Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cain and Abel

Given that they've just recently held this year's conference on children's spirituality at Concordia I'm not sure that I'm going to keep blogging about it. You can read new info at the children's spirituality website .

If I keep blogging, I hope to return to children in scripture (God's stories) and to wonder questions. To make the transition, I wanted to share one more thing from Bellous, de Roos and Summey's chapter 13. I've always wondered about The story of Cain and Abel . The observations of these researchers in light of their findings, make sense to me.

They suggest that "Human experience inevitably forms a concept of God. " The two sons of Adam, two boys in the same family with the same two parents and environment, had different God concepts.

They go on: "It is striking that God met Cain in his resentment and tried to open up his experience to hope. Cain did not accept the offer; instead, he killed Abel ... It is as if Cain could choose to reconsider his idea of God, or sin, but did not seem to hear what God was offering. He sinned...This is sin's educational role - although its lessons come at a high human cost. Spiritual maturity is not accomplished soley by acts of the will, rather it is accomplished through experiencing. It is by seeing and hearing God's own way of Being that people test their assumptions about God . . . Spiritual maturity is a by-product of seeing God in new ways, as Job (in contrast to Cain) testified at the end of this suffering and as a result of it." (p. 205-6) Interesting?

Interesting that Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and God said to Adam's son, Cain, "if you do what is right." God sent Adam from the garden requiring that he toil and work the land which is where we find Cain, the older. Abel, the younger, kept the flocks. It's almost like Cain had more genetic wiring from the fall and Abel from Adam's walking with God in the garden.

I wonder how Adam and Eve's God-stories affected how their sons understood God. . .

I wonder if the work their parents gave them to do affected the way they saw God or whether God just used it . . .

I wonder why Abel seemed to know how to please God (and wanted to) but Cain didn't seem to understand. . .

I wonder. . .


  1. Please don't stop blogging. The conference is amazing. It will happen again in three years I believe. It is way better than any lame children's ministry conference I have been too.

    You have plenty of great insights and wisdom to share. I had lunch with Ivy today. That was a lot of fun too. Anyway...just offering a hello from Chicago.

  2. Thanks J! The more I've been reading in the book, the more I've regretted not going. Looking forward to the new info. and comments on your blog!

  3. It is good to be home...and it was an amazing conference. I had a great time and learned a lot!

    It felt so good to be in the presence of so many Ph. D.s who are concerned about spiritual development. It was amazing to see how many highly educated people are so excited about seeing children grow in their faith.

    I had lunch with Ivy one day. She is great! The next one is in 3 years...see you then???