In looking at the story of Cain and Abel, it is appropriate to say that the frustration-induced criminality theory explains the scenario that took place between the two. The theory herein espouses that when persons develop or experience a feeling or obstacle preventing them from attaining their goal or objective, they result to aggression (Bartol & Bartol, 2016). The aggression can be channeled to several objects or reflect certain behaviors. In the case of Cain and Abel, Cain was seeking recognition and acceptance from God. His sacrifice, as opposed to that of Abel, did not burn and hence was not accepted (King James Bible, 2011). Therefore, Abel was the obstacle between his acceptance by God and that frustrated him. He then resulted to aggression that saw him channel it to his brother and thereby killing him maybe hoping that God would finally prefer him. Therefore, the theory pretty much explains what happened between Abel and Cain.

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On the other hand, differential association-reinforcement theory can also be used to explain the incident between Cain and Abel. At first, the theory espouses that criminal behavior arises from normal learning and punishments and reinforcements are used to correct or modify behavior (Bartol & Bartol, 2016). Here, reinforcements are focused on increasing or enhancing desirable behavior while punishments are focused on reducing undesirable behavior (Bartol & Bartol, 2016). Therefore, the story of Abel and Cain can be explained on two perspectives.

One, the probable reason Cain’s sacrifice was not accepted by God was due to his attitude and intent. In that case, God had to teach him a lesson by refusing to accept his sacrifice in the hope of addressing the undesirable behavior. Second, God also punished Abel for his entire life for killing his brother out of jealousy, and that was also another way of addressing his undesirable behavior in making sure he would not commit such a sin again.

  • Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2016). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach. Boston: Pearson.
  • King James Bible. (2011). Cain and Abel: Genesis 4: 1-18. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Proquest LLC.