“good reasons” in kenya?

January 9, 2008

kenya.jpgCain’s act of murder has been described as “meaningless” (Zenger 1983, 17).  It was not; murders rarely are.  It was governed by a faultless logic, provided Cain’s premises were right.  Premise 1: “If Abel is who God declared him to be [regarded by God], then I am not who I understand myself to be.”  Premise 2:  “I am who I understand myself to be.”  Premise 3: “I cannot change God’s declaration about Abel.”  Conclusion: “Therefore, Abel cannot continue to be.”  Cain’s identity was constructed from the start in relation to Abel; he was great in relation to Abel’s “nothingness.”  When God pronounced Abel “better,” Cain either had to readjust radically his identity, or eliminate Abel.  The act of exclusion has its own “good reasons.” 

The power of sin rests less on the insuppressible urge of an effect than on the persuasiveness of the good reasons, generated by a perverted self in order to maintain its own false identity.  Of course, these reasons are persuasive only to the self.  God would not have been convinced …

–Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace

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