Full Disclosure: I do not attend any church nor subscribe to any faith. That does not prevent me from gleaning extremely valuable perspectives from
all sources of information available.
If it is your desire to attack Christianity/Judaism/Islam... this is not a valuable thread for you. This is for those who wish to start with the story
as is and explore a variation from what most of us have been taught it means. It is an exercise, not a claim of fact.
Something has consistently bothered me about taking the interpretation of the Cain and Abel story literally... especially regarding their
"professions" and the subsequent rejection of Cain.
In particular, no rational reason is offered for why The Lord would accept an animal offering over a plant offering. There is no indication that the
harvesting and eating of plants is displeasing to The Lord in principle. "It's just what they were told to do" also doesn't hold up except as a cop
However, if we take this situation and move the role of Cain and Abel to be tasked with elevating "common humans" up to their full spiritual potential
and the different offerings the brothers made interpreted as metaphors for the methods they chose to fulfill their task... an entirely different and
VERY intriguing meaning emerges.
View the following concepts as metaphors for these two types of human beings: Freemen
A herd animal still has a mind... a self. It can be guided, but it can also choose to "go elsewhere". Regardless of whether this is to its detriment
or betterment... it can still make a "choice". Have a will. It is a freeman
though it can benefit from the guidance of the "herdsman".
A plant has no mind... no self. It is incapable of going anywhere but where it was planted... and it is utterly dependent upon the soil it is planted
in, the water it is given, the sun that can reach it. It can not make a choice or have a will. It is a slave
to the "tiller of soil".
So taking these metaphors
and considering the culture they were primarily transmitted in... we get a story more like this.
Abel was cultivating freemen from the stock of "common humans".
Cain was cultivating slaves from the stock of "common humans".
Cain was then cursed to slavery for having done so. Reap what you sow.
It of course will not do to tell common humans they are being cultivated by "higher beings"... thus the story gets told indirectly so that those who
know will understand, but everyone else will simply interpret it as a story about "Cain didn't obey The Lord so he was punished... so obey The Lord...
Abel = Teaching humans how to follow "higher laws" through Will and Choice. Freemen.
Cain = Making humans follow "higher laws" through mindless obedience. Slavery.
It would appear the war between the method of Abel (teacher/student) versus the method of Cain (master/slave) continues and rages today. With the
"slave" method becoming increasingly more sophisticated and subtle and the "freeman" method continuing to get people killed when they pose a threat to
the master/slave dynamic.
Thus the Mark of Cain is ultimately the master/slave relationship... and the curse is that a master soon finds they are a slave to their slaves and do
not know how to be without them. However to kill a master also effectively kills the slaves due to the inability to self guide... so it is a double
bind curse for both the master and the slave.
Finally... if a master can't make a slave of someone threatening to them... the only option they have is to kill them.
This paints the reasoning for the acceptance of one and the rejection of the other, as well as the eventual murder, in a *completely* different light.
Not just in a "I like Freemen more because it's what I want because I'm the Lord" way... but in a pragmatic and compassionate "The Master/Slave
dynamic is ultimately self destructive and does not survive" way. Cain ultimately cursed himself through his choice but blamed others.
Thus when the story was being passed down, it was to help guide those taking on the responsibility of elevating "common human" spirituality of the
reason for avoiding resorting to the master/slave dynamic... even if it appears to work initially.
Post Note: Keep in mind the concept of a "herdsman" back then is dramatically different from what we see now of "shepherds" with sheep permanently
fenced in with guard dogs and feeding troughs. Thus the imagery in the metaphor for the original listeners would be quite different from our typical
edit on 16-10-2013 by BardingTheBard because: Certainly brings the metaphor of the "shepherd" into a new light!