And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech. And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.(Genesis 4:16-24)
We are given in few words, a picture of the overall development of humanity in the generations that followed Cain’s “New Start”(the city, Enoch), away from the presence of God.
The direction that the entire civilizational line of Cain took, was one of self redemption. Indeed they acknowledged that there is a curse upon the earth, and that men are no longer in the “garden of delight”, and in Cain’s case especially, the earth no longer yields her goodness.
Therefore they would through hard work and knowledge overcome the curse. And by the development of the city, and through advances on agriculture, the seed of Cain could create their own “garden of Eden” with all of its comforts and security, but without any acknowledgment of God. Human unity and ingenuity would be able to achieve these breakthroughs.
This is why the Holy Spirit chose to highlight three sons of Lamech, each leaders in areas of development undertaken by the seed of Cain. Though fallen, the Cainites still bore the image of God and the God-given powers of dominion over creation. The mandate was still upon all men, to “subdue” the earth.
First, we meet the nomadic Jabal, who led the way into advancement in animal husbandry . Secondly, the artist Jubal who developed new instruments and music. Finally TubalCain, the Metallurgist, and father of the Smith’s trade.
Thus the arts, Music, Technology, Animal science, metallurgy, and advances in agriculture were just some of the trades which had developed and been put to the service of Cain’s project, ie building a secure civilization, overcoming the curse, making a meaningful life on this earth without any reference to God as Creator or Redeemer.
Jubal’s new music and beautiful instruments could now soothe troubled consciences, the new “arts” could well serve to distract and amuse any troubled minds among the Cainites.
Jabal can provide by his multiplying herds and his hardier breeds, a steady supply of milk, meat, wool and leather. And Tubal-Cain’s alloys could give the community the weapons needed to defend themselves, and to make the tools to subdue the earth.**
Was Cain condemned by God to wander? There was no need for that, for his city provided him with a settled place,in spite of God’s judgment. He would not be a vagabond, (at least externally)! Cain needed no “mark of God” to defend him, he now had fortified walls around himself.
Thus did Cain’s “new start”, his Enoch civilisation, set itself directly against the Word of God, and sought to even mitigate the curse and reverse the fall by technology, the arts and sciences, without any reference to the God of Creation.
The only alternative to Cain’s “east of Eden” community at that time , was a small and less advanced line of human development, the line of Seth. They didn’t rapidly develop technology*, for the trend among them was the patient waiting underneath the curse, for the relief that was promised by the “Seed of the woman”.
We can see Seth’s mindset by the name of his son, “Enos”- which means frailty. By this Seth acknowledged the chastening hand of God, and humbled himself under it, knowing that the ultimate triumph over the curse would come by God’s hand and at his time.
The other prominent characteristic among the “Sethite” civilisation which developed, was that in those days they did begin to organize themselves to”Call upon the name of the LORD”.
And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord. (Genesis 4:25-26)
But a disturbing picture emerges from the sparse snapshot of family life as it came to develop among the Cainites. In the case of Lamech, the seventh from Adam, we see that the primal law of marriage to one woman had already been cast aside as irrelevant , Lamech was a polygamist.
Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
These are the earliest recorded words in scripture of a song, but rather than praises to God, we hear the blasphemous boasts of a violent, vengeful ”hero’, comparing his own violent retribution to any perceived slight, to the merciful concession God offered his frightened forefather Cain.”If Cain be avenged sevenfold, Lamech, seventy and seven -fold!”.
As GH Pember so aptly described”The history of the Cainites begins with a murder, and ends with praise of a murder. In it’s seventh number, everything is forgotten; with music, social amenities,luxury,and display everything is benumbed.The curse of loneliness is changed into city life, the curse of being unsettled into love of travel,the bad conscience into heroism,which makes the remembrance of the curse of God’s ancestors only a support of ones own God blaspheming self consciousness. Thus all is pleasure, splendor, entwined and crowned with the flower of human wit and the soul’s creative power, and poetic art.”(Earth’s Earliest Ages,GH Pember)***
Can you see that this is also a description of our current world? Have not our increases in technology, advances in the arts, and in agriculture and defense caused us also to forget that this world is cursed and that thus it is not our permanent home?
Have we also not seen a systematic dismantling of our once christian culture? The primal law of mariage, the role of male and female, the sanctity of life, and civility and society? Do we not now hear “Artists” celebrating all that is base, violent, nihilistic and blasphemous? Where does the Cainite civilisation end , but in the flood?
* Jesus would tell us centuries later that” The children of this age, are often much wiser in their time, than the children of light”(Luke 16:8)
** It is believed that the greek god “Vulcan” the god of fire and smithing, was from a corrupted memory of Tubal Cain…”Bal-Cain”….Vulcan…
*** By no means do I endorse everything Pember taught, but he did have some valuable insights.