Monday, June 28, 2010

Cain and Abel (some discrepancies)

Genesis chapter 4 tells the tale of Cain and his brother Abel the firstborn sons of Adam and Eve, many skeptics including myself have found several discrepancies with this story and I will point them out here in this post. All quotations of scripture are from the King James version of the bible, and will be utilized to demonstrate one of many obvious biblical contradictions. According to the tale both Cain and Abel presented themselves before the Lord with their offerings but the Lord only accepted Abel's offering and rejected Cains. As a result of this Cain was angry and when he was alone with his brother he murdered him in cold blood.

The very first contradiction we find is that according to Christians and Jews God is omnipresent (at all places at all times) and omniscient (all knowing) but given these attributes he still had to ask Cain: Genesis 4:9.'And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother?' What is the point of asking him where his brother was if he was there and knew where he was if he supposedly possessed those attributes I have mentioned above? After Cains reply then the Lord supposedly realizes what has happened because he hears the blood of Abel calling out to him from the ground. This contradiction is irrelevant to the actual contradictions within the story but I thought it would be interesting to point it out. There are many examples in the bible where God demonstrates that he lacks knowledge of certain things and events.

Now this next contradiction is one that theologians have been struggling to find ways to explain for quite some time, although at least to me none of their expectations are sufficient nor strong enough to fix this biblical boo boo. As punishment for slaying his brother God pronounced a curse upon Abel: Genesis 4:12,14  12.'When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.14.Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.' If you read these verses carefully immediately one big contradiction stands out. According to the story the only people that existed were Adam, Eve, and Cain but here Cain is concerned that everyone that finds him will try to slay him. Now here is my question who is everyone? This implies that either there were more people populating the Earth besides Adam and if there were then the story is shown to be inaccurate and a lie.

One thing I have learned on my way to becoming an atheist is that the best way to read the bible is with a mental scalpel at the ready, if you take most of the tales apart and read them in detail you will notice things that your faith did not allow you to see or even question if you did see them at all. As an atheist I find that one of my favorite past times is literally dissecting the bible piece by piece. The more I do this the more confirmation I get that I am right and that the bible is what I have been saying it is for the past 15 year; a myth. The next contradiction ties into the last one, because the tale goes on to say that after he left his parents Cain dwelt in the land of nod East of Eden. Genesis 4:17 is the icing on the cake; '17.And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.'

Immediately upon reading this I have two questions to ask: Where did Cain find a wife when the bible says clearly that he and Abel were the first sons of Adam and Eve and technically there were only four inhabitants in the Earth at the time. Not only that, what happened to the curse the Lord put on Cain? For a fugitive and a vagabond it seems that according to this verse Cain has done quite well for himself, he has done so well that he was able to have a son and even build a city despite the curse of the Lord that was upon him! I have heard Christians state that the tale of Adam and Eve is allegorical and not meant to be taken literally or as historical fact but that is not what the bible says. In fact in chapter 5 immediately after gives a genealogy of Adams lineage ,so that pretty much takes apart that feeble argument or defense if you want to call it that. In my next few posts I will do as I have done here and start to share with my fellow atheists and Christians interested in researching this further the contradictions I personally have found in the biblical narratives so sit back and enjoy the ride.


  1. Perhaps Cain's wife and the people he feared were Homo Neantherthal or Homo Erectus ;-) You are so right. In order to be saved you have to believe. In order to believe you have to wear blinders. If something comes up where you doubt God or His holy word you are listening to your evil nature or the evil one. Fight it. Fight it. No wonder Fundies are insane. They cannot tolerate a simple thought or feeling.

    Have you seen the Skeptics Annotated Bible? It is wonderful in bringing out the silliness of the Bible which is a human book alone which is plain to see. He who has eyes let him see.

  2. ex-minister1 I have had the sab bookmarked for about two years now and you are correct it is great for pointing out the many discrepancies and fallacies of the bible. Lol about the homo erectus quip.

  3. As a former bible-thumping-tongue-talking-ten-percent-tithing Christian, it now amazes me how I was able to constantly stuff down all of the red flags of reason that were constantly popping up in my mind every time I heard a sermon or read the bible. Stifling that much cognitive dissonance requires a lot of dedication and practice, practice, practice.

    Living with the blinders off and eyes wide open is AWESOME! Atheism ROCKS!

    I'm looking forward to this upcoming series of letters here at Chatpilot. Dissecting the bible is like having a ring side seat in an insane asylum. The show is action packed and you are guaranteed to get your mind blown with every page.

  4. Yeah I agree with ex-minister and Billy Bee, sifting through the bible objectively can reveal a treasure trove of contradictions.

    Genesis 5:17 And Cain knew his wife, (perhaps because he had slept beside her all his life) and she conceived and bare Enoch and he builded a city and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

    Now the church community does not recognize the book of Enoch, although I do not have a copy, it is said that Enoch rose straight up to heaven.

    So if that is true, then Enoch conquered death and went to heaven before Jesus.

    and then on over Gen. 6:2 god had other sons, not trying to rush things ahead, just pointing out that Jesus was not god's only son.

    Chat, would you mind canceling the word verification function? I don't think you need it, I never have. It's located in comment moderation in the dashboard section of your blog.
    (maybe in the settings section)

    You can always enable it in the future if you need it. It takes us twice as long to post a comment on here....Thanks! Steven

  5. It's been taken care of Steven you should be able to post without any delays.

  6. You missed the biggest contradiction of all in that passage: God's arbitrariness in favoring Abel.

  7. Genesis 5:1-4 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

    Genesis 5:2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

    Genesis 5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

    Genesis 5:4 And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:

    Notice: it was not just Adam, Eve, Cann & Able. Adam fathered other sons and daughters during his "930" years of life. This is how Cann & Able had wives, children etc so there were pleanty of people around. Yes I know this will bring up other questions but at least it will give you the biblical answer for who Cann feared.

    I actually stumbled across this post, so if you want to talk to me or ask other questions please feel free to eamil me and I will try to answer. Please ask just one question and I will try to answer it and then you can ask another.

    my email is