BR 7:05, Oct 1991
Never Mind Why Cains Offering Was Rejected
Concerning the intriguing problem of Gods motive in preferring Abels offering over Cains (When God Acts ImmorallyIs the Bible a Good Book? BR 07:03), it may be that Ronald Hendels analysis does not exhaust the possibilities. There may be a fifth explanation for Gods seemingly motiveless choice: The motive, in this particular narrative, may be irrelevant to the purpose of the story. If the authors point is to illuminate the causes and consequences of internecine jealousy in human affairs, of the destructive character of fraternal enmity, then the seminal circumstance giving rise to the hostility is, in context, merely the storys given base of action, what Henry James called the narrative donnée, which must be granted an author before the reader begins to criticize what he has made of it.