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Unread 03-13-2006, 04:49 PM   #1
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"Thou mayest" and Sin

Recently, I have been reading John Steinbeck's East of Eden. The major theme of this book involves the Hebrew word timshel which occurs in the Hebrew version of the Bible. Timshel means "thou mayest" and apparently, God says this to Cain. In the context of the Cain and Abel story, Steinbeck took it to mean that Cain had the right to choose to sin. So, East of Eden and many of its characters essentially pledge throughout the book that human beings have the choice to sin, and the ending resolves in Cal, son of Adam, choosing to not sin. What I ask is this: do we really have that choice? I mean, I am of the opinion that humans are fallible and imperfect, because no one is perfect except for God. Obviously we must try our hardest, but everyone will sin. So is it even possible for humanity to not sin? Or am I misunderstanding the meaning here (in other words, is Steinbeck just saying that everyone has the choice to sin or not sin in isolated situations.) I'd think in some situations, your emotions may overcome you and you might do something you regret. Secondly, is there anything else in the Bible which says that we do have the choice?

~Jen

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Unread 03-13-2006, 08:19 PM   #2
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When I read that book I took it to mean that we have a choice to follow God or not... you took it as we have the choice to sin... otherwise i think that we have the choice to sin... its just impossible to make the right choice 100% of the time... just my 2 cents
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Unread 03-13-2006, 10:07 PM   #3
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Yow

Well, without reading the book or into its context, I can go to where God spoke to Cain...outside of the Garden. Cain was never in the Garden in the first place! So I can guess that the author of the book East of Eden, places them East of the Garden somewhere.

Anyhow looking at the text itself: Genesis 4

Guessing this is the context: Genesis 4:6-8
Genesis 4:7 (KJV) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee [shall be] his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Yes, Cain had to make a choice. He should have chosen life over death but...he didn't.

SIN was "crouching at his door" and Cain decided to go, as the saying now is..."the way of Cain". We each face this challenge all the time and the consequences will weigh into us eventually if not quickly of bad decisions. God loves obedience more than sacrifice. God loves our faithfulness, which can only come through Christ in us, and He hates things such as divorce, which also points to "the way of Cain"...the annulling of a covenant relationship with our God. It saddens Him and creates destructing consequence for those participating as well as even some who innocently find themselves involved.

Jude 1:11 (NIV) Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.

NASB says is this way: Genesis 4:6-8

Look at it side by side in the Hebrew to get the best reading of each of the words. HERE

Thank you Jen for the heads up and the powerful reminder to stay faithful. It helps me even now.
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TOOLS to use for your study in Q & A --www.bible.gospelcom.net [35 lang. with 50 versions];www.blueletterbible.org [Hebrew & Greek Lexicon];www.onelook.com; www.ask.com And get a real hard back Concordance on your desk, I find it's faster and easier than the online ones.

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Unread 03-13-2006, 11:26 PM   #4
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You're welcome And thank you for your opinion, it was very insightful...I'm posting this not only because of a theological question, but I am trying to garner some insight for my research paper (the premise of which is that lack of love is the root of all evil; or so Steinbeck says).

Does the Bible give any clear cut reason why God preferred Abel over Cain? As far as I can tell, that's a no...but maybe there are other passages which point towards Cain/Abel of which I am not aware.

~Jen
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Unread 03-14-2006, 12:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jengoesup

Does the Bible give any clear cut reason why God preferred Abel over Cain? As far as I can tell, that's a no...but maybe there are other passages which point towards Cain/Abel of which I am not aware.

~Jen
I am not sure about clear cut, but I have heard and believe it was because Cain gave a sacrifice which consisted of his work, of his hands. While Abel on the other hand, gave a lamb, which pointed ahead to Christ, instead of relying on the work of his own hands.

Kinda like in the garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned, what was one of the first things they tried to do? They tried to make their own covering out of fig leaves they sewed, to try and cover their sins. God supplied a covering for them however. Still to this day, there is men who try to sew their own "fig leaves" in a attempt to cover their own sins, when what they should be doing is accepting and trusting in the covering which God has supplied, The Lamb of God.
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2I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.[a]

Romans 9:30-33

30What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness[d] did not succeed in reaching that law. 32Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33as it is written, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame."
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Unread 03-15-2006, 01:17 AM   #6
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Hello

God looks at the heart, man at the outward appearance.

Abel was a man whose heart was stayed on the Lord. God considered Abel righteous through his wise and humble offering.

Jesus even pointed out that Abel was righteous and "wise" when He said:
Matthew 23:34-36 (NASB) 34 "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36" Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation [or upon this kind of people]."

Hebrews 11:4 (NASB) 4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

Yes Abel was unlike any other; but as wise, beautiful and righteous as Abel was to God, even his blood couldn't cleanse us like Christ Jesus our Lord's. In calling "the Hebrew" to not forsake their Messiah, the author of Hebrews writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

Hebrews 12:24 (NASB) 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
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1 Corinthians 9:16 (KJV) For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

TOOLS to use for your study in Q & A --www.bible.gospelcom.net [35 lang. with 50 versions];www.blueletterbible.org [Hebrew & Greek Lexicon];www.onelook.com; www.ask.com And get a real hard back Concordance on your desk, I find it's faster and easier than the online ones.

Study Evangelism FREE: www.WayOfTheMaster.com PM me and let me know what you think about this. P.S. Thank you to those of you who have been responding!


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Unread 03-19-2006, 10:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jengoesup
Recently, I have been reading John Steinbeck's East of Eden. The major theme of this book involves the Hebrew word timshel which occurs in the Hebrew version of the Bible. Timshel means "thou mayest" and apparently, God says this to Cain. In the context of the Cain and Abel story, Steinbeck took it to mean that Cain had the right to choose to sin. So, East of Eden and many of its characters essentially pledge throughout the book that human beings have the choice to sin, and the ending resolves in Cal, son of Adam, choosing to not sin. What I ask is this: do we really have that choice? I mean, I am of the opinion that humans are fallible and imperfect, because no one is perfect except for God. Obviously we must try our hardest, but everyone will sin. So is it even possible for humanity to not sin? Or am I misunderstanding the meaning here (in other words, is Steinbeck just saying that everyone has the choice to sin or not sin in isolated situations.) I'd think in some situations, your emotions may overcome you and you might do something you regret. Secondly, is there anything else in the Bible which says that we do have the choice?

~Jen

even if you dont sin your entier life (highly unlikely) you are still born with the original sin started with adam and eve quite sad realy 2 people ruined it for all of us
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