Cain was the son of Adam and Eve, and brother of Abel. An account of his life is given in Genesis.
“Adam knew his wife Eve intimately, and she conceived and bore Cain. She said, “I have had a male child with the LORD’s help.”
Then she also gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel became a shepherd of a flock, but Cain cultivated the land.
In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the LORD.
And Abel also presented [an offering] — some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering,
but He did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he was downcast.
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why are you downcast?
If you do right, won’t you be accepted? But if thou do not do right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”
And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.”
—Genesis 4:1-8 (HCSB)
The Septuagint, an early Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, offers an alternate version of the seventh verse:
“If you offer properly, but divide improperly, have you not sinned? Be still; to you shall he submit, and you shall rule over him.”
Later in the narrative, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain replies, “I do not know: Am I my brother’s keeper?”
After this, God said to Cain, “What hast you done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth out to Me from the ground! So now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand. When thou farm the ground, it shall not yield good crops to you! Thou shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth! (Genesis 4:10-4:12)”
As we can see from this account, not only is Cain a pioneer in evil, but also in sarcasm.
The Qur’an also provides an account of the children of Adam and Eve, although it does not give them names.
“Recite to them the truth of the story of the two sons of Adam. Behold! they each presented a sacrifice (to Allah): It was accepted from one, but not from the other. Said the latter: “Be sure I will slay thee.” “Surely,” said the former, “Allah doth accept of the sacrifice of those who are righteous.
“If thou dost stretch thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear Allah, the cherisher of the worlds.
“For me, I intend to let thee draw on thyself my sin as well as thine, for thou wilt be among the companions of the fire, and that is the reward of those who do wrong.”
The (selfish) soul of the other led him to the murder of his brother: he murdered him, and became (himself) one of the lost ones.
Then Allah sent a raven, who scratched the ground, to show him how to hide the shame of his brother. “Woe is me!” said he; “Was I not even able to be as this raven, and to hide the shame of my brother?” then he became full of regrets-
On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.”
– The Holy Qur’an, 5:27-32
According to the Book of Jubilees, an Apocryphal text, Cain had a wife – Awan, his sister and daughter of Adam and Eve.
To adherents of Islam, the account of Adam and Eve’s sons is a parable intended to warn people about the consequences of murder – that to kill one person is considered just as grievous as consigning the entire human race to death. “As to those who deny the Signs of God and in defiance of right, slay the prophets, and slay those who teach just dealing with mankind, announce to them a grievous penalty.” – Qur’an, 3:21
However, Christians have observed that the Bible does not provide a motivation for Cain’s crime. It is generally understood that it was performed out of jealousy and anger over Cain’s offering having been overlooked, while his brother Abel’s was accepted. However, some have gone a step further and asserted Cain was capable of murder because he was not one of God’s children, but rather, the illegitimate offspring of the Devil.
“In the Apocryphon of John, Eve is said to have been seduced by the supreme archon Yaldaboth who then fathered two sons named Eloim and Yave.
‘And the chief archon seduced her and he begot in her two sons; the first and the second (are) Eloim and Yave. Eloim has a bear-face and Yave has a cat-face. The one is righteous, but the other is unrighteous. (Yave is righteous, but Eloim is unrighteous.) Yave he set over the fire and the wind, and Eloim he set over the water and the earth. And these he called with the names Cain and Abel with a view to deceive.’ (Ap. John II, 24, 16-25 [Wisse])
In the Apocryphon of John Yalbadoth is the evil creator-god who creates angels to rule the world and aid in the creation of human beings. In a passage preceding this one both Cain and Abel are listed among the twelve authorities birthed by Sophia. The identification of Cain and Abel with Eloim and Yave with the Hebrew ‘Yahweh’ and ‘Elohim’ is easily deduced and, coupled with the seduction of Eve, demonstrates the author’s intention of describing Eve’s sons as being the result of a sexual encounter with a divine being. … The important difference, however, lies in their essential character traits; Cain is unrighteous while Abel is righteous. While Genesis provides no such explicit description of the brothers, these epithets became part of Jewish and Christian tradition …
… Cain’s birth in [Genesis] 4:1 is not described in the same way as that of Seth. In Gen 5:3 we read that ‘Adam begot a son in his own likeness, his own image, and called him Seth.’ But no similar statement is attached to the description of Cain and his birth (or to Abel). The difference in the descriptions led interpreters to conclude that there must have been something qualitatively different about the circumstances surrounding Cain’s birth. This observation lead the Aramaic translator of Targum Pseudo-Jonathon to add the following to the biblical text of Gen 5:3.
‘When Adam had lived a hundred and thirty years, he begot Seth, who resembled his image and likeness. For before that, eve had borne Cain, who was not from him and who did not resemble him. Abel was killed by Cain, and Cain was banished, and his descendants are not recorded in the book of the genealogy of Adam. But afterwards he begot one who resembled him and he called his name Seth.’ (Tg. Ps.-J. Gen 5:3 [Maher])
The question some ancient interpreters asked, then: who was the father of Cain? Somewhat surprisingly, it is the devil that was often identified as the father of the man who would become the world’s first murderer even though the devil does not appear in the Cain and Abel narrative. Such an interpretation seems to stem from yet another ambiguity contained in Eve’s cryptic statement.
One would expect Eve to designate Cain as [the Hebrew word for] “son” or another Hebrew word for a male child. But the use of [the Hebrew word for] “man” to describe the birth of a child is once again unusual and without parallel.
… the combination of this strange description of the child as a “man” along with the equally strange description of his birth “with the Lord” led some to conclude that Cain was the resulting offspring of an encounter between Eve and some type of angel of the Lord, more than likely a fallen angel in light of Cain’s later actions. This is related to a reevaluation of what Genesis means when it says that ‘Adam knew his wife.’ Rather than interpret it in the euphemistic sense of sexual intercourse, some exegetes interpreted the phrase to mean that ‘Adam knew something about Eve,’ that is, she had intercourse with someone other than Adam. The result is a well attested tradition among Jewish and Christian interpreters that depicted Cain as the son of either the devil or some other fallen being.”
“Having been made pregnant by the seed of the devil … she brought forth a son.” (Tertullian, Patience 5:15)
“First adultery came into being, afterward murder. And he [Cain] was begotten in adultery, for he was the child of the serpent.” (Gos. Phil. 61:5-10 [Isenberg])
“And Adam knew about his wife Eve that she had conceived from Sammael, the angel of the Lord, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. And she said, ‘I have acquired a man, indeed an angel of the Lord.’” (Tg. Ps.-J. Gen. 4:1)
“(Sammael) riding on the serpent came to her and she conceived [Cain]; afterwards Adam came to her, and she conceived Abel, as it is said, ‘And the Adam knew his wife Eve.’ What is the meaning of ‘knew’? He knew that she had (already) conceived.” (Pirque R. El. 21 [Friedlander])”
– John Byron, Cain and Abel in Text and Tradition
Some Luciferians believe that Cain was the son of Samael and Lilith, forming an Unholy Trinity.