An article interpreting the story of Cain and Abel in a new light.

By Cristo Rey

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Who were Cain and Abel? What is "Sibling Rivalry"?

      The purpose of this article is to attempt to answer these questions by a consideration of the intended meaning of the allegorical stories of the Creation in the Book of Genesis. It is the author's belief that by taking these allegorical stories as literal, the interpreter robs himself and others of the rich and true significance of the intended meaning of these stories.

      We know that Jesus the Christ used allegories (Parables) to impart quick understanding in some of His listeners, likewise the stories of Adam and Eve, and of Cain and Abel are allegorical renditions with the use of symbolic figures, and are intended to convey concepts which were very difficult to convey 3,600 years ago when the Genesis story was written, thousands of years before the scientific findings of Psychiatry and Psychology had been made . . . In the manner of the mythical Greek tales, all the writers of Genesis could do was to illustrate the manifestations of the psychological underpinnings of serious mental conditions, without being able to scientifically define the general mental conditions themselves.

      The same individuals who argue for the literal interpretation of these stories, place the Christ in the Garden of Eden, not as a person, but as the allegorical "Tree of Life" (Gn 2:9, Gn 3:22), and place Satan there as the allegorical "snake" (Gn 3:1), thus introducing allegory into what they otherwise try to convince us we should take as literal stories. There is no consistency in this bizarre approach . . .

      Although Our Lord Jesus the Christ employed and made extensive use of allegorical stories (Parables), many Christian leaders command us to take the most remarkable of allegories, the stories of the Creation as literal. Jesus the Christ often employed parables to hide his intended teachings from selective members of his audience that He had already judged were Talking Snakes.

Who were Cain and Abel?

      All four of the fictional figures, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, in the stories of the Creation stand for ourselves, not just in an individual sense, but also collectively as Mankind . . .

      Cain and Abel were the first two sons of Adam and Eve (Gn 4:1-2). But simply interpreted, Cain and Abel represent the first non-sexual relationships of mankind. Their relationship stands as the first example of the most basic drives motivating our non-sexual social and intimate relations in life. As they are depicted as brothers, the story conveys the proposition that we base all non-sexual relationships in life on our experiences as siblings. The nature of our sibling relationships (or lack of them) determine how we will relate later in life with others not of our nuclear family.

      Besides the Original Sin of Adam and Eve (Disobedience of God's Commandment), there were two other important sins, one committed by Eve, and the second committed by Cain . . .

      The First, committed by Eve, was the sin of deceit, or lying, and in its fullest concept also encompassed self-deceit. By means of this most fundamental of all sins, all other sins in life are made possible, with our discovery that we could do anything grievous and attempt to get away with it by simply lying or concealing it and hiding the truth. With this new instrument at our disposal, we are then tempted to commit all other sins in life, with the assumed confidence of being able to conceal our actions (sins) or deny them.

      By originally successfully deceiving others in that way, we also discover that we can further deceive them in myriad of other ways to achieve anything we wish . . .

      Deceit is not strongly instinctive in our nature, and remains only a potential acquired behavior or value which we must be taught to do or carry out.

      In our adult stage, we have long forgotten who first taught us to lie, and how to deceive others . . .

      It was learned . . .

What is "Sibling Rivalry"?

      Sibling rivalry was the sin of Cain (Gn 4:5-10).

      In its simplest interpretation, sibling rivalry is caused by jealousy and envy of the possessions, achievements, or qualities of our siblings, leading to the establishment of a rival relationship with them.

      Unlike deceit, sibling rivalry is a strongly instinctive drive in us (New Video Suggests Twin Rivalry Begins Before Birth). In its fullest concept, it encompasses competition, or the attempting to have what only one can possess. Cain could not hope to possess the qualities and abilities of Abel, and then employed some of the other instruments of sin learned from his mother Eve, that of deceit, lying, and concealment. Upon finding out that he could not possess the qualities and abilities of Abel, and as such win God's approval of him, he impulsively decides to kill Abel, and as such becomes the first murderer in mankind.

      In the allegorical stories, these two sins, deceit (Eve), and rivalry or competition (Cain), form the basis of all other sins of mankind. On these two pillars, rest all of our other sins . . .

