The Instigator
wrichcirw
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Truth_seeker
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Abel Would Have Killed Cain

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Post Voting Period
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It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/30/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,449 times Debate No: 61053
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)

 

wrichcirw

Pro

Resolution

Abel Would Have Killed Cain


Background

Watching the movie Noah got me thinking about some of the Genesis stories, most of which are exceedingly brief. The story of Cain and Abel occurs over the course of 16 verses in Genesis 4 (https://www.biblegateway.com...); essentially, God looked upon Abel's offering with favor and not Cain's, which drove Cain to kill Abel.

The question I ask in this debate is "what if God looked upon Cain's offering with favor instead of Abel's? Would Abel have killed Cain?" I believe the answer is easily yes.

This debate is impossible to accept. If you would like to argue CON, please PM me or leave a comment.


Rules

This debate is a "no scoring" debate with the exception of conduct - forfeits, flaming, seriously sidetracking the debate, plagiarism, and cheating the character limit are some examples . If you wish to leave an opinion about which position you found to be more convincing (i.e. an RFD), offer constructive criticism, and/or simply discuss the matter, there is a forum topic set up for this specific purpose here: (http://www.debate.org...)

The core, undebatable hypothetical assumption for this resolution is that God looked upon Cain's offering with favor and not Abel's. Given that this resolution is a hypothetical, burden of proof (BoP) is shared. Both PRO/CON must present a convincing hypothetical case for their respective positions given that God looked upon Cain's offering with favor and not Abel's.

4 rounds
1st round: acceptance
2/3 rounds argument and rebuttal
4th round: closing arguments, rebuttals are ok, but no new sources.
5000 character rounds
Debate Round No. 1
wrichcirw

Pro

I thank truth_seeker for accepting this debate and look forward to an interesting discussion.


Argument

My opening will be brief. Essentially, the morality of this story is inconclusive...it is not possible to conclude that either party did what was "right" to earn the favor of the Biblical God, either because 1) we cannot fathom God's will, or 2) the Christian God is not omnibenevolent (thus rendering the Biblical conception of morality to be false). Because the morality is arbitrary, God's favor is also arbitrary. What is not arbitrary is the Biblical description of human nature, and it is this nature that compels Cain to kill Abel, and would compel Abel to kill Cain had God favored Cain.


Morality is Inconclusive

In Genesis 1, God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." (Genesis 1:29) God did NOT grant animals for human consumption, yet Abel tends to flocks and sees fit to butcher "fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock" to offer to God as sacrifice. (Genesis 4:4) Cain on the other hand offers what was given to him as food (i.e. plants) as an offering to God. For some unexplained reason, God saw fit to look upon Abel the butcher with favor, even though what Abel did to his flocks also would have resulted in "[the firstborn of his flock's] blood [crying] out to [God] from the ground" (Genesis 4:10).

What makes the butchering of animals different on a moral basis from the butchering of humans in the eyes of God is unexplained. What is clear though is that man was not to eat the flesh of animals, so for Abel to tend flocks with any sort of flesh-related purpose is at best morally ambiguous, at worst a Biblical contradiction. In the end, it is not possible to say why Abel was looked upon with favor...the decision by God is arbitrary at best, contradictory at worst.


The Name of Cain

The name "Cain" means "to acquire." [1, 2] The movie Noah made a big point about this, as Cain's successor Tubal-Cain utters more than once "[God] cursed us to struggle by the sweat of our brow to survive. Damned if I don't do everything it takes to do just that. Damned if I don't take what I want." (http://www.moviequotesandmore.com...) A probable moral to the story is that Cain "took" from Abel God's favor by killing him, or so he thought, and that such taking is inherently sinful.

However, was Cain and ONLY Cain "destined" to do this, or could Abel have done this as well? There is no reason to think that Abel was incapable of doing so...after all, both Adam and Eve sought to acquire knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Thus this "sin", this act of acquisition and the desire that drives it, is ubiquitous in humanity, according to the Bible. Had God favored Cain and not Abel, there is every reason to think that Abel would have done the exact same thing Cain had done to "acquire" God's favor from the favored sibling - it is human nature, according to the Bible.


