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John P. Scott, in The Hidden Bible: Genesis, says that the Garden of Eden was heaven and the eating of the apple represents our fall from heaven into the physical. Adam and Eve lost consciousness of the higher realms through the indulgence of their lower emotions.
Their children, Cain and Abel, represent fire and water. Cain represents the fire or head type and Abel represents water, the heart or faith type of person. In Masonry, the Sons of Cain are those who require reason to be convinced, while the Sons of Abel are more docile and will accept faith without reason.
When Cain killed Abel, it meant that the mental, material side of man had dominated the heart, spiritual side. In other words, humanity was becoming more materialistic. So Abel was the keeper of the sheep, always denoting innocence, and Cain was a tiller of the soil, denoting the physical, material, lower self.
In addition to representing different types of people, they also represent aspects within each of us. For we each have our Cain and Abel within. After Cain murdered Abel, he wandered in the Land of Nod, which means trouble or unrest, a lower level of consciousness. The heartless man is troubled and restless. When finally, Cain knows his wife and she begets a child, Enoch, which means wisdom, it indicates that he has come back to his feminine nature and Enoch, or wisdom, is the result of this union between masculine mind and feminine heart.
In the Babylonian version, called Atrahasis, the deity Enlil becomes upset with man for man's offensive ways toward the Annunaki (Great Gods). To punish them, he decides to kill them all. The major difference being, the deity Enki steps in and says: "We made the mistake. We made man unruly and aggressive. Let us not punish them for our mistakes, let us not wipe away all life because we have found a fault in it. Instead, let us accept that we did wrong, and let us work to correct that which we corrupted."
However, Enlil (a very Yahweh-like figure in Babylonia) ignores Enki and continues with his plan to remove life from Earth. Enki, seeing the error in Enlil's ways, locates a group of still-pure human beings, Ziusudra (sometimes called Utnapishtam) and his family. Enki secretly helps them construct a vessel so they may survive Enlil's wrath. The mighty flood comes, and most of the life of the Earth is wiped away, save for Ziusudra and his family. Upon discovering this, Enlil rages against Enki, damning Enki for his betrayal.
This goes on until Enki comes forth and says: "Look at us, we made man, and man's faults are our doing. We are blaming them for our mistakes. Life must be allowed to survive, so it may grow and learn from the mistakes that we have made. Now, let us try again, this time to help steer man away from our mistakes."