Genesis — Part 2: The Promise of Rest Restored

Much of the Bible is structured around comparing the many ways in which 1) we choose to live in unrest and try to sew our own garments, with 2) the opportunity God provides for us to live in a state of rest that comes from accepting the clothes given to us by another.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

The key to understanding the lesson of the narrative is how Cain responded to God’s rejection of his gifts. If I gave a gift to someone I loved and was rejected, my, and anyone’s response as a matter of fact, would be to try harder to please the object of my love. But Cain became angry and downcast. And the story continues “ Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

What is right? Not to get angry, covetous and jealous as Cain did. Rule over our emotions.


that’s of course much easier said than done…and some people are just more emotional than others…maybe cain was the emotional type…

but does this mean that god didn’t give instructions for something he required…this seems unreasonable…i don’t think the bible, as abbreviated and even cryptic as it is in many places, can possibly be a reflection of everything that happened in the lives of the people depicted…

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Very dangerous presumption. I frequently hear this excuse from abusers in my clinic. It is not the emotional states that matter but the way emotions are managed. Just the way as God warned Cain.

Why God preferred Abel’s offering from Cain is not our domain to question. Just ask Job.


but it would be fairer if in fact god had specified what he wanted, but it was just the case that moses didn’t record this because he didn’t think to himself that it was overly significant…first of all, how can we really prove that this wasn’t the case…and do we really believe that moses recorded everything, when writing on papyrus scrolls was relatively arduous…

there is something about what happened in the aftermath of this story - the first human murder - that suggests a lot was happening besides a blithe decision to bring an offering that hadn’t been specified, but that seemed reasonable at the time…why would cain be so angry with abel, if it weren’t for the fact that abel had obeyed an explicit command that cain had made the decision to ignore…perhaps it was the case that cain had expected abel to follow his lead, and was thinking to himself that abel wasn’t showing him respect…

i think god’s comment to cain suggests that cain knew he had done something very wrong in offering veggies…

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You can search the Bible and you will find no reason other Cain having a rebellious heart that got him into trouble. It specifically says in the Bible “it is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” There was no disobeying God’s word because God did not give any instructions that were not followed. Even your favorite EGW explains it in PP page 711.

However, if you find a biblical text, please share it with us.

Now, how Cain developed a rebellious heart is another topic…


actually, egw disagrees with your view of what possible omissions in the bible mean…according to her, god had in fact directed what the brothers were to offer:

“Abel presented a sacrifice from the flock, in accordance with the Lord’s directions. “And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering.” Fire flashed from heaven and consumed the sacrifice. But Cain, disregarding the Lord’s direct and explicit command, presented only an offering of fruit.” PP:71.

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Even EGW disagrees with herself. Could this be a direct consequence of her indiscriminate plagiarism? Check this out…

“Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam, differed widely in character. Abel had a spirit of loyalty to God; he saw justice and mercy in the Creator’s dealings with the fallen race, and gratefully accepted the hope of redemption. But Cain cherished feelings of rebellion, and murmured against God because of the curse pronounced upon the earth and upon the human race for Adam’s sin. He permitted his mind to run in the same channel that led to Satan’s fall—indulging the desire for self-exaltation and questioning the divine justice and authority.” PP 711


where does egw disagree with herself…the paragraph you’re citing is giving the background of the story…it’s not a disagreement with the story…

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In one citation she says “But Cain, disregarding the Lord’s direct and explicit command, presented only an offering of fruit. PP:71” (No evidence of biblical text) while in another she states “ But Cain cherished feelings of rebellion, and murmured against God because of the curse pronounced upon the earth and upon the human race for Adam’s sin.“ PP 711.

Aren’t you glad her writings were not canonized as part of the Bible? Otherwise the SDA acronym would be known as “Schizophrenia-day Adventist.”


I am with you Jeremy, there are certainly people who are more emotional than others. No doubt about it. However, our actions have to be controlled by intelligence, reason, common sense. Because it the emotions prevail and control our behavior, look at what Cain did when under the influence of emotions; he killed his own brother.

