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commented on Dec. 7, 2013
Depending on your source, the actual story varies, but by analyzing each story like a witness account a clearer picture emerges. Quite simply, these two brother represent not only humanity's stewardship to the earth, but also to the inherent nature within each of us. For those unfamiliar with the story, I will paraphrase it:
Adam and Eve had 2 sons, first Cain and then Abel. Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd. Abel was wiser, stronger and more successful than Cain, and Abel had respect and 'fear' for the Lord and would not raise his hand against his mother or his brother. Cain was jealous and spiteful because Abel's respect and reverence were rewarded. When they made offerings, Abel offered his fattest lamb, while Cain offered his worst Corn. The Lord refused Cain's offering but accepted Abel's. Cain was given the opportunity to provide a better offering and warned of his growing spite and reminded that for his offering to be better he had to conquer the jealousy inside himself. Cain instead devised a plot and murdered his brother in cold blood. When it was discovered what Cain had done, the Lord cursed him immortality and to witness the good and bad deeds of mankind from earth (in some accounts and the moon in others). The saying "Am I my brother's keeper?" implies "how should I know where he is" - while knowing 'I killed him and don't want to get caught so I'll play dumb'.
This story reminds us of that the 'devil' lurks with each of us, as part of us, and it is an individual effort to defeat him or succumb to hatred, envy, jealousy etc. and do harm to another human or the earth and essentially kill your own flesh and be forever stained with that blood.
What else does this story say to us?