding people that he may not be killed as he himself killed his brother.    
And so, this is the founding of our world, the way we establish power, the way our world is ordered.  Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.   Cain exercised his physical power, killed his brother, and started the first city.  This is how our world is run.  Power, force and might rule.  And the victor, of course, writes history.  The history of the world is written from the viewpoint of Cain.   Every empire that has ever existed, exists based on military power.  Today, we would have to add economic power to that.  Point is, the world is run by strength and power.  That is the “truth” of the world – I have a bigger gun, I can destroy you (or have destroyed you).  You must live by my rules.  
When Pontius Pilate asked the question “What is truth?” in John 18, we fail to realize he answered his own question in the very next chapter.  In chapter 19, Pilate questions Jesus, and Jesus remains stony silent.  “So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” ‭‭John‬ ‭19:10‬ ‭ESV‬. And that is the answer to his own question, what is truth.  Truth to Pilate, truth to us today, truth to the civilized world since Cain killed Abel, comes down to just that – the authority to kill.  Society versus society, society to citizen, citizen to citizen.  All of our laws, the entire structure of the our world, comes down to military might, the power to kill.  Whether we know it or not, our total world order is on the model of Cain.
Jesus, of course, brings a completely different paradigm.  The kingdom of God is based on the model of Abel.  Jesus blood cries out to God just as Abel’s did.  He convicts us just as Abel convicted Cain.  He came representing all the Abel’s of the world, all the victims of Cain based society.  All those without the military might to stop the invading masses showing up on their shores.  The hundreds of millions (at least) killed from the dawn of civilization, because after all, we ate from the tree.  We now know Good and Evil, right?   And, always, no matter what the civilization, WE are good, THEY are bad, right?   But, not in Gods economy.  If we are part of God’s Kingdom, let us never forget – “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  Yes, the world lies in the power of the evil one.  The real question is this – are WE really from God?   Are we part of Jesus’ realigning of the world with the Abel’s of history?  Or are we part of Cain’s society, based on force, power and death?  What is our Truth?
 

“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah. Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.” And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭4:1-26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

John Lewis

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