A good portion of this exegesis is based on Leon Kass' book "The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis".
Adam is an androgynous human; he was neither male nor female, but both. Finally, when Eve was extracted from Adam's rib (Tzelem also means 'side') the
androgyny of Adam was bifurcated into two: Ish and Ishah - man and woman. Man is the anterior state (the state nearer to the Adamic abstraction) while
Ishah (woman) is a qualitatively different state. Adam comes from 'the dust of the earth' i.e., from a completely non-material origin, while Eve (or
manifestation) derives from what's already made flesh/material (Adam's rib).
In ontological terms, Ish (or Adam, after the female was created) is the principle, while Ishah, or Eve, is the manifestation - hence, the
manifestation is derived from the principle, as Eve was taken from Adam's side.
From the copulation of these two principles comes Cain and Able. Cain comes out first. The Hebrew word Cayin means 'to possess'. To possess something
presupposes a desire to possess, therefore, Cain refers to the Ego, which is all about integration of external stimuli into it's personal composition.
Abel, conversely, means 'vapor' - he is the second function, or the spiritual function that seeks self nullification.
Cain was a farmer - and a farmer works the soil of the earth - i.e. the feminine principle/manifestation, which is egoistic. When God (or, perhaps,
the intuitive awareness of Gods activity in man's consciousness, which is the conscience) asks for a sacrifice, the Ego offers only that which it can
produce on it's own (from the earth). Abel, or the desire towards self nullification, who worked as a shepherd (which implies a higher connection;
working with animals alludes to man's own connection with the creator) gave up a lamb, which could be interpreted as the willingness to give up ones
own life force (his anima) to the Absolute principle
The Absolute favors Abels sacrifice over Cains. Cain, the ego, which responds harshly to life's difficulties, rebels and despises his spiritual side -
that part which the universe favors - that part which leads to personal peace, and grace, and so, the ego "kills it" - believing that it has no need
to foster it's spiritual side (or to be his brother's keeper). But the Earth - in the sphere of manifestation - 'cries out' - and the ego soon faces
the wrath of the universe - which 'banishes' him to Nod (Hebrew for wilderness), where, paradoxically, the ego "settles" itself. Here, the Ego builds
cities (the ego is all about growth, and construction of outer reality, expanding it's influence outward and onward. The Hebrew word for city "Ir", is
related to the word "arousal") for the sake of personal advancement (Enoch, Cains "son", the name of the city Cain built, means 'to educate') The Ego
builds cities (or human collectives) for the sake of it's advancement via education/Enoch.
Thus, the genealogy of Cain can be read as the ontological story of the ego, and what it does for man.
As for Adam and Eve, after the first 'failure', or, rather, the establishing the reality of the conflict between ego (cain) and self nullification
(Abel), Eve has another son (this time, rightly, she doesn't say she 'acquired' or "created" a son, but rather, that God has GIVEN her a son. The
sphere of manifestation disclaims all credit for life, acknowledging herself as being contingent on the Universal) which she calls Sheth (meaning
'established') who was made in the image of Adam. Adam, again, is androgynous, meaning, he combines both aspects, both masculine and feminine within
him; just as he was made in the image of his creator, Seth was made in the image of Adam. This mean's man must neither be too inclined to the egoistic
or the self transcendent, but must be 'established' in both planes at once.
edit on 11-4-2012 by dontreally because: (no reason given)