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Adam and Eve had many children. They grew up and went two by two to start families of their own and to grow crops and tend flocks of animals for food.
Two of the sons of Adam and Eve were named Cain and Abel. As Cain became a man he began to farm the land and grow crops for food. Abel became a shepherd and tended his flocks of sheep.
Cain and Abel's father always made a sacrifice of a perfect lamb to God. Adam had been taught what the sacrifice meant. The perfect lamb was to remind the people that Jesus Christ would someday come to die for the sins of all people. In this way each person on the earth could live with God again if they chose to follow God's laws. Adam and Eve taught their children about God's plan and the meaning of the sacrifice.
The devil, whose name is Satan, did not like God's plan for Adam and Eve and all their children. He went around to the people and said, "I am also a son of God. And I tell you that God is a liar."
Now this Satan was the same one who was in the serpent and told Eve that she should eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He thought that he could ruin everything for Adam and Eve by tricking them into disobeying God. He hated them and he also hated God.
Many of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve listened to Satan. They began to love Satan more than God. They began to do evil things to hurt one another and refused to do the good things that they were taught to do by God and by their parents.
Abel was a good son and listened to his parents. He learned to love God and did his best to please Him. Cain was one of the children who listened to Satan. He loved Satan.
Satan knew a way to make Cain very angry against God. He said, "Cain, you must make an offering to God. But why should you sacrifice a perfect lamb to God? Abel can do that, he is a shepherd after all. He has many lambs. But you are a farmer. Isn't what you do just as good as what Abel does? I think that God would be very happy if you would sacrifice some of the fruits, vegetables and grain that you grow. In this way you will be sacrificing your very best rather than someone else's best."
Cain and Abel both made their sacrifices to God. Abel killed and burned a perfect lamb on an altar. Cain sacrificed some of the best fruits of his fields. God respected the sacrifice of Abel because Abel loved Him and had sacrificed as God had taught the people. He did not respect the sacrifice of Cain because He knew that Cain loved and listened to Satan. Also the sacrifice of Cain's fruits could not remind Cain of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ would make.
When Cain realized that his sacrifice was not accepted by God he was very angry. God said to him, "Why are you so angry? If you follow My teachings I will accept you, but if you do not follow My teachings you sin. If you do not love Me then Satan will have power over you and he will do whatever he wants with you. Unless you repent people will say that you brought many evil things to the world. Your name will be like a curse because you would not listen to your God but would be the father of Satan's lies."
This made Cain angrier than ever and he would not listen to God or to Abel, who was good. Cain's parents knew what Cain was becoming and they were full of sorrow because of him. They were also sorrowful because many of their other children loved Satan as well.
Then Satan knew how to use Cain again. He said to Cain, "I will make a secret plan with you. I will arrange it so that you will get rid of Abel, your brother, and all his flocks of sheep will then be yours. But you and your brothers must keep it a secret. Your father, Adam, must never know what you have done and that I helped you. The person who ever tells our secret will die."
One day Abel was out in the field. Cain went over to talk to him. As they talked Cain looked around to make sure that no one was near to see. Then he killed Abel. He was so proud of himself. He said, "Now I am rid of my brother Abel, who pleased God so much. And now all his sheep will be mine!"
Very soon after that God spoke to Cain. God asked, "Cain, where is your brother, Abel?"
"How should I know?" said Cain. "Am I in charge of him?"
"Your brother's blood cries to Me from the ground. You have killed him. Now that you have caused the ground to receive your brother's blood it will not give you its strength any more. This shall be your curse, that you will no longer be able to grow your crops. You will have to wander upon the earth."
"It isn't my fault!" cried Cain. "Satan tempted me and said I could have all Abel' flocks. And You accepted Abel's offering but You would not accept mine! This punishment is too hard! Anyone might kill me because of what I have done!"
"I will put a mark on you so that no one will kill you," answered God. "Anyone who kills you will receive punishment seven times as great."
Cain and his family and many of the people were then shut out from the presence of God. God would not speak to them or bless them because they loved Satan. The men also loved making secrets with Satan to kill other people and take what had belonged to them. The women didn't like the secret killings so the men decided to keep it a secret from the women also. Cain's people became very evil.
But angels went to as many of the people as would listen and told them about Jesus Christ and of God's plan. The people who would listen and believe and live by God's laws would be blessed until the end of time.
Adapted for children by Lois M. Anderson
from Genesis, chapters 4 and 5 of the Inspired Version
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Copyright 2001 Lois M. Anderson: All Rights Reserved
Last revised: August 7, 2001