i About the BioLogos Forum

The BioLogos Forum is designed to foster a serious and comprehensive discussion of Christian faith and the sciences. We believe that charitable engagement of different perspectives within the Church helps sharpen our thinking and deepen our commitment to the truth that is hidden in Christ. So while many of the articles and videos under the distinctive Forum banner come from BioLogos staff and Senior Fellows, we feature a range of voices, including those that disagree with us and with each other. Unless otherwise noted, views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here, and join the conversation in the comments section at the end of each post.

Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Cain’s Birth, Part 1

Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Cain’s Birth

This series, preceded by Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: the Garden and the Fall, closely examines the “gaps” in the stories surrounding Cain in Genesis 4, and offers some ideas that the ancient commentators formulated in response to these factually incomplete accounts. Pete Enns highlights the questions these texts raised for early interpreters, including Adam and Eve’s sexual relations, the conception and birth of Cain, and the murder of his brother Abel. Enns explains that these “gaps” in the narratives are good as they invite readers to reflect and ponder the messages of the stories.

Favorites

Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Cain’s Birth, Part 1

Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Cain’s Birth, Part 1

After Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden, they have two children: Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-2). The birth of these two figures, especially of Cain, raised some questions in the minds of early interpreters—just as they continue to for contemporary readers of Genesis.
January 25, 2011 
Pete Enns 
Biblical Interpretation 
23
 
Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Why Did Cain Murder his Brother?

Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Why Did Cain Murder his Brother?

This week we look at an entirely different issue: Why did Cain kill Abel? What was it that “made” him do it? On one level, the story seems clear enough. Nevertheless, answers to these questions—however important they are—are not obvious because the text does not address them specifically.
February 08, 2011 
Pete Enns 
Biblical Interpretation 
18
 
Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: What Was Wrong with Cain’s Sacrifice?

Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: What Was Wrong with Cain’s Sacrifice?

But no rationale is given for why God found Abel’s offering more acceptable. What is especially puzzling is that both types of offerings—animal and agricultural—are commanded of Israel later on (on grain offerings, see for example Leviticus 2). As we have seen so often in these opening chapters of Genesis, there are “gaps” in the text that raise natural questions, then and now.
February 15, 2011 
Pete Enns 
Biblical Interpretation 
17
 
Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Good vs. Evil in the Cain Story

Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Good vs. Evil in the Cain Story

What I have said in previous posts bears repeating here: the reason why we are even taking the time to look at how early interpreters handled Genesis is to encourage interpretive self-consciousness and humility on the part of readers today. The opening chapters of Genesis, however pivotal they are for Christian theology, are nevertheless notoriously challenging in some details.
February 22, 2011 
Pete Enns 
Biblical Interpretation, Morality & Ethics 
18
 
Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Cain Caused the Flood

Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Cain Caused the Flood

Cain was a “logical” candidate of sorts because his act was the only truly wicked act recorded in the chapters preceding the flood story. Cain’s murder of Abel, therefore, was understood not just an isolated wicked act, but a crucial factor in God’s decision to destroy the world in a deluge. One clear example is from the apocryphal book Wisdom of Solomon 10:3-4.
March 01, 2011 
Pete Enns 
Biblical Interpretation 
13
 
Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Some Final Thoughts on Cain

Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Some Final Thoughts on Cain

As we have seen for the past several weeks (see sidebar), ancient interpreters produced some inventive interpretations of the story of Cain. The story is ambiguous in places, and some of those ambiguities could be theologically objectionable if left to themselves. This week I want to end our discussion of the story of Cain by listing three other issues that early interpreters felt needed to be addressed.
March 08, 2011 
Pete Enns 
Biblical Interpretation 
1