Sermon: The Offspring of the Serpent (Genesis 4:1–16)
By the end of Genesis 3, we might think that the human race could get off lightly after the rebellion of Adam and Eve, both because of the faith that Adam and Eve exercised in response to the oracles of judgment (Gen. 3:20), and, more importantly, because of the grace of Yahweh to preserve his people and to cover their shame with animal skins. But, if we are tempted toward over-optimism, the narrative of Genesis 4 will quickly correct our thinking. By the end of the chapter, we will discover a steeper, faster descent into sin, rebellion, and chaos than we could ever have anticipated. The effects of the curse do not slowly creep into the world, but they rise up quickly to shed the blood of an innocent man in the very first generation born to Adam and Eve.
Make no mistake—the effects of sin are devastating. But how will human history work from here on out? What would life look like on the other side? Will everyone be corrupt, or will some, by faith, trust in Yahweh for righteousness? What distinguishes the one group of people from the others? In many ways, the story we see played out in the lives (and death) of Cain and Abel becomes a pattern—a type—of the struggle of good and evil in this world to this very day. In the first two offspring born to the woman, we find two fundamentally different categories of human beings: the offspring of the woman and the offspring of the serpent.