By Rose Weiner     4/90

It was a balmy day. The wind blew gently through the fields of newly ripened grain. Smells from the fragrant meadows waved abroad delighting the senses. The garners were overflowing with bountiful crops of fruits and vegetables which had already been harvested. Flocks of sheep grazed peacefully on the hillside, dotting the landscape with their snowy white fleece.

On the threshing floor two brothers worked side by side each building a stone altar. Throughout their boyhood they had been inseparable companions as they played together in the streams and waterfalls and investigated the woodlands. They had laughed at the porcupine's quills and the kangaroo's funny hop. With great exuberance they had climbed trees to play with the baby monkeys and had flung themselves onto the backs of the zebra making a game of who could stay on the longest. The animals had been some of their dearest friends, for during their lifetime the fear of man had not yet fallen on these creatures. Together they had marveled as they caught beautiful butterflies and held newly hatched birds in the palm of their hands while their mother brought assortments of bugs and worms to feed her new offspring.

It was not so long ago that these boys had walked together through the woods sharing their hopes and dreams of the future. It was during their boyhood that the world was young and so very, very beautiful. In fact they were the first two little boys to ever be born on the earth. Their mother Eve had named the first son Cain. It was her hope that this son would be the Savior God had promised to send who would deliver them from the curse of sin and lead the family back to their Eden home. She had named her second son Abel. Both boys were the delight of their parents hearts and brought them such joy and gladness that it helped Adam and Eve bear up under their sorrow at the loss of Eden and the intimate fellowship with God that they had once known.

Among their mother's most treasured memories were the times in Eden - stories that the boys knew by heart. They had heard all about the loving Creator and of the devil's temptation. They learned how Eve and Adam had fallen for the tempter's snare and lost their garden paradise, their beautiful garments of light, the joy of living in the smile of their Heavenly Father's Presence, and the privilege of beholding His glory. They had heard about the Angel with the flaming Sword which had been sent to guard the way to the Tree of Life to keep them from partaking of it in their sin.

But among their most favorite was the story about God's promise that one day, one of Eve's children would crush the serpent's head, break the power and the curse of their sin and disobedience and bring them back into a right relationship with God. Eve had told Cain many times that it was her hope that he was that child. Even his name signified that belief. Their mother and father had told them that right before they had turned with great heartbroken sobs to walk out of the garden into the night that God had slain several of the beautiful innocent lambs of paradise to make clothes for them to cover their sin and nakedness.

As one of their precious animals was slaughtered, Adam and Eve had begun to learn just what sin was going to cost the world. It was at that time that God had instituted the first blood sacrifice. This sacrifice and offering, the boys were taught, was to be made to God whenever they desired for their sins to be covered and forgiven. It was to represent all the faith and hope they had in the coming One who would bring salvation, forgiveness of sins, and right relationship with God. Without the shedding of blood the boys understood there could be no forgiveness of sin. They didn't exactly understand why, but that was what God had said and they were taught that man was to obey God whether his mind understood it or not. They were reminded often by Adam and Eve just what disobedience to God's commands had cost them.

Now that they both had grown up, Abel had become a keeper of the sheep and Cain had become a tiller of the ground. Thankfu