Why did God accept Abel's offering but reject Cain's offering? Why did Cain then kill Abel?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The stories of the first act of worship in human history and the first murder are recorded in Genesis chapter 4. This follows the account of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, their disobedience t...

July 01 2013 6 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Jennifer Henkel Bible/History Middle School Teacher, Lover of the OT!
We agree that the Bible is the story of man's creation, fall from grace, and redemption by God's son, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, the Old Testament gives us many hints or "types" of Christ's future sacrifice. God loves symbolism! It gives us those "AH-HA!" moments when we make the connections. So here goes...

When Adam and Eve sinned, they tried to cover themselves, not very successfully, with fig leaves. God's first act of mercy was to cover them with "skins" - animal hide - much softer than fig leaves.

But... an animal had to die to provide the skins. This is the first example of an innocent dying, shedding its blood, for the guilty to be covered.

God thereby sets up the standard by which sin will be "covered." Blood is required. Abel offers the proper sacrifice - a blood sacrifice - while Cain decides to offer what he thinks should work as well - the fruit of the ground.

But carrots don't bleed!

The Bible does NOT say that Cain didn't bring his best, or that his attitude was bad. I've heard many sermons inferring those things were Cain's problem.

It's quite simple, though, if you keep the OT in context. God requires that blood is shed, an innocent dying for the guilty, which is why the Jews would sacrifice a clean animal (think "innocent") to cover their sins. Pagans did the same, sacrificing animals and sometimes humans to atone for their sins.

But Hebrews 10:4 tells us that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin. It simply "covered" the sin.

Jesus' blood, when He came and was sacrificed for us, the Ultimate Innocent dying for the guilty, did not cover our sin but TOOK IT AWAY! (Psalm 103:12, John 1:29).

Cain was trying to come to God by his own method - the first example of religion - man trying to reach God by good works. God rejected his offering, Cain became envious of Abel's acceptance, and killed him.

July 06 2014 7 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kathie Watkins
Cain's sacrifice was not accepted because it was the work of his own labors. God gives the guidelines that the only acceptance is what God demands. That was the blood of an innocent animal until His Son became our Kinsman Redeemer. Human flesh for flesh, human blood for atonement. It took the blood of the God-man to make salvation complete. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin.

November 22 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Wale Odusanya
Among other reasons, I am of the opinion that it was the attitude behind the offering. Reading through the scriptures, Abel's act of worship was completely by faith by bringing his first and the best which was of value to him, before God as an act of worship however Cain just brought some of his stocks just to present something as worship. Even to Cain, his offering wasn't the first and the best of what he had.

"And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell (Genesis 4:3 - 4:5 KJV). When we bring our substance to God as an act of worship, bringing our first and best further shows how much we trust in him to keep giving us his best. It's our step of faith, resonating our firm trust and reverence for his awesomeness.

When God gives, he gives his best. So many occasions in the bible reveals that. That's what he meant in Malachi 3: 10 when he said he will open the window of heaven and pour a blessing that a room (no matter how big) cannot contain it. A more profound example is when he gave us Jesus Christ. That is God's best gift to mankind, Jesus Christ. 

That was touch God about Abel's giving that made pleased God compared to Cain's giving. Abel understood better.

Hope this answers the question. God bless

October 16 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Priscilla Quarles
God warned Adams the day you disobey you shall die. Adam and Eve died that day and was separted from God. God sacrifice a animal covered them with the blood(only the life in the blood can cleanse sin) and clothed them with the skin of the animal. From that day on they had to do a blood sacrifice before coming before the presence of God. Abel brought his blood sacifice and Cain did not. God said unto to Cain Why are you angry? If thou doest well shalt thou not be accepted (Genesis 4:6. Cain knew he was in disobedience and Abel was blessed for his obedience give power over his older brother. Cain's jealousy got the best of him turn into hate and killed his brother.

October 14 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Hkp feature Angus MacKillop Author and Webmaster at "His Kingdom Prophecy" website.
In the verses immediately prior to Genesis 3:17 (at the casting out of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden), the Lord specified the new conditions under which Adam and Eve we to live on earth.
In Genesis 3:1,7 the Lord said of the ground on which Adam and Eve were all to live, "The ground is cursed for your sake."
As Genesis 4:3 says "... Cain brought to Jehovah an offering of the fruit of the ground."
Quite simply, Cain brought a cursed offering to the Lord. No wonder it was rejected. 
Simple.... plus it requires no other theological, doctrinal or religious explanation or proof.

November 22 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Nathan Toronga Christian Elder.
Why did God reject Cain's offering? Because Cain used his 'good sense of judgment' instead of following God's way.

How relevant this matter is in today's corrupted religion?

Men craft all excuses to dodge God's form of worship, and blatantly approach Him with their 'cabbages, carrots and pumpkins', and demand that God must accept them!

Well, Cain was well-meaning. He really meant to impress. He probably selected the best that was available. But God had His way, which He had told Adam, and Adam had shown this to his children. God had His reason for a blood sacrifice - it represented the Lamb. Neither Abel nor Cain knew this. But by faith Abel obeyed, and by lack of faith Cain disobeyed.

This is the same scenario today. God has given His mode of worship, including the day of sacred assembly. People are well-meaning, but have chosen their own way instead of God's. Well, like He did in the case of Cain, so He will reject men's ways and only accept His way.

Let's learn from Cain's mistake so that we don't repeat the same.

Bless you all.

