“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen. 3:15)
This verse not only promised the coming of mankind’s Redeemer, but it also foretold the enmity (i.e. enemy relationship) and struggle that would occur throughout history between Christ and Satan.
From this point on, the Scriptures unfold God’s plans to bring the promised Seed of the woman into the world. We see this enmity between the seeds demonstrated in Satan’s continual attacks against the promised Seed. The first of these attacks is found in Genesis 4, where we find Satan’s attempt to kill the seed.
The Wonder of Cain
God gave Adam and Eve a son, whom they named Cain (Gen. 4:1). Eve was filled with wonder at the birth of Cain and she exclaimed, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.” She may have thought this child could be the very Seed she was promised, but that was not the case.
The Way of Cain
God gave Adam and Eve another son, Abel (Gen. 4:2). When the two brothers reached a certain age, they both brought an offering unto the Lord. Cain, being a tiller of the ground, brought of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel, who was a keeper of sheep, brought of the firstborn and of the fat of his flock to the Lord. The Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. It was not because Cain did not bring his best unto the Lord, he probably did. It was because Cain chose to disobey God’s instructions on what He required as an offering for sin.
After Adam and Eve had both eaten the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked. Realizing the sin they had committed against the Lord, they tried to cover themselves with leaves sewn together, but this was not sufficient. We find, in Genesis 3:21, that the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed Adam and Eve, thus showing them that the shedding of blood was required in order for their sins to be covered (Heb. 9:22). God required that offerings brought to Him to cover sins must involve the shedding of blood. Nothing else would do, regardless of the quality of what was brought. No doubt, Adam and Eve taught this requirement to both their children.
Abel’s offering was considered superior to Cain’s offering, because he chose the way of faith. Abel heard the Word of God, believed it, and obeyed it (Heb. 11:4, Rom. 10:17). Cain, on the other hand, went his own way (Jude 11). Cain chose to bring the “works” of his own hands unto the Lord. This is the “way of Cain,” the way of “religious works,” and sadly, most people today are following this same way. They try to work and earn their salvation, but Galatians 2:16 makes it very clear that
“… a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”
The Wickedness of Cain
When Cain saw that God respected Abel’s offering, but did not respect his own offering, he became angry and it showed in his face. He was jealous of Abel and angry with him and with God. Even when God gave him another opportunity to bring the required offering, Cain refused (Gen. 4:6-7). Instead, he rose up against his brother, Abel, and killed him.
What led Cain to commit such a wicked act? He had the opportunity to obey God, just as Abel did, but he refused. Instead, he chose to follow the leading of Satan. We read in I John 3:12 that Cain was “of the wicked one” and therefore murdered his brother. Cain did so because his own works were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
Even though Cain was the firstborn, God had chosen Abel to be the one through whom the promised Seed would come into the world (Gen. 4:25). Here, then, is Satan’s first attack against the promised seed. He sought to destroy the seed by killing Abel, but God foiled this attempt by appointing another seed, Seth, to take the place of Abel (Gen. 4:25). As we shall see, in every attempt of Satan to disrupt God’s plans and purposes, God always overrules. He is sovereign. He is in control.
The Worldliness of Cain
We see in these children, the two seed lines described in Genesis 3:15. Cain was the spiritual seed of Satan. He was “of the wicked one.” He had no remorse or repentance following his murdering of Abel (Gen. 4:9). We read in Genesis 4:16 that Cain actually “went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden.” We read further, in verses 17-24, that Cain built a city, and he and his descendants, being separated from God, sought their pleasure in the things of the earth and the things of the world. They followed after Satan who is “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31) and “the god of this age” (II Cor. 4:4).
In Abel, originally, and then in Seth later, we see the seed line of the woman; the line through whom the promised Seed, Christ, was to come into the world. In contrast to the descendants of Cain, the descendants of Seth began “to call upon the name of the Lord” (Gen. 4:26). We see the faith of these descendants demonstrated in men like Enoch (Gen. 5:21-24, Heb. 11:5-6) and Noah (Gen. 6:8-9, Heb. 11:7).
With which seed line do you identify? Are you walking “according to the course of this world” and “according to the prince of the power of the air (i.e. Satan), the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2)? Are you going in the “way of Cain,” trying to please or appease God by your own works? If you are, then you are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins and are therefore separated from God (Eph. 2:1, Rom. 3:23).
Have you heard the gospel of the grace of God? Do you realize that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself (Rom. 3:23)? Do you see that Christ died for your sins, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day (I Cor. 15:3-4)? Do you realize that you cannot be saved by works, as Cain tried to be, but that you are saved only by the grace of God? Have you put your complete faith and trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ to save you from your sins (Eph. 1:7, 2:8-9)? If so, then you are alive “in Christ” (Eph. 2:5-6), and you are admonished by the Lord to so walk “in Him” (Col. 2:6).