The First and Second Sins Short Summary

After the first sin man no longer has to love and serve God, but can do so with the option of going against Him. The implications of the sins of Adam and Eve and Cain ultimately define their importance. Without the first sin humanity could never truly show God obedience and love, but would instead be automatons of his will. Before they eat of the tree of knowledge, they have no choice of whether to disobey God or not, save eating from the tree. God, by not allowing them to eat from the tree, also does not allow them the knowledge to know any better than to eat it. The first sin also makes the second sin possible. Man would never have been tending flocks and working to get food from the earth had Eve and Adam not eaten from the forbidden fruit. Jealousy was also a trait man would not have without the ability to tell good from bad. Cain’s sin is also more than just an act of jealousy. By God giving Cain such harsh punishment, the readers of the bible are treated to just how seriously the bible goes against murder. Had the first murder not been chronicled and dealt with, murder may not have had the baneful reputation the Christian and Jewish religions have given it. Neither sin is unimportant for these reasons, but the first sin is more important. This makes the love of God genuine as opposed to Adam and Eve being robots of God before the fall of humankind.

The motives for the first sin all rely on Eve listening to the serpent. The serpent piques her curiosity in the tree by saying the tree will make her and Adam like God. After the serpent has given her a reason to want to eat from the tree, Eve makes up other reasons it would be okay to eat from it. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it,” (Genesis 3:6) the reader can clearly see here that Eve makes up other excuses for wanting to gain wisdom from the tree. The other motive is also the responsibility of the snake: he said to Eve that she would “not surely die,” even though Eve tells the serpent that God told her she would if she ate or touched of the tree. A blatant lie like that being told to someone who cannot know the difference between good and bad should remove the blame of the first sin on Eve’s shoulders.

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The motives for the second sin are somewhat less obvious than the motives behind the first. Cain is firstborn and the tiller of soil, while Abel, his younger brother, is the caretaker of the animals. When the two makes offerings to God from their professions, fruits of the soil and fat portions of the firstborn of the flock respectively, God looks with favor on Abel and without favor for Cain’s offering. This makes Cain very angry and so God has a little talk with him telling him that as long as he does what is right, tilling the soil in this case, then everything will be alright. God then says that if he does not do what is right “sin is crouching at your door” (Genesis 4:7). Cain is extremely hurt by the rejection he experiences at God’s hands, and God simply telling him that he will be “accepted” is not good enough for him. Cain is extremely jealous and desiring of Abel’s favored position in God’s eyes. God not favoring Cain’s offering was to be expected, however. When Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden, one of the consequences was that he cursed the ground. Naturally God is not going to look with favor on an offering he cursed himself. Therefore, the only way Cain can see to get in God’s favor is take his brother’s job, since his job will never be pleasing to God.

A clear pattern is seen for the motivations of both sins here: desire. Eve desires to be more like God and Cain desires to be in God’s favor. In both cases, the humans are not told what to do in the situations they are put in. Eve is never told to not trust the serpent, and Cain is just told to master his sin, not to not murder.

Eve and Adam’s sin was eating from the tree of knowledge when God had already told them that to do that to do that surely meant death. Eve ate some of the fruit from the tree of knowledge and then gave some to Adam to eat. There is no deception or secrecy about the act itself. Adam and Eve simply went ahead and ate.

Cain’s sin was the murder of his brother Abel. His sin is much less straight forward than the first sin. Cain tricked Abel into going out in a field with the intention of murdering him, and then he did murder him.

There is obviously both deception and secrecy about the sin of Cain. This implies that Cain knew that the act was wrong, and that he did it anyway. The most obvious difference between the first and second sin is that the second was premeditated as a crime; something to be done covertly. The most obvious reason for this difference is that man now has the ability to tell between good and bad because of the first sin.

Immediately after eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge Adam and Eve “realized they were naked” (Genesis 3:7) and covered and hid themselves. God found them and asked them why they were hiding, and when they told Him, He was immediately incensed. God found out that the serpent was ultimately responsible and punished him by having him crawl on his belly, eat dust and be the mortal enemy of woman. God punished Eve for listening to the serpent by making her pains during childbirth great and making her subservient to her husband. God then punished Adam by making all mankind mortal and cursing the ground so that man must toil to get food by it and put up with thorns and the like. Immediately after God punished man and woman he also banished them from Eden, and put cherubim with a flaming sword to ensure they do not come back. Adam and Eve go down to earth and immediately lie down together and have two children, Cain and Abel. Adam himself lives to be 930 years old, and has another son, Seth, among many other sons and daughters. Eve reports no great pain for the world’s first birth to Cain, she simply states “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man” (Genesis 4:1).

Immediately after Cain kills Abel, God asks him where his brother is. Cain lies to God saying he does not know, and God, being Omniscient among other things, immediately cries to Cain that he has killed his brother. He punishes Cain by decreeing that the ground will not grow anything for him, and that he will be a restless wanderer of the Earth. Cain himself is upset by this conversation with God even more than the last one, and lets Him know this time. God feels some pity on him and gives him a mark that will make sure no one attempts to kill him because of his sin, and anyone who does would suffer vengeance seven times over whatever is done to Cain. Cain goes on to have a family and start a city and has among his offspring the ancestors of all musicians, and shepherds. However, one of his sons is also the second murderer in history.

In both the first and second sins the consequences are instant and severe from God. God punishes immediately and harshly in both cases, but God punishes only Cain after the second sin and He gives all of humanity the same punishment as Adam and Eve. Banishment is common ground between the first and second sins, as Adam and Eve are exiled from Eden and Cain is to wander endlessly over the earth. Adam and Eve’s punishments seem harsher than Cain’s does, although their sin does not seem as bad as the murder of Abel. The message relayed is that obedience of God, as seen in the story of the tree of knowledge, transcends human affairs and is most important.

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The First and Second Sins Short Summary. (2018, Sep 04). Retrieved from