Where does sin come from?

We learn about Adam and Eve’s first two children in Genesis chapter 4, as they come to give God an offering. Cain’s begrudging attitude brings God just something from his crops when he could get around to it. Abel, however, promptly brings God his best sheep. God favored Abel.

Our attitudes determine how God treats us. A person can obey God with a grumpy spirit. Another can clean a toilet with a beautiful attitude. God favors those who favor Him.

Cain grew angry when he saw God honoring Abel. The Lord spoke to him about his mindset, but Cain refused to admit his error. Cain got his feelings hurt in the act of worship—at church, so to speak. Many people try to look holy before God at church, yet they harbor bitter feelings toward the others who come to worship the same God. The Creator speaks to Cain about his dangerous attitude problem.

God explains how to prevent sin from destroying our lives. He tells Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (4:7, New King James). Like a child with a clean bedroom getting special privileges, so an obedient believer gets God’s favor. Then He says, “if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.” If we stop trying to please God, we need to know that sin crouches just outside the door.

How do I stop sinning?

Let’s say I am sitting at home on a nice day, but the house needs some fresh air. It’s too warm for the heater but too cool to run the AC—I just want a breeze. So I go around and open all the windows to get the air moving. That helps a little, but I want more airflow, so I open the front door. That gets me what I need to chill out for a while. After a few minutes, I see a cat wander up by the door and look in. I jump up from the sofa and scare him away. I plop back down and nearly doze off when I hear the cat again. He saunters through the doorway into my house! I pick him up, set him out in the yard, and tell him to go home. Just as I’m all comfy again, I see him dart through the door and head toward my kitchen. I pick him up and throw him outside (sorry cat lovers). Now, let’s say you show up to visit me, and I start venting about how this stupid cat keeps coming in my home. You would probably say, “Then shut the door!”

We come to God griping, “Help me, Lord; tell this sin to go away.” But sin never goes away; we must keep the door closed so it cannot come in. Sin lurks just inches from every heart, ready to pounce. People sin because they opened the door. Cain opened the door by letting his feelings get hurt. A person gets into fornication after opening the door of lewd thoughts. We let theft in our hearts by wanting what others have, rather than “doing well” and learning contentment. We can prevent every sin if we know how to shut the door on it. The doors to sin in your life will be a little different from those in others’ lives.

Rather than look for some big nuke to destroy sin, let’s find the little black doors where it gets in and close them all. Watching violent movies breeds fights and aggression. Hanging out with the wrong crowd invites all kinds of sins from substance abuse to sexual sin. Looking at another person’s faults will open the door to gossip, slander, and lying. Little sins open the door to bigger sins until a monster is sucking the life out of us. By not doing the good that we know we should do, we are letting sin into our lives (see James 4:17).

God finished His sermon to Cain by saying, “And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (4:7). Sin salivates at the thought of getting into your life. Every sort of wickedness lurks nearby, hoping to feast on your reputation. How do we keep sin out? Do well. Live right. You will not steal when you are giving. You will not curse people if you specialize in blessing them. You cannot insult a person at the same time you are strengthening them. We shut the door to sin by doing good. Just as you cannot climb and fall at the same time, so you cannot live for both right and wrong.

So did Cain get the idea? No, he was not listening when the Lord was preaching. Cain murdered his brother. Cain did not wake up that morning saying, “I want to be the world’s first murderer.” Yet by day’s end, murder crept into his life through the little door of hurt feelings. He got up and set out to go to church. But there at the altar of sacrifice, someone got on his nerves. And his hurt feelings opened the door to anger, anger welcomed rage, rage held the door for vengeance, and vengeance ushered in murder. Scripture tells us that we can stop the devil in his game (Ephesians 4:27; James 4:7).

To find what specific doors might need to be shut in your life, study Life! Journal D3: “Unexpected Company.”

How do I find God’s favor?

In genesis chapter 6, God decided to destroy the human race (6:5-7). However, out of everyone, He favored Noah. Ever feel like God plays favorites? Cain did. He stewed over God’s special favor toward Abel. So why Abel and Noah? As we saw in Abel’s story, God favors the one who honors Him.

It’s pretty simple: make God glad, and He smiles upon you. Noah lived above sin and honored God with his life (Genesis 6:9). If we want God’s special attention, we need to start doing what makes Him happy. Those who intensely seek to please God will have His favor. Those who just want blessings from God are usually in search of every other kind of freebie as well. We need to serve God because we love Him, not just to get His blessing on our lives.

We should not mistake God’s favor to mean that we will never have a problem. Even though Noah escaped the destruction on the world, he spent long years building a giant boat. He suffered the rejection and loss of family and friends. And he had to spend five months in a place full of stinky animals.

Did the worldwide flood really happen?

Every culture tells a story of a worldwide flood. Different pagan cultures and oral traditions give different names to the man and woman on the boat and to the God who warned them to prepare for a worldwide deluge. Aside from history, archeology turns up fish and shellfish fossils all over the earth–even on the tallest mountains. At one point the whole of creation was submerged beneath water. This raises various questions in some people’s minds.

Where did all the water come from?

God possibly created the earth with a band of water several thousand feet above earth’s surface (Genesis 1:6-7; 2:5-6). When the rain fell for forty days, this vapor barrier would have disintegrated while the underground water sources burst forth (7:11-12). This suspended water theory does not seem to contradict Scripture and has been shown to be possible on certain planets such as Venus.

