Minimalist Bible: Cain and Abel

Written by Chad -

I've been a big fan of the minimalist poster designs. Taking something as complex as a person or a movie and stripping it down to one powerful graphical element that is instantly recognizable. I wanted to do something unique; something that had never been done before. So God hit me alongside the head with an idea: Bible stories. If you wish to see the previous posters, check them out under the tag Minimalist Bible.

For the past couple months, I have been unveiling my original minimalist poster series focused on Bible stories. Today I'm excited to release the eleventh poster of the series, Cain and Able.

Cain and Able comes from Genesis 4:1-16 (NLT) which says, "Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, 'With the Lord’s help, I have produced a man!' Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel. When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.

'Why are you so angry?' the Lord asked Cain. 'Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.'

One day Cain suggested to his brother, 'Let’s go out into the fields.' And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. Afterward the Lord asked Cain, 'Where is your brother? Where is Abel?'

'I don’t know,' Cain responded. 'Am I my brother’s guardian?'

But the Lord said, 'What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood. No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.'

Cain replied to the Lord, 'My punishment is too great for me to bear! You have banished me from the land and from your presence; you have made me a homeless wanderer. Anyone who finds me will kill me!'

The Lord replied, 'No, for I will give a sevenfold punishment to anyone who kills you.' Then the Lord put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might try to kill him. So Cain left the Lord’s presence and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

The story of Cain and Abel is a powerful reminder about the impact of sin in our lives. We all think that we can hold things together or that we have everything under control, but in all actuality we are all fragile minded people. This tragic story shows us how sin can consume us when we react emotionally. It leaves us with a dire sense of regret and pain.

In life, there is always a rival that is bigger, better and stronger than we are. In this story, Abel did a better job of preparing a sacrifice for the Lord than Cain, who approached the situation half-heartedly. Cain's emotional reaction toward Abel's favor with God caused him to feel rejected. We all have been there—rejected by a pretty girl you asked out to prom, denied a job promotion you thought you had in the bag or being picked last in kickball.

The great thing is, God is still there to back you up. He warned Cain of the consequences of sin. God said, "Sin is crouching at your door, waiting to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master." Cain had a choice. He chose to give into sin, so he received the consequences that God warned him about, but God was still willing to be there to catch him. We have a choice as well. When we trip up like Cain did, God will help us get through the consequences if we are willing to turn to him. Navigating our emotions to keep ourselves from sinning is a daily challenge, but we have the best GPS in existence—God.