From the beginnings of civilization, the theme of immigration has been present with its causes and concerns. The Bible registers Cain, the firstborn son of Adam and Eve, as the first immigrant.
We read in Genesis 4:12 the words God spoke to him: “When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a foreigner on the earth.” Because the land where Cain lived would no longer be fruitful, he saw himself forced to seek opportunities to farm in other places and thereby subsist together with his family. From that point on, Biblical and secular history registers a migratory flow throughout all the generations until the present 21st Century, with similar causes and concerns.
Cain, knowing that the word of God would inexorably be fulfilled, expressed a concern to the Lord: “Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a foreigner on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” (4:13)
In modern terms associated with immigration Cain was afraid he would be subject to xenophobic hatred. According to the dictionary, xenophobia is “hatred, repugnance or hostility toward foreigners.” What response did the Lord give to Cain’s worries? Indifference? Abandonment? No, God responded to him with protection: “Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him” (4:15).
This story teaches us that even as God made Cain the first immigrant in human history, he also gave him the first of many promises for foreigners: protection. This story confirms that in God’s agenda, immigrants are in his heart. From that point of departure, we will continue commenting in this blog.