Elmer @elmer_cupino is right, people often use their emotions trying to justify bad, aggressive, weird behavior. By saying that they are “emotional” they seek to get away with their bad, sometimes insane, behavioral choices. For those I use Dr. Albert Ellis’ REBT - Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. It works if they decide to make it work for them.

It is very unsafe, even dangerous, letting emotions control our behavior. Especially totally uncontrolled emotions. Look at Trump and you will easily understand the implications…


Luckily this topic isn’t closing in the next 6 hours to allow time to discuss this issue. I’d like to preface this by saying that I don’t necessarily disagree with you on the above, but it would seem to me that your argument with @vandieman is more about what he sees as a specific reason as opposed to the lesson what could be extracted from him wrapping something in those specifics.

I agree that from the perspective of how we consume these narratives, there’s a very definitive “Control your emotions” directive, but you as a psychiatrist may have a better view of this to see this as a very problematic expectation… given that “we are what we are”. And that’s why I’m at crossroads of interpretation where @vandieman may not see the other non-literal perspective, which is that such expectation only comes from a person who “adopts”: (or in a position to adopt) a discipline that allows for such expectation to be a reality. Eventually, if you read between the lines of what he is promoting, he is saying that there is a “winning pattern” that has to be adopted in order for us to move on in some harmonious manner. And, personally, I don’t really have a problem with casting that “winning pattern” into a wraps of a “prophet” or a “word of God”… if that’s what people need to make such narrative work in their own conceptual framework.

First of all, in both instances there seems to be an illusion of control and agency in a sense that there was some decision by a singular entity as opposed to it being something else. It doesn’t seem like religious narrative could be adequately understood from the perspective of “individual agency”, and even though our entire legal system is predicated on this concept, one of the reasons that we have so many problems in our society is precisely due to this misconception… that we are some “individual agents” , and not a congress of parts that all contribute to some outcomes that we put some mask on and appropriate as “I”.

Of course, to maintain that coherent external narrative, we need to believe that this consolidated “I” exists, and that it’s responsible for decisions. We need to believe that we are not talking to a nested “If then” ball of conditional reactions. We need to believe that consciousness is a decision-maker and not a passive observer that appropriates decisions. We need to believe that such “sense of I” has control over everything it “thinks about”, and “plans”, and executes. And, unfortunately, the narratives in the West tend to take this idea to the extreme, in which we view ourselves as gods incarnate without ever considering the mechanisms that makes us tick… and the mechanisms that we are aware of these days.

So, ironically, that’s the time we should be listening to Western scientific reductionism, and understand that what we are is more like a “broken phone” game between many players in our body playing such game to operate in some effort of unity. It works well when the messages these entities pass to each other are accurate and well-informed. But, the opposite can likewise be the case, arguably more often than not, is that the individual parts get confused, or are not properly informed. They taste sugar and fat and think it’s the best source of energy from assumptions made in different context. They signal to overeat when food is available, for the same reasons. They get all worked up when a high-school girlfriend doesn’t like what she sees. They get angry or afraid when they misinterpret what is and what isn’t adequately necessary for survival in largely unfamiliar territory of the modern cultural landscape. You may understand this better than anyone on this thread.

It’s actually more true about religion today than anything else, because it’s a collection of narratives developed for keeping that “phone game” clear of signals that were different in the tribal setting of hunter-gatherer societies, but would be counter-intuitive to our modern context… and yet overtime this narrative swings to the other extreme of becoming the “broken phone” signal it once attempted to mitigate.

So, the author of this article can’t understand religion, unless he doesn’t understand that even religion is an imperfect attempt to try to understand “what’s wrong” in context of who we are. So, all of the concepts apply, but not in the way in which we tend to atomize and read these through the mindset of “Western Individualism”, which never actually cared to literally dig inside of us and find out that we are not individuals prior to structuring a legal construct that revolves around such concept.

