I taped this charming offering from National Geographic channel just to see what the secular world was saying about Biblical things.
They did enlist Bible scholars from Egypt and Israel and they even threw in some Christian scholars from various universities.
With all this knowledge at the fingertips for our viewing pleasure, I am astounded at how obtuse some people are who study the Bible. I can forgive archeologists a little when they go down the wrong path, but those who claim to be expert in Biblical studies should always be cautious in interpretations. I will give them that. They were cautious.
The question was thrown up, "Why did God accept one brothers offering and reject the other one's offering?"
First explanation that was offered was that Cain really didn't know what he was doing since there had been no killing or death nor murder up to that point. [insert very loud and long groan here]
Puh-leese. Why do scholars get so close to a passage that they do not see the broad picture? Matthew Henry was excellent at drawing the big picture using related passages from all over the Bible, even using illustrations from the NT to explain parts of the OT. He is truly what I would call a Bible scholar.
Cain knew. I am quite sure that Adam and Eve had told them the story of how God killed innocent animals in order to cover their nakedness. This is how they clothed themselves. Cain knew what death was. The covering of nakedness was actually the very first sacrifice, not the one depicted of Abel and Cain. It was the physical picture of the Spiritual truth that forgiveness and remission never comes without blood, which is why Christ's sacrifice is so precious to us.
I am also quite sure that Adam offered sacrifice in the proper way, the first fruits of the womb. This is precisely how Abel knew what to sacrifice from his own herd.
This is also why God accepted Abel's sacrifice... and why God rejected Cain's. The sacrifice was Abel's acknowledgement that he had sinned, that he needed forgiveness from God, and it was his acknowledgement of the Sovereignty of God, His perfectness.
These scholars offered up another explanation of why Cain murdered Abel. It was over the love of their sister who was married to Abel. Cain wanted her so he killed Abel so he could have her. The narrator said that this explanation made much more sense, after all, we are slaves to our passions, right? I have no doubt that each man had his own wife who literally was his sister. The gene pool was a lot more pure back then. But, I think the murder in Cain's heart was much more than lustful adultery.
Cain's offering was from his own labor. Although, nothing grows without God's blessings, this sacrifice was from the "sweat of his brow". All that sacrifice did was remind God of the Sin and the Curse because of the Sin. Cain in no way acknowledged he was a sinner and needed forgiveness. He did not follow God's example of shed blood to cover sin. He side-stepped the issue and basically told God that he did not need forgiveness or that he would follow his own way rather than the example set by God. The Almighty could not and would not accept that. He had set some rules and ordinances and Cain had disobeyed them.
I tried to watch to the bitter end, but frankly was so astounded by the blindness that I couldn't concentrate anymore on the thing.
One other thing, though. The Land of Nod was mentioned and they broached the topic that these people were not related to Cain and Abel at all. I have to remember that the Bible as inerrant and that Adam and Eve literally procreated all the people of earth is becoming less accepted these days. Scholars tend to become blinded with their knowledge rather than enlightened. They tried to tell us that Egypt had the Cain and Able story first and that Moses was just writing about things he'd heard over the campfire and at the ports, after all Moses was raised by Pharoah's daughter.
I don't see how someone can call himself a Bible scholar when he doesn't believe what he is studying. How can he see any truth if there is no Holy Spirit to explain it? These men, I think, lend great credence to that verse penned by Paul, they are "looking through a glass darkly."