      The original mental process underlying these sins, which represents not an action but a deliberated intention to sin, the choosing to sin, is arrived at by an emotionally-driven mental deliberation.

      This deliberation is a branching thought process in our minds, leading to two alternatives, to sin or not to sin, to do good or to do evil. This branching deliberative thought process is depicted in the allegorical stories of the Creation as the "Tree (of the fruit) of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" (Gn 2:9). Tasting of both fruits, that is deliberating to reach the alternatives, as we make our way through the branching thought processes and reach a high level of frustration due to not finding an advantageous selfish result, we are inclined to choose the easy one, evil, in preference to the other. Having learned the instrument of deceit, and the possibility of deceiving, primes us or pre-conditions us to our inevitable choice.

      Such were the sins of Eve and Cain . . . and by consequence, ours . . .

Food for thought

      Even 3,600 year ago, around the time the stories of the Creation were written, it was observed that those humans which choose mostly evil share many characteristics with living reptiles (snakes). This is the reason for the "talking snake" in the story (Gn 3:1).

      All evidence indicates that the snake was inside of Eve, probably in her mind as she was the only one who could see and hear it, Adam could not. Eve, in typical reptilian fashion, deceives Adam. This follows, the story symbolically reveals to us (Gn 2:25), because the woman discovered, that even in her full nakedness, she could successfully conceal her sexual arousal, or lack of it, Adam as a man could not . . .

      This observation led the woman to discover that she could feign either arousal, or non-arousal, the man Adam could not tell and thus could be easily fooled (deceived) by her. She could, for example, feign arousal to initiate sexual activity for his pleasure in expectation of Adam's favors for it. Following this branching of thought, she discovers a million different ways of deceiving him, and thus talking him into all sorts of things for her seeming benefit.

      By these means, she revealed herself as a Talking Snake . . .

      Adam might not have remained naive about what was going on for long, and might have requested that Eve teach him how to also conceal and hide his sexual arousals, as a defense against her costly frequent deceits. Not being able to help him control the openness and obviousness of his arousals, Eve conceives the idea of their covering of themselves and their nakedness with Fig leaves.

      It was then, and it is currently well known that Fig leaves are a most inefficient cover of the external sexual organs . . .

      This interpretation helps to explain and bring together the symbolisms of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the snake, the deceit, the Fig leave aprons, and Adam's fall, to bring about the First or Original Sin, the Fall of Mankind . . .

      What is very interesting is that Fig leaves are a useless and ineffective form of covering of the male external sexual organs, and do not really serve to achieve our intended purposes. This very cynical symbolism in the story betrays that whatever strategy we use to attempt to hide our misdeeds (sins) is the product of our inherent (genetic) inability to conceive "perfect alibis" or successful deceitful cover ups . . . This well-known fact is what makes possible the great success of scientific criminal investigations (a better than 90% success):

"The expression fig leaf has a pejorative metaphorical sense meaning a flimsy
or minimal cover for any thing or behavior that might be considered shameful,
with the implication that the cover is only a token gesture
and the truth is obvious to all who choose to see it"
(From: Wikipedia: Fig Leaf: Metaphorical Use)

      As Adam, Eve, and Cain are symbolically portrayed in the story as "new" to Human affairs, that is to say, inexperienced in such matters, the story betrays the truth that we, their supposed descendants, also inherited this genetic inability to perfectly being able to hide or conceal our sins . . . we remain able to be found out or caught, especially by the all-seeing, all-knowing eyes of God . . . In perfect "detective" work, God knew instantly that something was amiss, when Adam and Eve hid in the bushes upon hearing Him approaching . . . Their worst mistake was thinking that they could even deceive the all-knowing mind of God . . .

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in
the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves
from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

And the LORD God called unto Adam,
and said unto him, Where art thou?

And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid,
because I was naked; and I hid myself

And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked?
Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee
that thou shouldest not eat?

And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me,
she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

And the LORD God said unto the woman,
What is this that thou hast done?
And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me,
and I did eat." (Gn 3:8-13)

      The symbolisms in the story of Cain and Abel, concerning sibling rivalry, jealousy, and competition are more explicit and in the more advanced scientific knowledge of modern times need no further speculative interpretation.

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Updated: 8/6/15

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