for Coptic Orthodox Media


There is no doubt that the story of Cain and Abel is one of the most influential stories because it represents the first murder crime in all humanity that took place between two brothers of the same parents. There were no other siblings on the land, and yet Cain did it and killed his brother.

How did sin enter? And how did it start? And how did it take hold? What were the results?

Cain was born well, and he was called Cain. For his mother considered that he had been acquired from the Lord (Gen. 1: 4). Cain was a farmer, and his brother Abel was a shepherd. And these two brothers lived together quietly until the spirit of competition occurred between them. Each made an offering to the Lord. The Lord accepted Abel’s offering and did not accept the offering of Cain. Cain got angry at his brother and killed him.
The problem of Abel, is that he was accepted by the Lord?

This was the problem of Mary too, who chose the good part and sat at the feet of Christ.
Her sister Martha was upset and blamed and angered her.
What is the fault of Mary, as she sat at the feet of Christ and was satisfied, and what is her fault if, in the end, the work of Martha was not on the same level as hers? 

Cain found that his offering was unacceptable as his brother, and envy took hold. This envy was the beginning of evil and ended up in him killing his brother. Perhaps it was envy that pushed Satan to overthrow Adam and Eve.

Therefore we say in the Divine Liturgy :
((And death that entered into the world with the envy of the devil, destroyed it …)).
Poor are the people who walk in the way of the Lord,because evil is annoyed by their success and God’s love for them, and he will arrange for them whatever problems he can manage.

It is the envy of demons and their helpers, whether it was Adam, who was envied by Satan in paradise, or Abel the righteous who gave God an offering better than that of his brother, thus was envied and killed by his brother, or David who was anointed king by Samuel, and succeeded in his life and topped his brothers, and gained the hatred of king Saul who plotted to kill him, or Joseph the gifted who was loved by his parents and envied by his brothers who sold him as a slave, or Jesus Christ himself, who was roaming doing good and the people followed him thus was envied by the priests who gathered false witnesses, and accused him of void accusations. 

Thus Abel’s problem was that his offering was acceptable before God, and his brother was annoyed. The Scripture says: “Cain was very angry, and his face fell.” (Gen 5: 4) Cain, therefore, sought not to love God, and to please His heart, but to seek his dignity and self-satisfaction and his cared more for his status. If he was looking for God’s love, he would have seen the case of God’s rejection of his offering as a chance to better his ways to please the Lord. Maybe he could have changed his offering. Perhaps this is what the Lord meant by saying to him, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you refuse to do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:7) .

⋅ Pope Shenouda III (The Book of Adam and Hawah Cain and Abel)