Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.
As we asked in an earlier thread, The Murderous Root of Religion, how did Cain come to understand that God disfavored his offering of grain (or fruits or vegetables)? Did God expressly tell him this in a thundering message from the clouds? Or perhaps in a dream?
Or was it more likely that Abel was in some way better off than Cain ? That Cain was envious of Abel’s circumstances, and figured that God just wasn’t being fair. These were primitive people without all the trappings of modern humankind. So, I don’t think that Abel had nicer clothes or a bigger house or a more luxurious wagon imported from Germany. It’s also doubtful that money was a concept that they would be familiar with. So in what way did God bless Abel over Cain? What’s left to be jealous of?
One possibility that comes to mind is Abel’s health. After all, it’s always been said that if you have your health then you have everything. Maybe Abel’s family was healthier than Cain’s, suffering from fewer maladies and in better overall physical condition. Being healthier, perhaps they were also happier. To a primitive mind, what other reason could there be for this disparity, other than that God was smiling on Abel while punishing Cain. But why would God allow Cain to be healthier than Abel?
The answer might be found in their choice of offerings; Abel’s was made up of meat and fat as opposed to the vegetarian offering of Cain. Today’s conventional medical wisdom affirms that Cain’s high carb menu would certainly be healthier than Abel’s fatty one. But perhaps God knows something that the majority of our doctors, nutritionists and dietitians do not.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll have steak tonight. Again.