“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."--Matthew 5:13

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Can Christians Support the Death Penalty?

“Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death."
-Leviticus 24:17 

How can Christians can be so adamantly against abortion, but yet so fervently in support of the death penalty? Isn’t there a conflict of interest here? How can someone support the sanctity of life, but advocate the death penalty? It is not impossible to be in support of both because the sanctity of life includes all human life.

Human life, more than any other created life, is very sacred to God because He has created human beings in His own image (Genesis 1:27). God has specifically crafted man to represent both His image and likeness. The image of God in man does not necessarily mean that God looks like us, because God is spirit (John 4:24). But there are some physical similarities. Christ, the second figure of the Godhead, looks exactly like us. He came to earth from heaven, taking the form of man and the sin of His people so that they may have salvation and eternal life. The attributes of God in man are also spiritual and relational in that man has a soul that is able to have a relationship with God. This relational aspect also includes emotions, which God has given man to represent Himself.

Since we have been created in His image, God values human life more than anything He has created. Therefore, the penalty for the destruction of human life must be death. Since God has created life, only God has the right to take human life (Romans 12:19). However, God uses human beings to execute His sovereign will on evil doers. God gave His people Israel the right to legally execute those who had taken innocent life, although this person had to be judicially declared guilty by at least two witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15).
So how can a person stand against abortion but for capital punishment? The answer is simple. That person believes in the sanctity of human life. Christians should advocate a quality life for all people, even if that person is engaged in heinous sin. However, since human life is sacred, the only fitting penalty for the intentional destruction of human life is death.

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