LESSON 21.

A SPLIT IN THE FIRST FAMILY.

155.     Please note that after Cain, the first-born of Adam, had murdered Abel, and became a fugitive, he seems to have been lost to his parents. Genesis 5:1 begins: "This is the book of the generations of Adam," and proceeds--as though Seth were his first-born. The rationalistic critics assume that a fresh historian takes up the narrative here, who was ignorant of the fact that Adam had had sons previously to Seth. The theory leads away from interesting historical light. At this point we find the first great division of the human family.

156.     The descendants of Cain are given in Genesis 4:18-22; the descendants of Seth, in Genesis 5:6-32. Please read these two lists. Notice that some of the names are the same, or very similar—as might be expected in related families—but they do not apply to the same individuals. Lamech, father of Noah, lived at a much later period than Lamech, the father of Tubal-Cain, the murderer and polygamist. Tubal-Cain whetted "cutting instruments," (R. V.) which his father probably used in killing a man, or threatening to kill one, and in intimidating the two women whom he had taken from their kin. He "took,' his wives, in the days when men were supposed to go to their wives to marry them, and to remain in their homes. This implies violence, as it does also where the same form of expression is used in Genesis 6:2. We have pointed out some of the social wrongs growing out of this violation of God's marriage law.

157.     Christ said: "What God hath joined, let not man put asunder." Now we inquire, "What did God join, when He gave that marriage law which Christ repeats? First and foremost, he joined a man to his wife's kindred, by the words, "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and cleave to his wife." In the second place, God joined the husband to his wife, as indicated by the words,—“and they shall become one flesh.” The R.V.is correct here, in translating, "shall become," instead of "shall be." Both the Hebrew of the O. T., and the Greek of the N. T. say "become," not "be."

158.     The next case of violence towards women, after Lamech's, is that recorded in Genesis 6:1-11,—rather, many cases. "The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all that they chose,"—runs the story. The late and learned Sir J. W. Dawson has written an interesting article on this subject for The Expositor (Fifth Series, Vol. 4, 1896). We will quote him, as the subject has peculiar interest to women. He mentions three principal theories that have been set forth to explain the obscure phrases, "sons of God," and "daughters of men:" First, Angelic beings entering into matrimonial relations with women of the human race. This is the ridiculous and pagan theory adopted into Jewish apocryphal writings during the "days of mingling," and set forth by Tertullian, which has a fascination for men of a certain cast of mind. Dean Stanley and others make use of it to explain why women were to veil in worship, as we shall show when we come to the discussion of that topic. To this theory Dawson rightly replies: "It is at variance with all the other statements of Scripture respecting angelic beings, and with our Lord's declaration that they [angels] neither marry nor are given in marriage.[1] [It is to be noted, here, that the single word which men translate "given in marriage," conveys no thought of the giving or of the selling of daughters, in the original words of the Bible]. Second, "Sons of God" were men of eminence and position who formed matrimonial alliances with women of inferior rank. To this theory Dawson says: "The second hypothesis appears to be trivial and insufficient to produce the effect assigned to the occurrence," which was the production of a powerful but wicked race of giants. "Giants" (Nephilim) and "mighty men of renown" (warriors, etc.) he argues, are not born of inferior mothers, chosen on this supposition, in preference to superior women of this tribe called "sons of God." Third, they were Sethite men allying themselves with Cainite women. Dawson pronounces this theory "rational and natural," and yet rejects it for a fourth, which, we agree with him, is far preferable to all others.

159.     Says Dawson: "I have ventured to suggest that the 'sons of God' (Elohim), in our primitive record are really Cainites, and the 'daughters of men' Sethite women." At first thought, the hypothesis seems untenable. Why should descendants of the murderer, Cain, be called "sons of God" when the daughters of the good Seth are merely denominated, "daughters of men?" "Sons of God" seems better to describe the descendants of Seth. But listen to his explanation: "After the fall, a Savior had been promised, who was to be the Seed or progeny of the woman, and Eve most naturally supposes that the child to whom she has given birth is this 'Coming One' [see par. 79]. From the time of this utterance we may assume that the name Jehovah becomes that of the coming Redeemer, and is associated with that of Elohim (God), who has promised the Redeemer. Thus the name Elohim represents God as Creator: the name Jahve [Jehovah] God as the promised Redeemer. . . The point that we now note is that this distinction existed from the time of Eve, though only in the days of her grandson Enos did men formally invoke [or proclaim] Jehovah as God (Genesis 4:26). This is the testimony of the record, and we are bound to receive it in this sense, whether we believe it or no."

160.     It would seem then, that just as today in China the Catholics are known as "Tien Drü people," and the Protestants as "Shang Te people," according to the name they employ in addressing God in worship, so in those ancient times the Cainites who refused to acknowledge Jehovah, and addressed Elohim alone in worship, got the name of "sons,"—that is, worshippers of God. It will elucidate this point yet more, in passing, to explain that members of a guild, or order, are often called "sons" of that order, as "sons of the prophets;" and the worshipper of an idol as the son of that idol (though less often). "Ben-haded" signifies a worshipper of Hadad (1 Kings 15:20; see also Malachi 2:11). The Cainites were then, so to speak, the Unitarians of that remote age. If they pretended even to believe in the Coming One they did not "call on" him. Dawson thinks they did not believe in Him, or rather, renounced Him. 

161.     Dawson continues: "It is Jehovah who remonstrates with Cain, and after the murder of Abel denounces his conduct, apparently without effect; and henceforth Cain may be said to have gone out from the face of Jehovah, which implies much more in the way of religious separation than mere departure from a local shrine, and at the same time he leaves his parental home and goes forth to found a new tribe of men distinguished from Adam."

162.     "In a religious point of view the Cainites are not represented as cultivating the worship of the Redeemer—Jehovah. They probably still retained the nature-worship [which Cain adopted from the first] of Elohim. . . . Of the Sethites, on the other hand, we have mainly the record of their invoking Jehovah while walking with Elohim, of their retaining a hope of redemption from the fall, though it seems certain that towards the end of the antediluvian period they also degenerated, in a religious point of view, probably in consequence of the intermixture with Cainites, mentioned before. This intermixture, however, is stated to have originated in the aggressions of the Nephilim among the Cainites, who captured wives from the feebler Sethites,—feebler because not furnished with instruments of brass and iron. This, I think, is implied in the expression, 'took to them wives of all they chose,' that is, at their own will and pleasure, and without regard to the primitive law of marriage, which provides that a man should leave father and mother and cleave to his wife."
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[1] We shall again encounter this superstition that angels sinned with human females. Therefore we think it well to add these words from the learned Prof. Peter Lange of Bonn University: "In Its relation to the philosophy of religion the angel hypothesis would have the effect of confounding all the ground conceptions of revelation, and obliterating its distinctions. It authenticated a fact which perfectly destroys all distinction between revelation and mythology, between a Divine miracle and magic, between the Biblical conception of nature, an conformity to law, and the wild apocryphal stories. . . With what sort of superstition this angel-interpretation had already connected itself in early times, we may learn from the twenty-second chapter of Tertullian’s Apologetic.”

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