The first heathen—Being the first natural born man, and being conceived after Adam and Eve had sinned, like all of Adam’s offspring, sin and death passed upon Cain (Romans 5:12; Psalm 51:5). Cain “knew God,” but he “glorified him not as God” (Romans 1:19-23). Cain refused to bring to God the only acceptable sin offering: the offering which God commanded. Instead he brought the work of his own hands (Genesis 4:3). By faith in the word of God (Romans 10:17), Cain’s brother “Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain…” (Hebrews 11:4-6) When the LORD encouraged Cain to do right, Cain continued to rebel against God. Then Cain, who “was of that wicked one…slew his brother…Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” (1John 3:12; Genesis 4:8) The history of “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4) abounds with similar examples.
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1)
According to the scriptures—The word “heathen” occurs 104 times in the scriptures. The heathen are also called “the people” (Psalm 2:1), “the nations” (Deuteronomy 4:27; Genesis 18:18), “the wicked” (Psalm 9:5, 15-17), and “the Gentiles” (Malachi 1:11; compare Galatians 1:6; 2:9 with Acts 26:17-18).