Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam, were very unlike in character. Abel feared God. Cain cherished rebellious feelings, and murmured against God because of the curse pronounced upon Adam, and because the ground was cursed for his sin. These brothers had been instructed in regard to the provision made for the salvation of the human race. They were required to carry out a system of humble obedience, showing their reverence for God, and their faith and dependence upon the promised Redeemer, by slaying the firstlings of the flock, and solemnly presenting it with the blood, as a burnt-offering to God. This sacrifice would lead them to continually keep in mind their sin, and the Redeemer to come, who was to be the great sacrifice to man.
Cain brought his offering unto the Lord with murmuring and infidelity in his heart in regard to the promised Sacrifice. He was unwilling to strictly follow the plan of obedience, and procure a lamb and offer it with the fruit of the ground. He merely took of the fruit of the ground and disregarded the requirement of God. God had made known to Adam that without shedding of blood there could be no remission for sin. Cain was not particular to bring even the best of the fruits. Abel advised his brother not to come before the Lord without the blood of a sacrifice. Cain being the eldest, would not listen to his brother. He despised his counsel, and with doubt and murmuring in regard to the necessity of the ceremonial offerings, he presented his offering. But God did not accept it.