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QQC—Cain, Methuselah, the Flood and the Ground

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Genesis 4 to 8

Cain is notorious for being the world’s first murderer, having killed his brother because God accepted Abel’s offering but not Cain’s. God cursed him, drove him from the ground and made him “a restless wanderer on the earth.” We think of Cain as a reprobate but notice his response, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence....” Cain still loved God and wanted to be in God’s presence! (Genesis 4:8-16 NIV)

Methuselah lived longer than any other man recorded in the Bible—969 years. Can you imagine being alive for nearly a thousand years? Interestingly, when we do the math, we discover that Methuselah died the same year as Noah’s flood:

Methuselah was 187 years old when his son Lamech was born.
Lamech was 182 years old when Noah was born.
Noah was 600 years old when the flood came.
187 + 182 + 600 = 969. (Genesis 5:25-28; 6:6)

Noah’s dad, Lamech, died five years before the flood (he lived 595 years after Noah was born and Noah was 600 when the flood came).

After the flood, God “smelled the pleasing aroma” of Noah’s burnt offerings and said, “Never again will I curse the ground because of man...” (Genesis 8:21 NIV) Does that mean that the curse of Genesis 3:17-19 (“Cursed is the ground because of will produce thorns and thistles....”) ended at the flood? If so, why does the ground seem to be cursed still?


I think when God swore to not curse the ground because of man again it was in reference to the destruction of the flood. Think of all the damage done to the earth as well as the tremendous loss of life.
Yes, that is the common understanding of the statement and is quite possibly what God meant but he doesn't specifically say that. My questions are meant to get my readers to think outside the box and examine if there might be more to the passage than we usually consider.

Looking at Genesis 8:21 again, as I respond to you, I notice that God's promise to himself that he would never again curse the ground because of man is based on the observation that the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth." Isn't that backward? Wouldn't the fact that the intent of man's heart is evil be the reason to curse the ground instead of deciding to refrain from doing so?

Is it possible that the curse of the ground at Eden was more than we have traditionally understood? We think of the weeds and other issues we have now as the curse God put on the land back then but was it? (And I'm not saying it wasn't--just wondering aloud.)

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About the Author


I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

I have written a book that's recently been published about part of my journey with God. In it I tell how God confronted me with the same-sex attraction issues I've struggled with all my adult life and how he led me through them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. God is amazing—his forgiveness, his love, his movement in our lives when we allow him and so much more. I suspect God will never run out of things to teach me or ways to make me grow and that’s a good thing (though often very painful).

I suppose I can say that what gives me the greatest pleasure in life is telling others about…

Memories of Mikael Vincent Tien Doe Chan

Reviews of Searching for Love

If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. You may e-mail me at or post them in the comments section below.

A Real Testimony
I finished your book. A real testimony to what God does for us.
Leona March 3, 2009
I Had Tears Coming

I sat down to read it about a week later and ended up finishing it the same night. At first I admit I was a little bored and thought that the whole book was about a battle all in your mind, but as I continued reading this creeping thought came over me of a different...struggle in my own life, that I would never in my right mind have shared with anyone accept maybe God. I've mentioned your book to a few people because it stirs up age-old controversies that I have myself argued and wondered about, namely about whether or not homosexuality can be cured or just managed like alcoholism--you just have to stay away from temptation. I noticed at the end of your book that your struggle story …