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Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.

Genesis 4:13-15

The Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one would kill him. In the 18th century the interpretation was voiced that the “mark” was black skin, and as such legitimated that humans with black skin were tortured and enslaved, being the sinful offspring of a sinful man (quoted by John Woolman, 1757). Ironically then, the very mark God gave Cain to protect him, became an excuse for his (supposed) descendants misery. To us it may seem absurd to punish or even disregard the descendants of a criminal. But we learn that Adam’s original sin is transferred to every born human being. Did that theology of  the original sin make a loop hole for slavery of the supposed descendants of Cain so that God’s grace was thus misused and disrespected, perhaps unknowingly, to fit the needs of greed?

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