by Kristen C. Strocchia
“So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain [knew] his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.” Genesis 4:16-18
Cain left God. Not the other way around.
So often people demand of God, “Where are you?!?!” But just like his father Adam before him, the question was not “Where was God?” God hadn’t changed or moved in the slightest. The question to Adam was, “Where are you?” Because Adam left his relationship with God through his disobedience, just as his son Cain was now doing.
The land of Nod here, was not so-named when Cain moved there. In fact, it may not have received that name until several generations later. But when Moses recorded the book of Genesis, he would have used–as inspired by the Holy Spirit [2 Timothy 3:16]–names of places that the readers would readily identify.
However, just as Adam and Eve most likely moved east of Eden when they were banished from their garden home [Genesis 2:10-14; 3:24], Cain moved even further east when he left God’s presence and, therefore, his parents’ home.
He took his wife–one of his sisters–with him, and they had a son.
Now Enoch may mean–according to various baby name books and websites–experienced, profound, dedicated, and/or teacher. I wonder if Cain chose this name because of the fact that he had experienced the evil of sin and the goodness of God firsthand. Perhaps he came to a profound understanding through this experience and dedicated his son’s life back to God. Or perhaps he simply called his son his teacher, because he knew the love that he had for him and began to realize how devastated he would be if someone took Enoch’s life as Cain had taken his brother from his parents.
Whichever the case, Cain begins to build the first city in world history. No more roughing it. It’s time for dwellings. Maybe even for wells and marketplaces. And by human logic, this was a good thing too, because his family was being fruitful and multiplying just as God intended from the Creation [Genesis 1:28]. Cain saw his family live to at least six generations after him [Genesis 4:18-20], maybe more, and there’s a good chance they all stayed in or around this city of Enoch that Cain built.
And keep in mind, that the scripture is only recording the name of the firstborn son in this genealogical record. As is the case with Adam and Eve’s family, Cain lived hundreds of years and had other sons and daughters that are not named in scripture. Conservatively, in six generations, the city of Enoch could have been home to about 120-250 people [small by today’s standards, but huge considering that it started with just Cain and his wife!]
Now just imagine if Cain had not walked away from God. If he had raised Enoch and his whole family to love and serve the Lord. Imagine how different our world history would be. Imagine how different our world today could be.
Each person makes a difference. What will your impact on history be? Will your life be a life lived in God’s presence? Are you living in such a way that others see God in you?