1Adam knew his wife Eve intimately, and she conceived and bore Cain. She said, “I have had a male child with the LORD‘s help.”
2Then she also gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel became a shepherd of a flock, but Cain cultivated the land. 3In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the LORD. 4And Abel also presented [an offering] – some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5but He did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he was downcast.
6Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why are you downcast? 7If you do right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
8Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”
And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
The Biblical account of Cain and Abel details how the first human born slew his brother, the second human to be conceived. There is no description of how it was that Cain accomplished his fratricide but it is fair to guess that he didn’t use a Colt .45.
Whether it is jealousy, anger, pride, willfulness, mental illness, greed or war, there have been many reasons that one human has found justification for doing away with others of his kind. And that has been an unfortunate truth about the human condition since humans first made their way upon the Earth.
For those of us who witnessed and participated in the Civil Rights movement going back to the early 1960’s, it is hard to escape the similarity of the act of terrorism that occurred at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC and bombings and lynchings that occurred fifty years ago in the deep South. But with one very important difference.
In the ‘60’s there was at least a perception of near indifference on the part of those in elected position to the murderous tragedies which occurred to black Americans and today there has been a nearly universal outpouring of support which transcends racial lines at the deaths of the nine innocent Bible study participants who were summarily executed by the racist Dylann Roof.
The survivors of the nine victims exhibited an amazing amount of grace in the face of their losses, several of them openly forgiving Roof for his murderous acts. That is a display of Christianity at it’s finest. And it would have been uplifting if both President Obama and presumed Democrat presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton had merely expressed their sadness at this terrible incident rather than turning it into an opportunity to lobby for and make statements about gun control, as though mankind has only begun slaughtering one another since the gun was first invented. At the very least their comments were both gauche and insensitive.
We have only to look at ISIS to know that no gun has ever been used to behead a person. The story of Cain and Abel clearly demonstrates that until we as a race find a path to inner peace there will be neither peace nor justice among us. And from our history, it appears that quest may be a long time in coming.