Friday, January 5, 2007

Genesis 4:9

Unless you are British youth*, you almost certainly know the story of Cain and Abel. That's when Cain, third person to exist on the planet Earth, got upset that God hadn't appreciated the fruit basket he sent and decided to take it out on his brother, Abel, Earthling No. 4.

So, God walks up to Cain after a bit and says, "Where is Abel, thy brother?"

It amuses me that God says it this way. There are four people on the whole of Earth, and God feels it necessary to use a proper noun and state clearly Abel's relationship to Cain. He doesn't ask, "Where is Abel?" or "Where is thy brother?" or "Where's the other one?"

Cain, then famously responds: "I know not; am I my brother's keeper?"

Most people assume Cain's being a smartass here, that he is the originator of the rock attitude because he is so ballsy as to backtalk The Creator Of Everything. But I found myself thinking this morning: what if he was asking a legitimate question? What if he really didn't know?

Already we know that God has to tell Cain who is brother is. That could be a sign that Cain wasn't very bright. And being only the third person to exist ever and the son of the committers of the original sin, it's not like he had the strongest moral upbringing. Hillary Clinton says it takes a village; there was no village -- only Mom and Dad, the Original Sinstas.

Maybe, rather than being the first person to use sarcasm, he was simply asking for clarification: "If you could just clear that up for me, Lord, I'd appreciate it. As you are probably aware, I've gone and killed this one. And that's wrong, is it? Shit. I feel like a right cunt. What? Swearing is bad, too? Wow, you have a lot of rules. Someone should be writing all this down, don't you think?"

*British kids know shockingly little about the Bible. Even if you don't believe a word of it, it is still the foundation for centuries of Western Literature. In terms of understanding literature, knowing fuck all about the Bible is like learning English but skipping over all the words that start with "K."

8 comments:

Omega said...

I like the Bible's implication that for the first few chapters of Genesis, God was just sort of beta testing the whole creator thing. And really, if you look at the world closely, doesn't it all kind of feel like a typical Microsoft product? Buggy, defective, and prone to driving users to violence.

Chris Cope said...

Well, he did delete quite a bit of it and then had to promise Noah not to do such a thing again.

Anonymous said...

Christ, you'll be asking us to say "god Bless Wales" next...

Curly said...

This is hilarious, despite me falling into the British Youth category. I only previously knew about being caned and un-able.

Brian said...

"..beta testing the whole creator thing." Awesome. See, God and Science can coexist!

Crystal said...

shouldn't God know where Abel is?? isn't he the one who knows everything? so why was he asking cain in the first place? was he just trying to manipulate him into confessing? that is not very nice, God.

Jenny said...

Having suffered school in the hardcore Calvinist Hebrides, I'd like to object to this shocking generalisation.

Just because yer Cardiff weans are heathens, it doesn't mean the rest of us don't know ALL SIX BILLION VERSES of The Lord is my Shepherd.

Ynot said...

I think the Bible (outside the US) is known about, but (thanks God) remains mostly unread. Many people know bits and pieces- like the do Shakespeare, Whitman and the Quixote- but I think modern life dictates a different kind of entertainment from which to gather fear. Hollywood seems to fill this gap rather nicely.

I swear I learned more about life's little do's and dont's from things like Nightmare on Elm Street than I did listening to sunday sermons. I mean, what's scarier, an angry God or Freddie Kruger?

Exactly, Freddie is way scarier. There is no blind faith involved with Freddie. Either you believe and comply, or else. And even if you comply, you are still toast. God has so many opt out clauses: confession, indulgences, regret and repentance. God has little cred inthe fear stakes. And since fear is the thing the church is most intent on planting in our hearts....then...a scary God with caveats....is not that scary...is he? No.