Falling Further

 In the first recorded act of worship, Cain and Abel offer what they have to God – an animal and grain. Unlike true worship, Cain expects to receive favor in return.

So many possibilities before Cain, but instead, like his parents, Cain eats the fruit from the proverbial tree. The familiar pattern repeats itself: Cain sins, murdering his brother; then God asks a question; then Cain answers inadequately; and finally, God lays out the consequences, firmly but not without compassion.

This pattern underlies the scriptural story from beginning to end. As much as we want to “master sin,” it seems that we are unable to do so by our own will. True progress, true holiness, comes when we accept the grace we have come to see most explicitly in Jesus.