Humankind bears the “image of God.” We are “mirrors of God” created to reflect God’s glory. If this is true a follow-up question naturally arises: What’s our problem? If we bear God’s image, why is there so much darkness, both around and within us? Why don’t we live up to our potential? What’s gone wrong with God’s image-bearer?
The flood returns creation to its original state, but with significant changes. Sin still remains. Creation is no longer “very good” but “corrupt.” The human heart is not innocent, but clouded by sin. Since humankind’s future flourishing cannot depend on human faithfulness, God’s covenant now supports and sustains God’s relationship with creation.
In the story of Cain and Abel, we discover that sin is a very real threat to human flourishing. Our freedom is found in obedience to God’s counsel. Our struggle against sin is a lifelong challenge. A good society begins with good people. Cain’s social injustice is fueled by Cain’s personal sin – sin Cain refuses to acknowledge and restrain.
The curse that comes about through human sin is in direct opposition to God’s original intent of blessing. Thankfully, God’s blessing continues in spite of the curse. Marriage, reproduction, and harvest will continue. But because of the curse, pain and turmoil will accompany human efforts to sustain life, bear children, and produce food.