The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
"What was Cain's mark mentioned in the book of Genesis?" B. G., Kansas
This enigmatic question has puzzled theologians for thousands of years. The word "mark" in Genesis 4:15 in the King James Version of the Bible is a translation of the Hebrew word owth. According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the Hebrew word owth may be rendered "mark," or "signal, flag, monument, sign, or beacon." The owth — mark or sign — that God made for Cain could have been something to carryon his person, perhaps around his neck — from which the ancient and modern custom of wearing a charm or talisman for protection may be derived. Is it not possible that Cain or his descendants may have begun to look upon this sign — which may have been in the form of a cross — a "good luck" charm and turned it into an item of idolatrous worship? (Compare Num. 21:4-9 with" Kings 18:4 for a similar example.) The various forms of the cross are of pagan origin and go back to earliest antiquity. The Hebrew word owth could also indicate even a boundary marker that God set up to separate or segregate Cain and his descendants from the rest of mankind. Genesis 4:12 shows that God banished Cain to the land of Nod — meaning land of "wandering" — east of Eden or Palestine. The Jewish Publication Society translation renders Genesis 4:15, "And the Lord said unto him [Cain]: 'Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.' And the Lord set a sign FOR Cain, lest any finding him should smite him." The original Hebrew conveys both meanings — a mark on the person of Cain, or a sign set up for him to segregate him from others. Some have thought that Cain's mark involved skin color. Cain's mark was NOT the changing of his skin color as some suppose. Cain, in accordance with certain West African traditions, may well have been dark, but his sin was a matter of character, not of heredity. God created ALL races — white, yellow and black, to serve and glorify Him with their own particular abilities. Racial differences are not due to the "mark of Cain." God originally planned that humanity be divided into various races so that they might learn to live and work together in their own respective heritages around the world.
"Some claim that the Bible is not scientific — and, as proof, they quote Genesis 2:5-6. They claim this scripture says there was no rain on the earth from the time of Adam to Noah. Is this what Genesis 2:5-6 really means?" E. G. R., Pennsylvania
Their claim is false. There is nothing unscientific about the Bible. Genesis — the first book of the Old Testament — answers basic questions about origins. Genesis means "beginning" or "origin." The first chapter of Genesis tells us of the origin of rain who caused it — how it happens. It makes plain that it did rain on earth between Adam and Noah. Note, too, that the second chapter of Genesis fills in various details of the re-creation account that the first chapter leaves out. When both chapters are taken together, they complement and mutually amplify each other. With this in mind, observe what Genesis 2:5-6 actually says: "No shrub of the field was YET in the earth, and no herb of the field had YET sprung up; for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground; but there WENT UP a mist FROM the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground" (Jewish Translation). Now consider these facts: (1) The Lord God CAUSES rain — He set laws in motion to bring it about. There could be no rain if God had not set laws in motion to produce it. The evolutionary idea that weather "happened" without the forethought of the Supreme God is nonsense! (2) Most important, Genesis 2:6 does NOT say that the mist DESCENDED UPON the earth, as most assume. It says that a mist WENT UP FROM the earth! (3) Genesis 2:5-6 is speaking of a time PRIOR TO — not after — the third day of re-creation week. Notice the proof. The mist ascended from the earth before any shrubs or herbs appeared. Genesis 1:11-13 shows that the types of vegetation on earth today were not created until the THIRD day. The mist that ascended before the third day was needed to prepare the soil for plant life on that day. The mist ascended according to the laws of evaporation, became clouds, descended as rain, and readied the land for vegetation. Genesis 2:5-6 tells us WHO is the Originator or Maker of weather or climate. It tells us about the beginning of climate for the age of man. God is the Beginner or Originator of a process set in motion before the third day of creation week that waters the face of the entire world. This process is still in effect today! It is common knowledge that clouds are formed by the condensation of water vapor or mist that has first GONE UP FROM the earth by evaporation. Under certain conditions water droplets form and it returns to the earth as RAIN or other types of precipitation. The Bible is not telling us about some mysterious or special way God watered the earth prior to the Flood. A mere mist without any rain could not have sustained plant life over all the earth for the great length of time between Adam and Noah. The Bible is clearly telling us about the beginning of weather patterns God thought out to water the soon-to-be-created plant life! The little word "yet" is clearly implied in the latter portion of Genesis 2:5 as well: "...For the LORD God had not [that is, not YET] caused it to rain upon the earth.... "Afterward it did RAIN when the evaporation-condensation-precipitation cycle was begun by a gracious God who takes care of His creation and sustains it. Geology and archaeology also prove there were weather disasters BEFORE the Flood because of man's disobedience. These disasters cannot be accounted for on the basis of merely a "mist" watering the face of the earth. Jesus warned: "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Mat. 24:37). The pre-Flood world experienced upset weather conditions just as we are increasingly witnessing TODAY! As in the days of Noah, before the Flood, the world has once again forgotten WHO began and controls climate and weather. GOD is the Master Weatherman! He plainly tells us that HE is its Originator. It's time to WAKE UP to this fact and begin seeking Him and His perfect way of life!