Cain and Abel and Abraham and Isaac (#1028)

10 07 2015

1. John Steinbeck in “East of Eden” includes a couple of discussions of the Cain and Abel discussions. I felt immediately drawn because of our resent exploration of the Sacrifice of Abraham story. They both are difficult tales in which the behavior of God himself seems arbitrary in his love.

In Steinbeck the Cain and Abel story is picked up by a wise Chinese servant who takes the tale to four elders of his clan. The four elders study for four years, engaging a rabbi who brings in reinforcements. Finally it came down to “thou shalt”, “do thou” and then “thou mayest” rule over sin. Sin represents ignorance.

The Chinese servant on being questioned about his interest in the story says that any writing that “has influenced the thinking and the lives of innumerable people is important”. He goes on that some sects teach “thou shalt” and others “do thou”. Neither of these interfere with what will be. Buy “thou mayest” “makes a man great, that gives him statue with the gods”. It is up to man to choose. The choice makes the man. I would amend that to the plural..the choices make the person.

“Thou mayest rule over sin”.

2. Remembering that it is enough to be alive.

3.  Gr. Yes! I recently witnessed new reasons to be grateful.

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