I’m speaking on Genesis 4 this weekend: the story of Cain & Abel.
In 4:10 God says to Cain: ‘What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground!’ The great reformer John Calvin says this of the verse:
Abel was speechless when his throat was being cut; but after death the voice of his blood was more vehement than any eloquence of the orator.
This verse is both poetically evocative and also quite profound. God is aware of and appalled by injustice, even when the victim is silent, prevented by death or oppression from making accusation. What comfort for the many who silently suffer injustice in the world, not least those Christian brothers and sisters suffering for their faith: God hears, and He does not accept injustice!
There seems to be an interesting image in this verse about the relationship between the creation and injustice. One can’t help but imagine the earth’s revulsion as it ‘opens its mouth to receive Cain’s brother’s blood from his hand’ (4:11). Human beings were made to work the earth for our mutual flourishing (Genesis 1:28); now, the earth too is a witness against the injustices we commit.