Tough Times and Good News
One Christian writer addressed the question point blank; “Why do bad things happen to good people.” Other writers have written about it in different terms for centuries upon centuries.
There is a surprising passage that will encourage us in our trials. It fits between Adam and Noah, after Cain killed Abel and well before Job. But it surprisingly has some interesting angles.
Gen 4:25-26 says, “And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.’ To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.
After Cain killed Abel, and that ugly mess (Genesis 4:1-16), another son which was born to Adam and Eve that they names “Seth”. Seth means “put, replacement, or substitute”.
Their first son, the son of promise for redemption through Eve, was disqualified as a murder. The second son, the next in line, was murdered, so he could not be the son of promise. The third son born was, then, a replacement for Abel. Eve says, “God (Elohim) has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.”
I find it interesting that Seth wasn’t given a joyful name, but one that ever reminded him of the failures and loss of his brothers.
Verse 25 has something else interesting in it. “Elohim” is the title of God. It correlates closely with the English word, “God”.
But it is not our God’s name. His name is “Yahweh”.
If there is a clue to Eve’s state of mind as she aged, it is seen here. Previously, when Eve had her first son, she named him Cain.
Genesis 4:1 says, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man (boy child) with the help of the LORD (Yahweh).”
She used the name of God, the intimate title, expressing an intimate relationship. With the birth of Cain, there was a sense of joy and dependence upon God. Eve knew she had sinned, but amidst of the disappointment was an overflowing joy.
Then she and Adam continued to see the consequence of their mistake through life. She saw one son murder another son. She saw tension between her and her husband (as stated by God in Genesis 3:16). She experienced aging, pain, weeds, and heartbreak that she would not have seen if she and her husband had not chosen sin.
Much later she has another son. She said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.”
This time, the moniker she uses for God is His title, “Elohim”, not his intimate name, “Yahweh”. Under the curse of sin as time goes by, Eve appeared to struggle and drift further away from God.
What does it take to drift away from God? Nothing. If you do nothing to maintain an intimate relationship with God, you will drift away from God.
Now, look at verse 26:
“To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.”
Seth grows up, and the family sees another effect of the curse of sin. He and his wife have a son, and the name is very telling. “Enos”, or “Enosh”, mean “feeble, sickly, or weak”.
Enosh wasn’t sickly or weak because he was more sinful than his dad, Seth, or his grandparents, Adam and Eve. He wasn’t sickly because of the sins of his uncles, Cain and Abel.
This is the first time we can see the generational effects of sin on society. It shows us that because of the curse of sin, some people are randomly born with disabilities and/or weaknesses.
If the last part of verse 26 ties to the first part of the verse (which I believe it does), then Seth began the practice of calling upon God because of his sick son.
Seth had every reason to ask, “Lord, why did you make my son sickly?”
The Lord could have responded, “This is the consequence of sin, not my hand. I told Adam and Eve that they would surely experience death if they walked away from me.”
Here is the hidden beauty of this verse. They began calling upon the name of “Yahweh”, the intimate name for God. The birth of a sickly child drew Seth and his family close in dependence upon God. So they began to speak with Him in that relationship.
Why do hard problems come? Sickness? Crisis and what appears to be disaster? Sin is the reason. Both our inherent sin and our choices of sin brings more heartache.
What should our response be to such trouble? We should draw close to God and call upon His name because we understand that we are going to need Him to get through this.