Is there enough water to cover the whole earth?

Earth may not have had a lot of water on the surface if most of it orbited in that water “ceiling.” Earth’s surface, today, does have enough water to cover all the land–if all the land was level. If we could fill the seven mile deep chasm in the Pacific Ocean with that nearly five-mile high Mt. Everest, and we leveled out every mountain and canyon, Earth would be covered by over a mile and a half of water. We know the Himalayas and other tall mountain ranges developed by the shifting of Earth’s plates. These and other locations most likely emerged after the deluge of water changed the pressure and balance on the land surface.

Could one boat rescue all the animals on earth?

Noah’s Ark could have been as long as two foot ball fields end to end and three stories high. With good management, Noah and his family could bring on board two to seven of each land-dwelling animal. They may have brought onboard young animals that would not eat a lot nor breed until they left the ark. Many mammals hibernate in the dark, and being at the bottom of a giant barge in the dark, they may have hibernated for five months. Since 90% of earth’s species can survive in water, the remaining few that came on board the ark could have fit on one level, leaving room on the second floor for food storage. People could have lived upstairs.

Why did people live so long back then?

Chapter 5 and other early passages of Genesis tell us of people who lived over 900 years. Noah seems to be the last one to live a long time. After the flood, people started dying at 600, 400, then 300 years or so. Abraham died at a young 175. Moses only lived to 120. And King David made it to 70 years old. Something changed after the flood that caused mankind to not live as long. Could it have been bacteria and environmental pollutants that now could thrive in the humid environment? Some have speculated that if a water ceiling did hover over the earth at one time, oxygen levels could have stayed at 90% (near the level it needs to be in human blood) and would have provided health and rejuvenation. Whatever the case, something changed and people ceased to live as long after the flood. See information by Arlo Moehlenpah on this. Get his book Creation versus Evolution-Scientific and Religious Considerations

What happened to the dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs may still be alive, if they survived until Noah’s day. Many sites on earth show fossil evidence of dinosaurs dying together in the flood, just like all the other animals did. This would indicate that they had to have been some of the “all living creatures” that Noah put onboard the ark (probably young so they would be smaller and not eat all the others). Of course dinosaurs and many other animals have gone extinct since the flood. If some survived until today, they would still live among us, but we may miss them by looking for the wrong thing. Reptiles (as dinosaurs were) grow every year. Iguanas for example only live for 25 to 30 years and grow about six feet long. If mankind was living for nearly 1,000 years before the flood, animals probably had extended lives as well. If an iguana grew every year for 400 years, it would be the size of a house. Perhaps that is the fossil we have labeled “Iguanodon.” Many dinosaurs have look-alike reptiles alive in our world today that may not get as big as their ancestors did, because they do not live as long. Learn more on this from Steve Grohman.

How many ways are there to God?

When God gave Noah the “plan of salvation” for the people of his day, He told him to build only one boat. God did not design one boat for the Buddhists, one for the Taoists, and one for the Muslims. He only gave one plan of rescue. God ordered Noah to build only one door. God did not designate one door for the Baptists, one for the Mormons, and one for the Pentecostals. God only offers one way of escape.

People often say God will take anyone and everyone who tries to come to Him. Yet God has an inflexible plan. His ark of safety only has one door: Jesus Christ (John 10:9). We must notice the kindness of God to build a boat big enough to save all humanity. Yet we must also recognize that thousands of people died in torment and agony because they tried to do it their own way. Men and women clung to logs and treetops crying out to God for a second chance. Noah could not give them a second chance–God had shut the door and no one could enter. When Jesus comes back, we will have no second chance. Many people will wake up at the return of the Lord, but will have missed their chance. Contrary to the popular book series, no one will be rescued after being “Left Behind.” Right now we have the opportunity to get on the boat.

What causes a curse on a person’s life?

After the flood, Noah grew grapes. Perhaps fermentation never occurred in the former ecosystem and the old man did not know what alcohol could do. Maybe he wanted to party all night. Whatever the case, he got drunk and lay naked in his tent. To his shame, Ham, his youngest son, walked in and saw his dad’s embarrassing situation. Like anyone with a good bit of gossip, Ham ran to tell the world about it. Shem and Japheth, Noah’s older sons, did not want to see their father’s shame, they wanted to restore him. Carrying a sheet between them while walking backwards, they covered their father’s nudity without looking.

Noah awoke and cursed his son who had demonstrated classic Small Man Syndrome by pointing out someone else’s fault so as to feel better about himself. He blessed Shem and Japheth because they had covered his indecency. Carnal people always seek to expose other’s shame: a child talks about his dad’s mistakes, a wife gripes about her husband’s weaknesses, a church member runs down leaders who make blunders, and small-minded people often run down friends, family, and co-workers. When we expose other’s shame, we bring a curse on our own lives. Love does not expose someone’s faults, it covers them (Proverbs 10:12). Covering sin does not mean we approve of the behavior. We give people room to get their lives right without shaming them before the world.

God will bless us and not curse us if we learn to cover other’s shame like Shem and Japheth. We cover them with prayer, encouragement, and quick action. Shem and Japheth did not shrug and ignore their father’s problem. They did something about it. Their actions spoke love, not antagonism. We cannot cover shame by ignoring someone’s weakness. We must speak in love and help that person stay accountable so they can find restoration (Galatians 6:1-2).

Next time…

We will look at another way people bring curses on themselves everyday and do not even know it.