Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Genesis Chapter 4
Metaphysically Interpreting Genesis 4:1-26
4:1And the man knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man with the help of Jehovah. 4:2And again she bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
4:3And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Jehovah. 4:4And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 4:5but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
4:6And Jehovah said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 4:7If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door: and unto thee shall be its desire, but do thou rule over it.
4:9And Jehovah said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: am I my brother's keeper? 4:10And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. 4:11And now cursed art thou from the ground, which hath opened its mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; 4:12when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee its strength; a fugitive and a wanderer shalt thou be in the earth.
4:13And Cain said unto Jehovah, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 4:14Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the ground; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth; and it will come to pass, that whosoever findeth me will slay me. 4:15And Jehovah said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And Jehovah appointed a sign for Cain, lest any finding him should smite him.
4:16And Cain went out from the presence of Jehovah, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. 4:17And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. 4:18And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methushael; and Methushael begat Lamech.
4:19And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 4:20And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle. 4:21And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and pipe. 4:22And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
4:23And Lamech said unto his wives: Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: For I have slain a man for wounding me, And a young man for bruising me: 4:24If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
4:25And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth. For, said she, God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel; for Cain slew him. 4:26And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enosh. Then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah.
JANUARY 26, 1913: Genesis 4:1-15
What is the meaning of Cain? Possessor. Cain represents that in man which strives selfishly to possess.
What is the result of selfishness? It kills out of consciousness the higher impulses of the soul that connect it with Spirit, and death follows.
What is the effect of unselfishness? It opens the mind to the Spirit, and sets free all the faculties and functions of mind and body, allowing them expression in righteousness and harmony.
Why are the commandments of Jesus of special value to all who would demonstrate eternal life? Because obedience to them helps to overcome all selfishness.
Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee.
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” “Give to him that asketh of thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so unto them.”
“Whosoever, heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man; which Built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell and great was the fall of it.”
Take my silver and my gold, not a mile would I withhold,
Take my moments and my days, let them flow hi ceaseless praise.
“The soul that sinneth it shall die. The wages of sin is death.” “This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord. For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death. The gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Take my love my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store,
Take myself and I will be ever only all for thee.
(The song used in this service is No, 69 in “Our Songs.”)
May 20, 1917: Genesis 4:3-15
4:3And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Jehovah. -- Cain represents the body and is related to Substance. The body must render unto Jehovah “the fruit of the ground,” which is an ascending refined essence. The limitations of the flesh must be given up, and the consciousness purified.
4:4And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering: -- Abel represents the mentality which controls the inner life forces. The mental is more closely related to the spiritual consciousness (Jehovah) and its offerings are more acceptable.
4:5but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. -- The flesh (Cain) had not yet attained a consciousness of the higher life forces and his offerings had no substance or life in them.
4:6And Jehovah said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 4:7If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door: and unto thee shall be its desire, but do thou rule over it. -- The flesh (Cain) must realize that all its activities must be lifted up into the spiritual consciousness through an aspiration for higher things.
4:8And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. -- Cain kills Abel, or the sense takes possession of the body, and the I Am no longer directs the life forces.
4:9And Jehovah said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: am I my brother's keeper? -- The flesh may kill out the consciousness of spiritual life, but Jehovah within still yearns for Abel and questions, “Where is Abel thy brother?”
4:10And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. -- Blood typifies life. The primal spiritual elements of life continue to seek expression in substance (the ground), subconsciousness.
4:11And now cursed art thou from the ground, which hath opened its mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; 4:12when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee its strength; a fugitive and a wanderer shalt thou be in the earth. -- The flesh is cursed because it is not conscious of spiritual substance and therefore it does not yield the satisfaction of Spirit.
4:13And Cain said unto Jehovah, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 4:14Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the ground; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth; and it will come to pass, that whosoever findeth me will slay me. -- The flesh feels its degradation, and if allowed to remain in its selfish state, it is slain; that is, it dies.
4:15And Jehovah said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And Jehovah appointed a sign for Cain, lest any finding him should smite him. -- No matter how great the sins of the body, its essential spiritual character cannot. be destroyed. “Jehovah appointed a sign for Cain.” The “sign” is the spiritual image in which God created the body. If we hold that the body is spiritual, it bears that mark, is lifted up and becomes a permanent structure.
April 25, 1926: Genesis 4:1-12
What does the story of Cain and Abel symbolize? The story of Cain and Abel is an allegory which explains in symbols the activities of certain departments of soul and body.
What activity of the soul does Cain represent? Cain represents the quality of the soul which strives to acquire and to posses materially. He was a tiller of the soil, representing the ego which has to do with earthly, material things; also he represents the animal desires that bring the physical body into manifestation.
What activity of the soul does Abel represent? Abel represents the soul’s activity on the mental plane. He was a sheep raiser. The soul power which he represents is the mental force that controls the animal functions of the body.
Both Cain and Abel brought sacrificial offerings to Jehovah. What does a sacrificial offering to Jehovah represent? A refining process is constantly going on throughout all creation. This refinement is accomplished through the action of mind on matter. Every thought frees energies which register in soul consciousness as purity, strength, and power, or otherwise. The emanations or radiations of the soul's activities under divine law ascend into higher realms of consciousness and strengthen the spiritual nature of man. The offerings that Cain and Abel made to Jehovah represent this transmutation from the lower to the higher.
What will be the outcome of this refining process in soul and body? The outcome of this refinement will be the redemption of the whole of creation from materiality and coarseness and its restoration to the original pure essence of Spirit. This is the process through which the kingdom of God is set up in the earth.
Why is Abel’s offering more acceptable to Jehovah than Cain’s? Abel represents the animal mentality and Cain represents the physical body. Mind is closer to Spirit than body; consequently Abel's offering was of a finer quality than Cain’s, and more acceptable in the sight of the Lord.