Conclusion

According to the Bible, man is sinful. According to Christ, not one of us is without sin (John 8:7). According to Genesis, sin is very closely linked to the act of acquisition. The consequences sinning were not known at the time of Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel, and so upon describing two scenarios that involved the desire for acquisition (the original sin and Cain and Abel), man in both cases "falls" by sinning. It is not explained why acquiring the knowledge of good and evil and becoming "as one of us [i.e. like God], to know good and evil" (Genesis 3:22), is a sin to begin with, and it is not explained why God favored Abel over Cain. At best, moral conclusions from these stories are arbitrary, and thus, given the Biblical account of human nature, any human would have done as Cain had done in his situation, meaning thus that Abel would have killed Cain had God favored Cain.


[1] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[2] http://www.jewishworldreview.com...



Truth_seeker

Con

I will explain the significance of each occurrence in the narrative.

Before that, i would point out that in Gen. 3:21 says "21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them." This possibly implies that animals could then be killed for God's purposes.

Now philosophically and scientifically, it can be argued that our environment and nature shapes who we are as individuals as well as our free-will. If Abel and Cain's choices were fixated then it is essentially impossible to completely alter the course of the future.

Gen. 4:2-12

2 "And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.

4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:"

This narrative may explain the origin of animal sacrifices. According to the Torah, animal sacrifices were made to atone for sin. The reason for God rejecting Cain's offering may've been simply because he refused to sacrifice the life of animals to atone for his sin.

5 "But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him."

Notice God tells Cain that if he does what is good then he will be accepted just as Abel, but Cain clearly refuses.

8 "And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?

10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;

12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth."

1 John 3:12 explains why Cain murdered Abel:

v. 12 "We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous."

Conclusion:

It is divinely instituted that Abel belonged to the righteous bloodline of the Messiah, thus this serves as typology of the sacrifice given by Christ. Cain was destined to commit this murder and Abel was destined to die in this moment because he held to his righteousness.
Debate Round No. 2
wrichcirw

Pro

Rebuttal


The bulk of my opponent's argument quotes from the Bible. I will address his commentary directly.


1) CON: "According to the Torah, animal sacrifices were made to atone for sin."

What makes this "moral"? Why would God want man to destroy a part of His creation? Why would this please God?

Without answers to such questions, my argument stands: "What makes the butchering of animals different on a moral basis from the butchering of humans in the eyes of God is unexplained." My conclusion also stands that the morality in the Bible is completely arbitrary.


2) CON: "God tells Cain that if he does what is good then he will be accepted just as Abel, but Cain clearly refuses."

How is it clear that Cain does what is evil? There were no commandments regarding murder. There was no guideline from God or anyone else to stipulate what was good and what was evil. Even Adam and Eve were at least told beforehand what exactly constituted Biblical morality - don't eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Cain was not told anything.

Keep in mind that Abel killed animals to satiate God, resulting in "[the firstborn of his flock's] blood [crying] out to [God] from the ground" (Genesis 4:10)." Yet for some reason God found this pleasing. This reason is never explained in the Bible.

If Abel did what was "right," then what is "right" is to destroy a part of God's creation to please God. Cain did the same, he destroyed a part of God's creation by killing Abel...yet this did not please God. Going by this logic, the morality in the Bible is contradictory.


3) CON then uses 1 John 3:12 to support his argument, that "Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous."

Here we run into the exact same problem. What was evil about Cain's actions? What was righteous about Abel's actions? 1 John 3:12 does not elaborate. Cain did not have the 10 commandments to instruct him on how to act.


4) CON's conclusion is extremely problematic: "It is divinely instituted that Abel belonged to the righteous bloodline of the Messiah."

This is simply wrong:

a) Abel belonged to the bloodline of Adam. It is through Adam that all of mankind is condemned to lead a life of sin. Like Adam, Abel was a sinner. Abel was not righteous, even if he strove for righteousness. Abel did not have any offspring, so it is impossible for Abel to have a bloodline from him.

I must add that Cain also strove for righteousness...indeed it is Cain who first conceived of making offerings to God, not Abel, and not Adam or Eve.

b) Christ was born via immaculate conception. He was not Joseph's son...he was the Son of God.

c) In order for Abel to belong to the bloodline of Christ, Abel must have been born from Christ's offspring. This is an illogical and blasphemous assertion from CON on several levels, as it would require that Christ do what the Nephilim did in Genesis, i.e. procreate with humans, and would require Christ to have impregnated Eve to sire Abel, which is simply not Biblical.


5) The most egregious point against CON's argumentation is his advocacy of predetermination, that "Cain was destined to commit this murder" and thereby had no choice in the matter. This goes against most Christian teachings of the necessity of free will to give man a choice to accept and love God.

