For millions of faithful followers around the world, the Holy Bible represents the inspired word of God. Some choose to take the Bible literally, while others view it as a compilation of history, symbols, and metaphors. For instance, in the Old Testament, Cain killed Abel, creating a possible metaphor for followers of Christianity to unravel. In the opinion of some, Cain, a farmer, represented the beginning of farming and agriculture. Abel, on the other hand, a shepherd, represented the, soon to be extinct, hunter and gatherer culture. In this story, Abel is the favorite of God the Father, and brings to him the gift of a slaughtered sheep. Cain brings fruit he has raised through agriculture. By rejecting the fruit, and accepting the lamb, one can infer that God prefers not only Abel himself but also the culture Abel represents-that is, hunting and gatherers, rather than farming and agriculture. When Cain killed Abel, it represented, against God’s wishes, the rise of not only agriculture, but also learning, questioning, and the end of the blind, or child-like faith. This arguably personified the dawn of man and the end of our innocence. While God the Father preferred us to be simple-minded and unquestioning, we had “outgrown the playpen,” and any belief in God at that point would be by choice, and not because of ignorance.
The killing of Abel, represents not only the end of the blind following of God the Father, but also the end of wives blindly following their husbands. Before the killing of Abel, both sons blindly followed God the Father. On the same token, within the confines of the home and society at large, women blindly followed their husbands. Essentially, women stayed home and cared for the family, gathering wild fruit and nuts, while the men traveled in bands away from their homes, hunting animals and slaughtering them. When they returned, women would clean the meat and prepare it. Just as the hunter gave the best meat to God as a sacrifice and to give thanks, the gatherer prepared for her husband the best cut, giving thanks to him. After the death of Abel at the hands of Cain, everything changed.
The rise of farming signaled the beginning of civilization, as well as the rise of women in our society. Free from gathering, and now able to exercise their minds, women’s lives expanded far outside the realm of the home. At this point, in the Old Testament Christian tradition, one can put forth that God represents an angry and spiteful figure. To say the least, he is not happy with his rebellious children, who have abandoned their simple lives of hunting and gathering, for the more complicated life of civilization and agriculture.
It can be asserted that the death of Abel foreshadows the killing of Christ. The crucifixion symbolized the death of God as an angry father, and the rebirth of God as something that resides in all of us in essence, an egalitarian figure that assists men and women in making choices of their own free will. In the home, the husband no longer represented the Godhead-instead, God resided now equally in both husband and wife. This is further displayed in the Christian sacrament of Holy Communion, where men and women equally ingest the body and blood of Christ, making it a part of them, rather than something that is separate and authoritarian.
Can the crucifixion of Christ represent God the Father approving a new egalitarian social order? One can assert that it most certainly does. With the sacred Host ingested by both men and women alike, the death of Christ initiated a new dawn of civilization, encompassing philosophy, mathematics, and enlightenment. Through history, our free will has led to advancements by both sexes, ultimately culminating in the feminist movement of the 1960’s.
The business world today also reflects the egalitarian changes in society, later affirmed by the crucifixion of Christ. Many new business owners, unfamiliar with management techniques, initially behave as the God of the Old Testament-angry, bitter, and jealous. They fire people who do not do as they say, or who disagree with their opinions. In time, the business owners who succeed are the ones who quickly adjust their method of thinking. This change recognizes that employees are intelligent beings with free will. If employees do as one asks, it is because they choose to do so not because they are threatened if they do not. The need for a strict separation between the shepherd and the sheep is no longer relevant in essence, everyone in a company is part of the metaphorical farm. Some employees plant the seeds, while others water and others harvest. Some employees go on to invent better farming methods. It is essential that everyone is important in the process. The idea of an all-knowing, all-seeing Godhead is gone. Just as surely as we crucified Christ, a new dawn has risen.
The death of Christ, foreshadowed by the death of Abel, symbolizes the end of a primitive society, and the dawn of a new one. Civilized societies, made possible by the rise of agriculture, encompass civilized families and companies, where egalitarianism, as well as free, will dominate. Successful leaders recognize that they are not Godheads. Rather, they guide and influence, recognizing the free will of others as important parts of their family or business model. The recognition of this free will, and the method of guidance as well as the influence it requires, leads to healthy societies, families, and companies.