Explain: “And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” In its selfishness the body consciousness demands the same privileges from God that are given to the soul, but the granting of such privileges is contrary to the divine law of evolution. Its demand having been rejected, the physical ego (Cain) rebels against the seeming favoritism shown to Abel.
From a metaphysical standpoint explain the killing of Abel by his brother Cain. The body consciousness (Cain) in its degenerate state thirsts for something to satisfy the lusts of the flesh, and demands possession of all the resources of mind and soul. If this demand is granted, man is reduced to mere animal existence; the soul force represented by Abel becomes inactive as a consequence. Thus man is cut off from the Source: “the ground” does not yield its strength.
What was the mark that Jehovah placed upon Cain to keep him from being slain? The mark that Jehovah placed upon Cain to keep him from being slain was the consciousness of his divine origin. Man is Spirit, soul, and body and he cannot manifest perfection until the trinity is unified in Christ. Under the divine law the body must not be slain, but lifted to spiritual consciousness.
January 26, 1932: Genesis 4:3-15
The story of Cain and Abel is an allegory of the movement of certain departments of the soul. Cain means possessor. This refers directly to that part of human, consciousness that strives to acquire and possess. Cain was a tiller of the soil, which places him in the earthly domain. Abel means breath, which places him in the air or mental realm. These two are brothers, that is, closely related in consciousness. Abel does not represent the spiritual mind, but the mentality that controls the animal functions; he was a sheep raiser. In Hindoo metaphysics, Abel would be termed the Animal Soul and Cain the Physical Body. Paul would call Abel the Creature and Cain the Flesh.
Making sacrifices unto the Lord is symbolical of a refining process which is constantly going on in consciousness. Every thought and act of man sets free an energy that gravitates to its appointed place in the various realms of mind and body. The Lord is the one Universal Mind which is the receptacle of all and receives all. If you have a thought of love and good will, you set free invisible emanations that are impregnated with those ideas. These ascend to a higher realm and form part of your spiritual soul, and at the same time relate you to the Lord, who is the presiding Oversoul of the race. This is the inner meaning of offering sacrifices unto the Lord. Everything in nature is going through this refining process, and there is a constant ascension of matter to mind, and mind to Spirit. We are taught that a period will finally come where the whole universe will be resolved back into its original essence in God.
The thoughts of the mind are nearer to Spirit than the emanations of the body, hence the affirming of Abel was more acceptable unto the Lord than Cain's. The killing out by the body-selfishness all human sympathy and love is the slaying of Abel by Cain. When the body demands possession of all the resources of mind and soul, and reduces existence to mere material living, it has slain Abel, and his blood, or life, continually cries from the earthly consciousness unto the Lord for expression.
When the selfishness of the body has killed out the finer impulses of the soul, and reduced to material existence all the higher aspirations, there is no longer pleasure in living. Without the soul the body is a machine with but little sensation and no progress. Cain thus tills the ground, but it yields unto him no strength.
The body feels its degradation, and those who get into this degenerate condition are usually miserable. Cain's punishment is great, and he fears the vengeance of the other faculties condemning the body for its impotency. But the Lord, or Divine Law, has fixed a limit to this, and we are warned not to destroy the body, no matter how great its sins. The mark set upon Cain to keep him from being slain is the consciousness of his Divine origin. No matter how deep in transgressions the body may be, it still bears the stamp of God, and should never be killed out entirely.
– UNITY magazine.
February 2, 1941: Genesis 4:9-12
What do Cain and Abel represent? Cain (selfishness) is what Paul would call the flesh, Abel (breath) represents the mind that controls the animal functions.
What is the mark that was set upon Cain? This term represents man's consciousness of his divine origin. It is meant to protect his body from the destructive action of his animal instincts. This consciousness is often dormant, but it can be revived and made effective by man.
July 19, 1942: Genesis 4:1-15
What present interest has the story of Cain and Abel? It interests us because in allegorical form it tells of the activities of certain phases of the soul.
What do the two names mean, and why are they represented as brothers? Cain means “possession,” Abel “breath.” Cain represents the part of human consciousness that strives to acquire and possess. Abel’s place is in the mental realm, for breath may also mean inspiration. The two are closely related in consciousness, therefore they are represented as brothers.
Does Abel represent the highest type of mind? No, he represents the mind that controls the animal functions rather than the spiritual activities. The relation between Cain and Abel corresponds to that of the “animal soul” to the physical body.
How can the body “destroy” the soul? By giving vent to unrestrained passions. “Cain was very wroth.”
What part of the text of this lesson shows the body and soul are knit together into one? The verses in which Jehovah undertakes to reason with Cain and convert him to a recognition of his right relation to Abel. Inspiration thus spoke to Cain in the voice of conscience. The body does not know or recognize justice of itself. This is the office of the soul.
How is the habit of doing right from principle, regardless of one's feelings or inclinations, shown to affect one's life? In the words “Why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up?” Consciousness of well-doing lifts up the countenance because it frees body and soul of the weight of evil.
“And Cain told Abel his brother.” What helpful hint do these words contain? The violent passions of the coarse, animal consciousness communicate themselves to the soul, and eventually destroy all human sympathy and love. Such passions are to be overcome at all cost.
Why was Abel’s offering more acceptable to the Lord than Cain’s? Because the feelings of the soul are nearer to Spirit than the mere demands of the body.
What is indicated by the sentence pronounced on Cain, “When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee its strength”? When material selfishness has killed out the finer impulses of the soul, there is no longer any pleasure in living. Without the soul the body is a machine, incapable of pleasurable sensation without incentive to progress.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 12-05-2013