If all of life and existence is predetermined, then it stands that God, who created all of life and existence, created the good AND the evil, and thus caused evil to come into existence. If so, then God is good AND evil and caused Satan to "fall" as well. This contradicts Biblical morality, that God is omnibenevolent (http://www.openbible.info...).


Conclusion


My opponent has made a good number of assertions, but there is no reasonable basis for most of them, and some (such as Abel and Christ being related) are just flat out wrong. The Bible does not explain what is good and evil in the time of Cain and Abel. It does not explain why killing animals is good, while killing people is not good. It does not explain why God did not look upon Cain with favor. It does not explain what is sinful about the act of acquisition, whether it be knowledge or otherwise.

Many of CON's arguments highlight various contradictions in Biblical morality, such as 1) an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God creating evil, and that 2) predetermination means that man cannot help but to sin, and God knew this before he created man and thus wished to curse man because it is His will, which again contradicts the omnibenevolence of God.

I thus conclude after addressing all of CON's arguments that CON's rebuttal is invalid, and my arguments from round #2 remain uncontested.
Truth_seeker

Con

"What makes this "moral"? Why would God want man to destroy a part of His creation? Why would this please God?

1) Without answers to such questions, my argument stands: "What makes the butchering of animals different on a moral basis from the butchering of humans in the eyes of God is unexplained." My conclusion also stands that the morality in the Bible is completely arbitrary."

God wanted animal sacrifices so that man's sin could be forgiven, but more importantly, he wanted to teach the value of life. It's important and moral for people to realize that their actions have a consequence and very often cost life. Humans have a higher calling and can advance to a higher level than animals, thus human life is more valuable than animals.

2) I think it's not the commandment itself, but the attitude behind it. The evil in his deeds was his lack of love and hatred for his brother because his offering was accepted. Lets read 1 John 3:10-15

"10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother"s righteous.

13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."

The Torah is actually rooted in love and compassion, not in commandments. What pleased God was not the fact that Abel killed animals, but that he recognized his own sinfulness and was willing to accept the consequences of his actions, sacrifice an animal, and repent of his ways whereas Cain was not. No contradiction is found.

3) I addressed in 2# in full context

4) What i mean is that Abel even though did not physically belong to the Messiah's bloodline (Abel was replaced by Seth Gen. 4:25), he was essentially heir to the spiritual blessings to come (Hebrews 11).

5) i mean that no matter what happens, Cain will always choose to do evil, not that God is preventing him from doing good. Just as some people will willingly never accept that Jesus is Lord.

Conclusion:

The Bible gives very good explanations as to why Abel would not have killed Cain based on his nature.
Debate Round No. 3
wrichcirw

Pro

Rebuttal


(numbered arguments continued from prior round)

6) CON: "God wanted animal sacrifices so that man's sin could be forgiven, but more importantly, he wanted to teach the value of life."

This is asinine to the extreme. CON would either like you to believe that i) by killing living beings in their prime, you learn the value of life, or that ii) "killing for the glory of God" is the path to forgiveness and salvation.

i) By this measure, Cain learned the value of life by killing Abel, and that what Cain did by killing Abel was righteous, as much so if not even more so than Abel's killing of animals for the glory of God. This is a moral contradiction in CON's argument, as Cain was condemned for such killing and not held to be righteous.

ii) If there is such a thing as "killing for the glory of God", perhaps we can say that Osama bin Laden "killed for the glory of God" when he carried out the 9/11 attacks, or that we "killed for the glory of God" when we dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To describe such acts as "Biblically moral" would more than likely rub most people the wrong way.

The morality that CON wants you to think the Bible is advocating is absurdly contradictory and can be used to justify the most heinous acts of genocide and terror. One need only look at Joshua's treatment of Canaan to see how such Biblical morality can justify what most people would consider to be the pinnacle of immorality:

"...in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 20:17-18)

"...they set fire to the city and burned it to the ground, along with everything in it..." (Joshua 6:24)

The Jews of Joshua bear much resemblance to the pastoral Mongols of Genghis Khan, who were also genocidal, monotheistic, and marauding.


What is Detestable is Arbitrary


What were these "detestable things [the Canaanites] do in worshiping their gods?" We can look to Cain and Abel and a bit of Jewish history to get an answer.