September 24 2014 18 responses Vote Up Share Report

Img 3185 %282%29 Meluleki Maphosa Amateur Bible Student
When Adam and Eve sinned in Eden they quickly covered themselves with fig leaves to hide their nakedness (not from God but from themselves!). God came and offered them the lamb skin as cover, that Lamb was Jesus “slain from the foundation of the world”. It is only the righteousness of Jesus that covers our nakedness and shame. That was the origin of the sacrificial system, an unwavering faith in the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on the cross more than 4000 years in the future. That was the worship that God put in place and the worship which Cain and his younger brother Abel so faithfully observed, until Cain one day decided to abandon it and introduce the best his garden could produce. God warned Cain that he had a choice to stop the rot and obey or go down a slippery slope. The consequences of making trite of HOW we worship God are dire. What started off as innocuous disobedience ended up as full blown rebellion against God. Clearly how we worship God matters a great deal to Him. God is very particular about how we worship Him. 

How did something so small end up with such huge consequences? The answer is simple. Worship is about creating and maintaining a living and growing relationship with God. Isaiah 29:13, Mat 15:8 and Rom 14:10 makes it clear that our worship must not be turned into a formal religious rite. If we don’t surrender our hearts to Him, we lose the essence of worship and leave ourselves at risk of the same rebellion as Cain and with the same consequences. Unwavering faith and trust in the sufficiency of the sacrifice of Jesus results in a living and growing relationship with God. He wants our hearts given to Him freely, not because of peer pressure or societal expectation. 1 Cor 1:23 tells us that a lot of the faith in Jesus might appear to be foolishness to an average human being, but the opinions of people do not really count in this matter. Once you have a living and growing relationship with God you will trust God’s Word without question like Abraham on his way to Moriah to sacrifice Isaac, even though it seemed to be foolishness. To see the offensive nature of the actions of Cain we need to realize that when Cain decided to substitute the offering and bring his own he was in actual fact putting himself in the place of God. He was making a loud and clear statement that he was more intelligent than God, he could come up with an alternative way to salvation, that he was smarter than God Himself. That is precisely what Lucifer did in heaven. He considered his plans better than God’s plans, his government that he was planning to set up was going to be more superior than what God had set up. We all know how it ended with Satan, there was war in heaven and he lost. When Cain persisted in his defiant actions the result was the first murder with constructive intent. Worship that is acceptable to God is the very opposite of what Satan and Cain did, it says I trust completely in the salvation provided by God. Such worship isn’t designed to make God feel good as His creatures worship Him, but it’s designed to keep us in a living and loving relationship with our Creator. 

The story of the acceptance of the offering of Abel and the rejection of Cain’s offering is about worship. Chilling as it is was the incident has been included in the bible as lesson us about obedience and that worshiping God isn’t guess work, God has put specific instructions about how we should worship Him, not because He needs our worship but because we need to worship Him. Such worship relegates us to our rightful and proper place in creation so that we can have a continuous and living relationship with Him. We worship God not because He needs our worship but because it is good for us. We benefit from worshiping God. God will not accept mechanical obedience and worship, but faith in the saving grace of God and worship that flows freely from a grateful heart.

March 16 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Shantkumar Kunjam
We need to consider here the context also. It seams this chapter is very very important. If we read first three chapters and go straight to the fifth chapter, we may not feel at all that we have missed something. Chapter four is nowhere referred to in the OT. Yet it is there included in the scriptures. For this first family no commanment is given for anyrhing whatsoever. Yet, both the sons have offered sacrifices. This is completely voluntary act on their part. This reveals that human beings are endowed with the knowledge of God's existence and that everything comes from God, whether the produce of the fields or the increase in the livestock. And then there exists in every human being a natural urge to express gratitudes for all the things received. Hence both the sons offered sacrifices without any expressed commandment from God. The word here is MINKHAH, which is used for all offerings. Here I would like to refer the book of Proverbs, a book not of worship rituals and direct commandments from God, but a book of counsel from the wisemen and sages who have godly experiences in life. The counsel in 3:9 asks God's people to offer "First Fruit" of their fields. This should be natural response of all human beings to God. Cain first felt this urge. Yet he failed to offer first fruits. In this way he dishonored God. On the other hand, Abel offered fats of the firstlings from his flock. I guess here that Cain was expecting Abel would also offer fats of any ordinary animal and not of the firstborn animals. Cain was not happy with this. God imeediately intervenes and tells what to do next. Cain again dishonors God by not follwing God's counsel. And in his anger he kills his brother Abel, the cause of his disappointment.

This is a great chapter which reveals how to live in a Godless socity, a society infested with violence, godlessness, technological advances and sexual degenerations. Amids these thing we are supposed to be a people being channel of God's salvation, calling upon the name of the LORD.

November 22 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Img 20170726 133408 Ukwa Samuel Uche
I speak of the opinion that Cain's attitude was faulty. If we read well through that passage Gen 4:3, it says that God looked first unto Cain before his offering. So its not as if God rejected Cain because of his offering, but rather God rejected Cain's offerings because of Cain!

The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:10 "But I the Lord search all hearts and examine secret motives, I give all people their due rewards according to what their actions deserve..." God looks at our heart, He saw that Cain's heart evident in his attitude towards Him was not right. The truth is, if Cain's heart was humbled towards God and full on sincerity and faith like Abel, He would have offered the best of His crops and not "some of the fruits" as recorded in Gen 4:3.

So in respect to this, I also strongly believe that God's decision to reject Cain's offering is not because he did not offer a blood related offering. God is not really after blood but commitment through sincere sacrifice. You don't expect to Cain to bring flocks and sheep as offering to God when the bible clearly stated he was a Farmer, the same way you didn't expect Abel to bring fruits and crops since he was a Shepherd.

January 29 2018 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Billy P Eldred
My answer here is going to be really simple: a leopard can’t change its spots.

I believe God sees our hearts. God saw each of their hearts and judged accordingly.

November 24 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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