Thus, we can’t approach our problem from perspective of looking at people as individuals. Ironically, religion should drive us “inwardly” to acknowledge our limitation as we seek harmonious and cooperative existence. Instead, we tend to “shoestring” systems that bank on us doing something that we are arguably incapable of doing as these conceptualize us as “gods incarnate” as all of us have this magical powers of “decision to change”, which arguably doesn’t work out well at the level of neuro-physiology … unless we exist in an environment and circumstances that would allow for such change to take place.

I’m very interested in your thoughts about that, given that you confront that particular illusion of individualism daily in your professional career, and how you personally reconcile it with the narrative of control, which I don’t necessarily disagree with, but which I would re-cast into something else for it to make sense.

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The purpose of psychotherapy is to change a maladaptive behavior thus a good starting point is to make the patient take responsibility of the behavior. As it has been commonly known, “the only thing we can control is our attitude.” Once the patient takes ownership of his behavior, then it becomes easier to focus on its resolution but it is not as easy as it appears because the most difficult task a person can face is to accept the fact that he is less than what he wishes to be. A number of factors can influence our denial such as individual genetics, childhood development, family culture, personality traits among others but one cannot surpass religion because religion has two built in excuses in “Satan” and “sinful nature.” I believe this is where Jeremy @vandieman was leading, that Cain had a sinful nature thus causing him to disobey God. I find it almost impossible to be of help to someone steeped in religion without deconstructing his concept of God, Satan and sinful nature. I hope this helps.


OURSELVES?That’s really quite a stretch!

The first 7 or 8 verses of Gen 6 certainly read like a redactor’s blunder: (Accidental inclusion of external material.)

From NIV:

1 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them,

2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with HUMANS forever, for they are mortal [IN CONTRAST TO THE “SONS OF GOD” (?)] ; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

5 The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

6 The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” (NIV, Gen 6:1-7)



actually this isn’t a contradiction…if you read the page, you’ll see that your first quote follows logically from your second, which is the order in which egw wrote…that is, cain had long cherished a spirit of rebellion against god because of the curse of sin everywhere he looked - likely he didn’t think it fair for him to suffer this inheritance because he wasn’t the one who had sinned in the garden…this spirit of rebellion facilitated his half-hearted obedience to god’s explicit direction to bring a specified animal for sacrifice in addition to fruit out of the ground…

as egw so often does, and uniquely so, she explains the history of the mindset and feelings that go into actions that are recorded in the bible, giving a much richer harvest of spiritual lessons in the stories of the bible than can be found in the bible itself…

no i’m not…i don’t think anyone needs to accept the decision of 16th century catholic fathers on what is inspired and what isn’t, and that nothing written after 96 AD can ever be considered inspired…that’s ridiculous…

no, this wasn’t where i was leading…as we all know, adam and eve, and in fact lucifer, had sinless natures when they disobeyed god, and abel had the same sinful nature cain had, and yet abel obeyed, whereas cain really didn’t…


An interesting thought. Can you point to portions of the cannon that you judge to be not inspired? Martin Luther apparently that thoughts about James and maybe Revelation.

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Would you be kind to support this with biblical texts please. Thank you.


We all have our biases. This is Moses’ way of telling his ancestors weren’t Chaldeans. :sweat_smile:

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[quote=“vandieman, post:15, topic:20218”]
we all know…lucifer, had [a sinless nature when he disobeyed God…]

May I remind you that Lucifer, the fallen angel, is not Biblical. He was invented by Tertulian (and/or somebody of his ilk), expanded in Paradise Lost, then borrowed by you-know-who without credit. (Horrors, would she do that?)

Isaiah mentioned the Morning Star by its Hebrew name when he wrote about the king of Babylon in Isa 14. (Because the King of Babylon claimed to be the Morning Star, Venus.)

The Latin Vulgate used the Latin name for the morning star, Lucifer, and for no good reason so did the KJV .


Do you have the same level of tolerance for anyone making a decision about the early Adventist fathers’ endorsement of the writings of Mrs White?

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