The Jews were pastoral. They managed livestock while in Egypt, and took what animals were under their care when they left (Exodus 12:31-32). Job's wealth was measured in the livestock he managed, not in the numbers of acres he tilled (Job 1:1-3). The Jews evidently favored meat and livestock over farming. And so, of course Cain the farmer is evil, and Abel the shepherder is good in the eyes of a Jewish God. This is all Biblical morality boils down to when it comes to the story of Cain and Abel - Cain was evil because he was a farmer. Such a standard of morality is absolutely arbitrary...the civilizations of Eden (i.e. the Tigris and Euphrates, Genesis 2:14) that grew crops in the Fertile Crescent would have considered the Jews and their marauding ways to be evil, a sentiment which manifested in the Jews' Babylonian captivity and enslavement (book of Daniel).


Killing out of Love


7) CON: "The Torah is actually rooted in love and compassion, not in commandments. What pleased God was not the fact that Abel killed animals, but that he recognized his own sinfulness and was willing to accept the consequences of his actions, sacrifice an animal, and repent of his ways..."

Again, this is absolutely asinine. Perhaps dropping the a-bombs and flying airplanes into skyscrapers were "sacrifices" done as "acts of love and repentance". Or perhaps it is only when a Christian does it. Again, this "standard" of morality advocated by CON is totally arbitrary.


Etc


8) CON argues that "no matter what happens, Cain will always choose to do evil, not that God is preventing him from doing good."

This fully supports that God created Cain to be evil, that God created evil at the very least in the instance of Cain. An omnibenevolent God does not create evil...this is a Biblical contradiction.


9) CON then concludes that "The Bible gives very good explanations as to why Abel would not have killed Cain based on his nature," yet CON does not describe what this nature is.

The explanation is simple. Abel descended from Adam...Abel was sinful like Adam. Cain was a farmer, and farmers are "bad" to pastoral societies. So Cain was banished to the east (which happens to be where the Fertile Crescent was located).


Conclusion


CON does not contest that a) Abel was descended from Adam and thus was sinful like Adam, and that b) human nature is sinful and acquisitous according to the Bible. Abel managed flocks, and Jews were pastoral. Abel was thus "good" and Cain "evil". Such is the depth of Biblical morality.

Had God looked upon Cain's offering with favor instead of Abel's, Abel's sinful nature would have compelled him to kill Cain. My argument holds.
Truth_seeker

Con

6) Of course killing animal sacrifices now isn't required, but that's because Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice (John 3:16).

I never said that killing another human was moral, in fact it's immoral. You bring up irrelevant points to the discussion, but as for the killings of other nations, it's not murder. Lets look at the Hebrew:

Deut. 20:17-18

"...in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy [charam] them""the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites""as the Lord your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God."

It was necessary, but it cannot be said that it was good or evil. Compare with Exodus 20:13

"You shall not murder [ratsach]"

Obviously there are differences.

Just the fact that Cain asked "Am I my brother's keeper? " shows his lack of concern for Abel.

Conclusion :

Based on God's unchanging nature, he would never accept Cain's selfish desires over Abel's faith (Hebrews 11). My case stands.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
@JasperFrancisShickadance
See my previous comment, it may apply to you.
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
@TrasguTravieso & @JasperFrancisShickadance
Is it your normal policy to vote without even reading the first round of debates?
Posted by wrichcirw 2 years ago
wrichcirw
The main stipulation about content is in the rules - whatever you choose to argue, you must first accept the hypothetical situation that God looked upon Cain's offering with favor instead of Abel's.
Posted by 2-D 2 years ago
2-D
Interesting debate but, as you said, the story is very brief. I think I may be able to build a pretty good biblical case against this but it does not sound like this debate is about the bible as a whole?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by FaustianJustice 2 years ago
FaustianJustice
wrichcirwTruth_seekerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I think Con handed a lot more to Pro than refuted or self asserted. The main contention went largely unadressed, and... enough rope was given.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
wrichcirwTruth_seekerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Assuming God created all things, God created morality, had God created said morality a little differently [insert debate resolution here]. Con decided not to offer any reason to question the result. Further it seemed in R2 like con had not read pro's case, which resulted in him all but making a concession when he argued that Cain only killed Abel due to Abel gaining God's favor, which assuming that was the only reason for murder would have caused Abel to Kill Cain were it flipped. From R3 "God wanted animal sacrifices" when the debate clearly stipulates "what if God looked upon Cain's offering with favor instead of Abel's? Would Abel have killed Cain?" Were this not a non-scoring debate, I would probably have awarded both arguments and conduct to pro (conduct for the sheer amount of disrespect, to accept a debate then ignore the resolution). This conduct breech, may not be an extreme enough violation to be warranted in a non-scoring debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
wrichcirwTruth_seekerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: A no scoring debate per the setup of the debate.