Cainites, a sect of Gnostics that sprung up about the year 130 and is classed with the Ophites (q. v) or Serpentinians. They held that Sophia (Wisdom) found means to preserve in every age in this world, which the Demiurge had created, a race bearing within them a spiritual nature similar to her own, and intent upon opposing the tyranny of the Demiurge. The Cainites regarded Cain as the chief of this race. They honored Cain, and the evil characters of Scripture generally, on the ground that, in proportion to the hatred such characters evinced of the laws of the God of this world (the Demiurge), the more worthily did they act as the sons of Sophia, whose chief work is to destroy the kingdom of the Demiurge. For the same reason, they honored Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, as well as the inhalitants of Sodom, and Judas Iscariot, whom they regarded as procuring the death of Christ from the purest motives; for he knew that this was the only possible way of effecting the destruction of the Demiurge's kingdom. Hippolytus mentions the Cainites in his Philosophoumena, 8:12. — Neander, Ch. Hist. 1:448; August. De Haeres. cap. 18; Tertull. De Prescript. cap. 47; Lardner, Works, 8:560.

Bible concordance for CAIN.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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