Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Was Cain a Recipient of Common Grace?

Rev. Angus Stewart


Reprobate Cain was a child "of the devil" (I John 3:10), who "slew his brother" because his "works were evil" (12). Thus Cain was an "abomination to the Lord" (Prov. 3:32; 11:20; 16:5), as was everything about him: his "hands" (6:16-17), his "lying lips" (12:22), his "thoughts" (15:26), his "sacrifice" and his "way" (15:8-9).

God spoke with Cain (Gen. 4:6-7, 9-15)—a rational-moral creature—laying before him the ways of life and of death (6-7) and explaining his evil deed of fratricide (9-10), thus leaving him "without excuse" (Rom. 1:20). So far was God from bestowing "common grace" upon Cain that He did not bless him, but cursed him (Gen. 4:11-12)!

God marked Cain so that no man would kill him (15). Cain’s prolonged life meant that he heaped up more wrath to himself (Rom. 2:5). God willed Cain’s continuance on earth for some years so that the line of the reprobate would continue and develop in sin (Gen. 4) over against the line of the elect (Gen. 5).

Nor were Cain’s city building (4:17) or the riches, artistic talent and technological advances of his descendants (20-22) signs of God’s love for the reprobate. God’s purpose "when all the workers of iniquity do flourish" (including Cain and his seed with their earthly prosperity) is "that they shall be destroyed forever" (Ps. 92:7). God does not immediately cut off the wicked for He is digging the pit for them (Ps. 94:13)—just as He did with Cain, that child of the devil, who killed the first martyr, Abel, his own brother (I John 3:10-12)!