Right, two extraneous-to-the-post things first:
1. I've lost a total of 20 lbs as of last night. Yay!
2. We're running an obituary tomorrow of a man that had two wives. He was married to one of them for 34 years, the second for 23 years. The women were best friends and each knew he was married to the other. Obviously, he never 'legally' married the second wife. 8-0
And now, on to the post!
So, continuing to work on the death penalty post, and I was thinking about Cain.
Cain is often referred to as the 'first murderer' for killing Abel. But...was it really murder?
Okay, bear with me.
At the point in time when Cain killed Abel, there were what, three, four people on the planet? Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, and maybe some sisters. It's a fair bet that no one had ever died. So, when Cain lost his temper and killed Abel, did he really understand what he was doing? Did he understand the concept of death?
It was clearly a 'crime of passion'. His sacrifice had been rejected, for no reason that we're given, and he was pissed. He lashed out - not a good thing, of course, especially given what must have been the violence of his temper since he did wind up killing Abel. But I don't know that he really *understood* what he was doing.
It's as though a person of diminished capacity picked up a rock and hit someone with it. They kill the person, but we don't hold them as responsible as we would someone in full possession of their faculties who picks up the same rock and hits a person with it, killing them. On the one side, we understand that if we hit that person hard enough, or often enough, we will kill them. And the assumption must be that we intend for that consequence. But if a person doesn't understand the ultimate consequences of their action, can they be held to the same standard?
Is that why, perhaps, rather than demanding Cain's death, God exiled him? Because while he had done a terrible evil, he had lacked the capacity to comprehend what he was doing?