The Lord was sorry that he had made humans.
* * *
Eve conceived and bore a son. And then another. Cain and Abel were earth’s first children.
(We’re in the world of myth, where truth is shrouded in fiction.)
At a certain appointed time, Abel offered God a lamb from his flock. Cain offered fruit from his field.
God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s. No reason is given. There’s no mention of any divine decree: Bring me meat and nothing else!
Cain felt mistreated. An injustice.
(Many people and peoples know that feeling.)
Cain was angry.
And that’s good. Anger is a healthy reaction to injustice. It’s no sin. If you’re not angry over injustice against yourself or others, something’s wrong.
What would Cain do?
(Reactions can’t be helped. Responses can.)
God warned Cain: Sin is crouching at your door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.
Cain brooded and then rose up and killed his brother. The first human act of violence. Revenge.
(Well, that didn’t take long.)
If context matters, it was God’s fault. God treated Cain unjustly.
And then God cursed Cain: You shall be a fugitive, a wanderer on the earth.
To hell with that, Cain said. He turned around, built the first city, and recruited musicians, artisans, and blacksmiths, including Tubal-Cain, a maker of swords. Violence was industrialized. Civilization had arrived.
People couldn’t stop killing each other.
I regret creating humankind. The earth is filled with violence because of them.
God was angry. Sin was crouching at God’s door.
What would God do?
I will destroy all of them with a flood.
(Well, there’s a novel idea: Violence to eliminate violence. Kill all the bad guys!)
And that’s what God did. Collective punishment. The first genocide.
And then God was sorry.
A rainbow appeared.
Oh, I almost forgot. God did spare one family: Noah’s—because he was the only righteous man on earth at the time. “Noah walked with God,” it was said.
Noah’s family and a boatload of animals survived the flood. In gratitude Noah sacrificed several animals. Then he planted a vineyard, got blind drunk, woke up, and cursed his grandson Canaan. (“You will be a slave to your brothers.”) And thus Noah, God’s chosen, planted the seeds of perpetual violence.
That’s not the end of the story. It’s still being written.
The end is in our hands.