To understand the history of the world means to understand the nature of the two civilizations that came into existence a result of the fall. Here we are not talking about ancient civilizations such as the Canaanites , Egyptians , Assyrians etc. We speak here about a much profounder division. Genesis 3:15 is our key text in this regard. Here we have already learned that the two civilisations are respectively the offspring of the serpent and the offspring of the woman. Cain is the prototype of the offspring of the serpent, the kingdom of darkness, the civilization living under the curse which God brought upon Cain and his offspring. Abel and thereafter Seth were the prototypes of the offspring of the redeemed woman of God, and thus they are members of the kingdom of God .
Today, we will only have time to consider the generation brought into being by Cain and his descendants. We begin with some primary observations.
1. Following the fall Cain and his descendants continue to live in this same world that God, our Lord Jesus Christ has created (Gen 1:1), but they do not live with this reality in mind. This fallen world is still God’s world, although the descendants of Cain have no regard for this fact. But it is this world in which God continues to make His sun rise on the evil and the good, and it is to this world that He sends rain on the just and the unjust. (Matt. 5:45). They simply take this for granted and show no gratitude for this fact. They have no regard for the fact that in this fallen world God’s common grace greatly restrains evil, so that evil men cannot do what they want to do. God still continues to protect unrighteous Cain against those who want to kill him (see Gen. 4:15). The common grace of God sustaining the wicked in this world is a fact so unappreciated by such people. Every day they are confronted by God’s power and goodness and glory in creation but they are defiantly opposed to the rule of God and deliberately live contrary to the Word of God although they are continually surrounded by evidences of God’s general and particular revelation.
2. Cain and his descendants are still made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). The fall in Genesis 3 does not imply that man has ceased to be made in the image of God. It is true that the fall has affected the display of the image of God in man (man hardly looks like that for which they were originally designed) , but it has not lessened the fact that mankind has been created by God in His image. In fact , in our day the Cainite civilization tries to argue this fact away by claiming that God had nothing to do with their creation. They substitute the biblical doctrine of creation with the godless theory of evolution, and so they think that they can escape accountability to their Creator. But this is futile thinking. But this thinking is inherent in the civilization of Cain , as he knew that he was destined for a life of being a fugitive and wanderer from God. Still, Cain was God’s Cain. (4:14) and as such he would remain accountable to God . In this point we are simply trying to establish one fact and in Genesis 9:6 we find that fact affirmed. The image of God remains in man after the fall. No matter how much a man proclaims that he is an atheist – he is still made in the image of God , and as such he is accountable to God. John Blanchard points out that atheists may not believe in God, but God does not believe in atheists! No matter how much the modern descendant of Cain protests that his origin, purpose and destiny is not from God nor unto God, he remains God’s. No matter how brilliant he claims to be in his independent thinking and expressions of his arts, sciences , philosophy etc., and no matter how skilled he is in using his logic and reason and knowledge, he does nothing but to affirm that these abilities are from God. Sadly however these good abilities from God have been abused and used for selfish ends. The vital point here is that they remain God’s creatures and as such they will have to give an account to Him for all that they do with their intellects and bodies .
3.Cain and his descendants were civilised men and women : After Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, he settled in the land of Nod. There he had children and there he built a city, which he named after his firstborn son, Enoch. There Cain had a wife! He built a city (v.17). What kind or size the city was we do not know, but the implication here is that he lived in an organised way in an organised society , surrounded by all kinds of people with different professions. In this city lived farmers of livestock (v.20). Here lived those who made music (v. 21). There were those like Tubal-cain that made all sorts of exquisite items and instruments of bronze and iron. In cities you will typically find great displays of art and architecture. Archaeological discoveries have demonstrated this time and again. In cities there are centres of learning and education, led by famous masters. Cities produce able artists, musicians, philosophers, scientists and medical experts. The Greek and the Roman pagan world was filled with hosts of such creative and innovative people who received their original abilities from God the Creator, but whose creative powers often were severely corrupted through sin. The point we want to make here is that they were civilized and organised in their societies. This leads us to the next observation :
4. The world of Cain is very attractive. The commentator H.C. Leupoldt has the following to say  :
“… civilization did make far greater strides among those alienated from God than among those who were devoted to Him. Yet this is not very strange, if closely considered , for they, being addicted and devoted to the things of the world and not satisfied with the world’s treasures—for who can be?—they, we say, do all in their power to make an empty existence attractive by the cultivation of the natural resources of the world. Besides, the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.”
The world of Cain is very attractive. It is after all, all they have. This is their life, and they spend all they have to make that life as good as they can. The Greek Epicurean philosophers knew this and that is why they coined this phrase also quoted in the Bible : “let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die” . The world of Cain is very attractive. It is pleasure centered. When the devil took the Lord Jesus up to the top of a mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, he was showing him not an unattractive world. He was tempting him with the world’s attractions and glory!
5.Cain and his descendants are not ignored by God. They are spoken to by God. Just because Cain’s descendants have moved away from God, this does not mean that they are ignored by God. When Cain killed his brother, God spoke to him: “Where is Abel your brother?” God asked him: “What have you done ? “ (vv.9,10) And God judges him for what he has done (vv.11-12). This is true today. God continues to speak to fallen men and women. He speaks to all men by means of their consciences (Rom.2:14-16), although they consciously suppress them. God speaks through general revelation ( i.e. Creation cf. Psalm 19) and by means of particular revelation (Christ His Son and His Word), so that men are without excuse (Rom. 1:20). The Bible, the best -selling and most widely distributed book of all times is found virtually everywhere in this modern world. The Gideons, have distributed Bibles by the millions in schools, universities, hospitals and hotels. The Bible is preached today all over the world in many cultures, languages and countries. It is constantly heard over the radio and T.V. even in countries where the Bible is banned. God is continually speaking to all the sons of Cain. But will they listen?
UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF THE CIVILIZATION OF CAIN
Everything is ultimately rooted in the fall in Genesis 3. The truth about the fall is that it has affected every descendant of Adam. But there is one significant observation which we now need to make. We have previously seen that a distinction was made between two kinds of people : the people of the serpent and the people of the woman.
Eve gives birth to two sons, Cain and Abel. Both were affected by the fall, but these two brothers nevertheless ultimately come to represent two different people.
Their attitudes and therefore their behaviour is fundamentally different, and we saw last time that the difference was seen in the way in which they worshipped. Cain’s worship was unacceptable to God; Abel’s worship was acceptable. We saw that the difference was not in the kind of offerings that they brought. The difference was in their fundamental attitude and therefore action, for out of the heart the actions follow. Cain’s heart proved to be a jealous, murderous heart, and that is why he ultimately not only brought an unacceptable sacrifice to God, but that is why he also killed his brother Abel. It is that graceless heart which is judged here by God.
Abel, by contrast worshiped God by faith and therefore he was commended by God (Hebr. 11:4).
So what was the difference? This is where we need to make a vital connection with the gospel. The reason why Abel offered a better sacrifice by faith (Hebr. 11:4) was due to the fact that he was helped by “Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith …” (Hebr. 12:2 - this thought needs to be connected with Galatians 3:6-14). Ultimately Abel received grace to do what he did by the means of faith.
Now we consider the decline of Cain. His decline must not be seen in terms of a lack of advance in technology, or scientific advance in all its various fields, whether medicine, engineering or whatever. That is not where the sons of Cain fail. Rather, the problem is found in the spiritual and therefore moral decline of his civilization. It all starts in Gen. 4:5 with his false worship. It continues with the murder of his brother (4:8), progressing to his apostasy from God in Gen. 4:16 . Cain went away from the Lord – that is, he went away from the influences of the Lord. And then he started a family. His first born son was called Enoch. He knew nothing of life lived in a family in covenant with God. Enoch became the father of Lamech. It is Lamech, Cain’s grandson that exhibits the continuing downgrade of that family. We see this in two ways :
(i)Lamech took two wives, Adah and Zillah. (4: 19-22) Although there is no explicit commentary concerning this, we know that this is against the explicit design of marriage as instituted by God in Gen. 2: 22-24 , which speaks of a union between one man and one woman! The two (and not the three) shall become one flesh! We see how the ignoring of this principle did so much harm. Abraham’s polygamy caused so much hurt in the household ; Esau’s two wives “were a source of grief” to his parents (Gen. 26:35); Jacob’s polygamous marriage to the two sisters Rachel and Leah was nothing but trouble. Consider Hannah’s unhappiness in a polygamous marriage (1 Samuel 1). Consider also David’s troubled household , as a result of his polygamy. Solomon’s kingdom was ruined as “his wives turned away his heart after other gods” (I Kings 11:4). It all starts here in Genesis 4 !
(ii) Lamech murders a man! (4: 23,24). Here follows the second atrocity and it is stated in poetical form. It is a song of vengeance. It appears as if Lamech had a fight in which a young man had wounded him. Lamech overreached himself and killed him, and he boasted about that! Rather than being grieved, Lamech boasted, “I have killed a man for wounding me”. But it gets worse! Lamech remembers what God once had said to his grandfather, Cain when he feared that subsequent to Abel’s death anyone who would find him would kill him. But God said in 4:15 “ If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” Now Lamech builds on this and he claims that if God would exercise a sevenfold punishment on those that would harm Cain,then God would avenge those who would attack him, Lamech , 77 fold ! This is arrogant presumption. He is putting words into God’s mouth. What we see here is the continual unfolding of the sinful nature as it is exported through subsequent generations, and they become increasingly wicked. Like Lamech they are remembered and mentioned. Geoff Thomas comments : “ You think of the pain that lies under the surface of the whole line of Cain; under the bluster and the rejection of the living God are the broken hearts and the battered wives and babies, the suffering mothers, all the tears and anguish. Isn’t that part of the frustration of men holding down the truth in their ungodliness…. Little wonder multitudes are taking prescription pills for being depressed. Little wonder they want to smoke nicotine, and take drugs, and try to drink their troubles away. You can see all sorts of psychological and social problems in our society as people struggle in the slough of despond because of the misery they are in. The wages of sin is death.
We must end here. The sons and daughters of Cain are with us until today as are the sons of Abel. They are called respectively goats and sheep by Jesus. The sons of Cain live in God’s world; they are made in His image ; they are civilised and they have learned to make their world attractive. But they do not recognize God’s influence, and this fact has a vast influence on their quality of life in this world. Their cities are forever destroyed by wars and conflicts. There is hardly a great city in this world that has not seen devastation at the hands of men. And so they are restless wanderers, just as God said they would be.
In their constant trials they are not without God’s influence. He greatly restrains their evil and the restrains others from retaliating - doing evil to them. Every now and then God withdraws His hand and lets them follow their course and very quickly their civilization descends into chaos. There will come a day at the end of times, when Cain’s civilization will be allowed to bring itself to an end, but at that end will be the God whom they despised. In which civilization do you presently live ?