With the exile of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, humankind’s history takes a drastic turn. The first family is banished from Paradise, and this once “good” creation has apparently made some unfortunate self-modifications concerning the original model. One would hope that Adam and Eve would learn from this rebellious episode and warn subsequent generations from revolting against God.
The first children of Creation reveal how severely sin is already corrupting Mankind. Adam and Eve were at least obedient to the command “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28) as “Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying ‘I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.’ And again, she bore his brother Abel” (Gen. 4:1-2).
Within one generation of God making man in his image, man murders that image in his very own brother. Apparently, sibling rivalry began with these first brothers. Abel watched the sheep and Cain worked the ground (Gen. 4:2). At some point, they each brought an offering to the LORD. It was a gift. It was intended to be a sacrifice of sorts to reveal a grateful heart to their Maker. As a farmer, Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground (Gen. 4:3). Shepherd Abel brought a sacrifice from his flock.
While it appears at first glance that both men provided a worthy gift, God does not regard them equally.