Drinking Deeply

Saturday, December 10, 2005 at 5:06 PM

Death Penalty (1)

I. Creation

To me, one of the most important things to note (which is why I want to mention it first), is that any argument for or against the death penalty must be grounded in Scripture in order for it to have any validity. Man, on his own, does not have any inherent value. We are but dust. The only value we have is the value given to us by God.

Thus when arguing for, or against, the death penalty, we have to make a biblical argument, otherwise we could just take away the entire argument by denying our premises and forcing us to backtrack until we arrive at a point where we are merely assuming. Then when someone assumes otherwise, we are stuck.

My first point in support for the death penalty is Genesis 9:6 and it's relation to creation.

God is speaking to Noah after the flood in chapter 9 and he says:


1And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

6"Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.
" (emphasis added)

God gives Noah a promise, a promise of dominion over the land, a promise of food and provision, and also a warning: "But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." Why is this? Because God has decided, in His immutable decrees, that "for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man." And then comes my chief support for the death penalty: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image."

This commandment of justice: "whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed" is grounded in creation. God created man in His image, thus those who shed blood of another created in His image, by man his blood shall be shed. To head off one of the objections I know will come, this means that whatever was reversed by Christ's life, death, and resurrection, it does not include this command, because God still made man in His image.

As to the question "then why does this come after the fall?" the simple answer is that prior to the fall man would not have shed another man's blood. Without sin, there was no need for the law to be explicit, because the spiritual man keeps the law and it is not a burden. Once sin entered the world, the punishment for sin was necessary and we have the commands of God.

Thus my first point is thus: The just shedding of a man's blood by another man is ordained by God as a punishment because God created man in His image, thus is rooted in creation and is still in effect today.

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