Having an interesting day. Genesis 9:6 was quoted in today's message at chapel, and that same verse was quoted by President Jed Bartlett in the Season One episode of the West Wing that I'm watching tonight.
So naturally, I've been spending the day mulling the issue over once again. A lot of people naturally think that I'm set in my ways, that I'm just some one dimensional nitwit who never examines what I think about the issues... which couldn't be further from the truth.
When talking to people about the issue, I've always been confronted with the apparent paradox of how I could support capital punishment, while I in the next breath could be talking about the "sanctity of life" when it comes to the abortion issue. To some, it would seem to be a paradox.
It all crystallized for me today in a new and fresh way, thanks to that verse. In the past, I've always turned to Lev. 24:20, the old "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" passage, but that's the wrong verse. Genesis 9:6 is really the key verse on the issue that better explains my position, and helps to clarify the apparent paradox on my position on the sanctity of life.
In Genesis 9:6, God says, "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man."
My elder who was speaking today made the interesting point about this verse, that it is BECAUSE life is sacred that we should support capital punishment. Yes, all life is sacred, and as such, I can't ever support the heinous practice of abortion. Likewise, the life of any man or woman who's life has just been taken is sacred, as they too have been created "in the image of God".
It's always been my view that if you've taken the life of another, you have forfeit your right to keep your own life. This is, of course, a rather vindictive way of looking at it, and I must admit that I missed the point of this command from God. It's not I think intended to be retribution, but is intended to reveal to us the sacredness of life, and WHY it's so sacred... because we have been made in the very image of God. Because we have been given that greatest of all gifts, the ability to reason and choose for ourselves our own path, a gift and blessing not given to the lesser beings, the animals.
As such, as we are indeed so valuable and precious in His sight, when someone dares to defy a Holy and Sovereign God by de valuing His precious gift of life, then that person or persons lives should not be permitted to continue. And the responsibility for "enforcing" this command has been to mankind to enforce.
Of course, this won't make much sense to those who don't believe in a Holy and Sovereign God, but there's not likely much I can do to change anyone's mind on that front. But at least for me, today, this verse has helped refocus my opinion on the issue.
Capital punishment ought not to be about retribution. What it should be about is honouring God, and about protecting His greatest creation... the very life of mankind. And to do that, as counter intuitive as it may seem, He has commanded that those who would take the life of another have their own lives taken by those to whom He has given that task... to us, to society, as a whole.
To meet out His justice, to protect His creation, mankind. It's a big issue, and who knows if I've cleared things up or just made them worse, but these are some of the thoughts that have been spinning around in my head today. Hope it's been even marginally helpful to you.
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