Why The God Of Wrath Let Cain Off The Hook

Why The God Of Wrath Let Cain Off The Hook December 17, 2019

Every time. Every single time I try to teach people that God is love and that God responds to our failures with mercy and forgiveness, someone will always try to say, “But God is also a God of Wrath and Justice!”

Every time.

But, as I’ve already mentioned, there are zero verses that say “God IS wrath”, but there are lots that teach us that “God IS Love,” and the book of Revelation even mocks the idea of God’s wrath by comparing it to the “Wrath of the Suckling Lamb“, which is equal to saying “The Wrath of the Kitten” or “The Fury of the Puppy.” It’s laughable.

Still, I feel the need, once again, to point out something to those who insist that God is a God of Wrath and that God’s Justice must be retributive.

If we look at the book of Genesis in the Old Testament, which is where we supposedly get the idea of Man’s fall from Grace and the origins of “Original Sin”, we notice that the way this “God of Wrath and Justice” reacts to the first murder is pretty out of character.

Yes, God warns Cain not to harbor resentment in his heart towards his brother, Abel. Yes, God seeks out Cain after he has murdered his innocent [and presumably more righteous] brother.

But how does this vengeful, wrathful God who demands perfect Justice respond to the very first murder in human history?

Let’s see. No wrath. No rebuke. No shedding of blood.

Hmm….

What we see is that God sends Cain out to wander the land as a nomad. But, even as Cain cries out, “This punishment is more than I can bear! Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me,” God’s response to Cain is this: “Not so!”

Why? Because God’s punishment actually comes with a sign of love and permanent protection for Cain.

Not only this, but God corrects Cain’s assumption that he would be “hidden from [God’s] presence” by saying, “Not so!” because God’s sign declares to everyone: This is my son. I have shown him mercy. So should you.

Wow.

So, where is the wrath of God? Where is this perfect Justice we’ve been told about?

Perhaps God really IS a God of love? Perhaps God actually responds with mercy and protection and vows never to leave us or forsake us?

Maybe it’s true that God is really like Jesus? Maybe God was, in Christ, not counting our sins against us but reconciling the World to Himself?

Maybe.

What do you think?

[NOTE: Thanks to my friend Derrick Day for this amazing insight.]

**

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Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife have returned to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure. They hope to start a new house church very soon.
Keith’s new book, “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment” is available now on Amazon.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Nimblewill

    Good morning Keith. As I have tried to process wrath over the years I’ve come to a couple of conclusions. One I get from Romans 1 and Luke 15. God turned them over to a reprobate mind and the Father allowed the prodigal to leave home. Both I believe are the wrath of God. Allowing our sin to punish us as opposed to us being punished for our sin. The other, when my son was little dump trucks sped up and down our little country road. Granny lived across the road so I told my son if he ever went near the road I would spank him, my wrath. I hope you get what I am saying. Maybe the wrath shouldn’t have been toward my son but toward the dump truck drivers. I think Jesus would have destroyed the dump trucks or at least re-routed them. Cain felt the pain of his decision to murder his brother. Whether or not it was remorse and love for his lost sibling or love for his lost freedom, I’m not sure. Cain was however turned over or made to leave home. His protection was until he found his way back. That’s the wrath of God, I think.

  • Herm

    Still, I feel the need, once again, to point out something to those who insist that God is a God of Wrath and that God’s Justice must be retributive.

    Niimblewill’s analogy…

    “The other, when my son was little dump trucks sped up and down our little country road. Granny lived across the road so I told my son if he ever went near the road I would spank him, my wrath. I hope you get what I am saying. Maybe the wrath shouldn’t have been toward my son but toward the dump truck drivers.”

    … is right on relative to the wrath all fathers of love know. I found myself taking my heartfelt counsel toward the survival of my children one step further. I realized, as I was standing between and fending off threats coming toward my child, that my back was turned to my child. I had to counsel my children that it was their responsibility first not to run out into the street while my focus was not on them. I had to let them know, just as soon as they could begin to understand action/reaction, that they had the prime responsibility to the consequences derived from their action, or inaction.

    It was not a sin against the law, that my heavenly Father always lives by, that we, mankind, chose to partake of the responsibility to the knowledge of good and evil. All the Law and all the Prophets, that a transgression of is considered sin, is summed up in Matthew 7:12. My Father and my Christ live by the Law and Prophets before asking us to do so, teaching by example how we each might live. My Messiah picked up his cross for others, as he knew he would have others pick up their cross for him. My Father knew that, in allowing his Son to love his brothers and sisters of Man, by setting the ultimate example of God’s love for mankind, that he would suffer the ultimate of grief and wrath. My Father was, and will never be, retributive for our poorest of judgments then. Jesus was sentenced to death purely for refusing to deny that he was a child of God.

  • Frank Holzhauser

    since reading a few of your other blogs, I understand you have settled into Universalism, so I sense where you come from on this, BUT, imagine if God in his foreknowledge didnt create Lucifer, or imagine once He did, Lucifer rebelled and God obliterated him, what message would that have given to the other Angels, to serve from fear thinking “dont cross God or He will WIPE you out”, same with Cain, what message would this have sent, fear to cross God, you see Keith, the depths of sin and evil had not yet been fully realized, the vile malignant extent had not been seen or understood, by Adam & Eve, the Angelic host or the possible other worlds, God had to let it play out to everyone’s satisfaction that 1. Lucifer/Satan was a liar, murderer and the father of evil 2. that God was indeed fair and His Law perfect, so if God hammers Cain, how does that show either two points, it cant, so God let it play out as a guarantee that sin would never be repeated after He ends the Controversy between Him a Satan once and for all, Lucifer had Heaven in an uproar, he took a third of the Angelic host with him, and decieved our first parents, but thats before, disease, tortures, rapes, wars, and the sheer hatred we see today, so God wipes out Cain, and every Cain since, how do we ever see with our own eyes, selfish-evil and pure unadulterated love in the showdown at Calvary…

  • NLDawn

    This morning I read Dueteronomy 28 and then found this article in my email box. That was a difficult chapter, staying with me as the day progresses. I don’t believe there is a more wrathful chapter in the Bible, although I am no scholar. Without the Good News of Christ, the pathway of life is grim. Or does one who follows only the Old Testament texts ignore the vengeful part and rely on “being good enough” to live in the blessings of God’s pleasure with them?

  • there are zero verses that say “God IS wrath”, but there are lots that teach us that “God IS Love”

    You need to be consistent. There are two verses in one book that say “God IS Love,” but there are lots that teach us that God is wrathful—600, according to this Stand to Reason video:

    https://youtu.be/N7V1lcr8bzU?t=27