Both Jesus and Paul referred to certain individuals as “children of the devil”, Cain being the archetype of those who follow “in his way” (Jude11). Significantly, John described Adam’s first-born as “ek tou ponerou”, i.e. derived from the Evil One (1Jn3:12). Ultimately of course like Lucifer himself, he is derived from God. All human souls are created by God (cf. Rom9:21,22) but not all are planted by Him (Mt13:39; 15:13), a mystery that I explore in chapter six of my book. Following on from my previous post, the requirements for acceptance within the Universal Covenant from which Cain defaulted are intuitive, a part of natural law, involving the innate spiritual faculty we know of as conscience. In the Bible’s definitive chapter on final judgement, the Matthew 25 sheep did not require “special revelation” or a religious creed to recognise that they should show compassion to those in need – it was intuitive to them, since they were “ek tou theou” (of God 1Jn4:7). As Jesus made crystal clear, such is the quality that determines a person’s post-mortem fate (Mt25:44-46). It is a passage in which religious faith is not mentioned at all, but such acts of compassion are evidence (indeed the efflux) of an underlying faith or godly fear as I seek to demonstrate from Scripture in chapter three of my book, along with evidence that such a concept of natural law was understood by the earliest (pre-Augustinian) Church Fathers who had received the Faith directly from the apostles or their immediate appointees and so were not solely reliant on biblical exegesis.
One’s status within the Universal Covenant also determines one’s involvement or otherwise with Satan as an agent (Greek: aggelos) within God’s mysterious providential role for evil. That is why Cain as the TYPE of those rejected from that covenant was brand-marked and protected rather than wiped out there and then. These issues are, as it were, the un-illuminated side of the revelation globe, pertaining (I believe) to the final mystery concerning God’s intentions towards His earthly creation (cf. Rev10:4-10).
Resulting biblical tensions
Failing to perceive the mystery of providence has resulted in biblical theologians for ever attempting to fit three square pegs (soteriological categories) into two round holes (soteriological outcomes). An historical reflection on our planet’s religious plurality and cultural formation that God has (at the least) permitted should discern that such a presentation of the “Good News” not only provides the direst of cosmic outcomes but distorts the perceived characteristics of both man and his Creator. It dishonours the magnanimity and loving kindness of the One and nullifies the underlying goodness of the other, especially mankind’s ability to practice agape (compassionate love) which ultimately determines what one is and where one is heading (Mt25 again), the religious dimension determining in what capacity (cf. Dan7:18). Such foundational errors have also resulted in seemingly intractable tensions within scripture typified by the narrow way leading to Life that few will ever attain on the one hand and frequent intimations (not least by Paul) of God’s broader scale intentions to reconcile all redeemable humanity to Himself on the other. The latter is surely consistent with the divine nature as Scripture reveals it and the Son of Man reflected it: compassionate and forgiving, making allowance for human weakness and culturally related ignorance (Acts17:30 cp. Amos3:2), yet One who will by no means show mercy towards the merciless but will avenge them for the suffering they have caused to those He loves (cf. Ex34:6-7; 2Thes1:5-6; Rev16:5-7).
It is surely no coincidence that Adam had three sons as did our postdiluvian Patriarch Noah, and from these have sprung all humanity: Adam’s son Seth and Noah’s son Shem represent the elect line; Adam’s son Abel and Noah’s son Japheth the “righteous” within the Universal Covenant whilst Adam’s son Cain and Noah’s son Ham were the accursed defaulters albeit that only one of Ham’s sons was cursed (Canaan) as Ham had already received a blessing (Gen9:1). Once we arrive at the EXCLUSIVE Abrahamic Covenant, Isaac represents the elect line resulting in Israel, whist Abraham’s other son Ishmael who had been circumcised by his father and (nota bene) blessed by God (Gen17:20), thereafter remaining in His favour and care (Gen21:20) had not been elected to the Covenant of Promise.
As for the Church –
“You brethren LIKE ISAAC are the children of promise” (Gal4:28NASB):
And you sisters and brethren, if baptised, are in the elective covenant that replaced Abraham’s and you are there by grace alone. Others are equally loved and precious to God as was Ishmael, but are not elected to the exclusive grouping predestined before the foundation of the world to form the community in which the spiritual resources and teaching are provided for faithful adherents to become holy and faultless in love before God through Jesus Christ (cf. Eph1:4,5). That is the Church, priesthood for the world (1Pet2:9), brought forth by God’s will to be the first-fruits of His creation (cf. Jam1:18)
[A quote from “Fellowship of the Secret” – chapter 3]*
*A free PDF of e-book available HERE
** Illustration: A photo booth “selfie” of Patrick Mackay (b. 1952), a.k.a. “the Devil’s Disciple” – a prolific UK serial killer and Nazi enthusiast, allegedly taken on the day he axed to death the Catholic priest who had earlier counselled him. Regrettably most individuals in the category we are considering are less easy to spot, but that is anyway not our task but God’s