When I was writing iFaith, I came across one of the most interesting passages in the Bible. It’s almost a throwaway line at the end of Genesis 4. It describes the birth of Seth, Adam and Eve’s third son. “Then men began to pray.”
That passage really grabbed me because it came at the end of a long and detailed genealogy of Cain. Cain’s family was impressive. They were progressive. You find in his family great innovations in mettalurgy, music, and other areas of life. And yet, you find no mention of God in any of the description of the family. It was progress without faith.
Then, you find the reference to Seth and in Genesis 5, we see the genealogy of his family. I guess I never read these passages together and grasped what was happening. But in these two lines of Adam, you see, on one hand, the godless advancement and on the other hand, you see the fruit of righteousness.
In the end, it was the godless line of Cain who had to be destroyed by God for their sin and it was the righteous line of Noah who were saved. I think this passage speaks to us in the 21st Century.
Arguably, we’re the most advanced civilization in history. But in many ways, like Cain’s generations, we’ve gotten so comfortable with our technology, we don’t need God. Now, as a caveat, I must say strongly that God is not against progress. God is for progress and beauty and innovation and invention. But progress without righteousness only leads to perversion, darwinian destruction, war. But progress with God leads to beautiful and great things. Interestingly, Cain’s family built cities and great innovations, but Seth’s line were also builders. Noah built the Ark. Abraham built a nation. David built a Kingdom. Solomon built a Temple. Christ built the Church.
The lesson for us as believers in the 21st Century? As in Genesis this is the day when, in the midst of all of our progress, “Men need to begin to pray.”